Club Information

Welcome to our Club!

Liberty

Service Above Self/WGSD!

We meet In Person & Online
Wednesdays at 6:00 PM
Yiasou Cafe' (Currently Meeting Via Zoom)
1980 State Route 52
Liberty, NY 12754
United States of America
Liberty Rotary Club will be meeting online until further notice.
Home Page Stories
Liberty Rotary Club has always been a strong supporter of the WSUL Heart-a-thon to benefit the Garnet Health Sullivan County Cardiac Wing. Thanks to a multifaceted fundraising effort, the Rotary Clubs of Sullivan County played a big role in helping this year's event raise $93,446.  Thanks to all the organizations and businesses in our wonderful community that showed that "The Beat Goes On" when it comes to assuring quality cardiac care in our region.
 
Our energetic and creative club member Joanna Gass came up with a great way to raise funds for this worthy cause and let our members have a little fun.   Check out the Liberty Rotary Club Virtual "Parade of Hearts".  
 
 
CLICK ON THE ROTARY HEART TO MAKE A DONATION 
We wish to thank Piccolo Paese for their incredible generosity and support of "From the Heart" virtual dinner theater and The WSUL Heart-A-Thon, both of which benefit cardiac care at Garnet Sullivan County.  For those who missed out on the delectable offerings, it was your loss, as the food was superb .  Foster Supply Hospitality is donating every dollar they raised from their "Hearty Meal" promotions to the Heart-A-Thon.  They truly exemplify "Service Above Self"!
 
 
 
 
 
OPERATION FEED 3.0 is an initiative of the Liberty NY Rotary Club, to provide meals to Garnet Health Regional Hospital – Catskills (GHMC-Catskills) and Sullivan County Public Health Staffs working extra shifts to staff Covid-19 immunization clinics, and renew our support for our local restaurants in this endlessly difficult time for them.
 
Donations are needed to Fund Opeartion Feed 3.0.   Because our volunteers donate all of their time and efforts, one hundred percent of all contributions support the purchase of meals for the essential workers at the Covid-19 Vaccination Clinics.  
 
The guest speaker at our January 20, 2021 meeting was Melinda Wegener, who has been working with her husband Gary to combat the Covid-19 pandemic by sewing masks.  Their efforts have been targeted towards serving the underserved areas of our country, particularly the homeless, migrant workers and Native Americans. 
Through their joint efforts, they have produced over 8,000 masks since they began.  That amounts to about 700 yards of fabric and miles of thread.  In an effort to keep costs down and keep up their production rates, they located wholesale distributors and raised money through fundraising.  Additional funds have been raised with the assistance of Morgan Outdoors, which is selling some of the masks to support the initiative.
This past summer they joined forces with a group called Auntie Sewing Squad which provides them with the connections to reach those that need the masks and assists in shipping costs. (Auntiesewingsquad.com) 
Liberty Rotary Club thanks Melinda for her inspiring presentation and their Herculean efforts to reduce the spread of this pandemic.  As Melinda stated, “Their health is our health.  We’re never going to get through this pandemic if we don’t take care of everyone”.
HURRICANE RELIEF IN CENTRAL AMERICA
CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW!
CLICK HERE for Belize Basics and FAQ's
CLICK HERE for Central America Region Disaster Relief Video
 
There is an immediate need for supplies to get to families affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota in Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.  Representatives from the Liberty NY Rotary Club, Operation Endeavor, the Belize Sunrise Rotary Club and The Belize Rotary Club met on zoom recently as a result of being contacted by the Executive Director of the Belize Emergency Response Team requesting disaster relief assistance.  We have been able to identify needs as described by those with boots on the ground in Belize.  Those needs include DONATIONS to purchase food, hygiene and domestic supplies for hurricane-stricken families as wells as to provide disaster preparedness and basic first aid training necessary to educate stakeholders and build resilience for future disasters.
 
CLICK HERE for Video showing Belize Rotarians delivering food and supply packages to families affected by floods caused by Hurricane Eta and Iota in Central Belize.  
 
Liberty NY Rotary Club President Gary Siegel traveled to Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls for the Million Mask Challenge Tour Pickup. A total of 175,000 masks were delivered for the clubs in Rotary District 7210, 12,000 of which will be distributed in Sullivan County by the Liberty, Livingston Manor and Monticello clubs. They also picked up 1,500 youth masks plus 420 KN95’s.
 
Rotary Club of Monticello, NY’s Jacob Lerner, one of coordinators of the project for the district, was also present to assist and pick up masks. Siegel delivered Livingston Manor's portion of the masks to President Diane Babich. Masks will be distributed to a number of Sullivan County businesses and organizations designated by the Rotary Club of Monticello NY and Liberty NY Rotary Club.
 
