(The following narrative is a continuation of a series of how a member was introduced to Rotary and subsequent memories. If you would like Rotary to be part of your life's story, please contact Joyce Cave at caveclan@yahoo.com.)


Rich Mozzini

Member since November 2002

May 2021


Having been born and raised in the shadow of “Sign Hill”, South San Francisco then was truly an industrial city. It was not the home of the biotech giant Genentech, among other technology companies, as it is now. I graduated from San Francisco State College in 1967, married my wife of 53 years, Gail, in January of 1968, and soon after was called to active duty in the US Army Medical Corp. I spent my active duty at Brooke General Hospital in San Antonio, Texas and my reserve duty at the Presidio of San Francisco, California as an operating room specialist. I began my professional career teaching US History and Anthropology at South San Francisco High in 1972. I then became an Assistant Principal in this district in 1980. In 1990, I transferred to San Mateo High School and eventually retired in 2007.

In 2002 I joined the Rotary Club of Foster City at the request of Charles Douglas, retired principal of SMHS who was my immediate supervisor, mentor and fellow Rotarian. SMHS has had a long relationship with the our club dating back to 1998 when Greg Kuhl began the Interact Club there. An administrator at SMHS, under one name or another, has been a Rotarian every year since 1990. SMHS is the largest feeder high school for Foster City, since it does not have its own high school. With this background information and as an Assistant Principal, I joined the Rotary Club of FC to continue a long tradition and to give back to this community while participating in and out of the work place.

During the almost 20 years that I have been an active member in this club, especially since my retirement, I have given service to our club in the following ways: served on the Board of Directors as the Community Services Director, 2006-2008 and Vocational Services Director, 2018-2020; Co-chaired “One Warm Coat” project first with Charles Douglas, then with Jeff Brown for 13 years, with all the coats going to the Samaritan House; Chaired the Dictionary Project for 14 years in which all third grade students in the FC Elementary District received a dictionary; assisted Scholarship Chair, Jim Goell, for the past three years with this program and next year I will assume the Scholarship Chair; currently chair Student of the Month project, where a SMHS student is honored once a month for their academic excellence and school/community service. The student is recognized with a plaque at our weekly luncheons with their teacher and parents present. This program has recognized students for the past 20 years.

I have enjoyed my time in Rotary and am looking forward to many more years of service and helping make a difference in the community, and in Rotary International. My best memories are our weekly meetings at the Marriot hotel, sharing comradery and goodwill that makes our club so welcoming and engaging. I have thoroughly enjoyed and look forward to continue working at our summer concerts, spaghetti feeds, rib fest, pancake breakfasts, food banks, shoe drives and other Rotary events in the community that helps to raise money for organizations and charities we have supported throughout the years.

While I was employed, I could not involve myself in Rotary trips outside of our country. However, I was able to donate annually to Rotary International for water purification projects in Africa, which has been a high priority for me. My “epiphany” as a Rotarian came for me and my wife during two International club visits to the Republic of South Africa in 2011 and to Mazatlán, Mexico in 2012 with members from our club. Both of these trips were exquisitely planned and implemented by one of our founding club members, Jon Grant and his wife Linda. In South Africa we visited schools, handed out soccer uniforms, soccer balls as well as school uniforms. One of my fondest memories was giving players shoes which most did not have. We visited an orphanage where I fed a little two year old girl which brought tears to my eyes. We also gave out wheelchairs in the most rural and improvised areas to individuals who had little to no mobility. I remember giving a wheelchair to a child in his corrugated small house and seeing the child come out of the house in his wheelchair with mobility for the first time with a huge smile on his face. This is a Rotary moment I will never forget! In Mexico, we helped build a school and gave out supplies which we brought with us. Their former school was built entirely of pallets. Wheelchairs were also given to many residents, giving them greater mobility than they ever had before. Once again, I want to thank fellow Rotarians, Jon and Linda Grant, for making these trips possible and giving me and my wife “Rotary Moments” that we will never forget.

Going forward with my life, Rotary will always be part of it, both for what I can give in “service above self” and the rewards intrinsically I receive by trying to make a difference in the small ways that I can.