Rotary Club of Ridgefield Passes the Gavel to New Officers

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Officers for 2015-16, left to right: Tamra Evans, sergeant-at-arms; Rainer Gonet, president; Kristina Kelly, vice president; Bill Maxwell, secretary; not shown: Jonathan Dibble, sergeant-at-arms.

The Rotary Club or Ridgefield, whose “Rotary Year” runs July through June, installed new officers for 2015-2016 at a special meeting attended by members and guests at the Keeler Tavern Museum on Wednesday June 24. Taking office as of July 1: Rainer Gonet, president; Kristina Kelly, vice president (and president-elect for 2016-2017); Bill Maxwell, secretary; Jon Dibble and Tamra Evans, sergeants at arms. In addition to the officers, the Club inaugurated a slate of committee chairs who, together with the officers, comprise the Board of Directors, which runs the Club.

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Rich Vazzana, outgoing president, literally passes the gavel to Rainer Gonet, incoming president.

At the June 24 meeting, incoming president Gonet laid out his goals for the year which included continuing to improve the effectiveness of the Club’s charitable fundraising programs and strengthening relationships with local organizations.

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Bev Rogers (l) assisting Rainer Gonet (r) in presenting flowers to Carol Vazzana while Rich Vazzana looks on.

The Club is part of the global Rotary International organization with more than 1.2 million men and women members. Rotary’s mission is humanitarian service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotary Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds.
The Rotary Club of Ridgefield was founded in 1941. It is part of Rotary District 7980.

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Rich Vazzana receives a plaque from Rainer Gonet and joins the ranks of Past Presidents of the Club.

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Passing of the Gavel included recognition of Paul Harris Fellows.

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Rotary Club Awards $23,500 in Community Grants


Sue Manning, Rotary Club Chair of Grant Committee, delivers $500 grant check to TBICO (The Bridge to Independence & Career Opportunities) to help fund “Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives”program.

The Rotary Club of Ridgefield capped off its 2014-15 “Rotary Year” with $23,500 in Community Grants to local non-profit organizations. President Rich Vazzana, explained: “These Community Grants are in addition and to and separate from the more than $25,000 in ear-marked funds raised in 2014-15 for scholarships, winter fuel assistance, the international Rotary Foundation and to help local veterans.”

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Bill Maxwell delivers $15,00 grant check to Rides for Ridgefield to fund specialized scheduling software.

The Rotary Club’s Community Grants are used to meet an array of needs, including special purchases and projects by local groups. Highlights include: $5,000 to Ann’s Place to help provide cancer patients and their families a comprehensive set of non-medical services; $5,000 to Parks and Recreation to help build the Imagination Station playground in Ballard Park; $2,500 to RVNA for purchase of an “INR” machine used by a nurse to monitor blood clotting levels in patients who are taking blood thinning medications; $2,500 to Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra which, in partnership with SPHERE (Special People Housing, Education & Recreation) brings the orchestra’s musicians into SPHERE’s Music and Performing Arts meetings and SPHERE members to orchestra performances; $1,500 to Rides for Ridgefield for specialized scheduling software; $1,500 to Meals on Wheels.

Selection of grant recipients was made by a committee of Rotarians after a written application process. Rotary’s funds for Community Grants were raised primarily through the Taste of Ridgefield program in January and the Ridgefield Gone Country BBQ Festival, Rotary’s joint fund-raising venture with the Lounsbury House, which took place in May. All net proceeds are used for charitable purposes.

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Interact Club of Ridgefield High School Makes $450 in Donations

New Logo 2The Interact Club of Ridgefield High School made donations of $450 to Holocaust Child Survivors of Connecticut, Water Is Life, and the International Justice Mission.

Interact gives students ages 12-18 the chance to make a real difference while having fun.  Clubs meet at least twice a month and are sponsored by their local Rotary club.

The Interact Club of Ridgefield High School is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ridgefield.   Club member Sue Manning expressed it best: “So proud they are associated with our club.”

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Helping Make the Ridgefield Memorial Day Parade yet another Success!

Having Fun

By Bill Maxwell

IMG_0825-2 060915From our float, the two banners, and three cars, the 20 plus members of the Rotary Club of Ridgefield marched proudly in Ridgefield’s recent Memorial Day parade. The marchers handed out nearly 1500 flags to applauding and welcoming parade participants – especially the children and those children young at heart.

Rich Vazzana, our Club’s President, said, “our presence showcases the great work of good that we do in our Ridgefield community.” “As our marchers passed by the applauding crowds all along the IMG_0822-1 060915parade route made me real proud of what we do,” continued Rich.

Rainer Gonet, our incoming President stated, “thanks to all those who marched, those of us who rode, those who assembled the float, and a special thanks to Alex Karasnidi for quarterbacking this venue for our Club.”

Please see below for photos of our members marching in this special parade honoring those who have given of themselves for our country and our freedom.

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RHS Senior Leslie Huinker Awarded Ridgefield Rotary Scholarship of 10K

11406932_3586161647817_1736522465473186661_nReprinted from Ridgefield’s HamletHub, June 5, 2015

HamletHub’s very own senior intern, Leslie Huinker, was awarded the Ridgefield Rotary Scholarship, a $10,000 award at last night’s RHS Senior Awards Ceremony.

The Ridgefield Rotary Club is a service foundation that helps the community as well as international social projects. Every year, the club chooses one RHS senior who has demonstrated their dedication to service initiatives around the community and the school as well as in their personal life.

Following the Rotary Club’s motto of “Service Above Self” throughout high school, Leslie Huinker is this year’s honorary recipient. Leslie is a member of National Honor Society, participating in various blood drives and hair drives during the school year. She participated in DECA, Best Buddies, Key Club, Youth to Youth, Saferides, and Relay for Life. Leslie is also very involved in her church, Immanuel Lutheran, volunteering for vacation bible school as well as in her dance studio, the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, directing and choreographing fundraisers. Leslie feels “honored and humbled” to have been selected for this prestigious award.

Congratulations Leslie! Keep up the good work at Indiana University!

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