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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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.
Officer and Director Installation
The club installed its officers for the 2017 – 2018 year. Pictured are David Navazzio (ADG), Scott Biondi (2016 – 2017 president) and Chris Reetz (2017 – 2018 president).
Paul Harris Award recipient Danely Gonzales (left).
Paul Harris Award recipient Bill Coleman (right).
Presidential Citation Award recipient Joe Giambelluca.
George Prutky Vocational Service Award
The club was pleased to recently present the 2017 “George Prutky Vocational Service Award” to the Family Guidance Center. FGC operates programs to provide affordable services in mental health, addictions, financial literacy and special education to a diverse population in our community. The award, named for a late founder of our club, is given to an organization (public, private or corporate) which is dedicated to serving the community, or which gives back to the community outside of its regular course of business. Pictured with Beth Hart of FGC is award committee chairperson Margaret Graser.
Hamilton YMCA Donation
The Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation recently donated $500 for the Hamilton Area YMCA’s 2017 Annual Campaign. Scott Biondi, club president, presented a check to Diana Zita, Interim CEO of the Y, and Ms. Zita spoke to club members about the history of the YMCA and the Hamilton organization’s many programs.
Mercer Elementary School Cookout
Each June, members of the Rotary Club cook hamburgers, cheeseburgers and hot dogs and serve Italian Ice for about 500 students at the Mercer Elementary School, part of the Mercer County Special Services School District. The children enjoy a picnic-type lunch as part celebrating the end of a successful school year.
Bike Exchange Donation
Club members Bill Coleman, at left, and Chris Reetz are pictured on June 6 delivering the last load of bicycles to the Boys & Girls Club Bike Exchange from our Spring Bike Drive. A total of 48 bikes and 7 scooters were donated so far this year, with another bike drive scheduled for August 1. The bikes will be rebuilt by volunteers and sold to the public at modest prices to raise money for Boys & Girls Club after-school programs.
Robbinsville High School Scholarships
Robbinsville High School celebrated its “Senior Scholarship Awards Night” on June 6. Club president Scott Biondi presented RHS senior Brian Wojton with a $1,000 scholarship from our Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation.
Steinert High School Scholarships
On June 6, at Steinert High School’s “Senior Awards Night,” member Bill Coleman presented Rotary Club scholarship checks and certificates to, from left, Emily Clark, Riley Smith, Julianna Bell and Kelsey Espenhorst. Each year the club awards about $6,000 in scholarships to high school seniors who reside in Hamilton and Robbinsville Townships.
Rotarun 5K Run
At our second annual Rotarun, approximately 100 runners and walkers enjoyed a beautiful day in Veteran’s Park.
This event benefits the National Guard State Family Readiness council.
For race results, Click Here
Megan’s Place Spring Event
Members of the Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary had their annual spring flower planting at Megan’s place Park. Fifth grade students from Sayen School enjoyed lunch and then planted flowers.
A good time was had by all, and the park looks beautiful!
Police Community Service Award
Our Rotarians were pleased to honor Det. Steven A. Gould with a police “Community Service Award” at the May 26 club meeting. Pictured with Det. Gould is Chris Reetz, award committee chairman and club president-elect.
A native Hamiltonian, Det. Gould has been a member of the Hamilton PD for 14 years; is president of the Hamilton Police Athletic League (PAL); and was a founding member of the John J. Harvilla Tinman Foundation, named in honor of a fallen police officer and which raises money for local children with serious medical issues. He also organizes an annual event to raise money for Ryan’s Quest, a local charity devoted to funding research to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Det. Gould was presented with a $250 donation from our foundation for Ryan’s Quest.
May Students of the Month
Our May 19 meeting featured Students of the Month for the final time this school year. Pictured with member Greg Blair, are, from left, Gregory Buda, Robbinsville High School; Kara Podgurski, Steinert High School; Hailee Zola, Hamilton West High School; and Anjali Patel, Notthingham High School. Many thanks to the guidance counselors from the four public high schools for nominated an impressive group of students this year for our Student of the Month program.
Camp Fire NJ Donation
Club president Scott Biondi recently presented a $500 donation check from our foundation to Jessica Nitti, executive director of Camp Fire New Jersey. The non-profit group partners with NJ school districts to educate and empower youth. They currently provide programs in over 120 schools within and surrounding Mercer County. Camp Fire’s programs are developmentally and age appropriate and range from pre-K through 12th grade. Programming is offered outside the classroom in afterschool programs and summer camps. For more information visit campfirenj.org.