This includes not-for-profit organizations who are providing meals to food insecure families, small businesses, fire, EMS and police departments, schools, youth programs, and more.
Dr. Robert Dufour - Supt. of Sullivan County B.O.C.E.S gave our club an update on a number issues associated with Sullivan County schools.
Dufour noted that many schools in the area have deemed it necessary to close one or more buildings, for varying lengths of time, due to staff members or students testing positive for Covid-19.  He explained that teachers are presenting "creative and engaging lessons" via remote teaching tools or through a hybrid of in-person and virtual instruction.  Despite every school's best effort to keep moving our students forward, there is concern that these methods may not be working well enough, and that pupils may be falling behind.  
Dufour also discussed the effort to provide Covid-19 vaccinations to the educational staff of our county.  Although local supply of the vaccine is currently unavailable, much effort has been put forth to collect data to evaluate how many doses will be needed, and how to schedule the more than 2,400 education workers that are eligible to receive those shots.  This should allow for greater efficiency when further vaccine supplies arrive. Approximately 25% of those that qualify have currently not shown interest in getting the vaccine, and there are efforts being made to determine why that number is so high and also to educate those qualified to receive the injections.
On the B.O.C.E.S campus, educational and vocational programs are progressing, but with less hands-on and laboratory time than prior to the pandemic.  Much time has been invested to provide focus, not just on student academics, but also to social-emotional wellness.
Dr. Dufour thanked the Liberty Rotary Club for all that we do to assist the youth and families of our county.  As he stated: "Somewhere out there, is a child smiling because of something Liberty Rotary Club did."
We thank Dr. Dufour for his time and valuable insight, as well as all he does for the children of our county.
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2020 - Making Lemonade Out Of Lemons! The Liberty NY Rotary Club raised over $118,000 for important local, regional and international causes most of which was done during the Covid-19 Pandemic.  Thanks to all who have supported these initiatives   Here's to a happy, healthy and productive 2021.  

CLICK HERE to download the 2020 Year In Review and Toasts to 2021!  

 Tickets are on sale from any Liberty Rotary Club Member or reserve your ticket by emailing libertynyrotaryclub@gmail.com with the number of tickets you would like.

Donation of $50/ticket can be paid through VENMO.  Search @libertynyrotary & write “Winter Raffle” in "what's it for" box 

or send your donation of $50/ticket to:

Liberty NY Rotary Club Winter Raffle 
PO Box 493
Liberty, NY  12754

 Please include return address.  
We will send your raffle ticket stub(s) when donation is received 

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Liberty NY Rotary Club members participated in the Sullivan 180 "Walkthrough Wednesday 500 Challenge" at Bethel Woods’ "Peace, Love & Lights" benefiting the Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless.   The challenge was, if 500 walkers participated in the mile long walk through the impressive lighting displays, then a donation of $500 would be given to the Federation.  The 500th walker participated just before we arrived, meaning that the goal had been attained.  At a previous board meeting, Liberty Rotary Club had set aside matching funds of an additional $500 for when Sullivan 180 reached its goal.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Sullivan 180 representatives including Amanda Galigher Langseder, Linday Wheat and others.  It was  a calm and warm evening(by late December standards) to stroll through the impressive display of lights and get in some extra steps toward good health.  During these unique times, it was wonderful to experience the glow of the season with fellow Rotarians while the well dispersed crowd of multiple generations enjoyed the spirit of the holidays. 
Click the "Read More" button to see photos taken by Gary Siegel of some of the unique presentations in light.  However, to really appreciate the experience, it should be seen up close and in full motion.
The spirit of giving was strong at the December 19th Liberty Rotary Club Food Drive that benefited the Liberty Interfaith Food Pantry.  Through the combined efforts of numerous Rotarians and an exceptional number of generous community members, the food drive yielded so much food that 4 vehicles were used to transport it to the food pantry.  Even more impressive, was the fact that patrons of the Liberty Market and Liberty Trading Post, as well as some early donors, dropped over $1,400 in cash and coin into our collection buckets.  To that total, Steve Gottlieb and The Liberty Trading Post contributed $300 to the cause.  That led to a total of $1,767 collected from this one-day event!  Additionally, the Liberty Rotary Club issued a check for $500 to support The Interfaith Food Pantry, bringing the total contribution to $2,267 to allow the pantry to sustain our neighbors that struggle with food insecurity at these difficult times.  All that food and money will do a lot of good.
Special thanks to Randy Resnick and Liberty Market for gathering food leading up to this event and allowing us to collect groceries and money at their store.  Additional special thanks to Steve Gottlieb and The Liberty Trading Post for their contribution and allowing us to collect in front of their store.  Also, thank you to those that worked in rather chilly conditions throughout the day to make this event happen.  A day which started with a temperature of 4 degrees and never rose above freezing did not stop the following from doing good for our community: Dan Berkowicz, Paul Ciliberto, Pat Fetner, Steve Fetner, Mr. Terry Grafmuller, Mrs. Terry Grafmuller, Irving Kaplan, Sue Kraycer, Jannetta MacArthur, Barbi Neumann Marty, Laura Sandoval, Jaime Schmeiser, Gary Siegel, Bill Silver, Gary Silverman and Tony Sinacore.  This event once again proves how generous our community can be and the incredible concern we show to those that live in our area.  
The Liberty NY Rotary Club was honored to be presented with the New York State Senate 2020 Empire State Award for outstanding community service by Senator Jen Metzger.  The award was presented to the club in recognition of outstanding contributions and dedication to the growth, prosperity and betterment of our community.  Senator Metzger pointed out the outstanding word that the club has done in the community including the contributions to the 98.3 WSUL Heartathon, support of the local Boys and Girls Club, and  initiating and coordinating Operation Feed supporting our essential workers, local restaurants and food insecure families.  The award was accepted by Past President Bill Silver and President CD with support from fellow rotarians Joanna Gass, Sue Kraycer, Barbi Neumann Marty and Fay Cerullo.  
Brand new stuffed animals everywhere... especially for families in Liberty, NY.
 
