Four Successful Food Drives!
Thanks to the generosity of the Hamilton/Robbinsville area community, we had 4 very successful food drives this year, including today at Shop Rite Hamilton Sq. Our donations to the Mercer County Food Bank will be used for their “Send Hunger Packing” program to ease childhood hunger. The successful effort was spearheaded by Rotarians Joe Giambelluca and Scott Biondi.
10/4/19 Meeting Highlights
Today’s meeting featured fellow Rotarians from other clubs speaking about their work to help others. First, Brian Flynn from the Rotary Club of Bordentown told us about his club’s “Rotary4Recovery” program. They are addressing the opioid addiction crisis through prevention (e.g. seminars for local teens), awareness (e.g. a candlelight walk), and recovery, including providing essentials for individuals in post-rehab to re-enter the workforce and live sober, healthy lives. Rotarians Naveen Dasari and V. Hemachandu from the Rotary Club of Vijayawada, India told us about their many successful projects supported by past Rotary Global Grants, and “Rotarians Against Leprosy,” a project aimed at fighting the stigma of Leprosy and providing funds for reconstructive surgery. They are visiting Rotary Clubs in the U.S. to garner financial support for a new Global Grant. Pictured, from left, are Naveen Dasari, V. Hemachandu (also CEO of Gretnaltes, a Leprosy treatment consortium in India) and club President Bill Coleman.
Rotary Supports Hamilton YMCA
Meeting Highlights 9/28/19: Governor Visit, New Member
Today’s club meeting featured a visit by District 7475 Governor Ray Freaney. DG Ray, a member of the Rotary Club of Madison, is paying visits to all 85+ clubs in the district during his one-year term. After an introduction by Assistant District Governor David Navazio, a Trenton Rotary Club member, Ray spoke about the importance of bringing new members into Rotary and neighboring clubs working on joint projects, and about two of the district’s areas of emphasis: hunger awareness and assisting those working on the opioid addiction crisis. Also, another new member joined our Rotary Club, and DG Ray and ADG David were there to help welcome Chris Kelly, the Vice President of Commercial Lending at First Bank. Pictured are DG Ray Freaney, Club President Bill Coleman and ADG David Navazio; and in the second photo, from left, induction ceremony officiator Doug Conkling, DG Ray, Chris Kelly and his sponsor Greg Blair.
President-Elect Visits Maryland Club
Club President-Elect Tom Damm visited Maryland yesterday and proudly carried our club banner for an exchange with Carletta Allen, President of the Rotary Club of Annapolis, at their weekly meeting.
Club 27th Anniversary Picnic
Today marks 27 years since the founding of our Rotary Club on Sept. 25, 1992. This past Saturday some of our members celebrated the anniversary with a picnic at Judy Goldstein’s home in Robbinsville.
Club Supports 7th Annual Jersey’s Run/Walk for Recovery Fundraiser
On Saturday, our Rotary Club helped sponsor the 7th Annual Jersey’s Run/Walk for Recovery fundraiser at Mercer County Park hosted by Recovery Advocates of America, a non-profit group fighting against drug and alcohol addiction. They provide expertise and care in the areas of interventions, treatment placement, advocacy and additional services. They recognize that addiction is a life threatening disease that knows no boundaries, affecting the rich, the poor, those from the city and those from rural America. Therefore, Recovery Advocates of America, Inc. is dedicated to drug and alcohol relapse prevention, intervention, treatment referrals, family and recovery support. For more information visit http://recoveryadvocates.org/ or call them at 1-888-360-7788; they are available for help 24/7.
Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®
Our guest speaker today was JoAnne LaPergola, the Walk Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Greater New Jersey Chapter. Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research, helping make the Association the third largest contributor to such research, third only to the U.S. government and China. JoAnne currently manages the Bradley Beach Walk which took place last Saturday and the Mercer County Walk, which will take place on October 5, at Veteran’s Park in Hamilton. To learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease and the association’s work, to donate to them and register for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s®, visit https://www.alz.org/ or contact JoAnne at 973-437-3931 x 8863.
Send Hunger Packing Food Drive #3
Our food drive today was at Foley’s Family Market, and Joe Foley and his store employees were great hosts! Plus, their generous customers donated hundreds of pounds of food for the “Send Hunger Packing” program. Brian Peterson and Jamal Cox from the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank joined our effort to ease childhood hunger.
Classification Talks 9/13/19
Our monthly Club Assembly meeting this morning featured Classification Talks by two of our newest members, Jodi O’Donnell-Ames and Umang Naik. Classification Talks allow us to learn more about new members, so they tell us about their personal background, education, family, working career and hobbies. Jodi and Umang also recounted events in their lives that inspired them to perform community service and join our Rotary Club.
Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey
Our guest speaker this morning was Pamela Stalcup, Director of Development and Communications at Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey. The non-profit has a number of programs aimed to prevent child abuse, including pregnancy and parenting counseling, home visits, and education of teens. Also, their Child Wellness Institute of New Jersey program called “Trauma Transformation: Healing Hearts and Building Resilience” works with childcare centers, school districts and before/after school programs to transform them into calm, nurturing social environments. For more information about their programs, volunteer opportunities and how to support them, visit www.preventchildabusenj.org. Pamela is a Past President of the Rotary Club of New Brunswick, and she volunteers with the Pajama Program and BookSmiles.
Former Astronaut Tells Gripping Tale
Our guest speaker this morning was Christopher Klim, author of the novels “Jesus Lives in Trenton,” “Everything Burns,” “The Winners Circle,” and “Idiot!.” However, he did not talk about his past writing, instead he told us a gripping, inside story about the U.S. space shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986 which claimed the lives of seven astronauts. Christopher was a NASA space program physicist and alternate astronaut for that flight. He recounted warnings that were given before the launch about design flaws, and detailed the poor way NASA handled the situation before and after the disaster. He has written a new work of fiction for future publication – tentatively entitled “Lost Mission” – loosely based on the Challenger event. He is pictured with Ken Diener, immediate past president of the club.
Send Hunger Packing Food Drive #2
Our second food drive of the year went well today with a large amount of food items and some cash donations collected for the “Send Hunger Packing” program. The always generous shoppers at Shop Rite Hamilton Marketplace really came through for us. Brian Peterson from Mercer St. Friends Food Bank stopped by to support our effort and Jamal Cox did a great job delivering the donations for us. Next up is Foley’s Family Market on Sept. 14.
School Backpack Donation
Today we completed our latest hands-on project, donating 80 backpacks with school supplies to Wilson Elementary School. Thanks to Selective Insurance for lending us their training room to fill the backpacks, and to a number of their employees for helping us.
We were given a generous and warm welcome at Wilson by May Fermin-Cannon, School Principal, and School Custodian John Badalamenti when we arrived to deliver the backpacks.
Melissa “Mei” Usdin Speaks About Rotary District 7475’s “Short Term Youth Exchange Program.”
Our speaker today was Melissa “Mei” Usdin, a rising Junior at Nottingham High School, who traveled to Japan this summer as part of Rotary District 7475’s “Short Term Youth Exchange Program.” Mei was one of only 28 students to be selected for the program. Students were asked to bring 3 exchange banners from their local Rotary Clubs for visits to District 2670 clubs in Japan, and we’re pleased that Mei chose to represent our Rotary Club. She showed us photos from the attractions in Osaka, Kyoto and Nara, from her time with host families, and from a trip to Hiroshima to visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum.
Send Hunger Packing Food Drive #1
Thank you to Acme Market in Hamilton Sq. for hosting the first of our four annual food drives for Mercer St. Friends Food Bank’s “Send Hunger Packing” program. We collected hundreds of pounds of items for them to include in food packets given to local children during the school year. Next Saturday we’ll be at Shop Rite Hamilton Marketplace from 11 am to 2 pm to continue our hands-on project.
Meeting Highlights 8/16/19: Trisha Danze – Thea’s Star of Hope, New Member Induction, Visiting Rotarian from India
Trisha recounted how at age 5 months her daughter Thea was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and about her family’s journey to today when Thea, as a twelve-year old, is doing well. Trisha also told us about the formation of the non-profit Thea’s Star of Hope and its mission: “We aim to improve treatments and provide support for families of kids with brain tumors so that they can live and not just survive. That means we support research for improved therapies with fewer side effects and efforts to make treatments more tolerable. We also provide resources for families undergoing treatment or dealing with the long-term effects resulting from treatments”.
President Bill presented Trisha with a $250 donation from our foundation. To learn more and to donate visit www.theasstarofhope.org.
Our newest member, Joe Cavone, is the publisher of two magazines distributed in our area, “Our Robbinsville” and “Hamilton Square Neighbors,” and expects a third – “Mercerville Neighbors” – to launch soon. He aims to present positive news about Mercer County and its residents and neighborhoods. He is pictured with his sponsor Ray Nowak, at left, and ceremony officiator Doug Conkling.
