by Robert Kimmel –
“Service Above Self” stands as the core objective of the Rotary Club of the Tarrytowns, and its accomplishments over recent years as well as throughout its 98-year history reflect the success it has had in meeting that criteria. Numerous groups, students, and communities, both local and distant, have benefited from the charitable pursuits of its membership.
“Our members proudly work together to provide service above self in order to distribute scholarships and monetary grants to our students and local non-profit organizations,” stated Lauren Mauro, its current president.
During just the past two years, the Rotary Club, which serves Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow and Irvington, has provided grants to 21 organizations, including the Elizabeth Mascia Child Care Center, Community Food Pantry, Make a Wish, RSHM Life Center, Neighborhood House, Irvington Historical Society, the TaSH Farmer’s Market and Open Door Family Medical Center. In addition, a series of scholarships have been awarded to students in the villages’ schools and for participation for programs at the YMCA of Tarrytown.
“Throughout the year you will see our members volunteering their time and efforts around our thriving community,” related Mauro. Its membership this past year also held drives to collect toys and gift items for organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House, Open Door, and the RSHM Life Center, among its other activities. Included within a variety of past projects were the sponsorship and payment for the assembly of a Community Bulletin Board on North Broadway, contributions to the Community Opportunity Center Building Funds, and, in cooperation with the Briarcliff Rotary Club, the construction of a bus stop at Phelps Memorial Hospital.
One of the Rotary Club’s most popular and successful fund-raising projects is its annual Duck Derby held during the spring at Patriots Park. Originally organized by members Mimi Godwin and JoAnne Murray in 2008, the Derby has raised as much as $23,000 annually, all of which goes back to the community in the form of scholarships and grants. Godwin and Murray have appeared at each Derby in duck costumes.
The Club’s humanitarian efforts are not limited to local assistance, as demonstrated in 2005. The local Club organized a fund-raising campaign to buy a pick-up truck for the Salvation Army, which, after being loaded with needed supplies, was driven to New Orleans to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It has also helped fund international missions such as the Rotary’s International Polio Eradication Program, Baby Aids project in the Dominican Republic and Haitian Relief.
The Club’s membership, currently numbering 40 persons, is a cross-section of leading business and professional men and women, mostly from the three rivertown communities which it primarily serves. While some members are retired, many are still actively working and also involved voluntarily with other service organizations. That is the case with Sleepy Hollow resident Len Andrew, a longtime member of the local club and a past president.
“I like being a member of an international service organization with over 1,000,000 members in 35,000 clubs worldwide,” Andrew said. An attorney, who held executive positions with IBM for 30 years, he noted that the Rotary’s efforts have “bridged cultures and connected people to champion peace, fight illiteracy and poverty, promote clean water and sanitation, and fight disease.” In addition to relating the Club’s local service activities, Andrew said it, “has provided support and friendship for each other.”
“Giving back has been part of what makes me tick from early on,” Aubrey Hawes cited as one reason for his being a member of the Rotary Club of the Tarrytowns for 22 years. Hawes has been involved with many non-profit organizations and joined the local Rotary after retiring as Senior Vice President Corporate Director of Marketing Resources at Chase Manhattan Bank. “Our local club has historically been committed to help keep our community a great place to live, raise a family and do business,” Hawes related. “By giving just a few hours a month, members come together to help support important activities of not-for-profit groups in our villages as well as international programs that help to change our world for the better.”
A wide variety of occupations are represented in the Club’s membership. Among its members are Tarrytown Administrator Rich Slingerland, the Club’s President-elect; Sleepy Hollow Administrator Anthony Giaccio; Chris Borsari, Superintendent of the Tarrytown Union Free School District, and Maureen Petry, Director of the Warner Library.
Club President Mauro offers a welcome to those interested in learning about the Rotary, “by joining us at a weekly meeting.” The Club meets weekly on Wednesdays for lunch at J.P. Doyle’s Restaurant in Sleepy Hollow. Additional information about the Rotary Club and membership can also be found at www.tarrytownrotary.org.