About Our Club
The Rotary Club of Winchester, Massachusetts, USA
During the 90's and into the new millennium the club has continued to meet the charitable needs of the community. In the spring of 1996, Chandler Parkhurst, a former honorary member, bequeathed $50,000.00 that established the Winchester Rotary Scholarship Foundation. The Harry E. Chefalo fund was later formed and enabled the committee to increase its giving capabilities. At present $4,000.00 to $5,000.00 in scholarships are awarded yearly to recognize students for community service. The award amounts will grow in proportion to the fund size. There are numerous recipients of charitable giving. The Mission of Deeds, an organization that provides assistance to those in need, has a close attachment to the Winchester Club. Tony Triglione, a member of the Winchester Club, founded the charity to provide furniture and household items to needy families. The Winchester Rotary has provided help in the form of cash donations and members have volunteered their time to help with pickups of donated goods.
Others receiving funding have been; "Big Steps for Little People", Winchester Seniors Association, ABC House, Bridge over Troubled Waters, The Woburn Council for Social Concern, Winchester Meals on Wheels, a new Scoreboard at Manchester Field, Winchester Community Music School, FORCE to fund the Skateboard Park, The North Suburban YMCA, Mission of Deeds, benches for Elliott Park, The Winchester Historical Society, Winchester Fire and Police Departments, The Family Inn, Habitat for Humanity, The Boy Scouts, The Girl Scouts, Camp Rotary, Arlington Boys and Girls Club, The Recreation Department, WHS Marching Band, Good Start at Winchester Hospital, Hospice Care, Bellino Park and countless others. Charitable giving is only one aspect of Rotary’s generosity. This was never more evident than in 1998 when after a “100 year” flood many merchants in downtown Winchester had basements flooded to epic proportions and were left with the task of a major cleanup. Winchester Rotarians only did what Rotarians do, rolled up their sleeves, pitched in, and got the job done.
The Club embarked on a mission during this period which was a case of déjà vu. A simple desire to fulfill the holiday “Wish List” for girls at the Germaine Lawrence School has developed into a long term commitment for the club. The GLS, located in Arlington, is a provider of residential treatment services for troubled adolescent girls. This effort has in many ways mirrored the earlier club efforts involving Winning Farm in Woburn. Winning Farm was long forgotten by the new millennium but the Rotary ideals that spawned that endeavor lived on. The Rotarians saw the needs of the young women from GLS just as the former membership had seen the needs of the young women at Winning Farm. Once again the Winchester Rotary Club provided assistance in many forms. It started with a simple request of nightgowns for the girls and the club responded. The next year the club expanded on the “Wish List” for the holidays and the membership generously donated. From that came the adoption of the Harriet Tubman dorm, now known as the Hirshberg Treatment Center. As soon as the “adoption” was in place the Rotarians saw that landscaping was needed and in cooperation with Mahoney’s Rocky Ledge the club provided funding and purchased the plantings. Club members with assistance from the girls completed the landscaping. There also was a crew who painted some lawn furniture to put the finishing touches on the project. The long term needs of the girls were considered when Rotarians provided a speakers program to assist them in career planning. It is inspiring to see Rotarians and non-Rotarian invitees willingly give of their time to discuss their vocations and share first hand knowledge with young women who so desperately need guidance. The Arts are an integral part of the girl’s formation and the club has sponsored programs that encompass a wide spectrum. The girls have participated in watercolor classes and are looking forward to pastels and charcoal lessons. PlayMakers, a theater workshop, was formed and the girls rehearsed and performed a staged reading of the play Date Night. An invitation was arranged with the Arlington Friends of Drama to participate in a project that included set construction, painting and other production related tasks. A field trip to the Institute for Contemporary Art was sponsored by the club. Under the auspices of the Winchester Community Music School, there was a series of song-writing workshops, culminating in the making of a CD. Photography was explored with the assistance of two professionals. The club provided disposable cameras and the girls were guided through the finer points of picture taking. There have been outings to The Farm, a raspberry patch where they weed and pick berries and hikes in the Fells where they encounter nature first hand. The club has also involved non-Rotarians to provide services such as a tennis clinic. A ballroom dance program provides the young women with dance skills and poise. Under the auspices of Winchester Rotary, girls from GLS toured The Museum of Our National Heritage with members of the Middlesex Committee of the Women’s Bar Association. They also were invited to attend the monthly luncheon meeting at the Yangtze River Restaurant in Lexington. There is a scheduled golf outing and opportunities to attend the theater are being explored. Winchester’s Farmer’s Market provided an opportunity for members to escort the girls’ on a food shopping trip which ended with the group preparing lunch and dining on their creations. Along with the annual “Wish List”, the Gingerbread House construction party has become an annual event.
