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Over 25 club members recently restored a popular club event, the traditional gathering on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at the Side Bar in the Borough of West Chester. Cancelled last year due to the pandemic,  the annual event was originally started several years ago by the sargent-at-arms to kick off the holidays. This fun gathering precedes a special Rotary event this year, the 100th Anniversary Gala, scheduled for December 9th at Penn Oaks Country Club, where over 250 folks are expected to celebrate our 100 years of Service Above Self. The only question we have about the Side Bar gathering- where were the fun awards and ugly sweaters that had become part of the Side Bar tradition?
“What an amazing experience!” commented Melissa Baxter when she landed on the ground, one of 110 individuals who rappelled down the 29 story Commerce Two building in Philadelphia recently to raise funds to benefit the Outward Bound program. Along with three other West Chester area Rotarians, (from left) Bill Ronayne, Dan Dunn, Baxter and Dennis Wallace, Baxter was among the dozen or so Rotarians in District 7450 who rappelled. Over $22,000 was raised by “Team Rotary” from West Chester, whose funds were donated to the Outward Bound program for middle and senior high girls in the West Chester Area School District. The donations will go toward teaching leadership and self-esteem. Baxter and Ronayne are members of The Rotary Club of West Chester, Dunn and Wallace are members of the Sunrise Rotary Club. This was the fourth time that Ronayne has participated in the Outward Bound rappelling event.
Jeff Spencer, President Steve Brown, and (former club member) Bryan Brockson raised a pint of “Purple Pinkie Pale Ale” at the club’s recent Pulled Pork Throwdown at the new Boy Scout center in Exton. Brockson, one of three owners of Locust Lane Craft Brewery in Malvern, invited attendees at the Rotary event to taste the new brew, an initiative between Rotary District 7450 and the brewery as a fund raiser for Rotary’s  End Polio Now. Each can had an explanation of Rotary’s polio mission, ”help eradicate polio from the planet. Throughout the world each time a Rotary volunteer administers a polio vaccine, a child's pinkie is colored purple with the topical solution Gentian Violet, temporarily marking them to prevent double dosage on National Immunization Days (NID). Lean more by scanning the QR code below.” Bryan said the brew was developed to see if it made sense to do it, and perhaps do it again next year. Having raised $2,000 between pre-sales and at happy hours throughout the district, Bryan believes it will be worth doing again next year. By the way, the beer has already sold out; look for it again next year! Thanks to Ebbie Alfree for capturing this photo. 
Bob “Smoker King” Rogers was chosen by the crowd of Rotarians and their guests as the winner at the club’s annual Pulled Pork Throwdown. His “Double Pork Delight” was chosen by the 40 plus attendees over the frequent previous winner, Melissa Baxter (left), and the team of Christine Wildauer and Mickey Hall, who took second place with their “Texas Pulled Pork.” Bob’s succulent dish featured a combination of pork butt and pork belly, marinated, injected and dry rubbed for 6 days before going into the smoker for over 15 hours. His “Sue chef” handled the clean-up for Bob, who we know as an adventurous, good cook as experienced by those of us lucky enough to have enjoyed dinner at the Rogers through the years. Do we have a James Beard awardee in our midst?
Melissa Baxter, (seated left), chairperson of the Community Philanthropic Committee , joins representatives of the non-profit organizations who received grants from the club, (seated second from left) Hallie Romanowski, Christine Zaccarelli, Glenda Brion, Kim Booz, and (standing from left) Dallas Knowlton, Ellen Donohoe, Rita Brouwer-Ancher, Emily McClure, Dr. Dolly Wideman-Scott, Don Neimetz, Meghan Ervine, Natalie Coughlin, Tyler Changaris, Loretta Cohen, and Steve Brown, club president.
Looking over the donated crayons, colored pencils, scissors, flash cards, dry erasers, composition books and many other school supplies delivered to the West Chester Area School District (WCASD) on behalf of the Rotary Club of West Chester are (from left) Veronica Ortiz, Margaret Nawn, Colette McLaughlin, Katelyn Phillips, caseworkers, Ann Ranari, WCASD Director of Pupil Services, Patricia Alston, Social Work Coordinator, Steve Brown Rotary President, Mac Neilon, and Anton Burrell.
For the ninth year in a row, Neilon, Rotarian and owner of Penn Office Products, and Alston, have coordinated the donation, with this year’s supplies totaling $1,800. Alston provides the list of most needed items by students from economically disadvantaged families as reported by WCASD caseworkers, and shares the list with Neilon.
Danielle Mortimer and Bill Ronayne point out the designation of our Rotary Club in the Lieutenant Category ($10,000 - $24,999 donations) onFame Fire Company #3 of West Chester’s donor recognition board at the community-wide reception on Saturday. The Willing Hearts Campaign Donor Contributions Recognition Board was part of our Rotary Club’s donation to Fame. Bill, a longtime fireman, and active Rotarian in our club, co-chaired the $2.5 million capital campaign of the 183-year-old company, and emceed the community ceremony, and reception that attracted over 100 supporters and community leaders!