G.V Lakshman, past ADG for R.I. Dist. 3160 and past president of the Rotary Club of Guntakal, India, told us about his club’s many impressive service projects, and President Bill presented him with a club exchange banner as a memento of his visit to the USA.
Since this was officially our monthly “Club Assembly Meeting” members assembled with our guests for a group photo.
Shelter Box USA
Our guest speaker this morning was Len Nemeroff, an Ambassador for ShelterBox USA, one of the largest disaster relief organizations in the world. After a fire, hurricane, tornado, tsunami or other disaster event, they ship ShelterBoxes and ShelterKits to the affected area. ShelterBoxes contain family-sized tents designed to withstand the elements and provide people with temporary shelter, and ShelterKits have essential tools for people to start repairing and rebuilding their homes. A charity ally of Rotary International for many years, ShelterBox relies on donations from Rotary Clubs, charitable foundations and the public to continue their work around the world. For more information and to donate to them visit https://www.shelterboxusa.org/. Len Nemeroff has been a member of the Rotary Club of Hamilton Township for 36 years and is club president.
Miracle League All Star Game
Several Members of the Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary were on hand to support the Miracle League of Mercer County All-Star Game: Thunder on the Road. The event was held at the Robbinsville Field House (indoors due to rainy weather) . The Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary was there to support the Miracle League and present a donation from the proceeds of the Rotarun. The Miracle League exceeded their $20,000 fundraising goal! Congratulations go out to Dan Schweck and his volunteers for a job well done!
National Night Out
Rotarians from our club are out tonite to help celebrate “National Night Out” hosted by the Robbinsville Police Department. We had giveaways for the kids, Rotary shopping bags for their parents (for a donation to our upcoming End Hunger 3.6 project), and information about the good works by our Rotary Club.
Meeting Highlights 8/2/19
Our Rotary Club meeting today featured two guest speakers. Carl G. Archer from Archer Law Office LLC, whose law firm focuses on the needs of those who care for seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities, spoke about the difficulty caregivers have with the complicated issues they face, and about the importance of seeking outside help instead of trying to handle things by themselves. President Bill presented Carl with a Certificate of Appreciation for his past support of our charitable foundation.
Sandro Cunningham, a nine-year old from Hamilton, told us about how at age six he formed a non-profit called Sandro’s Coat Rack to donate winter coats to the needy after seeing a TV report about people going cold in the winter. Also, with his five-year old brother Crescenzo, Sandro distributes personal hygiene items to those in need, so our club members collected and donated 6 boxes of items to him. His next project for Sandro’s Helping Hands is “Score for the Cure,” a soccer tournament in Chesterfield, NJ on September 15 to raise money for cancer research. Philadelphia Union soccer team members and their mascot “Phang” will be at the event.
Meeting Highlights 7/26/19
Our breakfast Rotary Club meeting this morning featured two speakers, both having had experience with great Rotary programs. First, Skyler Kolbe, a rising Senior at Robbinsville High School, who was sponsored by our club for the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) event held at Drew University in June, told us about her positive experience there. RYLA attendees learn from community leaders, inspirational speakers, and peer mentors how to unlock their potential to turn motivation into action. They also have fun and form lasting friendships. Skyler was inspired to coordinate an upcoming charity fundraiser in our area.
Then, a past Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, Eileen Gilleece-Greaves, told us about studying on the scholarship at the Police Staff College in England and later at the UN Leadership School in Amman, Jordan. She studied policing methods, including use of DNA to solve crimes. Eileen, a retired New Jersey State Police Lieutenant, now works at Arcadia University in their security department.
We were also pleased to welcome Charles Scopari visiting from the Ringtown (PA) Rotary Club.
ONE Project NJ Community Food Packing Event
Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary Club Rotarians, families and friends joined with ONE Project NJ for a Community Food Packing Event at Robbinsville High School this morning to help fight childhood hunger in our area. The meals will be distributed through our friends at the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank.
Meeting Highlights 7/19/19
Today’s meeting included the induction of another new member into our Rotary Club, Jodi O’Donnell-Ames. Jodi is the Founder and President of Hope Loves Company, Inc., a non-profit offering support to those who have or had a loved one battling ALS. Welcome Jodi!
Also at today’s meeting, Rotarian Teresa Caro was installed as a club director. Pictured, from left, are Club Secretary Scott Biondi, Jodi, her sponsor Wendy Sturgeon, and Club President Bill Coleman. With Teresa Caro is Secretary Scott.
New Member Induction
We were pleased this morning to welcome our first new member of the 2019-2020 Rotary Year, Umang Naik from Robbinsville Township. Umang is the founder and CEO of CloudLabs, Inc., an IT consulting business with 30+ employees at its Robbinsville HQ. Pictured with Umang are Club President – and his sponsor – Bill Coleman, and ceremony officiator Doug Conkling.
Also, Rotarian Mike Brescio gave the club his “Classification Talk” in which he described growing up in Trenton and Hamilton, how his service in the U.S. Navy helped him earn college degrees, and his career as an environmental scientist with the U.S. EPA. Mike enjoys cycling, especially in events held for charitable fundraising. He plans to retire soon from the EPA and manage his business, Memory Makers Awards & Apparel.
Rotarians Help Young People to “Pay it Forward”
Rotarians from our club are volunteering at the Shine & Inspire Children’s Party today. We’re giving the children a number of items including first aid kits donated by RWJ Barnabas Health Hamilton Hospital. The kids receive two of the items so they can “pay it forward” to other children, the concept on which Shine & Inspire makes donations to those in need. For more information about them visitwww.shineandinspire.org.
2019/2020 Officer and Director Installation
A wonderful group of Rotarians and their spouses enjoyed an evening of fellowship and dinner at La Piazza Ristorante last night for our annual “Installation of Officers and Awards Ceremony.” We were especially honored by the presence of David Navasio, Rotary District 7475 Asst. District Governor, and new Trenton Rotary Club President Christine Secrist and her husband Ken.
Outgoing President Ken Diener outlined the many successes of his term, including a large number of new members joining the club and increased income from our fundraisers. Awards were: “President’s Citations” to Chris Reetz and Ed Drag; “Service Above Self” to Bill Coleman; “President Award for Service to the Club” to Heidi Coleman; and Paul Harris Fellow Recognitions to Greg Blair and Andre Caldini. New Club President Bill Coleman offered a vision of continued growth, financial health and increased charitable giving in the 2019-2020 Rotary year.
For more photos click here.
🏆Another successful year for our ROTARUN!!!🏆
Thank you to all of our members for your help! Special thanks to The Miracle League of Mercer County, NJ!!
See you in ROTARUN 2020!!!
June 21 Meeting Highlights
Our guest speaker this morning was Greg Coleman, President of the Erie Seawolves baseball team, a AA affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. He’s also the brother of club President-Elect Bill Coleman, and good friends with Rotarian Jeff Hurley of Trenton Thunder baseball. Greg told us about the Seawolves and ongoing improvements to their ballpark, but his main message was about the Miracle League of Erie County. The league hosts Adaptive Baseball games on Saturday mornings for individuals with disabilities in a wide range of age groups. The league is raising funds to replace the current field in a city park with a barrier-free diamond designed for the purpose. Also, club member JoAnne Bruno gave her “classification talk” in which she informed us about her personal background and working career.
Rotarians Cook Out for Mercer Elementary School
Rotarians from our club cooked hamburgers, cheeseburgers and hot dogs, and served Italian Ice, for about 400 students and staff for a picnic at Mercer Elementary School on the campus of the Mercer County Special Services School District. Volunteers included Umang Naik, the most recent applicant for club membership. The school is designed for those students presenting a wide variety of learning and/or developmental challenges.
District 7475 Business Networking Event
Last night our club helped host a Rotary District 7475 Business Networking event in the Yankee Room in ARM & HAMMER Park, home of the Trenton Thunder baseball team. Speakers included incoming District Governor Ray Freaney, club member (and Thunder executive) Jeff Hurley, our club President Ken Diener, and club VP Bill Coleman. In addition to networking, these meetings held around the state afford Rotarians the chance to introduce people to Rotary and the social, charitable and business opportunities it offers.
Robbinsville Community Day
Rotarians from our club are out today at Robbinsville Township’s Community Day! Members promoted the Rotarun and entertained young people with games and prizes.
