Sturbridge Rotarians mourn the loss of Henry Skarani

Sturbridge Rotary mourns the loss of a valued 45-year member. Henry Skarani joined Sturbridge Rotary in 1977 and was active until recent years. Henry had near perfect attendance for most of his Rotary years. He always stepped forward to help out with any project. We will long remember his Lamb Shish Kebab, grilled on multiple skewers attached to his sizable machine, in the days when our Club still battled the Southbridge Rotary Club in an annual Softball game. Henry was awarded a Paul Harris Fellow for which he was rightfully proud (see photo below with his son). He became President during the 1990-1991 Rotary year. Henry was serious and quiet but when he spoke, everyone listened. He took pride in his Rotary work and in his involvement with the Shriner’s Hospital in Springfield and brought the Club to visit the Shriner’s Hospital on several occasions. We’ll miss you, Henry.

2003 Henry Skarani

1989 PHF Skarani, his son

2000 Henry Skarani

1989-90 Officers - White, Pres

A Basket Full of Money !

Lottery Basket in hand ready to put under the tree!  Sandy, our happy winner from Webster, MA, scratched all the tickets and won a total of $585.00.  She shared the news with Rotary members over the Club’s recent meeting via zoom.  The lottery basket raffle is Sturbridge Rotary’s fall fundraiser.  One thousand tickets are sold at $10 each on a chance to win a basket full of $1,000 worth of lottery tickets.  Proceeds are used for scholarships presented to qualified students from Tantasqua Regional High School.  The winning number was #0526.
1-4-2022 - Lottery Bskt winner Sandy Pepka (2)

Sturbridge Rotary TREK 5K Road Race & Walk

Sturbridge Rotary launched a new fundraiser this year with the 5K Trail Race which took place on Sunday, October 31 at the Old Sturbridge Village Education Center. The event included a family-friendly 5K Trail run and 5K Walk as well as a 1K Race for pre-teens. Activities for younger kids were held including relay races and organized games. The entire event was well received by not only participants but the town folk as well. Everyone attending was encouraged to wear a Halloween costume to make the event unusual and memorable and it was. We lucked out with the weather and with this event being the first for Sturbridge Rotary, it went off extremely well. We’ve been waiting to gather lots of photos from different sources to include some of them in this post. Hope you enjoy seeing them and we look forward to hosting this event again next year! Yeah Rotary!!!

Sturbridge Police & Emergency Responders.

Sturbridge Police & Emergency Responders.

One of the race finishers.

One of the race finishers.

Thanks to all our sponsors!

Thanks to all our sponsors!

"off and running..."

“off and running…”


Kids' Games Team.

Kids’ Games Team.

Waiting to start the 5K race.

Waiting to start the 5K race.

Pre-Teens waiting to start.

Pre-Teens waiting to start the 1K race.


1K 1st Place winner, Mason Gormley.

1K 1st Place winner, Mason Gormley.

5K 1st Place Winner, Henry Domnarski.

Final Cleanup Day at the Community Food Collaborative

We had another great season at the garden even with the challenges of the weather.  We had a banner crop where we are calling it “the year of the pepper”.  Weather was perfect for our final work day at the garden. We removed all the plants from the raised beds and did a final weeding, cleaned both sheds, put away our props and tools. Joe will be back to drain and shut off the irrigation system before we finally get to rest. We will continue to have regular monthly meetings via Zoom to review and critique our season and to plan for next season which will be our 5th growing season . . . and we are still having fun doing this. Time flies!

10-16-2021 - Cleanup - removing all plants

10-16-2021 - Cleanup - stakes

10-16-2021 - Flowers in mulch pile

Loss of an International Friend

Our Club was saddened recently to learn of the passing of Brian Edwards, one of the original Intrepid Five members from the Stourbridge Rotary Club in Stourbridge, England.  Five Stourbridge Rotarians came to stay with members of the Sturbridge Rotary Club in 1988 to help us celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the town of Sturbridge.

Please see the float photo below where the only female in the photo served on the Sturbridge Anniversary Committee and whose husband is a Sturbridge Rotary Club member.

The visit was also the start of the two Clubs’ “Twinning” which has endured for 33 years where the Clubs have visited with each other nine times.  Sturbridge Rotary is currently planning to visit Stourbridge Rotary in May of 2022 for another joint celebration.  Stourbridge Rotary will celebrate 100 years of charter and Sturbridge Rotary will celebrate 50 years of charter as both Clubs continue to strengthen our international friendships.

1988 - Stourbridge Gang of Five

Brian Edwards is on the far left.

1988, May 22, Rotarians in 250th Parade

Brian is 3rd from right.

Visit from District Governor Clifford Rober

DG Cliff Rober visited the Club and started the evening by meeting with the Board of Directors where he learned our goals, successes and challenges.  At the general meeting of Club members, Cliff elaborated on his focus for the year.  His presentation was very interesting and motivating for the members.  Be sure to find out about the “Yellow” sneakers!

