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Several club presidents and members of the four West Chester Rotary Clubs met recently at Timothy’s for an All West Chester Member Prospect and Networking Social. One group of Rotarians who were having fun together included (from left) our own West Chester President Melissa Baxter, Debi Friedmann, president of the Passport  Club, Russ DiFuria, a past president and member of the WEGO (West  Goshen) Club, Bob Eaves, president of the Sunrise Club, and (front) Judy Curtin, immediate past president of the Sunrise Club.
 
According to Melissa, “the social gathering was an opportunity to strengthen Rotary through fellowship, networking, and fun." Guests learned about each club, and “connected with our greatest assets – our club members,” explained Melissa. “It was a chance to have fun, as well as build your personal and professional networks,” she added.

At a recent luncheon, the club awarded $30,000 to representatives of 10 non-profit organizations chosen by the Community Philanthropic Committee (CPC) from 22 applications. Representatives pictured with Melissa Baxter, club president, seated left, are Nan Latona, Glenda Brion, Kara Todd, Sandra Romeo, and standing from left, Rob Malone, co-chair of the CPC, Kathleen Sanger, Doug Pacitti, Ryan Enns, David James, Don Neimetz, Heather Robino, and Christine Scott, co-chair of CPC. Each representative was given an opportunity to explain how their grant funds would be used.

 
According to Chili King Bill Friedman, an estimated record crowd of about 10,000 people flooded the streets of West Chester Borough Sunday, October 9th, when the annual Chili Cook-off returned for its 20th year!. Lines of chili lovers  formed prior to noon, and booths remained busy until the awards presentations at 3:30, although many booths had run out of chili by then.
 
Sponsors helping Rotary host the popular event, which is 100% volunteer driven, included Stoltfus RV’s & Marine, Christ Community Church, Lorgus Flower Shop, West, Arthur Hall Insurance, Blue Dog Printing & Design, Chester County Eye Care, Greystone, A. Martinelli & Sons, A Storage Depot, WAWA, and 1st Resource Bank. Sixteen other businesses and organizations also supported the event.
 
The first place winner in the People’s Choice Division was Parrot Troopers, who have participated for many years, and won in most divisions nearly every year. Ryan’s Pub took first place in the Restaurant Division, a first time cooking Arthur Hall Insurance won in the Business Division, Church Farm School, which has won in many categories for several years, won in the Non-profit Division, and Hammacher & Schlemmer won in the Hometown/Volunteer Division. Go to the Chili Cook-off link on our website for the complete listing of the first through third place winners in all divisions.
 
One of the most popular, tasty and interesting events is coming back after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic. The annual Rotary Club of West Chester Chili Cook-off will return for its 20th year on Sunday, October 9th! Vendors will be set up by 10:30 in the morning, and chili will be dished up beginning at noon until the chili awards presentations at 3:30.
 
Sponsors helping Rotary host the event, which is 100% volunteer driven, include Stoltfus RV’s & Marine, Christ Community Church, Lorgus Flower Shop, West, Arthur Hall Insurance, Blue Dog Printing & Design, Chester County Eye Care, Greystone, A. Martinelli & Sons, A Storage Depot, WAWA, and 1st Resource Bank. Sixteen other businesses and organizations are also supporting the event.
 
Teams providing chili include hometown cooks and volunteers, non-profits, restaurants and businesses - 49 teams dishing out chili to date! The Saloon 151 restaurant will again participate to defend its previous “People’s Choice” title with its Outlaw Chili.
Anne Driscoll and Club President Melissa Baxter were among the several Rotarians who volunteered to staff  our Rotary table at the recent Restaurant Festival in the Borough of West Chester to promote our upcoming Chili Cook-off. They sold wristbands so folks don't have to stand in long lines the day of the cook-off on October 9th,  handed out updated brochures, and answered questions about Rotary. Meanwhile, John Schwab was busy "planting" Chili Cook-off signs in the borough. Many Rotarians have "planted" the bright red and yellow signs outside the borough, on corners, heavily trafficked streets, in their yards, and intersections. This will be the 20th year of our cook-off, which seems to grow in popularity each year, and even attracts folks from, other states, in addition to thousands of local individuals and families. Our cook-off returns after a two year hiatus due to COVID, and  is widely anticipated. If you haven't signed up to volunteer that day, it's not too late to get in on the fun! See you on Sunday, October 9th!
For the 20th year in a row, Mac Neilon (fifth from left, next to West Chester Area School  District Superintendent Bob Sokolowski) arranged for the donation of school supplies to the WCASD. Club President Melissa Baxter (sixth from right) joined Mac in delivering over $1,000 in supplies for students and families in need, from funds generated by the Rotary Club's Chili Cook-off. Caseworkers for the school district, pictured above,  divide up the supplies and distribute them to economically disadvantaged students In the 17 district schools.
 