George Prutky Award Presented
Our club meeting today featured presentation of the 2019 George Prutky Vocational Service Award to HomeFront. The annual award, named for a late charter member of the club, honors an organization which is dedicated to serving the community. HomeFront was recognized for its work to lessen the pain of homelessness, to increase the availability of adequate, affordable housing, and to build a positivefuture for their clients. After receiving the award and a $500 donation from our foundation, HomeFront’s Chief Operating Officer Sarah Steward spoke about their many programs and how children are most affected by the cycle of poverty and homelessness. For information about HomeFront, to volunteer or donate, visit www.homefrontnj.org. Pictured, from left, are Sarah Steward, club secretary Scott Biondi, club president Ken Diener, and club member JoAnne Bruno who nominated HomeFront for the award
Steinert Scholarship Award Recipients
At the Steinert High School Awards Night on Monday, club member Dan Sczweck presented scholarship checks from our foundation to Chloe Lynn Zoldi and Molly Mizenko. Molly’s award was augmented with a grant from Marie Barrett. Her late husband, Bob Barrett, was a charter member and past president of our Rotary Club. Pictured with Rotarian Dan, from left, are Chloe and Molly.
Dr. Brian Culp, Princeton Orthopaedic Associates
Our guest speaker this morning was Dr. Brian Culp, an Orthopaedic Surgeon with Princeton Orthopaedic Associates. He is a prominent member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons and the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and has written about and made national presentations on his area of expertise. His practice is focused on offering minimally invasive joint surgeries, maximizing the healing process and reducing post-surgery use of addictive pain medicines. He also described the joint-replacement technology available to him at RWJBarnabas Health Hamilton Hospital. Pictured, from left, are Bill Coleman, Rotary Club V.P.; Dr. Culp; Steven Fries, Physician Assistant at the new Robbinsville office of Princeton Orthopaedic Associates; and Rotarian Nivi Pillai who works at RWJBH and coordinated Dr. Culp’s visit.
Hope Loves Company
This morning we were pleased to welcome back Jodi O’Donnell-Ames, and present her with a $1,000 donation from our Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation. Jodi’s charity, Hope Loves Company, provides educational and emotional support to people who had or have a loved one battling ALS. The donation will help support Camp HLC, a free weekend camp for children and their families whose lives have been affected by ALS. To learn more, donate and/or volunteer, visit www.HopeLovesCompany.org.Pictured, from left, are Sharon Lucidi, Club Treasurer, Rotarian Jessica Federman, and Ms. O’Donnell-Ames.
Hamilton Police Community Service Award
Our meeting this morning featured the presentation of a 2019 Police Community Service Award to Ptl. Joseph Pellegrino of the Hamilton Township Police Division. Each year we honor police officers who help maintain a positive public image and serve as role models to the police community itself. In addition to his regular duties, Officer Pellegrino is an executive with PBA Local #66 and plays a vital role in the PBA’s support of local community groups. Pictured presenting the award are Rotarian Scott Biondi and Police Chief James Stevens.
Bike Drive Record Set
Our Rotary Club shattered its previous Bike Drive record of 46 with the collection of 70 used bikes today! A big shout-out to Lee Paroly for hosting the event at his Friendly’s restaurant. And, thank you to the generous residents of Robbinsville and Hamilton for their support. Three truckloads and two carloads of bikes were delivered to the Bike Exchange where they will be refurbished and sold to the public, with proceeds funding programs at the Boys & Girls of Mercer County.
Visiting Rotarian & Student of the Month
At today’s meeting we also had the pleasure of welcoming Rakesh Naik, Acting President of the Rotary Club of Gandevi in India, and his brother, Umang Naik, a Robbinsville resident. They told us about the good work of the Gandevi Rotary, including building a hospital, constructing drinking water and sanitation systems, and providing critical medical care, often free of charge. Pictured with Rotarian Bill Coleman, from left, are Umang and Rotarian Rakesh. For a video of their project, click here.
Further, we completed another year of hosting impressive young people – our Students of the Month. Pictured with member Greg Blair, from left, are Steinert High School students Emily Paradine and Nicholas Harkness.
Robbinsville Police Community Service Award
Today’s meeting of the club featured presentation of the 2019 Police Community Service Award to Ptl. Melyssa Alonso of the Robbinsville Police Dept. The award is given each year to a police officer who has acted to improve community relations with the police department. RPD Chief Chris Nitti said this in his award nomination: “Patrolman Alonso is currently assigned to the Sharon Elementary School as a Resource Officer….and has displayed an ability to connect and impact the students in a positive manner…..reinforcing the positive police- community trust that has taken a hit in recent years.” Sharon School Principal Janet Sinkewicz also spoke warmly about Officer Alsono’s service to the school. The award plaque inscription read, “In recognition of your exceptional service to our community, and for your advancement of close Police-Community relations, including the positive impact on students in your assignment as School Resource Officer.” Pictured with Ptl. Alonso are Chief Nitti and Club Secretary Scott Biondi.
Ptl. Melyssa Alonso addresses the Rotary Club
Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary Club members Linda Gearren and Bill Coleman were out on this beautiful Wednesday evening in May volunteering with the Miracle League of Mercer County.
May Students of the Month
With the end of the school year close at hand, this month marks the completion of our 2018-2019 Students of the Month program. Pictured with Rotarian Greg Blair, from left, are: Elizabeth Margeotes, Robbinsville High School; Kelly Herbert, Robbinsville High School; Artur Lewandowski, Hamilton West High School; and Curtis Holman, Nottingham High School. Two Steinert High School students not able to attend due to exams today will be honored at next week’s meeting.
RH Rotary Supports NAMI Mercer
Rotarians Nev Greenough, Chris Reetz and Bill Coleman, and volunteer Heidi Coleman, joined Trenton Thunder Baseball mascot “Boomer” and others to support NAMIWalks Mercer County on a cool, windy and rainy day at The ETS campus in Princeton. The 5K race raised funds for the National Alliance on Mental Illness to assist individuals and families and raise awareness about mental health conditions. Club members also informed the runners about a June 23 fundraiser for The Miracle League of Mercer County, our Rotarun 5K Race & 1 Mile Fun Walk. For information, sponsorship opportunities and registration, visit www.rhrotary.org/Rotarun/ .
Hope Loves Company Speaks About ALS
Our guest speaker today was Jodi McDonnell-Ames, founder and president of Hope Loves Company, a non-profit with the mission of providing educational and emotional support to people who had or have a loved one battling ALS – or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Each year they host Camp HLC, a free weekend camp for children and their families whose lives have been affected by ALS. To learn more, donate and/or volunteer, visit www.HopeLovesCompany.org.
Rotarians from our club were out tonight to support “Damm Strong,” a fundraiser for Kyle Damm, son of club member Tom Damm and his wife Peggy. What seemed like a crowd of 400 people came to the Nassau Inn in Princeton for music, buffet dinner and a gift basket auction. Our best wishes go out to Kyle for a speedy recovery!
Jeff Edelstein from The Trentonian
Our speaker today was Jeff Edelstein from The Trentonian newspaper who has been informing and entertaining readers of the paper for over 20 years with his four times a week column. Jeff is also a fill-in talk show host on New Jersey 101.5 FM radio. Further, he serves as an adjunct professor at Rider University. Recently, Jeff was one of several Trentonian journalists honored with awards from the New Jersey Press Association for reporting about the tragic Art All Night shootout in Trenton. He spoke about the market dynamics of print versus online media, and of the important role of the free press in our society.
Book Donation to TASK
Literacy Project Chairwoman Edna Stout and club members Scott Biondi and George Ott gave books to children attending the annual Egg Hunt and Spring Party at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) today. About 75 youngsters and their families also enjoyed egg hunts, face painting, crafts and delicious cup cakes. Books not taken by the kids were stocked in the TASK library. We purchased the books with grant money received from Rotary District 7475.
We were most pleased to welcome to our morning meeting today Pat Hart, Executive Director of Womanspace, Inc. The non-profit is the leading agency serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Mercer County. Their services include emergency assistance, a safe house, victim response teams and support advocates, counseling, housing and more. Pat was presented with a $1,000 donation from our Rotary Club foundation. The Mercer County hotline to seek assistance is (609)-394-9000; the NJ statewide hotline is (800)-572-SAFE (7233). To learn more, to donate or for volunteer opportunities visit www.womanspace.org.
Rotarians from our club volunteered for games tonight at The Miracle League of Mercer County. Members of the Hamilton West High School JV Softball Team were also on hand to help the baseball players have a fun and successful night at Miracle Field.
Robbinsville Officials Accept Food Donation
We were pleased to welcome Robbinsville Councilman Dan Schuberth and Jodi Stephens, Administrative Assistant to Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried. They received donations from our members for the Township’s “Send Hunger Packing” food drive, and spoke about the recent success of the Star of Hope half-marathon and upcoming National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 5K Walk at ETS in Princeton on May 5 (https://www.namiwalks.org/index.cfm… ). The township’s food drive runs until April 26; click here to see the flyer for needed items and donation drop-off locations.
Mayor Fried’s annual State of Robbinsville Township and “Pay-It-Forward” event on Tuesday, April 30 will benefit the Mercer Street Friends “Send Hunger Packing” program. For tickets and sponsorship opportunities visit http://www.robbinsville-twp.org/news_detail_T2_R315.php
New Member Induction
Our meeting this morning featured the induction of a Rotarian, JoAnne Bruno, the tenth new member to join our club in the past nine months. JoAnne, a retired middle and high school educator, and past owner of small businesses, is involved in local and state political organizations. The meeting also featured a visit by David Navasio, a Rotary District 7475 Assistant Governor.