Pictured left to right are the Club’s three Co-Presidents Austin Jenkins, David Zonia and PDG Klaus Hachfeld with DG Cliff Rober.

8-31-2021 - DG Jeff Rober

Rotary Charity Golf Classic

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.

Teeing off.

Teeing off.

Lots of prizes.

Lots of prizes.

Great food!

Great food!

The "Big" check.

The “Big” check for $5,000.

Lisa Meunier honored with Service Above Self Award

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.


5-21-2021 - Linda Zonia, Lisa Meunier clock (2)

Rotary Helps “Sock” the Library Program

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).

August - Sox Drive - Glenys, Linda, Library

Passing of former president Dick Vaughan

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!


2010 Aug 16 - Dick Jenn Vaughan wedding025


2010 Aug 16 - Dick Jenn Vaughan married026

Sturbridge Rotary Inducts New Officers

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.

Rotary Awards Seven Scholarships

The Sturbridge Rotary Club has been awarding scholarships to local students for the past 48 years.  The first scholarship was for $500 and the amount awarded has steadily increased over the years.  This year Sturbridge Rotary awarded scholarships totaling $6,000 to students at Tantasqua Regional High School.  Cumulatively, Rotary is proud to have awarded over $220,000 in local scholarships.

This year’s recipients of Sturbridge Rotary Scholarships of $1,000 each are Alexis Carson, Sydney Leanna, Emma O’Coin, Ainsley Maus, Mary Godek and Jason Snyder.  Additionally, Alexa Knight received the $500 “Wendall Wright Memorial Award”.  Wendall was an educator and long-time supporter of Rotary.

These students will receive their funding upon successful completion of their first semester. Congratulations to all the recipients!

Scholarship recipients 2021

Sturbridge Rotary Helps Local Families

Who doesn’t love a good home-cooked crockpot meal around the holidays? Holidays are a time of good food and cheer… and to quote the movie Elf, “singing loud for all to hear”. The Sturbridge Rotary Club decided to sing a bit louder for those who need a little extra help this season by donating again this year to the Burgess Family Fund.  On Tuesday, December 22nd, Rotary Club President Dr. David Zonia presented a $2,000 check to Burgess School Nurse Lisa Meunier, RN, M.Ed. as many Sturbridge Rotarians banded together to help 38 local families in need (approximately 101 children and 66 adults). Each family received a crock pot from Rotary, as well as a crock pot cookbook and non-perishable food items for their holiday meal. Meunier and her team have been helping families through this program for over 24 years and says she loves “that everyone in this community comes together and cares for each other”. This program has been a success every single year and continues to provide food and toys for so many local families. The success of the program is possible because of strong relationships between the many community groups involved in the Burgess Family Fund. Tuesday’s event was another great example of the Rotary Club working with other community groups to help their neighbors. The beauty of it all is that this is a true community effort. Through community, compassion, and dedication, the world was a little bit brighter on December 22nd. This time of year is truly a time of giving. As you and your family head into the new year, let us continue to support each other, as well as our community as a whole.

(Submitted by Sydney Leanna)

12 - 22 - Pres. Dave, Lisa Meunier check present

12 - 22 - Crock Pots from Rotary for Burgess families

12 - 22 - Rotary Banner Klaus, Dave


We Have A Winner!

We have a winner!!!! Congratulations to the lucky lady from Charlton holding ticket number 0164. The drawing was held at a Club Zoom meeting last night and the winner was called with the good news. She will be invited to join us at the next Rotary Club Zoom meeting and hopefully tell us her winning total after scratching the $1,000 worth of lottery tickets that she won.
Thanks to everyone who purchased tickets. We appreciate your support! The money is used for annual scholarships for local students who qualify and for local community projects.

Our Fall fundraiser which raises funds to support scholarships for Tantasqua students.

PPE Masks Presented to Local First Responders

‘Tis the season of giving…PPE and generosity! On Tuesday, November 24th, Sturbridge Rotary Club members and representatives of the Town of Sturbridge’s First Responders gathered outside the Sturbridge Police Station for a special presentation.

1,000 PPE face masks were generously donated to the Sturbridge Rotary Club by a Rotarian in the Connecticut District. Sturbridge Rotary Club President, Dr. David Zonia, presented these face masks to the Town to assist First Responders as they protect and support our Sturbridge community. The First Responders were represented by Interim Police Chief Earl Dessert and Fire Chief John Grasso, Jr. who were most appreciative to receive the donation. Included in those on hand to witness the presentation were fellow Sturbridge Rotary Club members Klaus and Glenys Hachfeld.  Rotary’s Past District Governor Hachfeld commented, “The whole point of this Club is to help the community.”  Donations such as these truly exemplify the Rotary motto, “Service above Self”.

