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Rotarians are having so much fun golfing and snacking with each other that our club "Golfing Guru," Steve Quigley, arranged a second day of golfing recently at the Downingtown Golf and Country Club. Pictured with Steve at a recent outing are Anne Driscoll and Glen Sweet. The weather cooperated, and along with the great fellowship of this event, it was a "Fabulous Friday!"
according to one golfer. Might we expect another golfing outing if the weather cooperates?
At our recent presidential induction gala, District 7450 Governor Francy Cross not only inducted our new club president, Catherine Friedman, she also inducted the board, comprised of new and continuing board members. “Your club believes in you,” she said before asking for their commitment to their offices.
After the induction, past club presidents lined up for our annual tradition of passing the gavel.
Rich Murray turned over the club presidency to Catherine Friedman at a memorable gala and induction last week. Over 34,000 Rotary clubs around the world are also doing inductions this time of year. 
Newly elected District 7450 Governor Francy Cross conducted the induction, telling Catherine, “Your election is an expression of the confidence placed in you by your club members.”
A number of Rotarians gathered early in June for a day of fun and fellowship, organized by our West Chester club's "golfing guru," Steve Quigley. It was a beautiful day to be out on the golf course at the Downingtown Golf and Country Club, where Rotarians always look forward to golfing together. Following a perfect weather day for the activity, the golfers stayed around for food, beverages and more fellowship. Thanks to Anne Driscoll for arranging for this photo.
Rotarians joined hundreds of residents, businesses and organizations as they marched in the parade on Sunday celebrating the 225th Anniversary of the Borough of West Chester.  Despite the cloudy skies and cool weather Sunday, over 30 bundled up Rotarians, carrying Rotary banners and wearing Rotary garb, showed up for the parade.
It was a busy weekend for our club in terms of activities and visibility. It started off on Saturday morning when a large group of Rotarians descended on Marshall Square Park in West Chester to help with mulching. Volunteering at Marshall Square Park has become an annual project for our club. Under the direction of our service coordinator, Mac Neilon, over 20 Rotarians participated, which included several family members. President Rich Murray, for example, brought his son. What a great way to begin getting our youngsters involved in charitable service activities!
Nearly 20 Rotarians from the four West Chester Rotary Clubs, Sunrise, West Chester Passport, WEGO and our club, collaborated on a Rotary Day of Service at the project C.U.R.E. warehouse of Dansko in West Grove. 

Rotarians from our club, headed up by our Rotary Day of Service coordinator, Mac Neilon, included Jeff Cantwell, Katie Martin, Phil McFadden, Steve Bayles, Melissa Baxter, and new member, Mark Lucas.  
Jeff Spencer, chair of the Fun and Fellowship Committee, and committee members Joanne Tadeo, Rachel Barakat, Phyllis Dunn, and Patty Jefferis planned the gala holiday party for our club this year. Held at the West Chester Golf and Country Club in the early evening, it was highly decorated by the country club, which lent itself to our holiday gala. Delicious hot hors d' oeuvres were passed by the waiters, and welcomed by Rotarians and their guests to go along with beverages from the bar. A cheese board, dinner, and a luscious hot apple and vanilla ice cream dessert rounded out the tasty food.
While England and Arlington engage in the changing of the guard, in Chester County, West Chester Rotarians engage in the changing of Salvation Army aprons at the annual ringing of the bells! And, after many years of supporting this activity, note the NEW aprons this year, modeled by Randy Lindel, that include "Rotary" on them. Acquisition of the personalized aprons was facilitated by the Communications Committee, and Jesus Corraliza, Captain of the local Salvation Army, and a member of our club.
At the Amish Market, Katie Martin (left),chair of this Rotary volunteer activity, and Mac Neilon (right) turned over their aprons to Chris McCawley and Howard Sundwall. Bonus - Chris brought her husband, Dwight, who donned an apron and joined in the bell ringing! At Shop Rite, Joe Driscoll and Glen Sweet were one of the teams who rang the bells there. Between the two locations, 36 Rotarians, including a couple of Rotarians from the Passport Rotary Club, teamed up to ring the bells.