Getting in some time on the links between heat waves, hurricanes and straight winds are Rotary golfers (second from left) Phil McFadden, Steve Quigley, Sue Casso-Rogers, Jim Scanlon and Gary Hess. They were joined by Jake Hicks (left), son of Rotarian Linda Hicks, at the Downingtown Country Club. Jim, newly retired superintendent of the West Chester Area School District, now has some time to join fellow Rotarians for a round or two of golf, although he admits that just three weeks into retirement, he has been tapped to work on projects at his church. Steve is the Rotarian who often puts together golf outings for the club. Ten to 12 Rotarians joined in this recent outing.
In addition to the critical work being done by Rotarians worldwide, our Rotary Club here in West Chester, specifically our International Service Committee (ISC), continues its important work. We recently became aware that the COVID Respirators, which we funded with our sister Tigre Rotary Club near Buenos Aires, Argentina, ended up being donated by the manufacturer! So the funds were used to buy an Oxygen Concentrator (pictured), which is needed to feed the COVID oxygen hoods. The concentrator was donated to the community hospital’s Intensive Care Unit that allows treating patients with dyspnea quickly and efficiently.
“This is one of the most frequent problems in the COVID pandemic, avoiding unnecessary hospitalization by the hospital Care Team,” according to the International Service Director of the Tigre Club. “It is also used in other respiratory syndromes. Thanks to every one of you for choosing to make a difference and to save lives,” he added.
And thank you to Ernest Zlotolow for keeping us informed of the important and ongoing work of our ISC!
Ernest Zlotolow, a leader in our club’s International Service Committee (ISC), is pictured above in a 2016 photo taken with Nsengumuremlyi theoneste (known to us as Theo) with his legal guardian, Consolee, when he became a protégé of our club. Theo was a lame orphan from rural Rwanda, who was brought to Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia by CORS (Charitable Orthopedic Rehabilitation Strategies), a division of our Greater West Chester Rotary Foundation, for treatment and prosthesis for his missing limb. Our ISC funded his high school studies, and additional personal contributions from club members provided Theo with a monetary graduation gift. Theo focused his studies in software coding, using a laptop and software sent to him by CORS. These enable him to support himself and be a productive member of his community.
About a dozen Rotarians signed up to help residents around Marshal Square Park with mulching and spreading this summer, according to Mac Neilon, coordinator of community volunteer projects for our club. However, on Saturday morning, almost double that number showed up, when Rotarians brought their children and spouses to help with the project. Mac reports that this has become an annual volunteer event for our club, as each year, the park committee contacts him to enlist volunteers from our Rotary  club to help at the park. Along with the volunteers from the neighborhood, the work was completed in record time.
Dwight Leeper, West Chester resident, and member of the Rotary Club of West Chester, and Sam Lowry, of the Downtown Rotary Club of Huntsville, Alabama, wrote a proposal to The Rotary International Foundation requesting a Global Grant to provide Deep-Water Hand Pumps to improve the health and quality of life in five, small, rural communities in Senegal, West Africa. In January 2021, the West Chester club was awarded a $131,215 Global Grant for the project.
The ultra-deep pumps (LifePump) are capable of operating more efficiently than hand pumps currently in use in Africa, going three times deeper, with a projected life span of 30 years.  Pumps currently in operation don’t reach potable water, resulting in villagers’ drinking water from dirty runoff, mud puddles, and ponds that livestock wade through. Consequently, people face chronic illnesses that prevent children from attending school, adults from working, and perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
On a cold and blustery Saturday in March, a stalwart team of Rotarians, under the leadership of our dedicated fruit sale chair, Christine Wildauer (top, center) braved the weather to distribute the fruit purchased  during the annual Rotary fruit sale. Bundled up and properly masked, Rotarians handed out the fruit boxes, aided by Bill Friedmann (front, right). Among those picking up fruit was Ernest Zlotolow (front, center). If you look closely enough, you can recognize other Rotarians behind their masks. The fruit sale this year benefitted The Barn at Springbrook Farm, which provides programs and camps for children year around. Approximately $5,500 was raised through the sale, down from the usual funds raised, but good, given the virus  and its regulations. Our thanks to Christine for containing to chair this committee year after year.
Mailing Address:
Rotary Club of West Chester
PO Box 743
West Chester, Pennsylvania 19381-0743 USA
West Chester Rotary meets every Thursday at Noon at the 
West Chester Country Club,
111 West Ashbridge Street,
West Chester, PA USA
Programs begin at 12:20pm
Dec 02, 2021
One Hope Wine (tenative)