Rotary year begins with fireworks in the Abingtons

Rotary Club of the Abingtons - Eileen Christian | August 3rd, 2015 12:00 pm

Our official Rotary year is from July to July. New officers take hold. New plans unfold. New ideas emerge and new resolutions to be better Rotarians are affirmed.

Our New Year began with a fireworks celebration, promising to be another year of fun and service. The night of July 3 was a glorious celebration as families reunited on the Middle School grounds and laid back to enjoy the night sky to celebrate our nation’s independence.

Much of the fund raising we do throughout the year is just to present the fireworks.

What a grand success it was as visitors and home towners alike came together. All roads leading to the Middle School were jammed with cars coming to the event. Our efforts to park as many cars as we can in the fields opposite the Middle School proved to be a mammoth task as Rotarians turned into temporary traffic controllers. The $5 fee we charge is simply to ward off some of the ever escalating expenses for this one special night.

The reviews were in as the night sky exploded. Rotary’s gift to the community was another success of fun and revelry.

Rotary president

The new Rotary International President is Ravi Ravindran from Sri Lanka. The theme he chose for the year is “Be a Gift to the World.” It sounds good, even lofty and inspiring. But in actuality, exactly how can an ordinary Rotarian, like me, be a gift to the world? The theme is personal and directive, yet wide.

It does say “the world.”

The theme urges each and every one of us to think and analyze our own skills and talents and then it directs us to use those talents within our own club to make positive changes in our community. If each Rotary member took aim at making our community better and if each Rotary Club collectively used amazing talents and skills in the best way possible, then perhaps positive change could be seen in the world.

Our local Rotary leadership roles also changed last month when we welcomed these officers: John Regula, president; Bruce Valentine, president-elect; Laura Stephens, vice president; Janice Bevilaqua, secretary; Ken Stewart, treasurer; Ryan Campbell, Sergeant-at-arms; Deborah Kennedy, past president; Robert Veelee, past president.

Our new board of directors includes Kim Harrington, James Pravlik, Joseph Pagnani, Dave Griffin, John Hambrose and Penny Mason.

Mary Tuthill retired as secretary of the Rotary Club of the Abingtons after many years of service. Her outstanding skills in communication have given our club new ways to share information. She has been the glue of our club, loosely weaving in news and sharing it effectively. Mary was much more than a secretary taking notes and preparing minutes. She took her skills as a former librarian and used those effectively to organize our club and to inform our members.

Former treasurer Stephanie Westington turned over the fiscal responsibility of our club to Ken Stewart. Stephanie’s tenure as treasurer was precise and lengthy. She has given up personal hours to balance our books, pay our bills and keep us more than afloat.

As I ponder the theme of this year and search for how I can do this, I only need to look at the longevity and effectiveness that our past secretary, Mary Tuthill, and our past treasurer, Stephanie Westington, gave in service. Mary and Stephanie have been gifts to our local club, long before the gift theme became an active directive. They both looked at their own skills and talents and then freely gifted them to our club and to our community for years.

Taste of the Abingtons

The Taste of the Abingtons will kick off fund raising activities for our club from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13 at the Nichols Village Inn. Chairman Laurie Stephens announced restaurants are signing in for their spots and the popular outside tents for cigar smoking and wine tasting will be set up in the courtyard at the inn.

Rotarian Penny Mason will initiate a new event, the Chinese Auction. The hallways and rooms of the Inn will have tastes and smells and music throughout as Rotarians turn ordinary spaces into a bazaar of exotic food stands. Tickets of $25 for the event may be purchased from any Rotarian or call me at 570-563-1171 to reserve your ticket to this very popular event.

Literacy program

In other Rotary news, our literacy program is constantly advanced through the exchange of reading materials at the Pocket Library located outside the Pocket Park on Depot Street. This whimsical, yet tiny, house has been an active spot this summer as book readers bring in books and take other books out. One book does remain in the tiny library all the time to record the signature of anyone who chooses to sign while visiting the library.

If you have extra books to share, keep them in your car. When you pass the tiny library, empty shelves are easy to spot and will beckon for your books.

As the Rotary Club of the Abingtons begins its eighty-seventh year of existence and as we ponder our new theme, “Be a Gift to the World,” is it fair to say that’s what we have been doing all these years?

Rotary Club of the Abingtons

Eileen Christian

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or