2017 2018 Happenings
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.