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Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere

Fellowship and Service

Address: PO Box 220
Tiburon/Belvedere, CA 94920
Phone: 415-747-5828

Club of Tiburon-Belvedere

 Welcome! We're the Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere, and we embrace Rotary International's motto, Service Above Self. We've been serving the community and taking on projects around the world for almost 46 years. Our focus on youth, literacy and community, and we believe that reaching out to others makes a better world. Here's what we've supported so far this year.


Youth—Investing in the Future

• Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity: Support to provide a safety net of stable housing, guidance and community connections for young people 16 to 25, who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless in Marin County.

• Canal Alliance University Prep: A program to help high school students who will be the first in their families to attend college to achieve their goals.

Dave Hutton Rotary Award for Service Above Self: An annual award to a graduating eighth-grader with a record of outstanding community service at Del Mar Middle School.

• Dictionaries for Mexico: Sent 50 full-color, illustrated children's dictionaries to students at a school in San Carlos, Mexico, where learning to speak and understand English is a key to success.

• Educator of the Year Awards: Annual awards to outstanding educators in local schools, whose unique projects give children a worldview that encourages them to become good citizens

• Global Book Exchange: Support for the Global Book Exchange in San Rafael, which collects lightly-used books and redistributes them to teachers at schools with limited budgets, disadvantaged families and nonprofits that serve children, as well as schools throughout the world.

• Marielos Fund: A scholarship to send a young woman in El Salvador to medical school.

• Reed School PTA: Funding for playground supplies for Reed School's new Pre-K classes.

• Rotaplast International: Support for volunteer medical teams to provide life-changing surgery for children with cleft-lip and palate in needy communities around the world.

• Rotary Youth Leadership Awards: Scholarships so high school sophomores and juniors can attend a special camp that guides them to develop their leadership skills.

• The Ranch: Scholarships for low-income youth to attend summer day camp.

•  ThinkGlobal Arts: Programs in the for young people in disadvantaged countries, bringing joy and hope into their lives.

• Tiburon Peninsula Little League: Proud sponsor of the Phillies.

Meaningful Projects—Service Above Self

• Get Ready to Go 94920: Emergency lanterns for Get Ready to distribute to members at a special event devoted to emergency preparedness

• Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society: Assistance for the community's historial society to do maintenance on the community's landmarks.



If you'd like to visit, we'd be delighted to meet you. We meet at the Tiburon Peninsula Club, 1600 Mar West Street, Tiburon, CA, at 6 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of the month and at noon on the second and fourth Wednesdays. We'll announce activities and events for months with a fifth Wednesday. Meetings are hybrid, so members and guests can attend either in person or on Zoom

For Zoom meetings, please go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81915154482?pwd=MDVHWWVjemovQ2ovdjJkZzczeW9qZz09,

If you'd like to be a guest speaker, please contact Marianne Strotz at strotzproperties@gmail.com or Lata Setty at latapatent@gmail.com

Board of Directors Meetings
Meetings of the Board of Directors are open to all members and take place monthly at a time to be announced, usually on Zoom. For information, please send an email to judith@telli.com.

Contact us at rotary@telli.com.

Send mail to Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere, P.O. Box 220, Tiburon, CA 94920.




Noon, Wednesday, March 22, DeAnn Biss, Executive Director, Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Update on Activities in Downtown Tiburon, Tiburon Peninsula Club

6 p.m., Wednesday, March 29, Julie Shumelda, executive coach and world-renowned speaker, Tiburon Peninsula Club

If you'd like to be a guest speaker, please send an email to rotary@telli.com



8 a.m. Saturday, March 25, District Learning and Leadership Assembly, Redwood High School, Larkspur



“For 39 years, I almost had no identity. I was known as the flower lady’s husband,” said Tom O’Neill. [His wife, Peggy, was the well-known] proprietor of Hearts and Flowers, the flower shop, and Hearts and Flowers Caffè at the Boardwalk and the Cove Shopping Center, but, in fact, Tom was quite well-known himself as a popular Little League coach.]

Tom was the founder the Chief Francis O’Neill Irish Music Festival, as well as being the driving force behind the Tiburon Classic Car Show. However, the music show took a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and he isn’t sure he’ll bring it back. “Between it and the car show, it takes almost all year long,” he said.