April Students of the Month
Our students of the month attended the club meeting this morning to tell us about their many achievements in high school and their plans for continuing education. Pictured with club member Wally Sawka, from left, are Victoria Ford from Hamilton West High School and Danielle Kramarz from Steinert High School. With their award certificates the students were given information about our Rotary scholarship program. Visit www.rhrotary.org/
Miracle League Opening Day
Rotary members supporting the Miracle League of Mercer County Opening Day! Come register for our race to benefit the Miracle League❤️
Www.active.com and search for Rotarun
Our guest speaker today was Pat McFarland from Ultimate Achievement Group, who motivated us to aspire to even greater Rotary “Service Above Self.” Pat, a graduate of Saint Joseph’s University, is a member of the South Jersey High School Basketball Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia BIG 5 Hall of Fame, and a former Denver Nugget pro basketball player. He spoke about life lessons learned during his sports and business careers, and about how rewarding it is for people who find their passion for community service. After speaking at a number of Rotary Club meetings and learning more about Rotary, Pat is joining Rotary Club of Newtown (PA).
Rotarians Combat Hunger
Today about twenty of our Rotarians and their family member volunteers took part in the Rotary District 7475 “End Hunger 3.6” event at Raritan Valley Community College. Named for the fact that someone in the world dies of malnutrition or starvation every 3.6 seconds, the event aimed to package 150,000 meals for distribution to local hunger-based charities. Host Branchburg Rotary Club, the RVCC Rotaract Club and a legion of Rotarians from NJ clubs did a great job organizing and running this effort to ease hunger.
Air Force Officers Share Their Story
We were especially pleased this morning to have as our guest speakers two of the nation’s finest, Air Force Lt. Colonel Nicholas Rowe and Air Force Capt. Patrick Sutton-Buscavage, from the 423rd Mobility Training Squadron (MTS), Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. They told us that MTS is tasked to gather, refine and disseminate, and be the repository for all Air Force Combat Support Lessons Learned and Tactics, Techniques and Procedures. Also, that MTS supports and enables over 685,000 Total Force Airmen and Civilians. They also emphasized how grateful the 50,000 people who work at Joint Base are for the support they receive from the New Jersey community. Pictured, from left, are Lt. Col. Rowe, Club President Ken Diener, and Capt. Sutton-Buscavage.
March Students of the Month
One of our favorite meetings during the school year is the week we recognize Rotary Students of the Month. Our March honorees, pictured from left, are Gabriel Samolchuk, Nottingham High School; Eddie Fennell, Hamilton West High School; and Brian Johnson, Robbinsville High School. Pictured with them is Greg Blair, our coordinaor of student activities.
DEA: Chilling Account of the Current Opioid Epidemic Crisis
Our speaker yesterday was Nicholas Kolen, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s New Jersey Division. With him was Labiba Salim, a DEA Outreach Specialist. Agent Kolen supervises DEA operations in South Jersey, bringing together law enforcement agencies to target significant problems, and is considered the DEA’s expert on the local drug threats affecting New Jersey. He gave our club members a chilling account of how the current opioid epidemic crisis is affecting our nation.
On a more positive note, he announced that Trenton Thunder Baseball is partnering with DEA and City of Angels to host “Strike Out Substance Misuse” night at Arm & Hammer Park on Saturday, May 18 at 7pm when Trenton hosts the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. The event will focus on drug prevention and recovery and there will be free resources available, plus giveaways, raffles, and more. For more information, see the event flyer below.
To purchase baseball game tickets at a discounted price go to:https://groupmatics.events/event/Dea360 .
Our regular club meeting today had a jam-packed agenda. In addition to our usual club business we were pleased to hear a presentation by Annie Fox, Resource Development Director at Habitat for Humanity of Burlington County and Greater Trenton-Princeton. Ms. Fox outlined their programs to promote home ownership, neighborhood revitalization, financial classes and Veterans Build, an initiative to provide housing solutions to active-duty military service members. Several of our members will form volunteer teams to help Habitat with a project starting in Hamilton Township. For more information or to volunteer visit www.habitatbcgtp.org. We also inducted a new member, Nev Greenough, and enjoyed a member “Classification Talk” by Jessica Federman.
Rotary 114th anniversary Celebration
Our Rotary Club celebrated the 114th anniversary of Rotary with a luncheon at Killarney’s Publick House today. The lunch buffet, a guessing game of “Fact Or Crap” and a gift basket drawing added to the fun. We also celebrated Rotarian Danely Gonzalez recently achieving her certification as a Registered Nurse. The club was especially pleased that Jeffrey Martin, President of the Hamilton Township Council, could attend. Thanks again to Killarney’s for their continuing support of our club and for hosting a great fellowship event !
Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
Our guest speaker this morning was Malissa Arnold, Program Coordinator for the Drug Free Communities Grant received by the Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. She was passionate about keeping young people healthy and families substance-free. Mercer Council offers a wide variety of school, family, older adult and community services for education, prevention and intervention programs. One of their programs is for training in the use of the Narcan (naloxone hydrochloride) Nasal Spray, an opioid antagonist for the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose, and the next such training is scheduled for 6 pm Thursday, March 14 at Mercer Council, 1931 Brunswick Ave, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648. Registration is not required but Narcan kits are only available to the first 30 participants. For more information visit www.mercercouncil.org or call 609-396-5874.
Several months ago our club was given the “Diaper Challenge” by Connie Mercer, Founder & CEO of HomeFront, and our Rotarians stepped up with individual donations totaling 1,949 diapers for the Diaper Resource Center at HomeFront’s Family Campus. There, HomeFront provides clients with prevention/emergency help, housing, children’s programs, development of independent life skills and access to a network of vital community services. Making the delivery were Club Secretary Scott Biondi and Rotarian Linda Gearren, pictured with Heather Tuller, Volunteer Coordinator. To learn about opportunities to volunteer at HomeFront, contact Heather at Heather@homefrontnj.org or 609-883-7500 x329, or to donate visit www.homefrontnj.org.
Book Donation to George E. Wilson Elementary School
Club members met at George E. Wilson Elementary School in Hamilton Twp. today to review books we donated to improve their library. This is the fourth year of our Literacy Project being funded by grants from Rotary District 7475 (and former D-7510) and funds from our charitable foundation. We have also purchased books to give to children at the annual TASK Spring Party. Pictured with the books are, from left, member Linda Gearren, School Librarian Michael Ferraro, club president Ken Diener, member Scott Biondi, Literacy Project Chairworman Edna Stout, volunteer Nils Stout, and School Principal Bobbie Panfili.
Rotarians Raise Funds for Scholarships
Rotarians from our club are at Risoldi’s Market now for a fundraiser for our scholarship program. We’re selling tickets to our “Dollars for Scholars” raffle and accepting cash donations, and response from shoppers has been good. Each year we grant about $7,000 in scholarships to local high school students. For info and online applications visit www.rhrotary.org/scholarships/. Many thanks to store owner Sam Risoldi for hosting us today and again next Sunday.
Vern Applegate Community Service Award
One of our annual legacy awards is named for the late Vern Applegate, a great Rotarian, wonderful family man and consummate gentleman. The award is made to an individual with a significant history of community service. We are pleased to present this year’s “Vern Applegate Community Service Award” to Mike Ziccardi, executive director of Recovery Advocates of America, for his dedication to those suffering from the disease of addiction and his stewardship of Recovery Advocates. Mike was also presented with a $1,000 donation from our charitable foundation. Pictured with Mike and club President Ken Diener is Stacey Ross from Recovery Advocates.
New Member Induction
Our Rotary Club continues to attract new members, and today we were pleased to induct Mike Brescio, a Yardville resident. Since retiring from military service with the U.S. Navy, Mike has worked for the EPA as an Environmental Scientist. Also, he is an entrepreneur who owns Memory Makers Studio & Trophies, offering photography, trophies, apparel and gifts. One of his keen interests is belonging to a cycling club and participating in their events. He has a desire to help our club with its Bike Drives for the Boys & Girls Club, and, as a Disabled Veteran himself, with any efforts we have to help military-related groups. Pictured, from left, are club President Ken Diener, member sponsor Greg Blair, Mike, and ceremony officiator Doug Conkling.
February Students of the Month
Our Students of the Month, pictured with Rotarian Greg Blair, are, from left, Lucia Stout, Hamilton West High School; Melissa Baroni, Nottingham High School; Hannah James, Robbinsville High School; and Kara Huchel, Steinert High School.
Mercer County Prosecutor Addresses the Club
We were honored today to have as our guest speaker Mr. Angelo Onofri, Mercer County Prosecutor.
