Working Together to Reduce Hardship

It was a second reunion as Sturbridge Rotary welcomed back two guests, Lisa Meunier, Burgess School nurse, and Bill Pioppi, representing the St. John Paul II Food Pantry.  Lisa and Bill were introduced last year at a Rotary meeting and have been working together ever since in Lisa’s caring and humanitarian endeavors to help students and families in need in the Sturbridge area.  Rotary presented a check to Lisa to help her work in providing clothing, household needs, and even housing for families going through difficult times.  The money will also help Lisa provide toys at Christmas for the children in need.  Bill was also given a check to provide 35 holiday meals to the families identified by Lisa.  Working together to help students and families going through hardship by providing the proper resources is a win for everyone.

Lisa Meunier, Burgess School nurse.

Lisa Meunier, Burgess School nurse.

Bill Pioppi (L) with President David.

Bill Pioppi (L) with President David.

L to R:  Bill, Lisa, President David.

L to R: Bill, Lisa, President David.

Lottery Basket Ticket Sales

Sales are going great for tickets on a chance to win a basket of $1,000 worth of lottery tickets.  Just think of all the fun you would have scratching all those tickets and adding up how much you have won!!!!  We sold LOTS of tickets at the Tantasqua Craft Fair this weekend.  The proceeds from these ticket sales support the $6,000 in scholarships that we award to Tantasqua students each year.

Didn’t buy your ticket yet?  Better get going before you miss out.  We’ll be selling tickets at Sturbridge Walmart from 10 to 4pm on Saturday, November 18.  See you there…

The afternoon ticket crew:  L to R is Otto, Peter, Carl and Bob W.

The afternoon ticket crew: L to R is Otto, Peter, Carl and Bob W.

RYLA Students Excel

The two students we sponsored to attend RYLA training in June spoke with us about their experiences.  Kayla Archambault and Andrew Houle, both sophomores at Tantasqua Regional High School, were very impressed with the content of the 3-day training weekend held at Fitchburg State University.  They spoke about several of the exercises in which all 190 attendees participated.  One exercise in particular was how students in school and employees in the workplace seem driven to be the best and to get ahead no matter who they “run over” to achieve what they want.  Along the way we seem to have lost the value of mutual support, collaboration, attention to and respect for others – all of which would make us all more productive which would benefit a common goal.  Our drive to excel at technology has also diminished our personal interaction skills.

Kayla and Andrew gave an impressive presentation and both have committed to serving as facilitators at the RYLA training session next year.  We are confident these two students will have a bright and successful future!

Kayla and Andrew with Past-President Otto.

Kayla and Andrew with Past-President Otto.

Thanksgiving Food Baskets

One of Sturbridge Rotary’s initiatives is to help eliminate hunger.  For that reason the Sturbridge Rotary Club decided in 2008 to provide Thanksgiving Food Baskets to the needy through the Catholic Charities Food Share Program of Southbridge.  By 2015, the number of families requesting a turkey and grocery certificate had increased to over 400 families and Food Share found they do not have the funds to continue this special Thanksgiving program, nor do they have the volunteers.  Fortunately, eight local churches came together to form the Tri-Community Church Collaborative.   Consequently, Sturbridge Rotary continued to donate funds to the Church Collaborative to help purchase the turkeys.

2017 is the 10th year that Sturbridge Rotary Club has participated in this worthwhile cause.  To date we have contributed over $2,900 to pre-screened families in the towns of Sturbridge, Southbridge and Charlton to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner.

If you would like to help the Tri-Community Church Collaborative, please send your donations made out to Charlton Baptist Church with Tri-Community Church Collaborative (or just “TCCC”) in the memo area.  Mail your check to Catherine Chernisky – Chairperson, 150 Elm Street, Southbridge, MA  01550.

Shown accepting the check is (L to R) Pam Bruder, Rotary President Dave Zonia, and Catherine Chernisky.