The last time Tom visited, he told an Irish story, but “Tonight, I’m going to speak to you about a serious matter,” he said. He is involved with Shifting Gears, USA, a group of classic-car enthusiasts and a philanthropic organization. “Over the years, we’ve raised some significant money,” he said, and the funds have gone to a lot of money for different charities.

Now he and Charlie Goodman, a fellow classic-car aficionado, are turning their attention to education. Tom reported that 1,500 students a year graduate from high school, and three local high schools are rated highly. Although 75% of graduates go to college, however, only 50% graduate. He explained that kids have to meet the expectation that they will attend a four-year college, and they won’t identify with anything different. Once they get away from the scrutiny, however, they drop out.

No trade training is available, and only one car program is offered in local high schools. Tom and Charlie went to the school, and it was discouraging. Kids were there to get an easy grade and weren’t really interested so they were using their phones and playing games.

“What prompted us to go there was the Tiburon Classic Car Show,” he said. He pointed out to Charlie that the average age of people at the car show is 70 or more. Kids aren’t interested in cars like the teenagers of Tom’s generation were.  “There’s so much other technology that’s more enticing to them,” he observed.
They left the class discouraged and discussed what they could do, and they decided to develop a new class in car preservation and appreciation.

Shifting Gears created a shop curriculum and class format for technical training, and they found a teacher for a class that is now in its fourth semester. The co-ed class has 20 to 25 students, and it’s an evenlng class, so kids are there because they want to be. Among the students who’ve gone through the program is a young lady who drives an El Camino and has a tattoo of the car. Another had a corvette that his grandfather had willed to him. It’s a 1963 split-window, a real treasure for someone who’s still in high school.

The fully accredited class is at Terra Linda High School, and Shifting Gears completely funds it. “We decided to start our own charity,” said Tom, and they do field trips. March 25 is track day at Sonoma Raceway at Sears Point, and the students get to see the cars up close and meet the drivers and owners. This year, “I think we’re going to be able to get rides for all of the kids,” said Tom.

About a dozen kids also went to a body shop in San Rafael, and the owner handed every kid a piece of metal and a hammer. They were there for about five hours and learned how to do body work. They also went to an upholstery shop. They love the field trips.

“Are they learning about EVs?” asked George Landau.

“No, the focus is on classics,” Tom said.

“How much would a young person after completing the class,” George also asked.
Tom said that he has a friend who is the general manager of a Ford dealership with a shop, and all his employees earn $100,000 plus. He added that the training he and Charlie are working to create gives students lots of options in at least a dozen careers, and they don’t require a college education.
Tom was a naïve kid from Minnesota, and he started to read Road and Track in 1956 and began to learn about cars and places. The experience gave him a picture of a bigger world than he ever imagined.

Expanding the horizon

Some places have career technical educational centers, and Tom and Charlie decided to create one in Marin County. Terra Linda is the designated location for the center, and they’re constructing buildings for it now. A variety of trades will be represented, and young people will get a practical and marketable education that gives them knowledge and skills. Shifting Gears has taken on funding through 2026.

“What is the ratio of male and female?” asked Irene Slisky, and Tom said that classes usually have one to three or four girls out of a class of 20.

A major sponsor has put in $6,000, and they have Raised $650,000 so far. Their goal is $1,500,000. The goal is to give young people an early start in the trades if that’s where their interests lie and let them know that trades are valuable and can be prestigious. They need $350,000 to meet their commitment through 2026, and if the club has some money and can help, he would appreciate it. The money goes to the Marin County Office of Education.

George Landau was interested in the trades, but his brother insisted that he take the test to go to a science high school, and he qualified. If the outcome had been different, however, he might be a plumber or bricklayer today.

“This could be the single biggest thing any of us— you and me—will do for the future well-being of our community and the success of our children,” said Tom.

Marshall Gross believes that parents who are high achievers put pressure on their kids, and that’s why they don’t consider anything other than going to a four-year college.
“It’s the ego of the parents,” said Marianne Strotz.

Judy Wilson added that it’s also pressure at school. Her daughter was accepted at a four-year university but was reluctant to go, because she didn’t feel ready. She wasn’t under pressure at home but said people at school made students feel like losers if they did anything different. She finally decided to get a deferment and went when she felt ready.