 
Thank you Michael Luongo - Liberty High School Class of 1994 - for your generous donation of 100’s of stuffed animals from Athletes Unite Us.
Liberty NY Rotary Club member and Program Director, you are a great connector. Rotarian, LHS Business Teacher and Interact Advisor, 
Dan Hart, it was fun spending the day picking up and delivering the stuffed animals. These goodies will put smiles on many faces when distributed for the holidays at the LHS Comfort Closet, The B&G Club Giving Tree distribution, Garnet Health and other community organizations.

Thank You to All Our Blood Donors!

Liberty Rotary Club, with support from the Monticello & Livingston Manor Rotary Clubs, held a successful blood drive on December 12, 2020. The drive yielded the following results:
Whole Blood: 29 donations
Double Red: 12 donations from 6 donors
Total Collections: 41 donations
Every donation has the potential to help up to 3 patients, therefore our drive has the potential to save up to 123 local area patients!
Our most sincere thanks goes out to the Liberty Elks Lodge #1545 for providing their facility for this important life-saving event.   We truly could not have held this event without you.   Also, great thanks to the professionals at The New York Blood Center for creating such a smoothly executed event, and for treating our donors with such professionalism and kindness.  Extraordinary thanks to all the donors that gave of themselves(literally) to help restock New York's exceptionally low blood supply.
 
 
The Liberty NY Rotary Club is conducting an exciting fundraiser supporting the "END POLIO NOW"  Polio Plus Program.  Let's all pitch in to eradicate Polio worldwide.  Purchase your TAKE OUT POLIO "I Saved 200" or "I Saved 600" Polio Plus Pins TODAY!   
 
Liberty Rotary Club’s own Jaime Schmeiser was one of the women selected to be featured in this year’s Sullivan County Democrat publication “Honoring Professional Women and Women in Business” for her work as President of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce.
As Jaime states in the Democrat’s article, she is “humbled and honored to have the opportunity to advance the mission of the Chamber and assist, support, promote and advocate on behalf of Sullivan County’s business community.”  She further explains “I love making a difference in my community and working for a Chamber of Commerce gives me the ability to assist so many different organizations and businesses.”
In addition to her duties as President of the Sullivan County Chamber, Jaime works extensively to support and promote the efforts of the Liberty Rotary Club.  Her dedication to our club’s mission and its efforts locally and globally has been exceptional.  Jaime has proven to be a great Rotarian.  Beyond her work directly connected to Rotary, Jaime has played an active role in Habitat for Humanity, Main Street USA, Economic Partnership, Head Start and Suicide Prevention.  She has also served on county committees for Workforce Development, Physical Accessibility, the census and Sneak Peek Sullivan.
We are pleased and proud to call Jaime a member of our club and appreciative of all the good work she does through the chamber and our Rotary club.
Jaime Schmeiser

Since 1986 the SYDA Foundation has sponsored this annual award to recognize and honor local citizens for outstanding community service. The selection committee, comprised of past award recipients and local civic leaders, chose Silver to receive this year’s award in recognition of his many years of service to the community of Sullivan County. Gary's’s primary service focus is leading projects to support the basic requirements of those in need, including addressing food insecurity; participating on humanitarian missions to provide clean-water filtration systems; and supporting organizations that coordinate and deliver emergency local and global disaster relief. 