Prior to his current duties of overseeing the daily operations of the 200 person prosecutor’s office, Mr. Onofri was first assistant prosecutor, a municipal prosecutor and an associate in a private law firm.
He is a certified instructor with the New Jersey Police Training Commission and teaches numerous courses at the Mercer County Police Academy.
He is past-president of the Mercer County Bar Association, second vice president of the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey, and also a member of numerous community organizations.
Most recently, Mr. Onofri has played a vital role in New Jersey’s fight against prescription drug and heroin abuse. Through the implementation of the Narcan and One Voice programs in Mercer County, he is collaborating with law enforcement, health care and community organizations to provide first responders with the overdose antidote, make treatment and recovery resources available to addicts and their families, and host community forums in an effort to combat this epidemic through education, awareness, prevention and treatment.
Rotary Means Business Fellowship Event
Rotarians Bill Coleman and Ken Diener (pictured with the microphone) represented our Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary Club at the NJ Rotary District 7475 sponsored Rotary Means Business Fellowship Event last night at the Marriott Delta Hotel in Basking Ridge, NJ. The RMB Fellowship is designed to increase business relationships with fellow Rotarians and guests from the business community all while spreading the good works of Rotary locally, regionally and internationally.
College Possibilities Night
Rotarians Paul Neu, Sharon Lucidi, Linda Gearren, Keith Platt, Joe Giambelluca, Ken Diener and Bill Coleman represented our club at the Rotary College Possibilities Program at The College of New Jersey today. Area students learned about admissions, available scholarships and more to prepare them for their future college careers.
New Member Inductions
Our Rotary Club continues to grow with the induction of two members this morning, Jessica Federman and Nivi Pillai, both representing corporate member RWJUH Hamilton. Pictured, from left, are Ken Diener, club president, Jessica, Nivi, their sponsor Greg Blair, and Doug Conkling who officiated at the ceremony. We look forward to both becoming active, important members of our Rotary family.
January Students of the Month
January Students of the Month and their parents joined us for breakfast this morning to tell us about their school achievements, community service and plans after graduation. Pictured, from left, are Greg Blair, coordinator of student activities; Kaitlyn McAuliffe, Hamilton West High School; Brianna “Bri” Torres Radke, Nottingham High School; Lance Scibilia, Robbinsville High School; and Elena Kosowski, Steinert High School. The students were informed that applications for scholarships from our foundation are available online at: www.rhrotary.org/scholarships/
Donation to Robbinsville Meals on Wheels
John Ward, Executive Director of Robbinsville Meals on Wheels, was the guest speaker at our first Rotary Club meeting of the new year. He told us about the work he and other volunteers do to deliver meals to home-bound seniors, and also the importance of donations to those efforts. After the talk Club President Ken Diener presented John with a $500 donation from our charitable foundation. To learn more their service or to volunteer, visit:
Toys for Womanspace
Sixty new, unwrapped toys from our annual holiday collection were delivered to Womanspace today. The toys, and others donated during the year, are stored in the organization’s safe house. There, clients (or their counselors) shop for gifts for their children. Natasha Rivera and Cassius Lawson helped unload the delivery. Womanspace, Inc., a leading nonprofit agency, provides services to individuals and families impacted by domestic and sexual violence and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for adults and their families. To learn more about them, or to donate or volunteer, visit www.womanspace.org/. Their 24/7 Crisis Line is 609-394-9000.
Club members enjoyed an evening of good fun and fellowship last night at our annual Holiday Party at Massimo’s Cucina in Robbinsville. After dinner, about $500 was raised for our James A. DeBold Scholarship with a White Elephant Auction, 50/50 raffle, a round of Happy Dollars, and the auctioning off of the Immunity Necklace (shielding the bearer from fines at club meetings). Rotarians also brought toys for today’s donation to the children of Womanspace clients.
Winter Survival Kits
Club members arrived at the Golden Dawn Diner early this morning to assemble 110 “Winter Survival Kits” for donation to the Rescue Mission of Trenton. This annual project, organized by Rotarians Danely Gonzalez and Bill Coleman, uses donations from members plus a foundation grant to pack bags with hats, gloves, scarves, socks, healthy food items, and personal care items. Barrett Young, chief operating officer of the Mission, then spoke to us about their programs, including addiction services, housing, education and outpatient clinic. He also told us about their project to renovate a building on Clinton Ave. in Trenton into 5 apartments for women, a growing segment of their client base. To learn more about the Rescue Mission of Trenton visit www.rescuemissionoftrenton.org.
Club Donates Coats for Those in Need
To borrow from a famous phrase, “Neither rain, nor wind, nor a gloomy day shall keep Sandro from his appointed rounds of collecting coats for the needy.” This morning our club delivered 46 coats that filled Sandro’s Coat Rack on Escher St. in Trenton. His dad Ed Cunningham made sure the coats were protected from the elements and are available to the public. Nine-year-old Sandro, a wonderful young man from Hamilton Township, started his charitable work when he was six.
December Students of the Month
Our December Students of the Month and their parents joined us for breakfast this morning and told us about their school achievements, community service and plans after graduation. Pictured, from left, are Greg Blair, coordinator of student activities; Clare Herrera, Robbinsville High School; Hannah Lesczynski, Steinert High School; Meraya Sirimis, Nottingham High School; and Jailean Ortiz, Hamilton West High School. Each year our foundation offers scholarships to high school seniors who reside in Hamilton and Robbinsville Townships. Online applications will be available on our website, rhrotary.org, in January.
New Member Induction
Our membership drive continues to result in new members joining our Rotary Club! Linda M. Gearren was inducted at this morning’s meeting. Linda, a Hamilton Twp. resident, retired after a career in the IT field, and now works part-time as an IT consultant. She volunteers at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Asbury Park. Welcome to the club, Linda! Pictured are, from left, Club President Ken Diener, Linda Gearren, her sponsor Jen Kent, and ceremony officiator Doug Conkling. For information about joining our Rotary Club, send us a Facebook message, or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rotary Helps Out
Rotarians from our club, including Ken Deiner, Bill Coleman and his wife Heidi, Dave Aust and his nephew Cameron, Chris Reetz and Tom Damm helped set up and volunteered at Shine and Inspire’s Annual Holiday Children’s Party for those in need, held yesterday at the Nottingham Ballroom. Children enjoyed crafts, food, ice cream and treats, a variety of games, music and entertainment before being gifted with much needed winter clothing items, toys and other gifts. Kline’s Barber Shop from Allentown was on hand for children needing a fresh haircut. Lala & Mimi’s Pajama Project attended to make sure all 110 specially invited children went home with a new pair of pajamas picked out just for them. What a truly wonderful event it was for Rotary to be a part of. To learn more about that great charity visit www.shineandinspire.org or www.facebook.com/ShineAndInspire/ .
Mayor Fried Speaks
Club President Ken Diener and his fellow Rotarians were pleased to welcome the Hon. Dave Fried, Mayor of Robbinsville Township, as our guest speaker this morning. The mayor recounted the difficult economic conditions he faced early in his tenure and outlined steps taken by his administration to stabilize taxes by cutting costs and attracting commercial ratables to the township. He also spoke about the town’s Community Addiction Recovery Effort (C.A.R.E.) to combat the opioid epidemic, and the Robbinsville Hydroponic Farm project.
Several dozen Rotarians and guests attended the club’s “Rotary Means Business” social networking event last night. Diamond’s of Hamilton served a variety of delicious hot appetizers, and with Happy Hour underway, good fellowship was enjoyed by all. Greg Blair, a charter member, recounted the early history of the club, including several major projects. We look forward to attendees joining the club to help us continue our community service efforts.
November Students of the Month
Students of the Month for November attended our Friday meeting to tell club members about their high school achievements, community service and plans after graduation. Pictured, from left, are David Hancock, Hamilton High School West; Vincent Iorio, Robbinsville High School; Christopher Kim, Steinert High School; Paige Rocco, Nottingham High School; Greg Blair, coordinator of student activities; and Club President Ken Diener.
New Member Induction
Our club welcomed its newest member today: Jeff Hurley, Chief Operating Officer & General Manager of the Trenton Thunder baseball team. Jeff, recently named Eastern League Executive of the Year, will be entering his 16th season with the Thunder. A native of Hamilton, Jeff played baseball at Steinert High School and was a pitcher for DeSales University. Sponsor Greg Blair presented Jeff with his Rotary International pin. For information about Thunder Baseball, including their many events and community service projects, visit www.milb.com/trenton.
Donation to Mobile Meals of Hamilton
Our guest speaker at today’s Rotary Club meeting was Eileen Eversheim, Executive Director of Mobile Meals of Hamilton Township, Inc., who informed our members about the impact that a daily meal delivery has on homebound, chronically ill, handicapped or convalescing individuals. In addition to providing adequate nutrition, the service often enables people to remain in their homes longer and can decrease the feeling of isolation often experienced by the homebound. Club President Ken Diener presented Eileen with a $500.00 donation check from our foundation. To contact Mobile Meals to donate, volunteer to deliver meals, or find out more about the service, visit www.mobilemealshamilton.org/ or call 609-448-4088.
