Club Meeting: July 16, 2019
Opening and Welcome: Gayle Demko opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and the recitation of the Rotary Four-Way Test. Gayle Demko also provided the invocation and led the club singing of “God Bless America.”
Members Present: Dale Baker, Joe Blake, Gayle Demko, Jed Dery, Frank DiGennaro, Gail Handley, Heidi Huhn-Partain, Dick Kisiel, Jon Kozloski, Bob Lowell, Jack Muska, Paul Muska, Ken Pascoe, Jay Presser, Don Rawling, Gordon Stagg, Tom Sullivan and Nancy Viggiano (18/34 = 53%)
Guests: None
Gayle Demko noted that a resolution has been reached and meetings will continue to be held at Suffield Country Club. Special thanks to Suffield by the River for offering their facilities to use as a backup meeting location.
Gayle Demko remarked that the Board is looking at projects, working with Rotaract and having a positive impact in Town. More to follow.
Golf Tournament: Jon Kozloski provided an update on the 28th Annual Glenn T. Packard Golf Tournament which will be held on Friday, August 9. We are on track to raise a similar amount of funds compared to last year and are still waiting on some teams to sign up. Windsor Federal Savings has provided an electronic billboard publicizing the tournament on I-91 in Hartford. A volunteer sign-up sheet was passed around. Please let Jon know your availability (all day, early morning, late morning). We are looking for raffle items, including gift certificates to your favorite restaurant. Event will need volunteers around 7:15AM, with registration starting at 7:30AM and tournament starting at 8:30AM.
Reminder: Annual dues are due. Please bring a check or credit card to the next meeting, or you can pay by credit card on the website (direct link:
Gayle introduced tonight’s program as a “trip down memory lane.” Suffield will be celebrating its 350th anniversary in October 2020. Beth Chafetz requested that Rotary provide an article to be included in a book about Suffield’s last 50 years.
Tom Sullivan provided a “look back” at Suffield Rotary’s past. Club members shared many observations and memories to be included in the submission to the 350th Committee.
Rules governed membership, only one professional from each industry would be admitted. If members missed two meetings, they would get a warning. Even if members were away from Suffield, they were still expected to attend a Rotary Club meeting. Smoking was once common at meetings.
Good memories outweighed challenges, including embezzlement by a former member in 1990. Nancy Viggiano was a teller at Suffield Savings Bank who helped to uncover the discrepancy. Luckily, the community turned out to support Rotary and funds were donated to help cover the losses.
Rotary International voted to admit women into Rotary Clubs worldwide in 1989. Dottie McCarthy was the first woman to be President of Suffield Rotary.
Historically, Rotary participated in everything, including parades and chicken barbeque. Suffield on the Green used to be called Octoberfest. This event included a variety show comprised of Rotary members and even a rodeo.
Gayle Demko volunteered to consolidate and edit the final submission to Beth Chafetz.
Tom Sullivan noted that funds and efforts from Rotary primarily supported the Town’s needs. Scholarships later became another focus. Rotary supported other groups, like Boy Scouts and Ambulance, and donated to improve Sunrise Park. Weekly meetings were previously held at Sunrise Park Pavilion.
Dale Baker remarked on the diversity of the club, with a special mention of honorary member Luis Lee, who would often provide the invocation in the Seneca language.
Heidi Huhn-Partain commented that Rotary should also focus on who we are today. Rotary has transitioned from only having a local focus to having a more universal/international focus – for example, supporting Guatemala Water Project.
Jay Presser remarked that Suffield Little League recently won the District 8 tournament, the second such title for Suffield and the first since 1982. Rotary funded the Little League batting cages in 2017.
Blue Ticket Winners: Blue ticket winner was Jay Presser with side winners Jon Kozloski and Joe Blake.
Queen of Hearts: Bob Lowell had the winning ticket and did not pull the Queen of Hearts. Total winning pot now stands at $623.
Birthdays and Anniversaries: Joe Blake celebrated a birthday!
Adjournment: Tom Sullivan closed the meeting with a group signing of “My Country Tis of Thee.”
Next week’s meeting: July 23
Budget presentation with Ken Pascoe.