Police Community Service Award
We were pleased to honor Sgt. Thomas Egan of the Robbinsville Township Police Department with our “Community Service Award” at the May 12 club meeting. From information received with his nomination by the department, we learned that Sgt. Egan has always been involved in community events and has played a large part in implementing programs in Robbinsville such as Coffee with a Cop, Lunch at the Senior Center, Ice Cream Ticket Reward and Bus Stop Safety. Sgt. Egan recently spearheaded a relationship with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and several officers have agreed to participate in their Big’s in Blue program. He is also in the process of developing a youth academy and possibly a senior academy. Pictured with Sgt. Egan, are, at left, Police Chief Chris Nitti, and award committee chairman Chris Reetz.
Hamilton Mobile Meals
The April 21 club meeting featured Eileen Eversheim, exec. dir. of Mobile Meals of Hamilton Township, Inc. who spoke to us about the funding challenges faced by her organization. The non-profit group, organized in 1975, delivers hot, nutritious meals to Hamilton residents whose physical, mental or social condition require a home-delivered meal service. The service enables them to maintain health and independence in their home for a longer period of time. Meals are delivered five days a week by a group of caring and dedicated volunteers. To volunteer with them or make a donation to them, visit http://mobilemealshamilton.weebly.com/ . Pictured with Eileen is club president Scott Biondi who presented her with a $1,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation, Inc.
2016-17 Literacy Project
Congratulations to Edna Stout on the completion of our 2016-17 Literacy Project !! About 50 children were given books at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) yesterday. That follows our donation last fall to the library at Wilson Elementary School. Special thanks to Heidi Coleman and Nils Stout for their help yesterday. These donations were made possible with a District Grant.
The kids also enjoyed an egg hunt, face painting and crafts, assisted by Bonner Scholars from TCNJ and Rider University. The Bonner Scholars Program provides a service-learning scholarship for students who have high financial need and a commitment to service.
April Students of the Month
Pictured with Greg Blair, Rotary Club coordinator of student activities, are our April 2017 Students of the Month, from left, Brittany Bennett, Nottingham High School; Etai Clyde, Robbinsville High School; Alex Venutolo, Hamilton West High School; and Christopher Routh, Steinert High School.
Guest speaker Hon. John Cimino
The Rotary Club’s April 7 meeting featured an address by the Hon. John Cimino, Mercer County Freeholder. Freeholder Cimino spoke about the many positive things going on in Mercer County and the county government’s role in helping move things forward. Examples cited were the expansion of Mercer County Airport, including a proposed new passenger terminal; a bus line put in between Hamilton Marketplace and the new Amazon warehouse for its employees; the county park system; and others. Also, he told high school students attending the meeting about the importance of public and community service.
Guest Speaker Dr. Kathie Foster, acting superintendent of Robbinsville Schools
Our guest speaker at the March 31 meeting was Dr. Kathie Foster, acting superintendent of Robbinsville Schools. Dr. Foster told us about an effort by school administrators to identify critical skills and personal characteristics that will be important to the future success of district students. High school students and parents drew human figures on chart paper and wrote down their ideas, e.g. “digital citizenship,” “multiple languages,” and others.
Club members also voiced their ideas and Dr. Foster led a discussion on how those critical factors might be included in the educational curriculum. Pictured with Dr. Foster is club president Scott Biondi.
March Students of the Month
Each month from October through May, our club recognizes “Students of the Month” from area high schools. The students tell our club members about their achievements in school, community service they perform, and their academic and career plans. Pictured with club member Wally Sawka are, from left, Arianna Durling, Steinert High School; and Danielle Coscio, Robbinsville High School.
Vern Applegate Community Service Award
Our March 17 club meeting honored Andrew (Andy) Santoro with the annual “Vern Applegate Community Service Award,” named for the late Rotarian and active community volunteer Vern Applegate. Andy was nominated by club member Dave Aust for his volunteer work as the baseball game announcer with The Miracle League of Mercer County. Nicknamed “The Voice of The Miracle League,” Andy has a special way of making each ballplayer feel special as they come to bat. The Miracle League features a specially built field so that children with disabilities can enjoy playing baseball. Pictured, from left, at Dave Aust, club president Scott Biondi, Andy Santoro and Dan Sczweck, league executive director.
February Students of the Month
Pictured with member Greg Blair, from left, are Austin Lloyd, Nottingham High School; Riley Smith, Steinert High School; Victoria Mysholowsky, Robbinsville High School; and Joselyn Fallas, Hamilton West High School. The students were given information about our scholarship program and an online application available at rhrotary.org/scholarships.
Club members enjoyed a brunch at Killarneys.
A good time with Food and fellowship was had by all.
Recovery Advocates of America
At the Club’s February 3 meeting, representatives from Recovery Advocates of America gave members an update about new proposed legislation to combat opioid and heroin addiction, spoke about the CARE program ( Community Addiction Recovery Effort), and received a $1,000 donation check from the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation Inc. Pictured, from left, are Scott Biondi, club president, Joe Ricci, Mike Zicciardi and John Mincarelli.