Irene Slisky asked if the class is geared to boys, and Tom said that it isn’t, but boys are the ones who to tend to show up.

“I really think Tom has found something that has a real need,” said Charlie Oewel, noting that a training center provides pathways to careers.

“Despite technology, those basic skills are needed,” Tom pointed out.

“At the end of the training, do they get an opportunity for a summer job or internship with local companies?” asked Revati Natesan.

Tom said that every year they have kids who get placed. And he expects that a large cadre of local businesses would be eager to have the students, because they’re starving for employees.

“When they get their diploma from high school, would they be prepared for a job?” asked Charlie Oewel.
Tom sad yes, but added that they will also offer scholarships to students who are serious and want more training. They would be able to attend University Technical Institute, a good school in Sacramento, for example “You come out of that school, and you’re a mechanic,” he said.

“This is our first program,” he added, and he expects that in 10 years, high schools will offer a whole range of programs.

“This also stimulates small business,” said Charlie Oewel. “They can start a small business and run it themselves.”

“There’s no limit,” said Tom, adding that he hopes the training will allow young people to stay here as working adults.


RYLA — Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

Judy Johnson was on hand to tell us about RYLA—Rotary Youth Leadership Awards—a program for high school freshmen, juniors and seniors. “All these young people had a couple of years of messed-up school,” she said. She signed up to be a facilitator and it was cancelled. However, they had training and did it on Zoom. It was called RYLA in a Box and lasted three days.

She showed us the opening video for RYLA in a Box, which features a combined virtual choir from San Ramon Valley High School that shows who Rotary is doing RYLA for. “Last year, was my first experience at the camp, and it was wonderful,” she said. “Any funds you put toward RYLA is money well spent.”
This year, RYLA will be a five-day camp at Camp Redwood Glen in Scott’s Valley near Santa Cruz. It’s private and a place where young people can open up and share their thoughts and feelings, and organizers would like to get 150 campers.

“Is it just for this district?” asked Brian Walker, and Judy said, yes, but other districts run similar programs.
The experience for young people begins when they get off the bus and go to a field, where they’re greeted, and “They start their journey with us,” she said. They have a leadership assessment to determine their leadership style, and they might be lions, koalas, peacocks or owls. They learn what that’s all about and why they are that style, and they meet with others in their group.

The five-day camp is more than leadership and gives them time to do other things. Last year, they came up with several areas of concern, such as food insecurity, racism, the environment and LBGTQ issues, brainstormed, came up with ideas and put them into a plan. Then they presented their plans to Rotarians.
Each day has a theme, and various things happen every night. Skits, campfires and dancing are some of the evening activities, and the skits are based on principles of effective leadership. The first night starts out with alumni sharing stories, and “It’s very emotional,” said Judy.

The last day is affirmations. Students write notes with positive comments to the others in their groups. They also write a letter to themselves and it goes out in October.

If you know any students who’d be good candidates for RYLA, encourage them to apply. They can find information and the application form at https://www.rotary.org/en/our-programs/rotary-youth-leadership-awards.The cost is $600 per student, and RYLA pays. The deadline is April 1.

AG Anne Sands reported that teachers sometimes recommend students. “If they’re quiet and don’t have a lot of self-esteem, it’s amazing,” she said. The Rotary Club of West Marin sponsored three kids from Tomales, a community that’s isolated, with parents who can’t afford to send kids to summer camp. The kids were bilingual, and “They came back and they were different people,” she said, describing one girl who was shy and returned confident and spoke to Rotary. “It’s a great program. It’s really fabulous.”

Charlie Oewel talked about his daughter, who is now an elementary school teacher in New York City with Teach for America. She was very accomplished and did a lot of different things in high school, and he asked her what the most impactful thing was. She said it was RYLA camp, and it was an incredible experience for her. “She was really speaking from her heart,” he said.

He added that his new friend from Ukraine started at RYLA camp in Europe.

“How do you find kids through schools?” asked George Landau.

Judy replied that RYLA works through the school systems in Marin, San Mateo and San Francisco.

Groups of students usually attend from San Mateo, which has strong Interact clubs. Once they arrive at the camp, they’re all mixed up, because RYLA doesn’t put students from the same school together. She added that fewer than half know what Rotary is.
Anne Sands said it’s difficult for kids from places like Tomales to go because they have summer jobs/ Rotarians need to reach the parents and explain the value. The West Marin club is giving parents checks to make up for the lost money. “I think this [reaching the parents] is part of RYLA that could be improved,” she said.