Our club was included in one of the seven events to which new students at West Chester University (WCU) were invited to attend to get acquainted with the West Chester community.
Jeff Cantwell and John Schwab were among those who represented our West Chester Rotary Club in at Align Space in the West Chester Borough. John had a chance to visit with Mayor Lillian De Baptiste (her father Clifford has been a member of our club for many years), and Jeff had an opportunity to meet and visit with Miss West Chester University at the gathering.
Approximately 15 District 7450 Rotarians gathered with other daredevils who took the plunge and participated in what has become an annual event – rappelling down the side of a building in Philadelphia to benefit the Philadelphia Outward Bound School! Among those brave souls who took the plunge were our own Kate Diffenderfer and Charles Streitwieser (as well as Bill Friedmann’s wife, Debi, and Carol Hanson’s husband, Dennis Wallace). In fact, Dennis is the one who got Rotary involved in this program in 2015, which has been held annually except for a couple of years due to the pandemic.
Sue Casso Rogers and Blue Dog Printing and Design were honored at this year’s annual banquet of the Greater West Chester (GWC) Chamber of Commerce. Sue was named 2023 Outstanding Citizen of the Year, sponsored by West Chester University, Blue Dog Printing and Design, founded by Bill and Debi Friedmann, was named 2023 Business of the Year.
“Blue Dog s work in the community reaches far beyond their printing, graphic design, mailing services and promotional products business, of which they donate a significant amount to local organizations,” said the moderator in  presenting  the award to the Friedmann’s. This recognition is very evident to our Rotary Club, having benefited for many years by help from Bill and Debi with the Chili Cook-off and other club activities/events.
Our club was invited to participate in the Volunteer Fair at West Chester University (WCU), and of course, we accepted! WCU alums and fellow Rotarians, Austin Aimone and Corey Cahill, helped man our table at Sykes Union on the campus. They answered questions, explained Rotary, local and international mission, avenues of service, passed out Rotary tri-folds, provided/ shared info about the upcoming Chili Cook-off (CCO), and encouraged them to volunteer. They also gave away about a dozen free tee shirts from previous CCOs. The head of Greek Life (campus organization of sororities and fraternities) even circulated the Sign-up Genius for the CCO to enlist volunteers!
The new 50/50 raffle event at the Chili Cook-off (CCO) this year, the Chili Pepper Drop, was won by our own club member, Glenda Brion, holding her winning little pepper while being congratulated by President Rich Murray! CCO Co-chair Jeff Cantwell reports that $13,000 was raised by the raffle, with half being shared with the raffle winner, and half to be used for Rotary Club good works. Winner Glenda has generously donated her $6,600 winnings to the Community Warehouse Project of Chester County (CWP)! CWP is a multi-service non-profit that collects and redistributes donated furniture and other household items, and works with over 40 Community Partners to benefit individuals, families and veterans. CWP has been well supported by volunteers and Community Philanthropic Grants from our Rotary Club, since its founding in 2017. Glenda is the founder and executive director of CWP.
“It was an amazing day!” says Jeff Cantwell, co-chair of the 21st annual Rotary Chili Cook-off. “Our team of volunteers went above and beyond, like a well-oiled machine. Attendees, teams, sponsors and vendors raved about the day. Many said it was the nicest event they ever attended, and I attribute that to our Rotary demeanor – embracing all who were helping our cause,” he added.
“Wow –what a wonderful event we executed for our community yesterday,” added President Rich. “I had a great time with you all in Service and Fellowship,” he said, after commending the chili co-chairs and all the volunteers. “I’m not only proud of the well run event, but also the image we created for our community of Rotary International, and our club and its good works. You truly exemplified Rotary’s motto, Service Above Self.”
Among the many tasks surrounding the Chili Cook-off are numerous activities that engage members of the Rotary Club of West Chester in preparation for the big event.