From their website: “Recovery Advocates of America is a 501(c)(3) not for profit peer to peer center that strives to provide education around the disease of addiction, tools to sustain recovery through engagement, and reduce the stigma of addiction within our community.”
For more information, visit https://www.recoveryadvocates.org/
January Students of the Month
Our Students of the Month for January and their parents shared breakfast with club members and learned more about our charitable work. Pictured with Greg Blair, coordinator of student activities, from left, are Mathyide Pluviose, Hamilton High School West; Elizabeth Murdry, Nottingham High School; Chandler Stachowski, Robbinsville High School; and Patrick Byrne, Steinert High School. Each month during the school year, guidance counselors nominate students to speak at a club meeting about their school activities, volunteer efforts and what they plan to do after graduation from high school.
Winter Survival Kits
Our December 16, 2016 club meeting was dedicated to assembling dozens of “Winter Survival Kits” with items chosen to comfort homeless individuals during a harsh season of the year. The kits, and additional pairs of socks, hats, scarfs, gloves and blankets, were presented to Mary Gay Abbott-Young, CEO of the Rescue Mission of Trenton, along with a $500 donation from the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation, Inc.
Mary Gay then addressed the club members, telling us about the Mission’s work to provide a safe, clean, warm, refuge for the homeless, the hungry, the transient and the addicted. Among numerous other things offered there is TEACH, a comprehensive adult education program that offers GED preparation, basic literacy tutoring, parenting classes, and computer/word processing skills, plus a job placement program for residents who have completed their TEACH program requirements. Mission resident John Hampton gave the club a first-hand account of his background and how the Rescue Mission of Trenton is helping him re-build his life.
Salvation Army Red Kettle Day
Rotary members volunteered to ring the bell for The Salvation Army Red Kettle Day at ACME on Rte 33 in Hamilton.
Students of the Month
Our Students of the Month for December and their parents shared breakfast with club members and heard Hamilton Township Councilman Dave Kenny talk about current developments in the town. Pictured with Greg Blair, club coordinator of student activities, from left, are Brian Chesko, Hamilton West High School; Bonvie Fosam, Robbinsville High School; Will James, Steinert High School; and Matthew Knappenberger, Nottingham High School. Each month during the school year, guidance counselors nominate students to speak at a club meeting about their school activities, volunteer efforts and what they plan to do after graduation from high school.
Self Defense Seminar
On November 30th, the club held a self defense seminar at the Hamilton Township Public Library. The seminar covered parking lot safety and self defense techniques of Israeli Krav Maga. Approximately 30 members of our community attended the event.
Students of the Month
The Rotary Club recently honored its Students of the Month for November. Pictured with Greg Blair, coordinator of student activities, are, from left, Stephen Buonamassa, Robbinsville High School; Tay-Sha Jones-Jacobs, Hamilton West High School; Andrew Bentz, Nottingham High School; and Giavanna Barbiero, Steinert High School.
Our ongoing literacy program again included donating a large number of books to Wilson Elementary School to help re-build their library. Pictured with students from the school’s Early Act Club are, at rear from the left, Karen Mihalow, Early Act Advisor; Greg Byrne, librarian; club member and books project chairperson Edna Stout; Bobbie Panfili, school principal; and Scott Biondi, club president.
Students of the Month
Each school year guidance counselors nominate students and they speak to us about their high school achievements and community service, and their plans after they graduate.
Pictured, from left, are club member Greg Blair, coordinator of student activities; Braith Dicker, Robbinsville High School; Juliana Bell, Steinert High School; Nicholas Christie, Nottingham High School; and Michael Carbone, Hamilton High School West.
Send Hunger Packing Food Drive
Food collected is used to fill backpacks for children to take home on weekends to ensure they get nourishment when school lunches are not available.
Great job Rotarians!
New Member Induction
Lifetime Achievement Award
At this morning’s meeting we honored Bob Barrett with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” Sim Rochonchou and others did a great job recounting the numerous Rotary, Rider U., Re-Max and Hamilton Township awards received by Bob, and with great affection told stories about Bob’s service to our Club.
Congratulations, Bob !!
Robbinsville National Night Out Bike Drive
Our first year exhibiting at Robbinsville’s National Night Out – combined with a Bike Drive for the Boys & Girls Club – was a great success. Over 25 bikes were collected there and more will be added from those in storage and from residents who asked us to pick them up from them. The overall haul should be well over 30 !
Special mention is needed for Bill Coleman who organized the event with the RPD and who is handling delivery of the bikes this week.
This picture was taken as the event was being set up, many more members came to help out.
Margaret Graser and Chris Reetz.
1st Annual Rotarun
The club is held its first annual 5K race and fundraiser – “ROTARUN” – in Veterans’ Park.
Over 90 runners participated in the event which benefits local and military charities.