George Landau suggested reaching parents through the PTA.

Judy Wilson asked how to donate to RYLA, and Judy said that individual donors can give to their club foundation, and the club foundation then gives the funds to RYLA.

To find out more about RYLA go to http://www.ryla5150.org/. To see a video, go to https://youtu.be/0W7aWs1KyII.


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George Landau gives a check from the Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere Foundation to Zara Babitzke, executive director of Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity, a Mill Valley nonprofit that rescues young people at risk of becoming homeless and puts them on the path to successful lives.



Kathleen Defever plays Bocce. Photos: Marshall Gross

Teammates Kathleen Defever and Angelo Servino

Anastasia Fink, Charlie Oewel and Marianne Strotz


Scroll down to see our photo gallery of Rotarians at work and play!


District Governor Gary Chow of the Rotary Club of South San Francisco, administered the oath of office, launching Kathleen Defever's second year as president.

George Landau presented Janet Cerni, teacher/librarian at Del Mar Middle School, with an Educator of the Year award. Her peers in the Reed Union School District selected her for the honor.

Angelo Capozzi and George Landau presented Ben Cambell with an award, a certificate, and a check.

Angelo Capozzi presented Michael Bronson with a Rotary Educator of the Year award at a school assembly.

District Governor Danielle Lallement, Assistant District Governor Anne Sands, President Kathleen Defever (2021-2022) and Past-President Annette Gibbs (2019-2021)

Linda Emberson and President Kathleen presented Cindy Siciliano with a Service to the Community Award for her work helping the homless.

“She is tireless in assisting people who are needier thank herself,” said Linda. “She identifies a need and just jumps in and does it.”

The Rev. Christine Trainor of St. Stephen's Church assisted in presenting a Service to the Community Award to Sunny Lyrek. “She goes above and beyond and always has a sunny disposition,” said Christine, explaining that Sunny helps those at the margins of our community and does it with love and devotion. She has been providing meals for 85 need families since March 2020 and has also been helping the homeless.

Angelo Servino helped with presentation of a Service to the Community Award to brothers Natale and Vittorio Servino of Servino Ristorante and Caffè Acri. "I'm so proud of them," he said. They earned recognition for pivoting the business to create a market and offer items such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper, which local residents were unable to find. They also donated boxes of fresh produce to a local food pantry during the pandemic.


President Kathleen Defever thanked Annette Gibbs for her service and presented her with native milkweed seeds, a butterfly house, a book about butterflies and a gift certificate so she can create a habitat for Monarch butterflies in her garden. Linda Emberson gave Annette a bouquet of flowers.

District Governor Danielle Lallement gives Kathleen the oath of office. Among the requirements she asked her to repeat: “I will promise to keep healthy, ask for support and above all have fun.”

“We wish you an amazing 2021-2022 Rotary year,” said DG Danielle. “It is my pleasure to introduce to you your president for the 2021-2022 year.”


Angelo Capozzi picking up groceries from the food pantry at The Ranch to deliver to residents of The Hilarita.

Cindy Siciliano, of the Rotary Club of Tiburon Sunset, has been helping the residents of the homeless encampment at Dunphy Park in Sausalito. Linda Emberson and George Landau of the Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere joined her on Sunday, March 7, to prepare and serve a pancake breakfast.

Marianne Strotz, Revati Natesan and Geneva Michaelcheck at Happy Hour at the Club at Harbor Point. Photo: Marshall Gross


Julie Aubrey visited from Rotary International's headquarters in Evanston, Illinois.

(l. to r.) Irene Russell, Kathleen Defever, Helen Lindqvist and Bill Lindqvist at the Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce mixer at the downtown Tiburon firehouse.


President Annette Gibbs presented Jessica Hochkiss with a check for $1,000  for The Ranch from the club’s foundation, which will help low-income children attend day camp. “We currently have two large summer camps going on,” said Jessica, and she explained that they take kids to Angel Island every day. “The camp has gone on for 40 years,” she said, and some of today’s campers have parents who attended when they were young.

The Ranch is a nonprofit, and “Every little bit helps,” she said, expressing her gratitude.


