Greetings from the Mighty Mid-Atlantic Region. I’m Michael Brooker, a 1980 graduate and proud resident of Stanford Hall. Go Studs/Griffins! After graduation, I served 27 years in the Marine Corps and moved to southwestern PA after my military retirement. I joined the board of my local club, Greensburg/Uniontown, PA, in 2011 and was president from 2014 to 2020. I was honored to be elected to the NDAA Board last July.

Joining me on the Regional Director Network Team are Chris Reddick ’78, Senior Alumni; Eliza Hernandez ’17, Diversity Council; Matt McCurdy, ’14, Young ND; and Maura Boston ’17, ND Women Connect. They are the Fantastic Four and, like the characters in the Marvel Comics, possess unique super powers to support their various affinity groups and clubs.

Comprising 17 Clubs located in central and western Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia, the Mighty Mid-Atlantic is truly like a family. It has been my distinct pleasure to work with such an amazing and dedicated group of volunteer Club leaders. Sixteen of our 17 Clubs were recognized with a 2020 Force for Good Award--the highest percentage of any NDAA Region and a testament to their hard work. It was motivating to have every club represented during our virtual Fall Regional Meeting and we sure “laissez le bon temps rouler” during our virtual Regional Mardi Gras Night in February that featured ND and New Orleans trivia.

Speaking of virtual events, two regional Clubs excelled during 2020 in creative and innovative virtual Club programming. The ND Club of Pittsburgh’s Racial and Social Justice Beyond the Dome Series is both timely and relevant to the discussion of injustice, diversity and inclusion happening throughout our nation.  The ND Club of Gettysburg’s Corby Connections Series is well worth a look as they have interesting and informative discussions with local and Notre Dame personalities. I’ve recently learned a certain Regional Director will be featured in a future episode. It will be “must see”!      

Similar to a proud parent who reaches for a phone to show pictures, I could easily write several pages extolling the unique and effective ways each Club brings the spirit of Notre Dame to their local communities. Instead, since May is Hesburgh Month of Service, let’s take a look at a few pages from the family album focusing on service projects.

The ND Club of Greater Williamsport, the smallest MMA club and virtual host club for our spring Regional Meeting, is a 2020 Lennon Life Prize Honorable Mention and recently helped beautify the grounds of St Joseph the Worker Parish in Williamsport, PA.

The ND Club of Central PA conducted its 15th Annual Valentine’s Day Project for the residents of St John Paul II Manor in Cresson, PA. Club members assembled and donated personal care baskets and a Valentine’s cake for this retirement community operated by the Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

In true Father Corby-like fashion, the Notre Dame Club of Gettysburg has absolved loneliness and isolation among residents of two personal care homes thorough a mail campaign featuring cards from a kindergarten class to residents, and pizza day for staff and residents.

The Notre Dame Club of Southeastern Virginia is following up on their focus on feeding the hungry during last fall’s successful Thanksgiving food basket drive by volunteering at a local food bank as they return to in-person events.

The ND Club of Blue Ridge sent a team to work at the local Madonna House, donating 10 hours over two days working on maintenance and upkeep tasks.

The ND Club of Greensburg/Uniontown supported Feeding the Spirit, a local non-profit, to help them provide 350 meals for local food insecure families. Since they could not volunteer in person, they marshalled club members, ND friends, and family for an evening of Irish camaraderie at a virtual wine tasting fundraiser. Club members also donated clothing at the Fill-a-Truck for an FTS event a few weeks later, where their president presented the donation check.

As we begin to round the corner on the pandemic, every Club is planning their return to in-person activities. Mark your calendars and plan to join the ND Clubs of Blue Ridge and Charlottesville as they host two away football games (VT and UVA) in western Virginia this fall. On July 4th, the ND Club of Washington DC will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington to honor our fallen military. And finally, all are invited to join the ND Clubs of Greensburg/Uniontown and Central PA on Friday, September 10th for a solemn Mass of Remembrance at the Flight 93 National Memorial on the eve of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 as we pray for those lost on that tragic day.

Go Irish!!  Go MMA!!

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