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

Rotary and Lions offer FREE Concert

The Sturbridge Lions Club and the Sturbridge Rotary Club have joined forces to sponsor an event being held on Sturbridge Common on Thursday, July 20th from 6-8 PM.  The event, FREE to the public, is a concert by Dan Gabel and The Abletones, an 18-piece Big Band specializing in swing music of the 1930s and 40s.

This is not the first time that Sturbridge Lions and Sturbridge Rotary have partnered for the benefit of the greater Sturbridge community.  Together, the two Clubs contributed to the construction of the bandstand and lanterns on the Sturbridge Common, the very site where The Abletones will be performing.  Recently, the two Clubs cleaned and repaired the antique style lanterns which light the Common.

We invite you to come and enjoy the concert – rain or shine.  There will be raffle tickets available for purchase which includes a night’s stay for two people at the Publick House including dinner and breakfast.  Bring the whole family, bring friends, bring neighbors and don’t forget your lawn chairs.  If your feet start tapping, get up and dance!

Dan Gabel & The Abletones - July 20, 2017


Congratulations to Rotary Scholarship Recipients

Sturbridge Rotary Club has been awarding scholarships each year to local students for the past 44 years.  This year scholarships of $1,200 each were awarded to five students from Tantasqua Regional High School.  The money will be given after successful completion of their first semester of college.  Cumulatively, the amount of scholarships given is over $195,000.  In addition, a $500 award was presented in memory of the husband of a Sturbridge Rotarian.

The recipients (left to right) are:

Scholarship Students 6-12-2017

  • Emma Stanley from Brimfield will attend UMass Amherst.  Emma received the Wendell Wright Memorial Educational Award.

The following received Sturbridge Rotary Scholarship Awards:

  • Maxwell Cooney from Sturbridge will attend UMass Boston.
  • Bennet Farrell from Sturbridge will attend UMass Amherst.
  • Adam Phillips from Brookfield will attend Anna Maria College.
  • Noah Scott from Brimfield plans to attend Georgetown University, pending acceptance.
  • Camier Hall from Fiskdale will attend Union College.  Unfortunately, Camier was    unable to attend the Club’s Scholarship Recognition Night.

Our congratulations and best wishes to all scholars as they pursue their career goals.

Rotary and Lions Making Lamps Brighter

Several members from both the Sturbridge Rotary and the Sturbridge Lions Clubs spent time recently cleaning all the antique lamps that light the Sturbridge Common.  Both Clubs had contributed to purchase the lamps when the bandstand was built as well as contributing to the construction of the bandstand.  The cleanup is in preparation to both Clubs jointly funding the July 20 Concert on the Common featuring Dan Gabel and the Abletones.

Those who helped from the Lions were Laurie LaFleche, PDG Terry Grant, Randy Peppard, Neil Cooper and Guy Martel.

Those who helped from Rotary were PDG Klaus Hachfeld, President Otto Prohaska, Austin Jenkins, Peter Zeh and Scott Peckins.

Thanks everyone for bringing ladders and cleaning supplies to get this job done and done so quickly.  Two service clubs working together for the good of our community!