Past-president Linda Emberson and incoming President Annette Gibbs at the Installation Celebration

Lata Setty, Zohre Grothe and Lata's son, Deven Ramachandran

Warren and Irene Russell


Having fun at the Tiburon Classic Car Show!
Rotary in the community: Cindy Siciliano and Linda Emberson made it look easy, as they spent the day flipping burgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob for scores of happy customers.


Past District Governor Ron Gin, now district membership chair, presents Mike Keran with a pin in honor of his being chosen Rotarian of the Month for District 5150.

District Governor Jayne Hulbert and First Husband Gene Duffy paid the club a visit.

Cindy Siliciano of the Tiburon Sunset Rotary Club (left) and President Linda Emberson of the Tiburon-Belvedere club get ready to toss goodies to kids at the Labor Day weekend hometown parade. (Photo: Marshall Gross)


Welcome New Members

Membership chair Angelo Capozzi welcomed new members Neelam Kanwar (upper photo) and Lynn Spitler (lower photo).


Jim Deitz

It is with profound sadness that President Linda Emberson announces the passing of beloved member Jim Deitz on Friday, July 13. Jim exemplified Rotary's motto, Service Above Self, and his altruistic spirit was a model for everyone. He was devoted to his family, loved dogs and was one of the best. We'll miss him terribly.


Good Work

(l. to r.) Lisa Brinkmann of Marin Villages accepts a check from Marianne Strotz, and Michael Heckmann presents a check to Michael Keran for St. Vincent de Paul. Photo: Lynn Fox


Rotarian of the Month

District 5150 named Michael Keran Rotarian of the Month for May. Mike's much-deserved honor is in recognition of his ongoing commitment to St. Vincent de Paul and helping the homeless in Marin County. In addition, he recruits a crew of Rotarians to serve lunch at the St. Vincent de Paul Free Dining Room in San Rafael every month. May marked the beginning of the 12th year of this service project.


Annette Gibbs (left) and Shelby Gross joined the Rotary contingent and got into the spirit
of this year's first Friday Night on Main


Celebrating Earth Day

Having Fun at Friday Night on Main

Angelo Capozzi (left) and Neelam Kanwar planted trees at Homeward Bound as part of Rotary International's initiative to plant one tree for every Rotarian. Photo: Marshall Gross


Lending a Hand at St. Vincent de Paul

Stalwart volunteers (l. to r.) Klaus Meinberg, Michael Keran and Angelo Capozzi in the kitchen of the St. Vincent de Paul Free Dining Room in San Rafael. The Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere serves lunch on the fourth Thursday of every month and will begin its twelfth year of volunteering, under Mike Keran's leadership, in May. Angelo is team leader for the club's participation in the REST program, and he and Klaus also served dinner to a group of homeless men at St. Hilary's Church the same day. Service Above Self at its best!


First meeting at Sam's


Rotary does REST

The Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedre hosted dinner for a group of 25 homeless men who were spending the night at St. Hilary's Church on Thursday, February 15, as part of the REST (Rotating Emergency Shelter Team) program.

Members of the Rotary crew (above, l. to r.), John Kaufmann, Angelo Capozzi, Brian Walker, Raja Ramachandran and Deven Ramachandran, took a break before serving dinner to guests in Tarantino Hall. Lata Setty, Annette Gibbs, Bill Goldberg, Zohre Grothe, Karl Hoppe and Lata Setty were also on hand to help. The evening featured good conversation, great appetites and uplifting camaraderie, as well as good food.which included homemade lasagna that Deven, Lata’s son, helped prepare as a family Valentine’s Day project, and Mary Kaufmann'a delicious oatmeal cookies and cupcakes decorated with hearts.


Karen Glader welcomes new member Valerie Marsh to the club and gives her a Rotary pin.


Rotarians have fun in the Day Before-Labor Day parade.



The Town of Tiburon issued a proclamation in honor of the Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere's 40th anniversary, which we will celebrate in June, and the 100th anniversary of the Rotary International Foundation. Pictured, left to right, are George Landau, President Linda Emberson and Tiburon Mayor Jim Fraser. Photo: Marsall Gross.