We had the pleasure of hearing from the engaging and well spoken Officers of the Liberty High School Interact Club at our weekly meeting.  Even in these difficult times of Covid-19, their club continues to make a positive impact and are getting projects done.  Their report included updates on the High School Comfort Closet, The Thanksgiving Food Drive Coin Drop to provide food for the needy, and an effort to provide Chromebook and Ipod Insurance for local students that can not afford to do so on their own. The group, advised by Dan Hart, exemplifies how even as teens, huge positive impact can be brought to a community through "service above self".  Thank you Liberty High School Interact Club!
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On November 12, 2020, Operation Feed was presented the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce's 2020 Distinguished Service Pride Award.   Operation Feed was an initiative that was unprecedented with a number of civic organizations, restaurants, healthcare providers, restaurants, not for profits, elected officials and community residents all partnering to work toward the common goal of supporting those effected by the Covid 19- pandemic.  
      
Coats, Coats Everywhere and especially at The Downtown Barn in Liberty where on Saturday, October 17th, over 500 new and gently used donated coats were collected and given away free to over 150 happy community friends and neighbors.  The Coat Drive was an initiative of the District 7210 Community Service Committee of which Liberty Rotary's own Judy Siegel is the District Chairperson.  A number of the 55 clubs in the District held similar events making an impact on all of the communities in the district and showing the positive presence of rotary districtwide.  

  
Liberty Rotary Club participated in this year's Walk to End Alzheimer's.  Due to Covid, there was no single collaborative walk for the county, but a number of team members gathered to walk on the Hurleyville Rail Trail on October 11th. to walk for this cause.  Our Team raised over $600 thus far to assist in providing support and care for the individuals and families struggling with Alzheimer's.
The Liberty Rotary Club welcomes our newest member, Paul Ciliberto as we inducted him at our meeting on 9/23. District Governor Tony Marmo was our guest speaker and did the honor of inducting Paul as well as delivering an inspirational talk about "Growing Rotary" as part of his official visit to the club. Paul is a Senior Advisor at Bold Gold Media Group, hosting the Ciliberto & Friends morning show.  
THEY WERE IN IT TO WIN IT!!!!!
Annual Liberty Rotary Club Summer Raffle Winners
 1ST PRIZE - Doug Seibert - $500.00
2ND PRIZE - Jean Olesen - $250.00
3RD PRIZE - Jen Shampine -$100.00 
Thanks to all who participated as all proceeds will benefit Liberty Rotary Club's local, regional and international programs.  
We are "People of Action"!
The guest spKellyann Kostyal-Larrier eaker at our September 16th meeting was Kellyann Kostyal-Lerner, who is the Executive Director of Hudson Valley “Fearless!”(Formerly SafeHomes).  Their organization is dedicated to assisting the survivors and victims of domestic abuse and partner violence.  They also are combating teen dating violence and human trafficking in our area.
 
Kiwanis International teams up with Kiwanis Vision Partner Landscape Structures to give one Kiwanis club $25,000 of playground equipment. The Legacy of Play Contest celebrates the belief that investing in communities through legacy signature projects is important to the success of a Kiwanis club. With its emphasis on inclusive play, Landscape Structures helps Kiwanis achieve our goal of bringing play to all children.
Kiwanis of Woodridge, NY Foundation, Inc. has submitted an entry hoping to win the money to include handicap accessible playground equipment at Morningside Park. It is our goal to allow children of all abilities to play and interact together while having fun.
We need your help! Votes will determine a winner. If you would like to help us achieve our goal, and to vote on our submission, please go to the following link:
https://play.kiwanis.org/contestants/kiwanis-of-woodridge-ny/
The Voting period is: September 14 through September 27, 2020. The Winner will be announced: October 7, 2020. The Kiwanis of Woodridge appreciates, and thanks you for, your vote!

Dawn Ryder-President of the Board of Directors of Literacy Volunteers of Sullivan County shared an update of how Covid-19 has impacted their program and the efforts they are making to assure their mission continues through these challenging times.  

When the pandemic began, all classes went virtual and the book store had to be closed.  Only recently has in person education resumed.  In spite of all the challenges, 4 of their students recently became United States citizens and 2 have completed their high school education and received diplomas.  The bookstore reopened in June, and although sales are bit slower than usual, it continues to serve our community.

Due to a substantial loss of funding from the state and county, the organization is facing a potential fifty thousand dollar shortfall this year. As such, we encourage everyone to take advantage of their bookstore, so that Literacy Volunteers can earn much needed funds.

Liberty Rotary Club made a $500 donation to Literacy Volunteers.  We encourage everyone to like their page on Facebook and to please shop at the bookstore in Monticello.

https://www.literacysullivan.org/

Liberty Rotary Club was proud to recognize three advanced "Paul Harris Fellows" at our meeting on September 2nd, 2020.  Past District Governor Cindie Kish attended the virtual ceremony and spoke about the Rotary Foundation and Paul Harris Fellow recognition.  Those who were advanced to the next level of Paul Harris Fellow were Dr. William Silver(Paul Harris Fellow +1), Gary Silver(Paul Harris Fellow +1) and Susan Kraycer(Paul Harris Fellow +3).  We are so pleased and fortunate to have these three outstanding members as part of our club, and so greatly appreciate their tireless and continued efforts to make our world a better place.  Thank you for continuing to place "Service Above Self"!
(Click the "Read More" button to find out about our newly advanced "Paul Harris Fellows" and their accomplishments.)
 
