The Rotary Club: Who we are

First Posted: 11/3/2014

Six new members recently joined the Rotary Club of the Abingtons. Three of these people were inducted at the regular luncheon meeting held Thursday at the Inn at Nichols Village. They are Penny Mason, Janice Bevilaqua and Attorney Ryan Campbell.

In addition, three others joined at the newly-established evening meeting, held on Tuesdays at the Blu Wasabi Restaurant on Routes 6 and 11. They are Clarence Lamana, John Kennedy and Kim Harrington. They come from various career paths, such as pharmacy, education, law and business.

Members, both old and new, are urged to use a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide in personal and professional relationships. It’s called the Four Way Test. At the induction ceremony, each new member said:

“Of the things we think, say or do: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

Increasing membership is a goal of our president, Deb Kennedy. To accomplish this, she put changes in place so the Thursday lunch meeting could be shorter. She also set up the evening meeting where people can stop into Blu Wasabi after work, meet and greet each other at 5:30 p.m., have a Rotary meeting from 6 to 6:30 p.m. and stay for dinner if they wish.

And let’s not forget our breakfast club, which has been meeting for several years at the Glenburn Grill. To make joining Rotary more financially appealing, the breakfast and supper meetings are set up to pay for what you eat or drink, just as you would in any restaurant. The Thursday lunch meetings are billed to club members.

Last year when Deb was president-elect of our club, she had the opportunity to attend a workshop set up by Rotary International for the training of incoming leaders. There, she met the incoming Rotary International President, Gary C.K. Huang, and was inspired by his humility, and his excitement about Rotary. He was born in southern China but grew up in Taiwan.

In July 2014, when Deb took office locally, Gary C.K. Huang became the Rotary International President. He is the first Asian to serve in this capacity and is determined to do a good job. His main goal is membership increase. He wants 50,000 new Rotarians this year.

His inspiration became Deb’s directive.

In the four months that she has been president, our membership has increased by 15 percent.

What we do

Rotary’s ultimate purpose is to bring an end to poliomyelitis, a viral disease that affects the nervous system and leads to partial or full paralysis.

In 1952, the United States epidemic caused 58,000 people to be afflicted by polio. One of the most recognized victims was the U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who founded the organization of the March of Dimes to develop a vaccine. In 1957, when polio was considered the most frightening public health problem in the world, Jonas Salk, a medical researcher and virologist, developed a safe and effective vaccine. He had no interest in personal profit and took none. Rotarians around the world recently celebrated his birthday on Oct. 28 with renewed vigor to continue the fight.

Our club raises funds every week toward that goal. For every $1 we raise, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partners with Rotary and contributes $2, making our $1 turn into $3. Rotary is in the final push to end polio worldwide.

We accomplish small things on a local level. Dictionaries are given out to third-grade students in our area. Our town is made cleaner and more attractive with trash receptacles and planters. We partner with the local Boy Scouts and support their projects. In turn, they can be seen cleaning up after our events, such as on the day after our Fourth of July extravaganza.

The North Scranton Head Start will also benefit from our club’s giving spirit. Each club member will take the first name of a child enrolled in that program. We will then become the fairy godmother or godfather, gifting the child with the desired wish.

Teenagers who join our Interact Club in high school learn about the Rotary Four Way Test. We have supported their SMILE program to combat bullying and helped them to form a kinder high school environment. They were instrumental in initiating a “Pay It Forward” campaign on doing good for others. This program has been picked up by other Interact clubs.

Our Rotary International President Gary C.K. Huang recently said, “Rotary is special. It’s people helping people and having fun, like good friends do.”

His theme for this year is “Light up the world.”

And we will.

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