Visitor from Afar

Rehmah Kasule (above left), with President Linda Emberson) is the Immediate Past President of the Rotary Club of Kampala/Impala in Uganda. She took the opportunity to visit us when she was at a conference in San Francisco in October. In 2010, she received recognition at the White House for her work in empowering women and met President Obama. She then wrote a book, From Gomba to the White House. She shared an African proverb: “When you walk fast, you walk alone. When you walk with others, you go far.”



Marshall Gross donated two beautiful puppets that he won in a gift basket to Rotaplast's mission in Cebu City, Philippines. Dr. Angelo Capozzi (with the big dog) reports that the puppets are making kids smile every day before undergoing surgery, and the mission is going well.


Tiburon Challenger

Charlie Oewel, representing the Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere, accepted a generous check from Ashoo Vaid (middle) of Wells Fargo and tournament director Brendan Curry (right) at the conclusion of the Tiburon Challenger. The funds will go to the club's education projects. (Photo: Getty Images for Revd)


Rotary welcomes Kimberly Brooks

District Governor Jeri Fujimoto (center) inducted new member Kimberley Brooks (right) as Kimi's sponsor, Joe Lavigne, looked on. Photo: Marshall Gross



Tari Nix and friend pull wagons with books for kids from the Global Book Exchange, as Marianne Strotz walks alongside, wheeling a Rotary sign. (Photo: Marshall Gross)

To see more photos of the parade, go to www.tiburonrotary.org and click on "Photo Gallery."


President Linda Emberson (left) of Tiburon-Belvedere and President Marilyn Nemzer of Tiburon Sunset hitch a ride with Michael Heckmann in the Day Before Labor Day Parade. (Photo: Marshall Gross)

Dana and Chester (left), making friends.

Winter in August was the theme of the Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce's mixer at the Boardwalk. President Linda Emberson took the prize for the most creative hat.


Jon Rankin views the on-court action at the annual Bocce Ball Tournament, a fundraiser for Rotaplast International. (Photo: J. Wilson)


Changing of the Guard

Thanks to President Marianne

President Linda Emberson (left) thanks outgoing President Marianne Strotz (right) for her two outstanding years of leadership with a special Rotary jacket, as Karen Glader, the club's new secretary, looks on. (Photo: Marshall Gross)


Honors for Angelo

Dr. Angelo Capozzi (left) and Dr. John Kaufmann with a child who underwent surgery during a Rotaplast mission to Peru in May 2016. (Photo: Courtesy of Rotaplast International)


Service Above Self

Dave Hutton presents the Capt. Dave Hutton Rotary Service Above Self Award to Kendall Hermann, graduating senior at Del Mar Middle School, for her outstanding performance in community service. The presentation took place at a special awards assembly in June. Photo: Marshall Gross


Teachers of the Year

(Left to right) RUSD Superintendent Nancy Lynch, Bel Aire School's Kelly Morphy, Reed School's Ross Modlin, Rotarian George Landau and Erin Turner of St. Hilary School (photo: Marshall Gross)



Mary Kaufmann and Jon Rankin got into the spirit of Carnaval, a fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere. For more, see the photo gallery at www.tiburonrotary.org. (Photo: Marshall Gross)


In 1976, Tim Severin decided to test the theory. He built a similar boat, in Bantry, where Tom’s family is from, and he sailed it to North America, demonstrating that Brendan could have done it. [Severin wrote a book about his experiences, The Brendan Voyage, and it was made into a film.]

Severin also encountered a tribe of American Indians with white skin, brown and reddish hair and blue eyes. The name of the tribe was Duhare, a name that comes from ancient Celtic. Their carvings were the same as those in the west of Ireland, and the only person who reputedly reached North America early was Brendan, suggesting that he and the tribe are connected.

Tom’s family coat of arms has a red hand, and legend has it that when the first Europeans came to North America, one of Tom’s ancestors cut off his right hand and threw it to the shore so he could be the first to touch the new land.

“Was your ancestor called Lefty O’Neill?” quipped David Albert.

Terry Graham said she has done some research and discovered that when the first ships arrived from England, some of the tribes met the ships and tried to communicate with the sailors. Welsh sailors understood what the Indians were saying, leading to speculation the natives’ language came from Ancient Welsh, which is also related to Hebrew.

Tom added that the Irish and Welsh languages are Gaelic, and the first people in England and Ireland were Phoenicians, who are from the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean.

Canal Alliance—a volunteer's perspective