Tri-Community Church Collaborative 10-27-2017


Sturbridge, Stourbridge ‘Rotary Friendship Day’

Friendship greetings were exchanged with our Sister Club in Stourbridge, England again this year via skype.  The two Clubs have been twinned since 1988 and always exchanged greetings via snail mail but have since gone high-tech.  The Mayor of Dudley and the President of the Stourbridge Rotary Club are shown in front of the laptop in the UK and Chair of the Selectmen in Sturbridge, Mary Blanchard was with Sturbridge Rotary Club President David Zonia in front of a laptop.  Each read a proclamation and exchanged friendship greetings.

The meeting concluded with a toast of health to each Club.

Mayor David Tyler (L) and Stourbridge Rotary Club President Dr. Tony Blackman.

Mayor David Tyler (L) and Stourbridge Rotary Club President Dr. Tony Blackman.

Shown below is the Civic Group.  Back row (L-R) Alderman Fred Hunt, Mayor of Dudley as well as Councillor David Tyler, President Tony Blackman.

Front row (L-R) Alderman Jack Edmonds, The Mayoress of Dudley Mrs. Barbara Tyler, Mrs. Anne Blackman.

Civic Grp, Mayor of Dudley, Mbrs - Oct. 2017

Fall Fundraiser at the Harvest Festival

The Harvest Festival drew a very large crowd to visit vendor booths selling their wares, eating food from various food trucks, voting at the annual Publick House Scarecrow Contest and of course, the Sturbridge Rotary booth selling tickets to win $1,000 worth of lottery tickets.  The Lottery Basket Fundraiser is held every fall with only 1,000 tickets being sold.  Tickets are $10 each and proceeds support our scholarship program at the local high school.  Each year the Club awards a total of $6,000 to several seniors pursuing a college degree.   During the festival, 200 tickets were sold by 12 Rotarians working shifts.  The most tickets were sold by one member’s big, fluffy dog who came to help.  The dog drew lots of kids to pet him and a captive audience of parents who happily bought tickets.

Lottery Basket2 - 2015

Paul, Peter, Otto on duty.

Paul, Peter, Otto on duty.

Selling tickets 10-15-2017

DG Karin Gaffney Visit – Plus!

District Governor Karin Gaffney, accompanied by Assistant Governor Tony Gasbarro and his wife Michelle Gasbarro, paid their official visit to Sturbridge Rotary.  DG Karin outlined her three initiatives for the year:  Clubs should do more (1) service which in turn will raise (2) awareness.  By doing the first two initiatives, (3) membership will follow due to everyone learning and seeing what Rotary does and is all about.  Her presentation was very inspiring and motivating!

DG Karin Gaffney 10-16-2017

While attending the meeting, Sturbridge Rotary asked DG Karin to sign the Club’s application to start a Rotary Community Corps (RCC) of Sturbridge and Southbridge (representing Sturbridge Rotary and Southbridge Rotary) This Corps will be an almost independent Club of local volunteers, mostly non-Rotarians, but still under the supervision of the Sturbridge and Southbridge Clubs.  The Corps’ primary project will be called the “Community Food Collaborative” (CFC).  However, the Corps may also undertake other projects they choose to do.  President Dave and DG Karin are each shown signing the application.  Shown holding a picture of the CFC logo is PDG Klaus Hachfeld who initiated the application.  A “history making” event for Sturbridge Rotary which now joins only two other clubs in District 7910 as having a Rotary Community Corps.

DG Karin Gaffney, Dave, Klaus sign RCC doc 10-16-2017Dave, DG Karin Gaffney, Klaus sign RCC doc 10-16-2017

When all ‘business’ was taken care of, President Dave presented both DG Karin and AG Tony with gifts from the Club.