"We are so appreciative of the Rotary Club of  West Chester's continued donation of school supplies," said Tricia Alston, WCASD social worker coordinator. "Their generosity goes such a long way to helping to make the start of the school year an exciting rather than stressful time for our families."
 
John Schwab (left) and Mac Neilon recently put up the first of several new road signs to provide additional visibility for Rotary clubs, and encourage individuals to look up and find a club, and learn about Rotary. The URL will direct individuals to all four Rotary clubs in the greater West Chester area. New and replacement road signage is one of the new projects of our club's Communications Committee. There will be additional signage  to follow at all road entrances to West Chester, so keep watching for them!
"Promoting Rotary in sunshine and fresh air" was how Sue Casso Rogers described Sunday afternoon at the annual Melton Center Community Day event.
 
Manning the table with Jeff Cantwell, they had a close-up view of the young men playing a lively basketball game on the court in front of them. Just four Rotarians responded to John Schwab's request for volunteers, despite Sue's "sunshine and fresh air" prompting. This is the second recent area event at which Sue has volunteered. Volunteering with her is always fun because, as club secretary and membership chair (among other things!), Sue has a wealth of information about Rotary, which is always interesting. There will be additional outdoor "sunshine and fresh air" events coming up this fall, so plan to volunteer when you hear of other opportunities to engage with the larger community, spread the word and provide information about Rotary, and enjoy fun times with fellow Rotarians.
Our new club president, Melissa Baxter, had the pleasure of meeting the new Mayor of the Borough of West Chester Lillian DeBaptiste, when the mayor was our recent guest speaker.
Mayor DeBaptiste is the daughter of former mayor, Clifford DeBaptiste, who at age 98, has been a member of our club for 49 years!
 
Mayor DeBaptiste said she hadn’t really thought about running for office until about two years ago, when she felt she had something to offer, her ABCD list: Arts, Balance, Clean and Green, and Diversity. She was sworn in exactly 20 years to the day after her father was sworn in as mayor! “It’s been an amazing, you might even say 'divine' journey,” she said. ”I’ve enjoyed the job for the past eight months,” she added, explaining that she has helped open stores with ribbon cuttings, interviewed and hired four outstanding new police officers in conjunction with Police  Chief Jim Moreland,  and even performed the wedding of a couple she knows!
The Rotary Club of West Chester, the Greater West Chester Sunrise Rotary Club and the Rotary Passport Club of West Chester joined together in choosing and awarding three high school graduates $2,000 college scholarships each. The scholarship recipients were chosen based on essays they wrote about their volunteerism, based on the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self.” Letters of recommendation from school administrators added verification of the students’ volunteer work.
 
Receiving scholarships from John Abitabilo (left) and Robbe Healey (right) are Reagan Peri (second from left) and Taylor Krafchick. Also receiving a scholarship was Chinonye Moneme, (center, pictured with from left) David Sweet, Nathan Keisler, Chinonye’s father, John Abitabilo, and Jim Gasho.
 
The principal and teachers at East High School wrote that Chinonye Moneme, “is a leader in diversity awareness, and tutors other students. She participated in a food drive for Martine Luther King Day of Service. She was also an elementary school mentor, and sent cards to veterans and senior citizens. In addition, she was the school’s cross country manager, and worked on clean-up projects.”
 