The Sturbridge Police Department is also doing their part, of course, to give back to the community. They recently partnered with the organization “Cops For Kids With Cancer”, working together to help families who are especially struggling this holiday season by providing much needed financial help. Please consider donating to this cause online at:

Let’s help them surpass their $2,500 goal!

With all that’s transpired this year, we’re reminded now more than ever that taking care of our community is truly what matters the most!

We’d also like to thank Sydney Leanna, a Senior at Tantasqua Regional High School, for preparing this report.  Sydney has been working with us to prepare stories and bulletins as part of her Community Service work.

L to R:  President Dr. David Zonia, Fire Chief John Grasso, Jr. and Police Chief Earl Dessert.

L to R: President Dr. David Zonia, Fire Chief John Grasso, Jr. and Police Chief Earl Dessert.

L to R:  Sydney Leanna, PDG Klaus Hachfeld, Glenys Hachfeld, President Dr. David Zonia, Fire Chief John Grasso, Jr. and Police Chief Earl Dessert.

L to R: Sydney Leanna, PDG Klaus Hachfeld, Glenys Hachfeld, President Dr. David Zonia, Fire Chief John Grasso, Jr. and Police Chief Earl Dessert.

Making Protective Shields for Local Schools

A group of Brookfield Rotary Club members joined our Sturbridge Rotary Club gang to make 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.
We also had the Burgess school nurse, Lisa and her husband work with us. Lisa is the gem who has been conscientiously working with our Club on Burgess projects. Lisa is the Lead Nurse for all of Union 61 schools in our area, with her office at Burgess.
Delivery date to Burgess will be set as soon as gift labels have been made and attached to the screens – sometime this week.
We will be returning the compliment at the Brookfield Rotary Club next Saturday, helping them make their shields for the schools they are assisting. Thanks to Mark of the Brookfield Club for the design of these shields.
What a great multi-club project!
9 - 19 - 2020 - Protective Shields for Burgess1
9 - 19 - 2020 - Protective Shields for Burgess2
9 - 19 - 2020 - Protective Shields for Burgess3
9 - 19 - 2020 - Protective Shields for Burgess4
9 - 19 - 2020 - Protective Shields for Burgess5
9 - 19 - 2020 - Protective Shields for Burgess6

Sturbridge Rotary Awards Eight Scholarships in 2020

The Sturbridge Rotary Club has been awarding scholarships each year to local students for the past 47 years.  The first scholarship was for $500 and the amount awarded has steadily increased over the years.  This year Sturbridge Rotary awarded scholarships of $1,000 each to six students from Tantasqua Regional High School.  Cumulatively, Rotary is proud to have awarded over $214,000 in local scholarships.

This year’s recipients of Sturbridge Rotary Scholarships are Jennifer Collins, Olivia George, Jordan Lapierre, Erin Shae McCarthy, Brian Daniel Riel and Leia Krans.  Leia Krans also received the $500 “Wendall Wright Memorial Award”.  Wendall was an educator and long-time supporter of Rotary.

Additionally, a one-time $3,000 “Phil Carlson Memorial Award” was received by Arianna Renee Taft.  Phil was a 50-year member of Rotary and served as Scholarship Chairman for many years.

These students will receive their funding upon completion of their first semester. Congratulations to all the recipients!

2020 TRHS Scholarship Recipients

A 13-Year Old Rotary Memory Still Active

The Sturbridge Times Magazine recently issued their final ‘hard copy’ edition. The Magazine will now be sent electronically. The cover of the final hard copy edition was their very first edition dated July 2007. Featured on the cover was the dedication of the Rotary Centennial Park – 13 years ago! It doesn’t seem possible. Sturbridge Rotary still maintains this Park located at the corner of Rt. 20 and Cedar Street. Flowering trees, flower plants changing with the seasons and benches to sit and relax. Sturbridge Rotary continues to be an integral part of the community where we live, work and play.

July 11, 2020 -Sturb. Times - July 2007

Community Food Collaborative (CFC)

The CFC committee held its monthly meeting at the garden last night after the regular work shift. We had lots to discuss on our agenda and did so while maintaining our social distancing.

The highlight of the meeting came when Sturbridge Rotary Past-District Governor Klaus Hachfeld, also a member of the CFC committee, surprised CFC President Joe Coan with a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Recognition. This recognition is a way of honoring an individual who has gone above and beyond in doing something for the betterment of man and/or the community. In Joe’s case, the recognition was for Joe’s idea and pursuit of creating a community garden to help feed local hungry individuals. The garden is in its third year, donates everything it grows to the Saint John Paul II Food Pantry that distributes it to the local food insecure individuals in our communities. The garden is supported by the community and run totally by volunteers. The Sturbridge Rotary Club donated $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation in Joe’s name in order to honor him with a Paul Harris Fellow. Join us in congratulating Joe for this prestigious recognition.

7 - 8 - 2020 - Rotary PHF to Joe