Annual Gala Art Auction
Hamilton Square was alive last night with spirited bidding and attendees enjoying food, drink and fellowship at our club’s annual Art Auction & Silent Auction. Best of all, we raised thousands of dollars for our foundation to donate to local charities! Thank you to Rotarians who worked hard to organize and run the event, our generous sponsors and auction company Marlin Art, and special thanks to our patrons who purchased art pieces and silent auction gift baskets.
October Students of the Month
We were pleased this morning to honor our first group of Students of the Month for the 2018-2019 Rotary year. Each month from October through May, guidance counselors from local high schools nominate students who speak to us about their activities and achievements, volunteer work in the community, and future plans. Pictured, from left, are Greg Blair, club coordinator of student activities; Emily Paternostro, Steinert High School; Katherine (Katie) Henderson, Robbinsville High School; Makayta Cole, Nottingham High School; and Olivia Buote, Hamilton West High School.
Final 2018 Food Drive
Our final “Send Hunger Packing” food drive today resulted in many shopping carts overflowing with kid-friendly food items. Ruben Sandoz picked up the donations for delivery to the food bank’s warehouse. Thanks again to the generous residents of our area for helping ease childhood hunger.
Rotary Helps Ability Tree
Rotarians from our club – Ken Diener, Sharon Lucidi, Doug Conkling, Bill Coleman (and his wife Heidi), and George Ott – volunteered this morning to help Ability Tree NJ with their fundraiser, a 5K Run & 1 Mile Walk at Robbinsville High School, by managing water stations on the race course. The club also had a display table to inform the public about Rotary and our many community projects, and to promote our upcoming Art Auction & Silent Auction. Ability Tree NJ is a nonprofit organization that supports individuals and families with special needs through recreation, education, support, and training (R.E.S.T.). Programs include recreation and respite nights for children with special needs and their siblings, sibling scholarships for graduating seniors, and helping community organizations. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/abilitytreenj/ .
Fellow Rotarian Dan Sczweck Speaks about the YMCA
Friday’s Rotary Club meeting speaker was Dan Sczweck, who gave his new member “Classification Talk,” about his personal background, why he joined Rotary and his career work. He also informed us about the numerous programs offered by his employer, The Hamilton Area YMCA, in addition to Miracle League baseball he manages for them:
- Healthy Living Programs that promote well-being, reduce risk and reclaim health: ACT!: Youth Weight Management; Delay the Disease: Parkinson’s Disease; Diabetes Prevention; Healthy Ways: Adult Weight Management; One Step: Multiple Sclerosis; the THRIVE: Cancer Wellness.
- SKOR/SOAR, Special Kids Organized Recreation and Special Organized Adult Recreation.
- Togetherhood™ that helps Y members select, plan and lead meaningful community service projects.
- Y Connection that provides Hamilton Township Middle Schoolers access to the Y’s JKR Branch from the time school ends until 5:30 pm.
For information about these programs and more visit www.hamiltonymca.orgor contact Dan at email@example.com .
Helping Animals in Need
Today’s Rotary Club meeting featured speakers from two non-profits talking about “Helping Animals In Need.” Wendy Sturgeon (pictured at right, also a club member), executive director of EASEL NJ ( www.easelnj.org ), spoke about their efforts to limit euthanasia of shelter animals and to promote animal adoptions. Toni Heater, founder/president of Fund-A-Bull-Bulldogs in Rescue ( fundabulldog.org ), raises money to assist owners of French, English and American Bulldogs with medical treatments for their pets.
New Member Induction
We held an induction ceremony for another new member, Mike Lento. Mike is a partner in the Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman & Lento, LLC law firm and his specialty is injury law. Mike and his wife Kelly Leech reside in Hamilton Township. Welcome to our Rotary Club, Mike !! (pictured, from left, are his sponsor Sim Rochonchou, Mike, officiator Doug Conkling, and club president Ken Diener)
2018 Food Drive #2
Our second of three food drives for the “Send Hunger Packing” program was a success yesterday thanks to the generous shoppers at Acme Market in Hamilton Square. We collected 770 lbs of food items plus cash donations. The final food drive will be held from 11 am to 2 pm on Saturday, October 6 at Shop Rite, Route 33, Hamilton Sq.
We had a surprise visitor to our Friday club meeting, Rotarian Sudheer Sandeep from the Ramamurthy Nagar Rotary Club in Bangalore District 3190, India. President Ken presented Mr. Sandeep with a club banner as a momento of his visit.
NJ Assemblyman Dan Benson and Dave Navasio, Assistant Rotary District 7475 Governor
Today, our club members heard from two guest speakers, NJ Assemblyman Dan Benson, D-14 Mercer, and Dave Navasio, Assistant Governor, Area 7, Rotary District 7510 (now District 7475). Assemblyman Benson recounted events leading up to recently passed legislation allowing sports betting in New Jersey and talked about its effect on state revenues and the horse racing industry, discussed the Transportation Trust Fund Bill and the petroleum receipts tax, and outlined pending improvements to staffing at NJ Transit. AG Dave spoke about how Rotary International’s “Polio Plus” program, leading to the near eradication of polio world-wide, started with several clubs in our area, emphasizing the importance of local Rotary Club efforts. He also presented Chris Reetz with a plaque with the inscription, “In recognition of his dedicated service as President of the Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary Club, 2017-2018.” Pictured are club president Ken Diener with Asm. Benson, and, from left, Chris Reetz, Dave Navasio, and Ken Diener.
Club Provides School Supplies for Those in Need
After our Friday meeting club members filled 58 backpacks with school supplies for students at George E. Wilson Elementary School in Hamilton Township. Backpack collection drive chairperson Teresa Caro and her committee organized donations from club members and her colleagues at Selective Insurance, and that company allowed us use of their training room to put the backpacks together. Wilson E.S., “adopted” by our club several years ago, has an Early Act Club, is part of the Send Hunger Packing food program, and is the recipient of book donations as our club helps re-stock the school library.
Food Drive #1
The club’s annual food drives for the “Send Hunger Packing” (SHUP) program got off to a great start at Shop-Rite Hamilton Market Place on Saturday with about 1,000 lbs. of food collected. SHUP, now in its tenth year, is run by the Food Bank Center for Nutrional Health and Wellness of Mercer St. Friends, and distributes food packs each school week to 1,500 children from most of Mercer County’s communities. This year – our 8th – we coordinated our effort with the community outreach arm of Shop Hamilton, and their volunteers collected canned goods and other non-perishable items for the Bromley Food Pantry. A shout out to Joe Jones from Mercer St. Friends for picking up our collections, and special thanks to the generous people from our area who donated to this cause.
Young Entrepreneurs Speak to the Rotary
Our Aug. 24 guest speakers were Joey and Heidi Hudicka from Fizzee Labs, entrepreneurs who are helping young people realize the economic potential of their own ideas.The award-winning creators of Outta this World! and Launch board games have been featured in numerous business publications and websites. Club members even got to play the Outta this World! game. To learn more about Joey and Heidi, the games they offer, their innovative programs for teachers and students, and the inaugural “New Jersey Invention Convention” to be held at Rider University on Saturday, March 16, 2019, visit www.fizzeelabs.com.
Mercer Street Friends
Our guest speaker this morning was Talitha-Koumi Oluwafemi, Program-Associate for Child Hunger Programs at the Food Bank for Nutritional Health and Wellness of Mercer St. Friends.Talitha – later joined at the podium by Joe Jones from the food bank warehouse operations – spoke passionately about the need to alleviate childhood hunger and the impact the food bank’s Send Hunger Packing (SHUP)program has on school children in Mercer County. Her visit served to energize Rotarians for the club’s upcoming food drives in support of SHUP. This year – our 8th! – the food collections will be held from 11 am – 2 pm on Sat. Aug. 25 at Shop Rite Hamilton Marketplace, Sat. Sept. 15 at Acme Hamilton Sq. and Sat. Oct. 6 at Shop Rite Hamilton Sq.
New Member Induction
We’re pleased to announce that Dan Sczweck became the newest member of our club after his induction at today’s meeting, and that he represents our first Corporate Member, the Hamilton Area YMCA. Dan is the excutive director of the Miracle League of Mercer County and works for the Y on a number of their other programs. The club welcomes Dan and the YMCA to the Rotary family. Pictured, from left, are club president Ken Diener, Dan’s sponsor Greg Blair, Dan Sczweck, and Doug Conkling.
Miracle League All-Star Game
Rotarians from our club were on the field tonight at the Miracle League of Mercer County All Star Game to present a $3,000 donation check for the league’s fund to upgrade the baseball diamond.