AG Tony Gabbros, Dave, gift 10-16-2017DG Karin Gaffney, Dave, gift 10-16-2017


Welcome to a New Member

Sturbridge Rotary is pleased to announce that Basil “Bill” Michaeles has been inducted into the Club membership.  Bill resides in Sturbridge and is the retired president of California Fruit Company.  Bill is well known in the greater community and brings years of management experience to the organization which will be put to good use in the Club’s activities.  Welcome Bill!

President Dave, Bill M., Bill L., PDG Klaus.

President Dave, Bill M., Bill L., PDG Klaus.

End Polio Now

Dr. Philip Sandler, the District Polio Chair, reviewed the history of polio and the PolioPlus Program.  Rotary launched its PolioPlus program in 1985.  It was the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication.  Rotary’s advocacy efforts played a role in decisions made by donor governments and in 1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was formed.  This organization is a public-private partnership including Rotary, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments of the world.  Rotary’s focus is advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment and awareness-building.  After all these years, three countries remain with cases of polio.  It has been an on-going battle, much of which relates to social and political beliefs.  While the battle is being won, the Global Initiative will continue to monitor outbreaks and work tirelessly to eliminate them.

Dr. Phil Sandler, District Polio Chair 9-25-2017

Dr. Sandler being presented a Sturbridge Rotary mug by President Dave.

Dr. Sandler being presented a Sturbridge Rotary mug by President Dave.



Dinner Dance Fun

The Dinner Dance was an overwhelming success.  A fall decorating theme made the dining room at Cohasse Country Club sparkle.  Hors d’oeuvres were plentiful and the meal with three choices on the buffet was excellent.  Dancing was lively with lots of guests mingling and truly having fun.  Raffle baskets and a 50/50 raffle were offered.  The highlight of the evening was the check presentation to the Rev. Kenneth Cardinale, the new pastor at the Saint John Paul II Parish who oversees the Saint John Paul II Food Pantry.  Rev. Cardinale spoke about the ever increasing need for food at the Pantry.  The numbers of families fed each month from Southbridge and Sturbridge have grown dramatically and our check for $3,000 will certainly help to stock the Pantry shelves.  This year was the 4th Annual Dinner Dance with proceeds to benefit the Panty.  We are proud to say that to date, we have contributed over $12,000 toward this worthy cause.

2017 DDance Fr. accept speech 9-22-2017



2017 DDance Austin, Fr. check 9-22-2017

2017 DDance Gift Table1 Sept. 22,2017

Learning About Peer Leadership & Depression Prevention

Robert (Bob) Anthony, President of the Rotary Club of Wellesley, discussed a new RI initiative in addressing mental health and wellness and measuring significant improvement in knowledge, help seeking and attitude.  This initiative is currently underway in the USA, Puerto Rico and India.  Statistics so far reveal significant improvement in students who have been through this program and as a result, the program is spreading rapidly.  Bob is looking for help from other Clubs in bringing the initiative into our local communities and to help its international success.

Bob (Left) with President Dave

Bob (Left) with President Dave

Day of Caring Fun

For the past eight years Sturbridge Rotary has volunteered during United Way’s “Day of Caring.”  We had two teams again this year.  Team one served as runners delivering coffee and snacks in the morning and delivering lunches at noon to all the hungry volunteers at 12 different work sites.  Team two worked at the Tantasqua Jr. High School weeding all the newly planted Chestnut trees, a science project by a group of students.

Phil, Astri, Pauline, Bob, Cynthia, Marguerite

Phil, Astri, Pauline, Bob, Cynthia, Marguerite

Klaus, Glenys, Peter, Bill, Otto.

Klaus, Glenys, Peter, Bill, Otto.

4th Annual Dinner Dance Fundraiser

We are busy planning our 4th Annual Dinner Dance for the benefit of the Saint John Paul II Food Pantry.  Join us on Friday, September 22 from 6-10 PM at the Cohasse Country Club in Southbridge.  The Food Pantry was established in 1991 to provide emergency food assistance to qualified residents of Southbridge and Sturbridge.