Kim Simons and Tracy Quisenberry of "Icing Smiles" were our guest speakers at the August 26th meeting.  This organization is dedicated to creating amazing thematic cakes for children suffering from severe or terminal illnesses.  The group started in 2010 and has now grown to 12,000 volunteers who have created over 21,000 cakes.  Their estimate is that the group now creates about 3,000 cakes a year.  They spoke at our meeting to potentially allow Liberty Rotary Club bring the program to our community.  The video link below gives insight into the incredible impact their efforts are making.  We thank Kim and Tracy for sharing their story with us and giving us the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children that need a source of joy.
 
 
On October 18, 2020 our community will make efforts to raise funds to fight against a crippling and prevalent disease through the annual "Walk to End Alzheimer's".  Kellee Thelman attended last night's 8/12 meeting to offer the Liberty Rotary Club insight into the extensive impact Alzheimer's has on our elderly population and to encourage us to start a team to participate in the Sullivan County Alzheimer's Walk.  The Sullivan 180 committee seemed to think that this event was a natural fit for our group, which would combine a healthy and engaging activity with our efforts to assist those in need. 
The Alzheimer's Association Hudson Valley Chapter serves seven counties in New York, including Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester. They have four offices in Poughkeepsie, Purchase, New City and Middletown.  Their organization provides information and support for self care, those afflicted with the disease and the caregivers of the many area seniors struggling with Alzheimers.
We thank Kellee for her time and bringing our attention to this terrible affliction.  Liberty Rotary Club will be assembling a team and raising funds to help the fight against Alzheimers.  If you would like to be part of the team or make a contribution, please contact members Barbara Blakey, Saraid Gonzalez or Gary Silverman.
 
Click the "Read More" button for United States statistics about Alzheimers

 

Liberty Rotary Club was proud to recognize three new "Paul Harris Fellows" at our meeting on August 5th, 2020.  District Governor Tony Marmo attended the virtual ceremony and spoke about the Rotary Foundation and Paul Harris Fellow recognition.  The three new "Fellows" are Barbara Carr, Charlie Mangini and Anthony Sinacore.  We wish sincere congratulations to these worthy recipients, and thank them for their contributions to Rotary and their community.
(Click the "Read More" button to find out about our newest "Paul Harris Fellows" and their accomplishments.)
 

Jerry and Rosemary from Skoda Farms have joined forces with Operation Feed Phase 2 with the initiative of providing bushels of fresh locally grown vegetables to introduce and educate families about the health and nutrition benefits of eating locally grown produce. The Skoda’s have a desire to provide their healthy veggies to the children in their community, especially the ones that need it the most. Many of the families who will benefit from the harvest at Skoda Farms typically pass the produce section of the supermarket, as fresh produce costs more than those in cans.
Pictures below show a visit of Operation Feed representatives to the farm and some of the beautiful produce donated by the Skodas.

Saraid Gonzalez Saraid Gonzalez is a lifelong resident of Liberty, New York, with deep roots in the community.  She is married and has three children and a grandson.  Saraid graduated from Liberty High School in 1987.  She received an AS in Legal Secretarial Science from SCCC.  She will be completing her BS in Business Administration in the Fall of 2020 and will continue her education to receive a Masters in Public Administration from SUNY Empire State College.  Saraid has over 20 years of experience in event planning and hospitality.  She currently serves as the Program Director at Sullivan 180 where she manages special projects, programs and initiatives and assists in planning, implementing and evaluating a range of health initiatives influencing multicultural communities. Saraid is bilingual and fluent in Spanish. She was recently appointed as the County’s Census Coordinator where she coordinates the outreach and marketing campaign for the 2020 Census.  Saraid serves on numerous boards and committees which include:  SC Federation for the Homeless,  Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County, SALT (Sullivan Allies Leading Together), SC Women of Color Health Coalition, to name a few.  She is a Leadership Sullivan Alumni of 2015.  Saraid’s hobbies are closet organizing and interior design.  Saraid joined the Liberty Rotary Club to render service to those in need.  Saraid said, “Rotary inspires me to contribute to good humanitarian causes.  The Liberty Rotary Club is a great platform for service and fellowship”..
 