For race results, click here: rotarun_results.pdf
Donation to Megans Place
The club’s foundation board recently approved a $2,000 donation to Megans Place Fund, Inc., the foundation which owns and maintains Megan’s Place Park in Hamilton Township. Pictured with club president Tom Lanigan (center) are, from left, Megans Place Fund, Inc. board members Sim Rochonchou, Greg Blair, Sharon Lucidi and Doug Conkling. Megan’s Place is dedicated to the memory of Megan Kanka for whom “Megan’s Laws” nationwide are named.
2016 Vern Applegate Community Service Award
Ed Drag, Rotary Club founder, driving force behind the club’s major projects and generous supporter of our foundation through his company, Selective Insurance, was recently honored with the Vern Applegate Community Service Award for 2016. The late Vern Applegate was a long-time club member and community volunteer. Pictured, from left, are Greg Blair, Ed Drag and club president Tom Lanigan.
2016 George Prutky Vocational Service Award
A recent club meeting included honoring the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) with the 2016 George Prutky Vocational Service Award, “…In Recognition of Programs to Feed the Hungry in our Area, Educate Adults, Encourage Talented Artists and Provide a Variety of Social Services.” The late George Prutky was a club founder and prominent area businessman.
2016 Vern Applegate Community Service Award
The same meeting included awarding the 2016 Vern Applegate Community Service Award to Dennis Micai, club member and executive director of TASK, “…In Recognition of Dedication to Providing Social Services to the Most Deserving Among Us, and for Development of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen Into a Vibrant Community.” The late Vern Applegate was a long-time club member and community volunteer.
Pictured with Dennis and club president Tom Lanigan are Jaime Parker, TASK program manager and Jim Parker, the TASK board chairman.
Club Scholarship Awards
Rotary scholarships this year totaled $6,500 and were awarded to Matthew Kalczynski, Alexis Cettina and Jillian Testa from Robbinsville High School; Jeremy Conover, Laura Paragone, Taylor Marcinkowski and Isabel Shin from Steinert High School; and Dale Laird from Hamilton High School West. Pictured is club member Bill Coleman presenting the awards to the Steinert High students.
Hamilton Area YMCA
Mercer Elementary School
Christopher Harris, principal of the Mercer Elementary School, was presented with a $500 donation by Club President Tom Lanigan. The school is part of the Mercer Special Services School District which provides programs for preschool disabled, multiple disabled, autistic and emotionally disturbed students.
Rotarians provided lunch and a snack. A good time was had by all, and the park looks beautiful!
Spring Bike Drive
Our Spring Bike Drive at the Robbinsville Green Fair/Community Festival was a success, with 28 used bikes donated to the Boys & Girls Club Bike Exchange. There, the bikes are refurbished and sold to the public, with the proceeds used for after-school and other programs. Our donation is worth about $1,200 in potential sales revenue to them.
Club Members Prepare Barbeque for Mercer Elementary School
Approximately 400 hamburgers and hot dogs were prepared.
Community Police Award – Robbinsville Township Police Department
At its May 27 meeting the club honored Detective Scott Kivet of the Robbinsville Police Department with a Community Service Award for his long-time service to citizens of the township. Det. Kivet works closely with groups, including City of Angels and Recovery Advocates of America, helping individuals recover and rehabilitate from drug addiction. He also runs “Operation Smashed”, an effort to teach students at Robbinsville High School about the dangers of driving while impaired with alcohol or drugs. Further, he has served as Plainsboro Township’s Deputy Fire Chief and a volunteer Fire Coordinator in Middlesex County, and worked as a coordinator with the Office of Emergency Management.
Community Service Award – Hamilton Police Division
The club honored Lt. Joseph D. Mastropolo of the Hamilton Township Police Division with a 2016 Community Service Award for his efforts to foster close police-community relations. Lt. Mastropolo, a 30-year police officer, has been the executive director of the Hamilton Township Police Athletic League since 2000. The Hamilton PAL serves upwards to 2,000 children in various programs and they award college scholarships. Lt. Mastropolo was also given a $250 donation for PAL from our foundation.
Club Donates to Recovery Advocates of America
At our May 6 meeting, representatives from Recovery Advocates of America were presented a $1,000 donation from our foundation and spoke about the work of the group to combat drug addiction in our area. Pictured below are club president Tom Lanigan, RAA Recovery Coaches John Mincarelli and Mike Zicciardi, and Sim Rochonchou, club member and RAA board member.
New Club Members
Guest Speaker: The Mayor of Hamilton Twp.
Our guest speaker at the February 26 meeting was The Honorable Kelly A. Yaede, Mayor of Hamilton Township. Mayor Yaede gave the club an update about new developments in township government, including police department initiatives, new businesses moving into the area, communications with residents through social media, the HAMSTAT Call Center system, and more.