Each year, a number of members, some who can always be counted on to help, along with newer members, show up to gather supplies, and sort, bag, and assemble items that will go to each participant booth, to the information table, and wherever specific items are needed. Others load up a truck with the supplies. Members give up hours of their time on Friday and Saturday to pull this all together. While there is a lot of work involved, the work teams have lots of fun and build fellowship among themselves while doing this important work.
As usual, Bill and Debi Friedman always seem to be in the middle of the activities, generously donating their time, expertise, experience, and even space at their business, Blue Dog, to assure preparations run smoothly in advance of the big day.
Thanks to Suzette Webb for capturing this activity for us with her interesting photos.
Almost $30,000 in grants was awarded to 16 non-profits by the Community Philanthropic Committee (CPC) on behalf of our Rotary club. CPC committee members carefully reviewed 34 applications to choose recipients of the available funds generated by our annual fundraiser, the Chili Cook-off.
Grant recipients included (front row, from left) Kera Swift-Josey, Arc of Chester County; Guillermina Rios, Chester County Community Collaborative; Glenda Brion, Community Warehouse Project; Kara Todd, Believe and Achieve; Christine Zaccarelli, Crime Victims Center of Chester County; Sandra Romeo, Domestic Violence Center of Chester County; Rich Murray, Club President; and (back row, from left): Mike Strawbridge, Bournelyf Special Camp; Tyler Changaris, Family Service of Chester County; Leslie Holt, A Child's Light; Tamara Wilson, CASA Youth; Ken Hutton, Housing Partnership of Chester County; Rev. Paul Hunt, Parish Hall Kitchen; Kathleen Sanger, Home of the Sparrow; Ryan Enns, Westside Community Center; Don Neimitz, North Star of Chester County; Bill Freidman, Chester County's Children; Rob Malone and Christine Scott, CPC Co-chairs.
While our new tent and banner drew interested individuals to our site at the Restaurant Festival, the star of the booth was the introduction of our little foam Chili Peppers. In case you haven’t seen one yet, Anne Driscoll shows off one of the cute peppers that will be dropped from a large bag hanging over Jack’s Plaza on Gay Street at 3 p.m. on October 8th, the day of our annual, popular Chili Cook-off.
Helping publicize the cook-off and our new 50/50 chili pepper drop at the Festival were Gary Hewitt, Matt Kuehn, Suzette Webb, Anne Driscoll, Sue Casso, Jeff Cantwell, and Melissa Baxter.  
For the 11th year in a row, our West Chester club has donated school supplies to the West Chester Area School District (WCASD). Looking over the donated crayons, colored pencils, scissors, flash cards, dry erasers, composition books and many other school supplies, along with WCASD caseworkers, are Rich Murray, Rotary president, (fourth from left) and Katie Martin ((fifth from the right).
This year, a $1,500 donation on behalf of our club was contributed by three key sponsors, Arthur Hall Insurance, TrustPoint, LLC, and First Resource Bank.
A large group of West Chester Rotarians were among the 500 Rotarians in District 7450 to attend the Phillies versus Milwaukee Brewers baseball game on Tuesday. An annual event of District 7450, some Rotarians made it a family affair. The Schwabs attended with son Matt and their grandchildren, the Sammarone family was there, and Paul Woodruff brought his grandson.  Among others spotted in the crowd were Doug Meis, Melissa Baxter, Corey Cahill, and Kate  Diffendorf.
The evening started off with a District tailgate party from 4 to 6 p.m. with hot dogs, snack bags and beverages.
A small but enthusiastic group of Rotarians gathered on a recent Saturday evening at Marshall Square Park to eat dinner and enjoy rock and roll music by Slingshot. Continuing her efforts to encourage West Chester Rotary Clubs to participate in joint activities, Immediate Past President Melissa Baxter was joined by Angela Brown from the Passport Club to picnic and listen to the music. An assortment of food trucks lined up along Matlack Street, but most folks brought their own picnic dinners and beverages.