Terrence (Mr. Terry) Grafmuller: Born and raised in Livingston Manor(2 houses up street from Gary Siegel) and had 2 brothers.  He graduated HS in 1972 and joined the Air Force in January 1973. Terry is a Vietnam Era veteran. He married in 1974, which gave him his son David in 1979. After the military, he worked at IBM in Poughkeepsie in management and Industrial Engineering positions. IBM downsized in 1993, so after a wonderful 15 year career, he moved back to Sullivan County and met "the real love of my life", and married Terry Hamilton in 1996. He started working at SullivanArc in 1996 managing the sheltered work shop.  He then received his AAS in business administration late in life from SCCC.  He and his wife quickly became involved in local charities and the arts. Terry graduated Leadership Sullivan in 2010 and has been the Board secretary ever since. Terry and I have jumped through a hole in the ice every February for the past 5 years to raise Funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s. His son and daughter-in-law are both PT’s for school systems in Dutchess and Putnam Counties and have given them two wonderful grand children. Luke is 11 and Mia is 10.  Terry’s mother. Be a. is 90 years old and still lives in the house in which he grew up in in Livingston Manor. 
 
Theresa (Mrs. Terry) Grafmuller:  I was born in Rockland County with my two brothers and two sisters. While still in elementary school we moved to Sullivan county where I attended Fallsburg School graduating in 1982. After high school and some college I took a position at SullivanArc as administrative  assistant to the clinic Director. After a few years moved to Norwich where my daughter Kristina was born in 1990. Upon moving back to Sullivan County I took a job with the Irwin Siegel Agency.  Attended Orange County Community College & received my New York State Brokers license. I have been with ISA heading on 30 years. In 1994 I met the love of my life, Terry Grafmuller, and in 1996 became Mrs Terry Grafmuller.  I was very lucky to become Mom to a son as well who has given us an amazing daughter in law, Sandi, and two beautiful grandchildren.  While working for a non-profit & writing insurance for social & human service agencies I became enlightened to the struggles they face & importance of fundraising.   Due to personal experience with dreaded Alzheimer’s disease my husband & I have been SubZero Hero’s jumping through a hole in the ice for Alzheimer’s for the past 5 years. While listening to Thunder Country & their  promotions of the many wonderful organizations in our community & my husbands involvement in Leadership Sullivan we have enjoyed becoming more involved in our community by supporting the Heart a thon, St Judes, B&G Club, FB Playhouse and in doing so getting to know Rotary & it’s involvement as well. 
Our daughter Kristina is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz with a teaching degree and has also obtained her MBA in Business & Accounting.  She currently works at Schmidt’s Wholesale and is a member of this years Leadership Sullivan class.
 
Jamie Schmeiser: I am Jaime Schmeiser, the CEO/President of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. I’m incredibly humbled and honored to have the opportunity to advance the mission of the Chamber to assist, support, promote and advocate on behalf of Sullivan County’s business communityI have been in this position since October 1, 2018.   I came  home to New York, a county and a community that I love after garnering 24 years of administration, leadership and rural community economic development in Wyoming.  Prior to coming home, I was the Executive Director for Mountain Spirit Habitat for Humanity, and before that the President and CEO of the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce and Powell Main Street.  I have worn many hats from CEO to Board Member in a rural chamber of commerce, economic development partnership, main street organization and non- profits concerned with affordable housing issues and poverty alleviation.  I also have played an active role in community partnership development, grant writing and volunteer management with such organizations as Habitat for Humanity, Main Street USA, Powell Economic Partnership, Rotary International, Head Start and Suicide Prevention.  These many roles allowed me to create successful programs, to assist in the development and expansion of business-client relationships, building and strengthening coalitions, and, working with community stake holders.
I am currently serving on several county committees in relation to my work at the Chamber which include Physical Accessibility Subcommittee, Complete Count 2020 Census Committee, Economic Development Committee and Sneak Peek Sullivan.  I also serve on U.S. Congressman’s Antonio Delgado’s Small Business Advocacy Committee.
I love to volunteer and serve others.  The Liberty Chapter of Rotary International was a perfect fit for me because they do just that, both in our local community and communities in Puerto Rico and Haiti. The Liberty Rotary Club makes it easy.  Each person in the club is supportive and deeply passionate about their work – “we get stuff done.”   
I have a bachelor’s degree in social science from the University of Wyoming, an associate’s degree from Northwest College in History and several vocational school certificates in grant writing, residential mortgage lending, banking, bookkeeping, notary public, and real estate sales. I am a recent graduate of the Hudson Valley Patterns for Progress Fellows Program and will soon be a graduate of the Leadership Sullivan Program. 
I am a single mom of four beautiful children (not all who live with me) and live in Liberty, NY.
Health and Wellness of our members and community is very important.  Here are some excellent opportunities for our membership and friends to participate in.   All three events are important causes that have depended upon these annual races to provide essential funds.  Contact Barbara Blakey, Gary Lee or Saraid Gonzalez for information about the Liberty Rotary Club 180 Team and events.

