Wiegand brings Roosevelt to life
MIDDLEBURY — Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, visited the Middlebury Rotary Club at its weekly meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The Residences at Otter Creek served as the host for the meeting.
Well, perhaps it was not the actual TR, but a darn good imitation thereof. Joe Wiegand, the noted reprisor of Roosevelt, gave a powerful performance as the president as he has done for many years at such venues as the White House, where he performed for President George W. Bush; the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian; and the American Museum of Natural History.
Thoroughly in character as TR, Wiegand kept the audience enthralled as he recounted his career from sickly and asthmatic boy in New York City, to rancher in the Dakota Territory, and eventually, to the presidency of the United States, all by the age of 42. As an interesting fact, TR noted that he had many connections to Vermont and the local area, most notably being in Isle La Motte, when he got the news that his predecessor, William McKinley, had been shot in Buffalo, N.Y.
As TR, Wiegand described the state of the nation during his presidency and recalled his efforts as a Trust Buster and the inspiration for the National Park System. As President, Roosevelt led the way into the 20th century, influencing events down to the current era.
All in all, Wiegand did a magnificent job in bringing to life a vital and fascinating time in our nation’s history. At the end of his program, Wiegand broke character for the first time and, as a fellow Rotarian from Encinitas, Calif., presented the flag of that club to Geoff Conrad, the president of the Middlebury club, and offered his thoughts on the contributions of Rotary to the betterment of the world, especially through the ongoing effort to end polio.
Wiegand’s talk was supported in part by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, The Residence at Otter Creek, and Middlebury Rotary. The Middlebury Rotary club meets each Wednesday at Rosie’s Restaurant in Middlebury and welcomes new members. If interested in learning more about Rotary, contact Middlebury Rotary Club’s membership chair, Scott Needham at [email protected] or like us on Facebook.
Editor’s note: This article was submitted by Middlebury Rotarian Liam English.