In 2002, to commemorate the club's 75th Anniversary Year, there was an unprecedented distribution of funds totaling $75,000.00. Grants were awarded both locally and internationally with $50,000.00 being disbursed locally and $25,000.00 given to international projects. The awards were determined by an application system and a vote of the general membership. There were 11 Grants to local entities and 3 International Grants. The Local Grants were disbursed thusly:
1. $10,000 Winchester Meals-On-Wheels
2. $10,000 Winchester Rotary Scholarship Foundation
3. $5,000 Mission of Deeds, Inc.
4. $5,000 Winchester Fire Department
5. $3,000 Hospice Care, Inc.
6. $3,000 Family Inn Foundation
7. $3,000 Winchester Committee for A Better Chance (ABC)
8. $3,000 Muraco Community Playground
9. $3,000 Woburn Council of Social Concern
10. $2,500 North Suburban Family YMCA
11. $2,500 Bridge Over troubled Waters, Inc
The International Grants were disbursed to the following:
1. $10,000 Hope for the Children of Haiti
2. $10,000 AGAND USA, Inc. Children’s Orphanage, Guatemala
3. $5,000 Friends Forever Peace Programs
The club formally celebrated its 75th anniversary, also symbolized by the diamond, at a gathering held at the Winchester Country Club on Sunday Evening, April 28, 2002. It was a time to pay homage to all Winchester Rotarians living or deceased whose unwavering dedication, untiring efforts and unstinting commitment helped to make Winchester and the world a better place. Seventy-Five years of service to the community is a milestone. The remarkable fact is that it continues.
In 2007 the club’s 80th anniversary and long time member Dick Donovan’s surprise 90th birthday party were celebrated with a luncheon meeting at the Woburn Country Club. Once again the membership reflected on the accomplishments of the past eighty years and looked towards future projects that will build on the legacy that they have inherited. At that time long serving and active member Dick Donovan was noted for 41 years of service to the club over a long and distinguished membership.
The Arts have always been cultivated and supported by the club. Starting with the very first fund raiser, “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band concert, the club has always fostered the creative assets of the community. Whether it was sponsoring the Winchester Arts Festival, donating to the Winchester Drama Workshop or contributing to a variety of artistic opportunities within the school system, the Winchester Rotary Club recognized the benefits of arts in the community. That cultural enrichment was most recently provided to the community by sponsoring the faculty recital series at the Winchester Community Music School and gallery exhibitions at the Griffin Museum.
One aspect of the club that always goes unnoticed is the business side of running the day to day operations. The club has always had dedicated members who shared their expertise and served in roles vital to the organization. President’s, Vice President’s, President’s Elect, Club Secretaries, Treasurer’s, Sergeant-at-Arms and Board members through the years have all given of their talents and their most precious commodity, time, to make sure that the club runs smoothly and operates effectively. With the amount of monies that pass through the club, it has taken Treasurer’s, who usually serve for long periods of time, to maintain the books in a thoughtful and professional manner. In other monetary matters the Investment Committee has taken care to ensure that the club’s assets are invested wisely. The skill and knowledge that is provided by these volunteers is invaluable. Likewise the Secretary, who must maintain the minutes and handle all correspondence, usually serves for more than a single term. The Sergeant at Arms is the keeper of order, attendance and the luncheon count. This is a position that is diligently carried out with little or no fanfare. The Roster Book, a mainstay for many years, was a cumbersome binder with all of the member’s personal data which is now available online. In this era of cyberspace the club has kept up with the times. In 2003-2004 the club received an award from the District for the Web Page. The Club Bulletin, where members went for information about the club, was once delivered by “snail mail”. It became an institution under Bulletin Editor Arthur “Red” Rand who, for 15 years, dispensed his brand of humor and rarely if ever missed a weekly edition. Red’s weekly production included a lot of cut and paste when that terminology actually meant cut and paste. Don’t think for a minute though that providing the bulletin today on line is any simple task. It is a task that takes that intangible “Rotary Spirit” to make it happen.
There are three individuals who deserve mention for their years of service to Rotary. Each of these members has served Rotary for over 50 years. Nicholas Fitzgerald had a membership that spanned 61 years from 1931 to 1992. Harry Chefalo had a membership that spanned 54 years from 1946 to 2000. Irv Rawding has been a member of Rotary since 1959 when he joined the Boston Rotary. In 1980 he transferred his membership to the Winchester Club and is currently continuing his uninterrupted service.
There are new horizons, new vistas and new challenges for the membership. Their dedication has not wavered and they are ready and eager to continue the efforts started by 24 individuals in 1927 to make a difference in the world. The Rotary motto of "Service Above Self" lives in the Winchester Rotary Club.
Respectfully submitted by: Jack Kean