Sullivan 180's Coach to 5K,
August 30-September 5, 2020 - Sullivan 180's Coach to 5K is a virtual training program open to all Sullivan County residents. Sullivan 180's Coach to 5K program provides all participants with their very own coach and an 8-week 5K training plan for both runners and walkers. All are welcome to participate, whether you are a beginner, veteran runner or a family that would like to walk their first 5K together - this event is for you. This is a great time to get Sullivan County moving again!  After the training period ends, you will have a full week (August 30 through September 5) to complete your 5K and share your achievements on social media.  One hundred percent of the funds raised, both registration fees and additional donations, will go to *Sullivan Allies Leading Together (SALT) to feed Sullivan County families in need. Every $6 raised funds the purchase of a meal for a Sullivan County resident in need, so please consider making an additional donation, if you can.
It is recommended that you register for the free race and then join Team “Liberty Rotary Club”.  After doing so, choose the “Donate Now” button and make whatever donation you choose to Team “Liberty Rotary Club”  You can donate it in the name of a specific team member or to the team in general to help support SALT.  If you would like this virtual event to become more of a real-time event, we suggest doing your 5k on the O & W Rail Trail starting in Hurleyville, heading toward Liberty for 1.55 miles and then return to the parking lot.  It is a flat and beautiful walk with few people. Make sure you have your mask with you for safety when encountering other people enjoying the trail.
CLICK HERE for more information and to register.
 
 
Allyson Whitney Virtual 5K 2020
Saturday, August 8 – August 29, 2020 - This RUN/Walk for LOVE 5k is for all affected by cancer. Let your love shine for yourself or a loved one!  The Allyson Whitney Foundation primarily provides young adult cancer patients with ‘Life Interrupted Grants™' to ease their financial burden.  they can concentrate their energy on healing.  
CLICK HERE for more information and to register.
 
There are many fitness trackers out there.  Two phone apps that you might want to try to track your distance and progress are "Runkeeper" and "Mapmyrun"
Congratulations to Jonathan Charles Fox who became a Paul Harris Fellow on July 8th, 2020 at a special on-line ceremony in his honor.
Below is a brief bio about Jonathan.  His contribution to our region is truly admirable and he is so deserving of this honor.
 
Jonathan Charles Fox lives in Sullivan County, where he spends his time snapping photographs and writing about the world of Arts & Leisure for the award-winning River Reporter newspaper. His weekly column- “In My Humble Opinion” is a favorite for readers online and in print and his followers also tune in weekly to hear about his adventures with his trusty companion, Dharma the Wonder Dog, on Thunder 102 radio.
For many years, Jonathan worked as a professional actor on stage and screen and his storied career eventually led him to the Catskills, which he now calls home. Fox’s work has appeared in Green Door Magazine, Our Country Home, The Jewish Journal, Music Row Magazine, The Milford Journal and Upper Delaware Magazine, to name just a few. When he is not writing about and photographing stars like Tony Bennett, James Taylor, Brad Paisley or Lady Gaga, Jonathan can be seen following his bliss and taking photographs of the flora and fauna that make up the beautiful landscapes of the Upper Delaware River region.
Jonathan has a strong commitment to his community and Sullivan County and is always willing to assure that local events get the recognition they deserve.  He gives of his time and talent to bring focus to all that is great about our area.  Jonathan exemplifies the Rotary motto of "Service Above Self".
 
 
OPERATION FEED PHASE 2 is a partnership of the Liberty NY Rotary ClubRotary Club of Monticello NYTown of Fallsburg Lions ClubTri-Valley Lions Club, Livingston Manor Rotary Club,  Boys and Girls Club of Sullivan County, Liberty, Monticello, Fallsburg, Livingston Manor & Tri-Valley School Districts, The Community Foundation of Orange & Sullivan and non-profit A Single Bite.  
 
A Single Bite and Foster Supply Hospitality are supporting hungry families in every school district in Sullivan County, New York.  A Single Bite collaborates with school administrators, community leaders, and dedicated volunteers to reach deep into Sullivan County to help those experiencing severe hardship.  Healthy, prepared meals are delivered to every school district to low-income families, those adversely affected by the pandemic and still more who do not have the means to reliably access healthy food. 
 
Twice a week with Operation Feed Phase 2 volunteers are delivering food to 660 people including more than 390 children who are experiencing food insecurity or at serious risk for real hunger.  Qualified personnel from each school district and staff from the Boys and Girls Club identify families in need of assistance. At a cost of $5 per meal, we are committed to continuing to feed our neighbors at least through the summer of 2020. 
 
Since mid-May, Operation Feed has distributed over 9000 meals to 127 families. “Existing poverty and hunger has only been intensified by this unprecedented Covid-19 Pandemic and we are proud to participate with so many great local organizations to help provide the families in need with nutritious meals twice a week,” says Phase 2 coordinator Gary Silver. “A Single Bite produces the healthy meals and our organizations and volunteers distribute them.”  
 
