After being rained out the week before and showers were expected on the rain date, the Annual Rotary Charity Golf Classic took place on Monday, August 30 at the Cohasse Country Club. We enjoyed warm temperatures, clouds and lots of joviality by the nearly full house. The prizes were plentiful, the food great and another successful year was had by all. And we were more than happy to again present Rev. Kenneth Cardinale with a “Big” check for $5,000 to benefit the Saint John Paul II Food Pantry in Southbridge. The Pantry provides for food insecure individuals, families and the elderly in the towns of Southbridge and Sturbridge. Presenting the check is Charity Golf Classic Chairman, Austin Jenkins.
Sturbridge Rotary Club President David Zonia presented Lisa Meunier, Lead Nurse for the Union 61 School District, with the Sturbridge Rotary “Service Above Self Award” 2021. The event took place at a special ‘surprise’ meeting held at the Publick House Historic Inn in Sturbridge. Attended by over 50 family, friends and colleagues, Lisa was honored for all her sterling efforts working with Burgess Elementary School families in need. Sturbridge Rotary partners with Lisa especially at Christmas where food, clothing, toys, gift vouchers, etc. are provided to the Burgess families in need. Lisa is also involved with Rotary’s connection to the Comfort Zone Camp which helps children overcome trauma of losing someone close to them. Beyond Rotary, Lisa is well known for the many other ways in which she helps the local community. The name of the award, Service Above Self, is Rotary’s motto and we can think of no one who demonstrates this more than Lisa by volunteering her time and talents to help others.
This special event was the first post-pandemic in-person meeting of the Sturbridge Rotary Club. Among those attending was Sturbridge Town Administrator Jeff Bridges, Selectman Mary Dowling, Police Chief Earl Dessert, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Jodi Bourassa, Director of Special Education Brenda Looney, Burgess Elementary School Principal Kathy Pelley, plus many Burgess teaching and nursing staff, Lisa’s proud parents Doris and Bill Brown and many Rotarians from both the Sturbridge Rotary Club and the Brookfields Rotary Club and their guests.
Shown with the award is Rotary Secretary Linda Jowett-Zonia (left) and award recipient Lisa Meunier.
Sturbridge Rotary members recently donated over 80 pairs of new white socks for Joshua Hyde Library’s Summer Reading Sock Drive, “Cold Feet, Warm Hearts”, an organization partnered with UMass Medical Center in Worcester, which is “dedicated to clothing those in need one sock at a time”.
The socks were subsequently delivered to Jude McDonald (left) from the library and presented by Honorary Rotarian Glenys Hachfeld (center) and Club Secretary Linda Zonia (right).
We have sadly learned of the passing of one of our Club’s past presidents. Dick Vaughan served as president of the Sturbridge Rotary Club from 2006-2007. Dick was very organized, animated, and very well connected. We never lacked for a speaker or special entertainment. He provided music, interesting stories and focused on the Club, its members and the community. Thank you Dick for all your past service. Our sincere condolences to his wife Jenn, who also served (twice) as a past president. We were honored when they secretly decided to get married during a Rotary meeting. The ceremony was performed by a Rotarian and as we sat waiting for the speaker to arrive, we witnessed their marriage ceremony instead…a program that could never be beat!
New officers were installed recently by the Sturbridge Rotary Club for the Rotary year 2021 to 2022. The Rotary year starts July 1 and ends June 30th. Past District Governor Carl Kaliszewski installed the Club’s three presidents who will each lead four months of the year. Installed as Presidents are Dr. David Zonia, Austin Jenkins and PDG Klaus Hachfeld. Other officers include Linda Zonia as Secretary, Lorraine Herbert as Treasurer.
Assistant Governor Bob Wicks also installed new member to the Club, Jeff Bridges. Jeff serves as the Sturbridge Town Administrator. Rotary member Linda Zonia was also formally installed at this time.
Entering its 50th year, Sturbridge Rotary has a long history of local, national and international involvement. Several of Rotary’s outreach efforts throughout the past year include $6,000 in scholarships awarded to local students, 5,000 PPE masks donated to Sturbridge Senior Citizens, Sturbridge First Responders, and local schools. Also donated 88 gallons of hand sanitizer to our schools. Food, funds, and crockpots were donated to 38 needy families at Burgess Elementary School. The head gardener and the garden creator of the Community Food Collaborative, the local all-volunteer led community garden, were each presented with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow recognition. The Club also made 25 shields for protection of Burgess Elementary School students for when they need to be in close consultation with teachers and staff at the school. Meeting via Zoom during the past year kept the Club members engaged but working on projects of close proximity was challenging. However, by following proper distancing guidelines and wearing masks, the tasks were accomplished.
On the international front, Sturbridge Rotary led by PDG Klaus Hachfeld, completed an extensive two-year Global Grant project working with the Prishtina-Dardania Rotary Club in Kosovo. This $42,000 project included raising funds for and securing the purchase, shipment and delivery with setup of a DXA dual X-ray whole body Scanner for the University Clinical Center, the top teaching hospital in Kosovo in Prishtina. The scanner is used to map bone density variations in patients suffering from a variety of bone-related problems.