Buckhannon Rotary Club reviews accomplishments

BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon Rotary Club members reviewed the last year’s accomplishments Tuesday, while remembering a fellow Rotarian who recently passed away.

Club President Linda Feola and Rotary Foundation Officer Jody Light said Rotary members strive to live by the motto “service above self.” Feola noted the late Dr. Rigoberto Ramirez lived by that example.

“He just did a million things in our community,” Feola said.

Feola said Ramirez always matched the money earned through Rotary’s “happy bucks” with his own when members donated a dollar or more to express their gratitude or excitement about recent events. The money was donated toward the Parish House.

After learning of Ramirez’s passing, Sharon Carr, a fellow Rotary member, agreed to continue to match the “happy bucks” money in honor of Ramirez and Carr’s father, Rev. Charles Godwin.

Reviewing the past fiscal year, Feola said the club has achieved many goals.

“It’s been quite a year,” Feola said. “It’s really been a lot of fun, it’s been a learning experience.”

Feola said when she took the office of president, she organized committees to help the club be more involved in the community. Members who were interested in the Parish House, education, polio eradication, parks, the Upshur County Christmas Store, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and more all teamed up to find ways to help those causes.

Rotarians rang bells for the Salvation Army and worked in the Upshur County Christmas Store during the holiday season. The store helps provide gifts to more than 900 children within the Upshur County community. Club members pooled resources and also donated $1,000 toward the Christmas Store project.

“That is a huge undertaking,” Feola said.

She noted Rotary has collected items for backpacks given to foster children newly removed from their homes by Child Protective Services. Although Rotary already has collected the items and packaged the backpacks once this year, it currently is participating in the project again because of the need in the area, she said.

The club also donated food and money to the Parish House, and contributed small grant funding to causes including Project Graduation and to Mountain CAP. The Montain CAP grant will aid in the feeding of 300-400 children in the local community.

The Buckhannon Rotary Club also has helped with National Night Out, Boy Scouts, Heart and Hand, the American Legion and many more organizations. Feola said Rotary members participated in the Little Free Library project, which allows community members to donate or take a book with no late fees.

“We are reaching the lives of so many people,” Feola said.

As of Monday, Rotary Foundation contributions from members of the club totaled $8,671.92, which surpasses the total of the last three years for the club, Light said.

“I still have time to send in more Rotary Foundation contributions,” Light said. “My hand is open if your wallets and your hearts are open… I thank you for your commitment so we can continue doing good in the world and the community.”

Feola said the club’s biggest fundraisers are its bi-annual blood screenings. In total, the blood screenings raised $160,900. The club earned a profit of $58,800 from those.

“That is our only fundraiser during the year, other than your donations,” Feola told the members.

Feola said the total budget of the club for the fiscal year was $192,610, and the club had spent $192,028.39 to date.