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Changeover and Recharge

By Marty Peak Helman

What a night! The Rotary Clubhouse was filled with members and well-wishers who were excited to thank President Bruce Harris for a great presidential year, and to welcome Tory Paxson to the presidency.

The festivities started with our own remarkably tone-deaf singing group, the “Rotations,” back despite popular demand and dressed in their ‘50s best, who gave a rousing rendition of “You’re the One That I Want” from the musical “Grease.” Bruce played along, leather jacket and moves and all, to great applause. Afterward, he summed up our year.

The club gave over $102,000 to charity, thanks to the ever-popular Barn sales and all our hard work. Bruce broke that down as $56,000 to community needs including the Food Pantry, CRC, and the Community Fridge; $30,000 to scholarships, education and teacher appreciation; $10,000 to international causes including Ukraine relief.

We also met and will exceed our goal of $10,000 to the Rotary Foundation’s annual giving fund, which will be increased by another $2900 from the club in matching gifts. We also supported Rotary’s polio eradication activities to the tune of $1500.

We once again provided bikes for summer workers. We not only supported the community fridge financially, we also rebuilt/insulated it and made it a year-round opportunity. We collected excess produce from Damariscotta on a weekly basis and redistributed it here in the Region, and we provided 3000 pints of soup to the Food Pantry.

We remembered the “Fifth Rule” of Rotary and had fun. Corn hole tournament, pumpkin carving, Halloween costumes – not to mention the weekly fun we have at the Barn. Biggest fun event of the year, however, has to be the Rotary float in this week’s Windjammer’s parade. Tory and her elves tied, glued and staple-gunned Todd’s flatbed into a wonderful boat, the “S.S.Rotarian,” and a crowd of Rotarians rode, walked and biked in the parade, blowing soap bubbles to the cheers of the crowd. Special thanks goes to Todd Hyson, who not only lent the flatbed but also drove the truck. It was awesome, and even if our float didn’t win a prize, we know we’re the best. Who cares what the judges think, anyway?

Bruce called out Judi White, Mike Thompson, Tory Paxson, Brian McGrath, Irene Fowle, Shawn Lewin and the entire Barn team as well as every member of the club for our individual and collective involvement in community activities. Then, to thunderous applause, he announced that Bill Prince was our “Rotarian of the Year” for his up-front work with the bikes and the barn and his behind-the-scenes work as Foundation Treasurer. Way to go, Bill!

Bruce also took the opportunity to introduce his family. Rather than embarrass them in public, let’s just say that the kids are bright, talented, hardworking in academics and sports, and love theatre and musicals. And that Medea is the glue who keeps Bruce in line and helps guide the kids.

At some point Tory took over, and thanked everyone involved in creating the Windjammers float, and promised another wonderful year. Lorraine Faherty, our Assistant Governor, presented her with her president’s pin as well as a totebag for Bruce.

Did I mention that the Clubhouse was full for the occasion? Lots of family came for the Changeover. In addition to Bruce’s entire family, and Tory’s Mom Sandy Paxson, spouses Ann Reed, Annette Stormont, Margi Herbold, Doug Fowle were present. So was Sue Louisignau, still a guest, but not for long, I understand.

Next week the Clubhouse will be “dark,” either from exhaustion or because it’s Fourth of July week, I’m not sure which. We will be back in action on Thursday, July 13, for another year of community service, Barn sales, social activities and fun. Be there! And in the meantime, the Barn will be open every Saturday (no holidays for the Barn!) from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. for steals and deals. Join us!

#5, Is it Fun?