“I have learned the importance of little things each day,’” said Chinonye. She will attend Boston University in the fall, studying mechanical engineering with a focus on environmental renewable energy.
Steve Brown, our outgoing president, received accolades for his leadership in the second half of the 2021-2022 Rotary year, our 100th anniversary, for his outstanding leadership during the (still circulating) pandemic. In addition to keeping club members engaged, Steve gave us brief looks back at our country’s history, and provided humorous moments at every club meeting to lighten the challenging times.
 
After walking us down memory lane, he turned the gavel over to Melissa Baxter. Melissa has been busy on the board and as president-elect, and chairperson of the Community Philanthropic Committee (CPC), helping seek/review applications from non-profits vying for grants. What a challenge to select from about 30 agencies narrowing that down to about a dozen to whom we can award a total of $30,000!
 
 
Over 80 individuals, Rotarians and their guests, gathered at Barnaby’s In West Chester for the “historical, phenomenal, first ever” induction of the incoming presidents of the four West Chester Rotary clubs. Members of the four clubs enjoyed socializing over the buffet dinner and beverages, meeting and supporting fellow Rotarians from other clubs, and taking part in the unique raffle.
 
Incoming presidents inducted by recently installed District 7450 Governor David Houtz (pictured from left) were our own Melissa Baxter, The Rotary Club of West Chester, Bob Eaves, Greater West Chester Sunrise Rotary, Nipa Thakker, Westtown-Goshen Rotary Club, and Debi Friedmann, Rotary Passport Club of West Chester. Outgoing presidents were introduced and honored for their year of service to their clubs.
 
Longtime member Jim Gasho (he joined in 1986), “Played His Age,” completing 62 holes of golf on July 1st – yes, all in one day!
When he was 35, Jim decided to shoot the number of holes on golf courses, equivalent to his age, on or near his birthday on June 30th. At 35, that sounded like an easy task. Now, at 62, maybe a bit more challenging?

This active Rotarian, who has contributed time (president and many committees), energy (Brian's Run, Chili Cook-off,  Fruit Sale, etc.) and resources (many dollars to the RI  foundation, local activities and events), decided this year to invite others, Rotarians and friends, to support his endeavor and contribute dollars to the West Chester Rotary Club Foundation which supports local and international charities.

