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Riverhead Rotary

Dear Editor:

On May 23, 1931, at the former Hotel Henry Perkins, 37 of Riverhead's most community service-minded individuals gathered to receive the Charter documents of the Rotary Club of Riverhead. Seventy-five years later on May 23, 2006 the 100 current members of the Riverhead Rotary will gather to celebrate the Club's Diamond Anniversary. In addition to our current membership and their spouses, we are inviting all those affiliated with our organization to join us for a fun-filled evening!

As you are probably aware, Riverhead Rotary is an active community service organization. Our current local activities include, but are not limited to, providing generous college scholarships to our local students funded in part by the Bruce Stark annual golf outing, planting flowers at the library, raising money during the holidays by ringing the Salvation Army bell, making and distributing 200 food baskets to the needy, and sponsoring the ever-entertaining Variety Show. To provide these services, we raise funds at events that include our pancake breakfast, spaghetti dinner, and our famous Country Fair booth where we sell kielbasa sandwiches and beer.

Besides serving the community on the local level, the club's reach also has touched many globally. Every year, Riverhead Rotary sponsors high school students to experience life as international exchange students while hosting children from abroad. The families who welcome these students into their home are crucial to the success of the this program and we are thankful for their continued support.

Another vital program to Rotary on a worldwide level, known as the "Gift of Life," was launched in 1974 to provide surgery to children with life-threatening heart conditions. The "Gift of Life" program brings a child and a parent to our community from a country where adequate health care is not available and literally provides the child with the "Gift of Life." All of the costs associated with the surgery, which are $4000 for each are covered by donations and the young patient is able to heal his/her mind, body and soul while being hosted by a warm and welcoming family from our area.

Many years have passed since the arrival of Rotary to Riverhead. Some of the names and businesses of the charter members are familiar to us even today, and some of our past events are recalled with fondness and nostalgia. How many people remember our annual Chicken Barbecue that was held at the Grumman picnic grounds? We ask anybody who has an anecdote or an interesting story relating to Rotary in Riverhead to please e-mail us at rotary75@riverheadrotary.org. Fitting recollections and photographs will appear in the anniversary journal.

All that is Rotary past, present and future will be celebrated May 23. Those who would like to join us at this party, including former Rotarians, Rotarians of other clubs, former host families, former Youth Exchange participants, friends of Rotary and Interact Members, are welcome! For more info, please feel free to contact me at rotary75@riverheadrotary.org.

DAVID TROYAN, Riverhead Rotary
April 12, 2006

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