National Night Out
Members of our Rotary Club teamed with Andy Santoro, game announcer from the Miracle League of Mercer County, to staff a booth at the Robbinsville Police Dept’s “National Night Out” on Tuesday, Aug. 7. We offered information about Rotary, our club and the community service we perform, offered glow-in-the-dark bracelets and lollipops to the kids, and had a raffle drawing for an X-BOX online game subscription.
Team Rotary! ONE Project’s 5th Annual NJ Hunger Project
LaLa & MiMi’s Pajama Project
Guest speakers at our Friday meeting were Lauren “LaLa” Multari and Mackensie “MiMi” Multari from LaLa&MiMi’s Pajama Project, a 501(c)3 charity that donates pajamas to needy children. The soon-to-be Reynolds Middle School eighth graders started the project in elementary school and in the years since have donated thousands of pairs of pajamas, mainly in Mercer County, but also to children at the Bear Creek Elementary School in Houston in an area devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Our club collected several dozen pairs of PJs to donate to their cause. Pictured giving us a slide presentation about the history and work of their charity, from left, are Lauren and Mackensie, and pictured with them are club president Ken Diener and vice president Bill Coleman.
Club Donates Toys for Childrens’ Hospital
Our July 27 meeting guest speaker was Karen McLaughlin, a Robbinsville resident and teacher in the Trenton School District. Karen recounted her family’s support for her son Nico who at age 3 was diagnosed with Evan’s Syndrome, a rate autoimmune disorder that destroys the body’s red and white blood cells and platelets. She and Nico, with legislative help from NJ Sen. Linda Greenstein, have had Sept. 21 of each year designated as “Evan’s Syndrome Awareness Day” in New Jersey. Karen also spoke about the importance of kids in children’s hospitals having things like toys, games and crafts to ease the difficulty of time spent there, and about the McLaughlin family efforts to collect and donate such items. The generous members of our Rotary Club had collected 6 boxes of donations and presented them to Karen at the meeting. Pictured are, from left, Karen McLaughlin, Nico McLaughlin, Mikayla McLaughlin, and club president Ken Diener.
2018/2019 Officer Installation
On June 28, club members gathered at Massimo’s Restaurant to celebrate achievements of the 2017-18 Rotary year and to look forward to the new year. President Chris Reetz recounted the many club projects performed and the charitable donations made by our foundation, and gave the following club awards for the year: Steve Woods, Paul Harris Fellow Recognition; Sharon Lucidi, President’s Citation; Ken Diener, Service Above Self; and numerous members receiving Outstanding Attendance Awards. Then, Doug Conkling led the ceremonial installation of officers and directors, headed by new President Ken Diener. In his remarks, Ken outlined his vision of Rotarians being “owners” of the club, ready to do whatever is necessary to make our endeavors a success.
Cookout for the Mercer County Special Services School
Our Rotarians were pleased to support an annual end-of-the-school year picnic at the Mercer Elementary School (MES) on June 15. We cooked hamburgers and hotdogs and served Italian Ice desserts to the 255 third to eighth grade students and their teachers. MES is part of the Mercer County Special Services School District. Their Mission Statement: “Mercer County Special Services School District is committed to serve as a catalyst for providing innovative integrated programs and services. We serve individuals with significant disabilities as well as meeting the specialized needs of districts and agencies. Through leadership and the collaborative efforts of staff, family, sending districts and community, the district will equip individuals with the skills necessary to successfully function in their environment.”
Robbinsville Community Day
We were pleased to be invited to exhibit at the annual “Community Day” in Robbinsville on Saturday, June 9. We distributed literature about Rotary, recruited new members, and had a bean-bag toss game set up for kids, with the pledge that for each successful toss we will donate one dollar to Rotary International’s “Polio Plus” campaign.
After our Rotary Club meeting of June 8, members met at Megan’s Place in Hamilton for an annual flower planting with local schoolchildren. Fifth graders from Sayen Elementary School enjoyed a snack, planted flowers and joined Rotarians in planting a Lilac bush in honor of late club member Bob Barrett.
George Prutky Service Award Presented to Recovery Advocates
One of our club’s annual legacy awards is named for the late George Prutky, a prominent Hamilton Township businessman for many years who lived his life and conducted his business affairs in accordance with Rotary ideals. This year we were pleased to present the George Prutky Vocational Service Award and a $1,000 donation to Recovery Advocates of America in recognition of their work to help those suffering from the disease of addiction achieve sustainable recovery and rebuild their lives. Pictured, from left, are John Mincarelli, Chris Reetz (club president), Mike Ziccardi, Stacey Ross and Megan Meckel.
Hamilton Police Awards
Our May 11 meeting included the presentation of a “Community Service Award” to Hamilton Township Police Detective Ed Lugo in recognition of his exceptional service to the community, and for his advancement of close police-community relations. Also, in light of his pending retirement, the club presented Hamilton PD Chief Jim Collins with an award to recognize his four decades of service to the community, leadership as police chief and his long association with our Rotary Club.
May Students of the Month
Our final “Student of the Month” awards for the school year were presented at our May 11 meeting to the following, pictured with Greg Blair, coordinator of student activities, from left: Merna Abdel-Gleil, Hamilton West High School; Nicolo Cappuccino, Nottingham High School; Marc Caiola, Robbinsville High School; and Ryan Meszaros, Steinert High School. Our club wishes all the 2017-18 Students of the Month the best of success in their endeavors after high school graduation.
Robbinsville Police Community Service Commendation
The club was pleased to recognize Detective Wayne Haugh and Patrolman Edward Vincent of the Robbinsville Township Police Department with “Community Service Awards” at our May 4 meeting. In his nomination letter to us, Police Chief Christopher A. Nitti noted that the two officers “….organized a fundraiser for cancer research…which meant a lot to the department and the community because we were doing it for our Twp. Recreation Director Joe Barker who has been battling cancer.” Sadly, Mr. Barker lost his battle and passed away early this year. The fundraiser resulted in a $3,000 donation to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Pictured, from left, are Bill Coleman, Police Award Committee Chairman, Rotary Club President Chris Reetz, Ptl. Vincent and Det. Haugh.
Dress For Success Donation
Club President Chris Reetz recently presented a $500.00 donation check from the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation, Inc. to Nancy Musco, Program Manager of Dress for Success – Central Jersey. The non-profit’s mission is “… to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.” To learn more about Dress for Success and how to donate to them or volunteer to help them, visit https://mercercounty.dressforsuccess.org/ .
April Students of the Month
Our Friday, April 13 meeting included honoring Students of the Month. Pictured with Rotary Club president Chris Reetz, from left, are Shanutae Rodney, Steinert High School; Megan Dunn, Nottingham High School; Mohammed Jaradat, Hamilton West High School; and Samantha Cicala, Robbinsville High School.
Pasta Fest 2018
The club held its annual Pasta Fest family dinner on Friday night to raise money for its 2018 scholarship fund. As always, Chef Al Pellegrino made some awesome sauce. Special recognition goes to the event Co-chairs Scott Biondi and Bill Coleman, and of course to all club members.
March Students of the Month
Each month during the school year our club honors Students of the Month from the four public high schools in Hamilton and Robbinsville Townships. The students tell us about their academic work, extra curricular activities, community service and plans after high school graduation. Pictured here with Rotarian Wally Sawka are our March Students of the Month, from left, Alyssa Kramarz, Steinert High School; Nicholas Anderson, Robbinsville High School; Simardeep Boyal, Nottingham High School; Daniel Fechter, Hamilton West High School; and Victoria Martin, Hamilton West High School.
St. Baldricks Fund Raiser
About 50 Rotarians and their guests gathered at River Horse Brewery to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a chief funding source for childhood cancer research. The event was sponsored by the Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary Club and the Trenton Rotary Club. Attendees enjoyed craft beer, appetizers and fellowship, but the main attraction was seeing Bill Cleave from TRC and Chris Reetz and Joe Giambelluca from RHRC have their hair and beards shaved.
Vern Applegate Community Service Award
The Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary Club presented its 2018 “Vern Applegate Community Service Award” to John Ward, executive director of Robbinsville Meals on Wheels. The award, named for a late club member, is given annually to an individual who has a significant history of service to the local community. John Ward, whose volunteer service included a number of years as a driver for Meals on Wheels, also serves on the Robbinsville Senior Advisory Committee, the Patient/Family Advisory Committee and Falls Committee at RWJ/Barnabas Hospital, and volunteers as a Patient Relations Representative/Advocate at the hospital. Prior to retirement, John worked in public education as a teacher, coach, curriculum supervisor, assistant principal and principal. Pictured, from left, are Rotary Club president Chris Reetz, who presented the award plaque and a $1,000 donation to Robbinsville Meals on Wheels, Inc. from the club’s foundation, John Ward, and Renee Burns, Robbinsville Senior Center director, who spoke eloquently about John’s dedication to Meals on Wheels and its clients.
Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yeade Speaks
Our club members were pleased to welcome back the Hon. Kelly Yaede, Mayor of Hamilton Township, to their February 9th meeting. The mayor presented an update about new businesses in the township, describing it as “a vibrant economy,” and talked about plans to redevelop a number of older shopping centers, the township’s performance of snow removal this winter, and the challenges of combating the opioid epidemic.
February Students of the Month
Students of the Month were honored at the club’s February 9 meeting. Pictured with coordinator of student activities Greg Blair are, from left, Andrea Pintimalli, Robbinsville High School; Revika Singh, Robbinsville High School; and Jermer Best, Nottingham High School.
January Students of the Month
Mercer County Clubs Host College Possibilities Night at TCNJ
Members of the Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary participated in a College Possibilities Night event sponsored by the Rotary clubs of Mercer County and TCNJ. Students and parents leraned about planning, financing, scholarships and a range of other topics. Participating Universities included TCNJ, Rider, Mercer County Community College, Stockton University, Mercer County Technical School.
Winter Survival Kits for Rescue Mission of Trenton
A Rotary Club tradition was enjoyed at our December 22 meeting with the assembly of “Winter Survival Kits” – bags packed with scarves, hats, gloves and personal hygiene items. The project, led by Rotarian Danely Gonzaez, resulted in over 100 kits prepared for donation to The Rescue Mission of Trenton ( www.rmtrenton.org & https://www.facebook.com/rmtrenton/ ). After breakfast, members listened to Barrett Young, chief operating officer, speak about the Mission’s focus on helping those in need to help themselves. Also, Rescue Mission client Adam Watson (at right in photo with Mr. Young and club president Chris Reetz) spoke about how the Mission is helping him turn his life around and have a promising future.
TASK Executive Director Addresses Club
December Students of the Month
Under the leadership of member Margaret Grazer, the Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary collected 97 new coats for Gateway Community Action Partners.
November Students of the Month
Each month during the school year our club welcomes its Students of the Month. Seniors from the four public high schools in Hamilton and Robbinsville tell us about their school activities, community volunteer work, what career they might aspire to and their college or other plans after high school. Pictured with Greg Blair, club coordinator of student activities, are, from left, Fedjine Victor, Nottingham High School; Samantha Rentner, Hamilton High School West; Branford Kanagawa, Robbinsville High School; and Dylan Mcgettigan, Steinert High School.
2017 Art Auction / Silent Auction
Our third and final major fundraiser of the year, the Art Auction / Silent Auction, was held October 20 at the Nottingham Ballroom in Hamilton Sq. About 200 patrons enjoyed light fare, beer, wine and soft drinks, and then took part in spirited bidding on framed fine art pieces and valuable silent auction gift baskets. Proceeds from the event benefit our Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation and its efforts to assist The Rotary Foundation with hurricane relief, and help local charities.
Donation to National Guard State Family Readiness Council
The Rotary Club’s October 13 meeting was extra special because our guest speaker was Len Mayersohn from the National Guard State Family Readiness Council, and we welcomed our first Students of the Month for the 2017-2018 school year. Mr. Mayersohn outlined his group’s mission – assisting families of National Guard members deployed overseas – and gave heart-warming accounts of how that assistance has impacted Guard families. Club President Chris Reetz presented Mr. Mayersohn with a $2,500 donation check from our foundation, the result of fundraising at our June Rotarun 5K Race.
October Students of the Month
Each month from October through May, students from the four public high schools in Hamilton and Robbinsville Townships speak to club members about what they do in school, community service they perform, and what their plans are after graduation. Pictured, from left, are Len Mayersohn, Ashley Stamboulian, Robbinsville High School; Sierra Mulrine, Nottingham High School; Kevin Phildor, Hamilton West High School; William Wall, Steinert High School; and Greg Blair, coordinator of student activities.
Send Hunger Packing Food Drive (#4)
Our 2017 food drive campaign for the Mercer St. Friends Food Bank’s “Send Hunger Packing” program was closed out in grand fashion with a large collection at Shop Rite Hamilton Marketplace. The amount collected this year, including food purchased with cash donations, totals 3,600 lbs., breaking our previous record from last year. Thanks to employees of Risoldi’s Market, Acme Market, Shop Rite Hamilton Sq., and Shop Rite Hamilton Marketplace for their hospitality during the food drives and to the generous shoppers in our area for helping ease childhood hunger.
Send Hunger Packing Food Drive (#3)
Our third food drive Saturday at Acme Market was a great success, with 675 lbs. of food plus cash donations received. Jamal Cox from the Mercer St. Friends Food Bank picked up the items for us. Our final event is 11 am to 2 pm Saturday, Sept. 30 at Shop Rite Hamilton Marketplace on Route 130. As always, thanks to the generous shoppers in the area for supporting the “Send Hunger Packing” food drive campaign.
25th Anniversary Celebration
Team Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary
Members of the Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary supported the Recovery Advocates walk/run. Pictured from left to right: Sim Rochonchou, Chris Reetz, Dave Aust and Orsola Andersen.
District Governor Visit
Rotary Club members welcomed Bob Zeglarski, 2017-2018 District Governor, and Dave Navasio, Assistant District Governor, to its September 22 meeting. In his remarks, DG Bob informed members about upcoming events, including the Vocational Assembly, Eat, Drink & Share fundraiser and the annual District Conference. He also outlined how our District 7510 will be merged with District 7470 in the next Rotary fiscal year. Finally, he announced that the club will receive a District Grant in the amount of $1,000 for its annual literacy project.
Send Hunger Packing Food Drive (#2)
Thank you to members who volunteered for our food drive at Shop Rite 33 today, especially several who had not originally signed up. We collected a LARGE amount of food (we’ll know the weight early next week) and a generous amount of cash donations. Joe Jones from MSFFB picked up the food with his truck which was a great help to us. Now on to Acme Hamilton Sq. next Saturday to continue our quest for a new club record for annual food drive collections !!
New Member Induction
We are pleased to announce the addition of a third new member to the club – Wendy Sturgeon. Wendy, a resident of Hamilton Township, and past member of the Rotary Club, is the Executive Director of EASEL Animal Rescue League. Pictured, from left, are new member ceremony officiator Doug Conkling, club president Chris Reetz, Wendy and her sponsor Greg Blair.
New Member Induction
The Rotary Club is pleased to announce the addition of another new member – Wayne Mernone. Wayne, a Hamilton Township resident, is a Personal Financial Representative with twenty-five years of experience with several major financial services companies. Wayne serves on the board of directors of UIH Family Partners, a non-profit providing job development and search assistance as part of its efforts to empower fathers and strengthen families. Pictured, from left, are Wayne’s membership sponsor Dave Aust, Wayne Mernone, club president Chris Reetz and new member ceremony officiator Doug Conkling.
Hamilton School Superintendent Speaks on Planned Improvements
Scott Rocco, Superintendent of Hamilton Township Schools, was the club’s guest speaker at the August 25 club meeting. Mr. Rocco, a long-time Hamilton resident with three children in the district, outlined planned improvements to the township’s 24 schools. The facilities average over 70 years in age – with 5 of them over 100 years in age – and the administration and BOE have identified the construction priorities as those dealing with student/staff safety, security, critical infrastructure and ADA access. A referendum vote to approve funding for the improvements will be held on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 from 2:00 to 8:00 PM.
New Member Induction
The Rotary Club is pleased to announce the addition of a new member – George Ott. George is a retired manufacturing professional, a member of the board of directors of the Roebling Museum and a member and past president of the Antique Automobile Club of America, Mid-Jersey Region. He and his wife Kim reside in Hamilton Square.
Backpacks for Children in Need
Members of the club, led by Margaret Grazer and Sharon Lucidi, collected and assembled 133 backpacks for children in need. Each backpack was stocked with school supplies. Backpacks will be donated to the following: 53 to the Wilson school, 63 to Family Guidance Center, and 17 to children residing in the Kingsbury Apartments (a low income housing complex). Wilson teacher Jason Pascal and his principal Bobbie Panfili thanked the club for its continuing support.
The club kicked off its 2017 Food Drive campaign for the Mercer St. Friends Food Bank’s “Send Hunger Packing” program at Risoldi’s Market in Mercerville on Sat. Aug. 19. Several hundred pounds of key food items and cash donations were received from generous shoppers to feed hungry kids on weekends during the school year. Club members and volunteer (and prospective member) George Ott collected the food for pick-up by Chad Johnson (and son Chad, Jr.) from the food bank. The campaign will continue with collections from 11 am to 2 pm at Shop Rite, Rte 33, Hamilton Sq. on Sept. 16; Acme Market, Rte 33, Hamilton Sq., Sept. 23; and Shop Rite Hamilton Marketplace, Rte. 130, Sept. 30.
National Night Out Bike Drive
Donated bicycles are repaired and resold to fund after-school programs.