 
The third and final part of our 100th Anniversary celebration (1921-2021) was to place a plaque, noting the occasion, at our meeting place, the West Chester Golf and Country Club. The Country Club was willing to support our request to display a commemorative plaque at their site by planting a tree and placing the plaque in a beautiful floral setting. Participating in the dedication of the plaque at the country club were (from left) Eric Houck, WCGCC grounds superintendent, Sue Casso Rogers, one of the 100th anniversary event coordinators, Steve Brown current club president and president during the second half of 2021, and Michelle Venema, club president during the first part of 2021, and an event coordinator. The planting bed contains a small tree, and is full of colorful blooming annuals, all of which complement the plaque. This garden gem at the country club, located near the Pro Shop, is a beautiful way to acknowledge the work of our Rotary Club, and one of the many community partnerships we enjoy. Next time you attend a Thursday club meeting or play a round of golf on the course, take a few minutes to stop by the little garden and view this lovely commemoration, designed by Houck. It will brighten your day!
Golfing is not just a matter of hitting a little ball around a golf course for West Chester Rotarians. It includes lots of fun and fellowship! Even though the skies were a little cloudy, 23 golfers, Rotarians and guests, enjoyed nine holes of golf at the West Chester Golf and Country Club following a recent Thursday noon club meeting. After completing their rounds, most participants returned to the clubhouse for beverages and snacks.  On the deck overlooking the golf course, they shared fellowship and laughs (sometimes at each other’s expense!). Thanks to Randy Lindel, Sue Casso-Rogers and others for capturing some great photos and reporting on this event.
Nsengumuremlyi Theoneste, known to us as Theo, and supported by our club for a number of years, proudly shows off the diploma he has finally received.
Theo, a Rwandan orphan amputee, was a recipient of services through  our CORS (Charitable Orthopedic Rehabilitation Strategies) program, which helped bring him to the United States, where his leg was repaired, and he was fitted with a prosthetic leg at Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia.
Ray and Paula Ott stopped by the Rotary Club's table at the Turk's Head Music Festival Sunday, and picked up a copy of the updated club brochure, Chili Cook-off flyer, and viewed the new A-frame. Sue Casso Rogers and Michelle Venema were the first club Rotarians to "woman" the table at the eight hour festival, a popular West Chester event that has restarted this year after the two year pandemic lockdown. A number of Rotarians manned the table throughout the day as thousands of music lovers, and families with children and dogs, crowded into Everhart Park. Mother Nature provided near perfect weather, making it a day to enjoy not only music, food, art, vendors of all sorts, but even an opportunity to register to vote! Let's hope we have many more such weather perfect days ahead!
When over two dozen Rotarians planted a mixture of 100 Maple and River Birch trees recently at Stroud Preserve, they accomplished two goals. The 100 trees celebrated last year’s 100th anniversary of the Rotary Club of West Chester, and it supported the mission of the Environment Committee of Rotary District 7450.  “Despite the wet weather, Rotarians showed up to participate in the long-awaited anniversary celebration project, and support the district’s new environment committee,” explained Steve Brown, club president.
About a dozen Rotarians, friends, spouses, children, and a few West Chester Passport Club Rotarians, joined membered of the West Chester club on Saturday for a day in Marshall Square Park. They  raked, cleaned up and mulched the trees and bushes together. The day was part of West Chester Borough's "Clean Up West Chester Day". The West Chester club has been volunteering at Marshall Square Park for many years, under the capable organizing and leadership skills of Mac Neilon. Thanks to Randy Lindel for capturing the group just as they were beginning their work. A special treat on this year's day of fun and fellowship, along with their work, the group was rewarded with cookies from The Hickman!
Despite rain, sleet/ice and snow, more than a dozen loyal Rotarian volunteers showed up during the early morning Saturday at the A. Duie Pyle warehouse to load fruit into cars of purchasers of the delicious fruits and vegetables sold during Rotary’s annual fruit sale. Our chair for over 10 years (!), Christine Wildauer (center with the red scarf), reports that among the volunteers was Kate Cipriano and a few other members of the Greystone PTO, who will benefit from over $5,000 raised during the sale toward purchase of playground equipment at the new Greystone Elementary School. As usual, numerous boxes of fruits and vegetables were also donated to the West Chester Food Cupboard. Of interest to longtime members, and our historians, Christine reports that a few years ago, the late Bob Poole presented her with a complete history of the fruit sale from its very beginning.

While West Chester Rotarians and the West Chester University Friars service club have service projects going on often, you can ALWAYS find Rotarian Jeannie McGinn (5th from right) and Warehouse Director Glenda Brion (5th from left)  at the Community Warehouse Project site the third Saturday of every month! On a recent Saturday, they were joined by Rotarian Mac Neilon (far let), along with nearly a dozen members of the Friars. The third Saturday is always busy with generous supporters dropping off donations, needy families and individuals picking up items, and a diverse group of volunteers helping Glenda and Jeannie in multiple ways.

 

Helping spread the word about the annual fruit sale are (from left) President Steve Brown, Greystone PTO Members, Marissa Cook and Kate Cipriano, Melissa Baxter, CPC chair, Kristen Buckler, Greystone PTO, and Christine Wildauer, serving again as fruit sale chair.

 
Proceeds from the Annual Fruit Sale by the Rotary Club of West Chester will benefit hundreds of children for many years. At its Community Philanthropic Committee meeting, members unanimously selected the Greystone Elementary PTO from among nearly a dozen applicants as beneficiaries of this year’s fruit sale.
Mailing Address:
Rotary Club of West Chester
PO Box 743
West Chester, Pennsylvania 19381-0743 USA
Welcome
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
 
 
 
 
 
Speakers
Uptown! West Chester
Dec 08, 2022 12:00 AM
new theater season, new artistic director and all the events going on