“It was hot,” reports Phyllis Dunn, "but we sat under the trees in the shade, and there was enough of a breeze to make it a pleasant evening,” she added.
Another opportunity for fellowship among Rotarians!
Melissa Baxter turned over the club presidency to Rich Murray at a memorable presidential induction, like hundreds of Rotary clubs across the country and the world. Melissa accomplished so much in her year as our leader, notably bringing together other West Chester Rotary clubs in joint events. Apparently we did not overtax her, because she has now stepped up to join Jeff Cantwell in heading up the Chili Cook-off on October 8th! Talk about going “from the frying pan into the fire!” Fortunately she and Jeff have over 100 Rotarians and many other volunteers beside them as they venture forth, including Melissa’s supportive husband, Aaron.
Continuing the excellent leadership of his predecessors, Rich commented “we have the friendliest club in the district, and I am happy to be your meeting host for the next 52 weeks!” Keeping leadership in perspective, Rich had to explain to his 5-year- old son, Logan, that he is NOT president of the United States, but only of this club at which he will use a gavel and ring a bell at each meeting.
After the induction of Rich and his board members by District 7450 Governor Renee DeCoskey of the Conshohocken Plymouth Whitemarsh Rotary Club, she announced the new RI theme Create Hope in the World. “We need to become more visible in our communities and think about how we are perceived,” she said.
Our club’s new tent and banner made their debut at the Turks Head Music Festival on a beautiful Sunday in June. The clever banner attracts visitors, and engages them in learning about Rotary, providing an additional, visible resource for displaying club brochures and information, and most importantly, publicizing our upcoming Chili Cook-off!
Jeff Cantwell, Chili Cook-off co-chair, reports that it was a perfect day for folks to get out and about in the Borough of West Chester. “Several individuals stopped by and signed up to receive our new quarterly newsletter also.” 
The festival gave Jeff a chance to visit each of the other 100 or so vendors, and pass out the new handouts urging vendors to participate in the Chili Cook-off on October 8th in the borough. Debi Friedmann, spouse of a member and a member of the Passport Rotary, continues to provide some marketing support of the cook-off, (she designed the cook-off handout!). She also roamed around the festival in a chili pepper outfit to further advertise the cook-off!
President Melissa gave a Rotary welcome in front of our RI banner to two of the three Chester County Commissioners, Marian Moskowitz and Josh Maxwell. They in turn gave inspiring comments on the state of our county and work of the commissioners.

Moskowitz said the skills she learned along the way as a businesswoman have been helpful in her job as commissioner. “These skills came in handy when I took office, and we were immediately faced with the challenges presented by COVID, and storm Ida. Despite those, we continued to work to move the county forward.”
What has become an annual Service Above Self project for our club is helping neighborhood volunteers with clean-up day at Marshall Square Park in West Chester. This year, the clean-up day was scheduled for Earth Day weekend. Mac Neilon again handled the details, and directed 13 Rotarians and a child to help with picking up sticks, spreading mulch, shoveling up leaves, and general clean-up between 8:30 a.m. and noon on Saturday. Thanks to all the volunteers, and to Randy Lindel and Mark Sammarone for recording the event with photos.
Charles Streitwieser and Melissa Baxter represented our West Chester Club at the recent District 7450 District Conference, which Melissa described as a “relaxed format – people came and went throughout.”
Charles had a chance to catch up with the keynote speaker, Drew Kessler, Past District Governor (PDG 2013-14), who is now a Rotary International Director. The 2023 Conference was themed “Imagination Action,” building on the theme of our RI International leader. About 100 Rotarians gathered at The Alloy Hotel in King of Prussia on Friday evening to kick off the annual conference. Saturday the gathering at Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown was environmentally focused, and the Sunday gathering at Waynesborough Country Club in Paoli, featured the 4-Way Speech Contestants and guest speaker.
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
Jonathan Aloisio
Jul 25, 2024 12:00 PM
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