We’ll have great food and music will be provided by MASS of MUZIK DJ Shawn Clark.  Raffle baskets and a 50/50 will also be available.  Tickets for the Dinner Dance are $50 per person or a table of eight for $350.  Contact Austin Jenkins at 508-347-65111 or click the “contact us” tab in this website.

Cohasse Country Club 2015 (2)

Loss of a Rotarian and Friend

It is with great sadness that Dr. M. Mahmud Awan, known to many as Mudi, passed away on August 9.  Mudi joined the Sturbridge Club in 1973 and was an avid participant in what the Club did and what the Club stood for.  He became President in 1985-1986 and helped move the Club forward with his strong yet gentle leadership style.  Mudi was honored to become a Paul Harris Fellow.  Mudi was a respected Muslim and by virtue of his worldly travels and education (PhD in Economics), he brought a wealth of international understanding to our Club, also providing the Club with information and clarification on the political and economic climate in Pakistan.

We will remember Mudi as a man of his word, a caring friend, helpful and most recently, courageous in his health battle.  Our hearts and best wishes go out to his family.

1985-86 President.  Photo taken in 2003

1985-86 President. Photo taken in 2003

1985-86 Rotary Membership Photo.  Mudi is in the middle row, second from left.

1985-86 Rotary Membership Photo. Mudi is in the middle row, second from left.

8th Rotary Golf Classic – 2017

The 8th Golf Classic at Cohasse Country Club was rained out on its original date of July 24 but the rain date of August 7 was 90% clear and we played with all but one of the original foursomes.  It was a great Classic with lots of incentives and prizes and fun.  The auction prizes were plentiful and valuable and all donated by local and regional organizations and individuals.  We are also very fortunate to have so many major sponsors, tee and green sponsors and donors of gifts and certificates.  Please see the listing below.  The evening wrapped up with another fabulous prime rib dinner by the Cohasse chef.

Winners of the Classic are identified (left to right) in the photos below.  We offer a special heartfelt thank you to all the players and contributors who have supported this event and have made it so successful and so much fun.

Rotarians getting things organized before the golfers arrive.

Rotarians getting things organized before the golfers arrive.

Golf7 Aug 7, 2015 carts

Lining up the carts to get started.

Golf11 Aug 7, 2017 more sponsor signs

Sponsor signs.

Golf10 Aug 7, 2017 sponsor signs

More sponsor signs.

Winning Team:  (L to R)  John Kingston, Bob Dean, Jordan Dean, John Barone

Winning Team: (L to R) John Kingston, Bob Dean, Jordan Dean, John Barone

Golf4 Aug 7, 2017

Prime Rib dinner for everyone!






Click for list Rotary Golf Classic Sponsor List 2017

Dan Gabel and the Abletones Concert

What a great evening to host Dan Gabel and the Abletones!  The 18-piece big band played swing music of the 1930s and 40s. The weather cooperated with only two minutes of light sprinkles.  PDG Klaus Hachfeld gave a brief outline of what Rotary is and does and Bob Briere from the Lions Club did the same for his Club.  A crowd of over 300 people attended the free concert with most of them keeping the beat to the music.  The kids especially enjoyed the light necklaces that we distributed to everyone.  The raffle raised over $700 to be split with Sturbridge Rotary and the Sturbridge Lions.  The music was outstanding and we hope they’ll come back next year!  A great partnership with the Lions Club in this sponsorship.

Concert sign on Common

Concert - Abletones in Bandstand 7-20-2017Concert - audience 7-20-2017Concert - Dan Gabel horn


Concert - Sponsor sign in Bandstand

RYLA Students Excel

Sturbridge Rotary has been sponsoring two local sophomore students each year since 1993 to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) training.  During that time 50 students have visited the Club following their training to share their experiences, which have always been positive about what they’ve learned.  The 3-day retreat held at Fitchburg State University helps RYLA students build communication and problem-solving skills as well as leadership skills.  The students learn from community leaders and hear inspirational speakers, attend presentations, participate in activities and workshops covering a variety of topics that help them unlock their potential to turn motivation into action – all while having fun and forming lasting friendships.  Many of the students we have sponsored return to RYLA the following year to serve as mentors and facilitators to the new group of sophomores.

