Fishkill Rotary has been awarded a $20,000 Learn, Play, Create Grant from Dutchess County.
The grants are being awarded to youth-serving libraries and youth-serving organizations that, "promote, learning, art enrichment, and sports activities." The grants are intended to fund opportunities for children to learn, play and create while filling needs resulting from the negative impacts of quarantines, etc. brought about by COVID-19. Fishkill Rotary will use the funds to purchase and distribute warm winter coats, boots, hats, gloves and scarves to needy school children in an effort to assure improved school attendance during the cold winter months. Fishkill Rotary is very grateful to Dutchess County for recognizing this need and for the generosity of the Learn, Play, Create Grant. More information about this initiative will be posted on this webpage as details become available. Once again, MANY THANKS DUTCHESS COUNTY!!
Bill Jeffway, Executive Director of the Dutchess County Historical Society, visited Fishkill Rotary for a morning meeting on Wednesday, October 20, 2021. Bill was introduced by Rob Doyle, Historical Society President, who spoke of Bill's passion for history and the variety of activities undertaken by the historical society. Bill then spoke about the unique role Fishkill played in the history of both Dutchess County and New York State. This year's edition of the society's yearbook celebrates the 100th consecutive year of its annual publication. No other historical society can claim such a long legacy for annual publications.
Fishkill Rotary will be volunteering with Hope on a Mission this Saturday, October 23, delivering and serving food to Poughkeepsie's homeless population. Saturday will mark the first of three dates on which Fishkill Rotarians will be assisting in this particular outreach effort. Each of the clients will be served a hearty, hot meal. In addition, each one will be given a Blessing Bag (pictured below) filled with hygiene products and smaller snack items designed 'to go' following the dinner.
In early Spring 2020, the flagpole and flag at Sara Taylor Park in Fishkill were vandalized beyond repair. Fishkill Rotary worked with the Village of Fishkill through one of the Village Trustees, Nick Forlano, to purchase a new pole and flag. Nick, a Fishkill Rotarian himself, coordinated the installation of the flag during March 2021. Old Glory now waves again over the park due to the combined efforts of Fishkill Rotary and the Village of Fishkill.
Fishkill Rotary celebrated its Annual Installation Dinner on Wednesday, June 23 at the Wiccopee Fire House. Above, 2021-22 incoming District Governor, Mike Polasek (right), swears in the new officers and board members. From left: Sterling Gaston (Board Member), Emilie Zias (Board Member), Asher Pacht (Secretary), Roberta Theiss (Treasurer), Vicki Kessler (Director), Tristan Smith (Immediate Past President) and Austin Schweitzer (2021-22 President). In addition, a number of awards were presented during the ceremony:
Paul Nussbickel Rotarian of the Year Vicki Kessler
John Mitchell Non-Rotarian of the Year Paul Kastanis (Hudson Valley Gyro and Market)
Paul Harris Fellow John Braca
Jayci Longin (John Jay HS Senior) Joan Sourenian Scholarship. Jayci will be attending
Mercy College to pursue a degree in Nursing.
As a capstone to the evening, Joe Phillips was inducted as Fishkill Rotary's newest member. We welcome Joe and look forward to working with him to make numerous positive contributions in our community.
Fishkill Rotarians joined other dedicated volunteers on Saturday, March 27 to help feed Poughkeepsie's homeless. Fishkill Rotary provided trays of macaroni and cheese, chicken, beef, etc. thanks to Nick Forlano (Dutchess Biercafe, Main Street, Fishkill) and Paul Kastanis (Hudson Valley Gyro Grill and Market, 1117 NY-82, corner of Clove Branch). About 125 people in need were fed during the evening. Those folks also went away with bottled water, fruit, granola bars, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and some personal care kit items. Overall, it was a great night in Poughkeepsie and served as a perfect example of the Rotary Motto: Service Above Self.
Gifts for needy Fishkill Elementary School families fill the sleigh of Fishkill Rotarian Skip "Santa" Rottkamp. Pictured with Skip is Melinda Potter, School Nurse at Fishkill Elementary, who does a great job of identifying the families who are in need at the holidays and serving as the point person at Fishkill Elementary for the Adopt-A-Family initiative. This year Fishkill Rotary adopted 5 families and Rotarians shopped for gifts on the wish lists and wrapped those gifts in an effort to spread some holiday cheer where it was most needed. Thanks to Skip and Melinda for their efforts in making Christmas 2020 another successful "Season of Giving" for Fishkill Rotary.
Fishkill Rotary's newest member, Emelie Zias (R), was inducted into the club at a weekly meeting on Wednesday, December 16. Pictured at the left is member Roberta Theiss who presided over Emelie's induction. Emelie works in the healthcare field and spoke about her family, her professional background and her willingness to be involved in doing good in the community as a Fishkill Rotarian!
Just some of the 150+ warm, winter coats that Fishkill Rotary distributed to needy elementary school students in November. A warm coat can greatly improve school attendance and student self-esteem, especially during the coldest winter months. Fishkill Rotary partnered with Operation Warm for the tenth year in a row to provide much-needed warmth to area elementary-age students.
On Wednesday, August 5 following a regular club meeting, members of Fishkill Rotary visited Unshattered, a boutique specializing in handbags and accessories created from repurposed materials. The employees of Unshattered are women who are recovering from drug addiction and making a new start. The women create beautiful bags, wallets, etc. from materials including wedding dresses, broadway sets, vintage auto upholstery and even old military uniforms. Unshattered's goal is to provide support to women battling back from addiction by giving them jobs, benefits and purpose. Below left, Fishkill Rotary President, Tristan Smith, presented a check for $500 to Kelly Kerans Lyndgaard, founder of Unshattered. The public can purchase the bags and accessories at Unshattered's Hopewell boutique or from its website.
This is the latest contribution made by Fishkill Rotary to community organizations and businesses suffering due to Covid-19. Fishkill Rotary also contributed $500 to Paul Kastanis, proprietor of Hudson Valley Gyros on Route 82 in Hopewell Junction, who provides hot meals for essential workers. Earlier this year, Fishkill Rotary contributed $3,000 to the Fishkill Food Pantry, a gift partially underwritten through a Covid-19 Grant provided by Rotary District 7210.
District 7210 Governor, Tony Marmo (left), visited Fishkill Rotary on Wednesday August 5, kicking off his 'tour' of club visits for 2020-21. He's pictured with Fishkill Rotary President, Tristan Smith. It was especially fitting that Tony would start his visits in Fishkill seeing how he grew up less than a mile from our temporary meeting place, Sarah Taylor Park off of Rout 9. Tony recalled that his home and the family business, M&M Rag Company, were located on Route 9, then known as Old Albany Post Road.
Governor Tony talked of the importance of 'Growing Rotary' and seeking new membership. Below is a picture of the "Masked Members" of Fishkill Rotary with the District Governor.
With area food pantries experiencing a 40 - 60 % surge in demand due to effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Fishkill Rotary has made a $3,000 donation to the Fishkill Food Pantry. $1,205 of that total donation was provided by monies received from Rotary District 7210 through its successful Covid -19 Disaster Response Grant. Fishkill Rotary has conducted many food drives at area supermarkets in support of the Fishkill Food Pantry, and this donation is a continuation of Rotary's support, on the local, District and Foundation levels, for the vital role the food pantry plays in feeding and maintaining the health of some of our most vulnerable community members. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK FISHKILL FOOD PANTRY AND ROTARY!!!