Members of the New City Rotary Club along with representatives of the club’s sponsoring organizations, the Pearl River and Spring Valley Rotary clubs, marked six decades of service to the community. The Monday celebration came two days after the actual anniversary.
Three longtime Rotary members, Harry Bloomfeld, Sandi Jeanette, who serves as senior advisor and served as president, and Amy Salo, who oversees international service, took turns sharing highlights of the club’s history, current projects and international programs. Rotary’s motto is “Service-Above-Self and they explained how the chapter achieved that goal in numerous ways over the years
New City Rotary formed in the summer of 1952, but did not celebrate its Charter Night with an Installation Dinner until March 23, 1953. The sponsoring Rotary Clubs were Pearl River and Spring Valley, with one member of each club joining the new club in New City, which had 30 charter members. When and Where Shall We Meet?
The club's service projects over the years were developed to meet a need in the local, district or international community. Some of the initial programs included bicycle safety, a Halloween Ragamuffin Parade, fishing derby at Lake Deforest. In 1954, Rotary members started the first Little League in New City, and supported it for about five years, until it became self-sustaining. They also helped Jawonio by building a playground for the campus. Jawonio was supportive of us too, printing our weekly newsletter for many years.
Originally Rotarians prepared holiday food baskets for needy families. They still provide assistance by “adopting” struggling families that community agencies identify and shop for their specific needs. Members participate in food drives for People-to-People and each week we deliver “Meals on Wheels” to people unable to shop and prepare their own meals.
Rotarians help keep New City clean by collecting trash along Route 304 several times a year. They also encourage young people to provide community service by supporting Interact clubs for high school students and Rotaract clubs for college students. The longest running New City Rotary project has been the scholarships for graduating high school seniors who plan to continue their education. The scholarship program includes scholarships for students going to college and technical education. The scholarships are funded in part by the New City Rotary Foundation and Madelon Berger, who created a special scholarship in honor of her husband, Dr. Harris Berger.
Salo explained early international programs funded digging clean water wells in the Philippines and purchasing bicycles for girls in India so they could attend school. Current programs include plans to eradicate polio worldwide, a clean water project in India, micro financing of loans or investment capital for small and medium-size businesses in developing countries and world. The Rotaplast program has surgically corrected 15,000 cleft palates and lips for people around the world and Adopt-a-Soldier includes keeping in touch with sending care packages to military personnel serving in war zones.
They concluded by asking members to inform others about Rotary. “If we remember to share Rotary with the many other good people in our community who are willing to serve, New City Rotary will continue to grow.”