Comprised of students from the 40 Clubs attending from District 7910, 190 sophomores received this years’ training.  Kayla Archambault and Andrew Houle from Tantasqua Regional High School were sponsored by the Sturbridge Club.  Andrew received a certificate for being chosen the “RYLAN of The Day” on Saturday.  He was chosen by consensus of the RYLA facilitators at this event.

Sturbridge looks forward to having Kayla and Andrew address the membership at one of its upcoming meetings in order to share their experiences with us.

RYLA - Andrew Houle, Kayla Archambault - June 23-25, 2017

Andrew and Kayla with PDG Klaus and Glenys Hachfeld who attending the Sunday activities.

Andrew and Kayla with PDG Klaus and Glenys Hachfeld who attended the Sunday activities.

The 2017 RYLA participants.

The 2017 RYLA participants.

Installation of Club Officers and Board of Directors for 2017-2018

The Installation of Club Officers and Board of Directors for 2017-2018 recently took place at the Cohasse Country Club in Southbridge.  The following were elected:  (left to right)

Austin Jenkins, President-Elect; Charles Battersby, BOD; Lorraine Herbert, Treasurer; Scott Peckins, Secretary; PDG Klaus Hachfeld, Executive Secretary; David Zonia, President; Otto Prohaska, Immediate Past-President; Bob White, BOD.  Missing from the photo is Peter Zeh, BOD.

Officers & Directors 2017-2018

Many friends and family members attended to celebrate the event.  Because Dr. Zonia is an avid golfer, the installation ceremony and activities carried a golf theme, much to the enjoyment of those attending.  A choice of a prime rib or salmon dinner was served and enjoyed by all.  Looking forward to another productive and successful year!

Fellowship, Community Garden and Farmers’ Market – all in one night!

We had a very unusual meeting and fellowship evening at a member’s home that turned out to be not only enjoyable but very interesting and challenging as well.  Following socializing with appetizers and then dinner, our two guest speakers, who have become known to Rotary members, gave their presentations.

First was Joe Coan who had spoken with us last year about helping us start a Community Garden.  Joe has done some research on the site we had chosen and much discussion took place as to what needs to be done to launch the Community Garden as one of our next projects.  We’ll be reporting more as this project takes shape.

Our second speaker, Becky Skowron Gendreau, had also spoken with us twice in the past.  Becky brought us up to date on her new farm and her plans to start a Farmers’ Market in Sturbridge.  Sturbridge Rotary had sponsored Becky several years ago to travel to South Korea for four weeks as a member of Rotary’s Group Study Exchange Team.

It was great to see them both again and we look forward to working more with them as we plan and develop our community projects.

Joe Coan 6-19-2017 Becky Skowron Gendreau 6-19-2017

President Otto, Becky, Joe.

President Otto, Becky, Joe.




Carl K. Receives a PHF +8

Congratulations of Carl Kaliszewski for receiving a Paul Harris Fellow (PHF) +8.  That means that when Carl first became a PHF, he received a PHF pin.  He continued over the years to receive eight more PHF pins each with another sapphire stone on the pin.  Carl has been a very strong supporter of the Rotary Foundation since his induction as a Rotary member in 1993.  He has always been involved not only in the Sturbridge Club but on the District level as well.  Carl has served as President twice and as District Governor from 2004-2005.  Rotary appreciates your continued service, Carl.

PDG Klaus Hachfeld (right) presented the PHF+8 honor to Carl.

Carl K - PHF+8, Klaus Hachfeld 6-12-2017