More donations are needed to continue this effort. Because Foster Supply Hospitality contributes all associated labor and overhead costs, and Operation Feed volunteers donate all of their time and efforts, one hundred percent of all contributions support the purchase of food and packaging for family meals.
 
To donate by credit or debit card, Click on the DONATE NOW button above.
To donate by check or money order make payable to:
CFOS Liberty, New York, Rotary Club Foundation Fund
Send checks to:
CFOS Liberty, New York, Rotary Club Foundation Fund
Please write “OPERATION FEED” in the memo
30 Scotts Corners Drive, Suite 203
Montgomery, NY 12549
For more information contact:
Liberty NY Rotary Club
Gary Siegel – President
Email: libertynyrotaryclub@gmail.com
Gary Silver – Operation Feed - Coordinator
Email: gsilver@blslaw.net
The Liberty, New York, Rotary Club Foundation Fund is dedicated to providing assistance to those areas effected by catastrophic natural disasters. Often times partnering with other civil service organizations, the members of this Rotary Club put service above self and lend a helping hand to those in need.
 
OPERATION FEED PHASE II is a joint effort by the Liberty NY Rotary ClubRotary Club of Monticello NYFallsburg NY Lions Club and A Single Bite to provide dinners to up to 90 families with children in the Liberty, Monticello and Fallsburg areas who cannot provide for themselves.  Many of these families were already food insecure, and the COVID 19 pandemic and its devastating effect on society and our economy have magnified these problems.  The first delivery of food is scheduled for Friday, May 22, 2020 and, thereafter, we intend to deliver meals 2-3 times per week.  Each delivery will provide enough food for 2 days, with the Friday delivery providing enough food to last a family for the weekend.
 
Phase I of Operation Feed provided meals to hundreds of healthcare and other essential workers at various institutions and businesses throughout Sullivan County, to say “thank you” for their heroic service to all of us.  And while doing this, we purchased meals from 28 local restaurants, thereby supporting our local economy.  It was enormously successful because of the incredible generosity and support from the public.  Phase II of Operation Feed – feeding families in need in conjunction with A Single Bite (which purchases its food in Sullivan County) – is the next logical step.   We ask for your support in feeding our friends and neighbors who cannot feed themselves.
 
To donate by credit or debit card, Click on the Operation Feed graphic below.
To donate by check or money order make payable to:
CFOS Liberty, New York, Rotary Club Foundation Fund
Send checks to:
CFOS Liberty, New York, Rotary Club Foundation Fund
Please write “OPERATION FEED” in the memo
30 Scotts Corners Drive, Suite 203
Montgomery, NY 12549
For more information contact:
Liberty NY Rotary Club
Gary Siegel – President Elect
Email: libertynyrotaryclub@gmail.com
The Liberty, New York, Rotary Club Foundation Fund is dedicated to providing assistance to those areas affected by catastrophic natural disasters. Often times partnering with other civil service organizations, the members of this Rotary Club put service above self and lend a helping hand to those in need.
If you would like to make a donation to help support this effort, please do so at the link below:
 
Operation Feed Phase II is committed to providing healthy, quality meals to those in need of nutrition.  This mission is a joint effort by the Liberty NY Rotary ClubRotary Club of Monticello NYFallsburg NY Lions Club and A Single Bite to provide dinners to up to 90 families with children in the Liberty, Monticello and Fallsburg areas who cannot provide for themselves.Below are a few photos of some of  today's(5/29) volunteers.
Thanks to all the generous donors that have supported this program.  To make a contribution, go to
 
Numerous Rotarians worked at our latest food drive at ShopRite in Liberty.  Because we live in an incredibly generous community, our club was able to collect two carloads of food and almost $300 in cash to support our local food pantry.  Thanks to ShopRite for letting us collect in the front of their store.  Additional thanks to all those Rotarians that gave their time and endured the chill to help those in need of nutrition.
On January 7 there was an earthquake, magnitude 6.4 followed by another 6.0 tremor, which impacted the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. As a result, a number of houses collapsed and buildings and other structures have been structurally compromised. Many people are afraid to sleep inside out of fear of another quake or aftershock.  After Hurricane Maria, the Liberty, NY Rotary Club developed a network of Rotarians from Puerto Rico, Massachusetts and New York to provide assistance to the Moca, Puerto Rico, area which was devastated by the hurricane, and together we are working with the leaders of Rotary Clubs in Puerto Rico’s district 7000 to respond to this latest crisis
 
We received this message from Puerto Rico’s Rotary District Governor;
 
“…a number of houses collapsed, buildings and other structures have been structurally compromised, etc.  The extent of the damage is to be determined.  Some people have died, mostly from heart attacks. As residents of the affected area we can attest to the deep sense of fear and desperation when experiencing such catastrophic events. Sleeping at night is a challenge.
 
Affected people in towns near to the earthquake’s epicenters....  (click to READ MORE)
 
Amanda Langseder, Director of Community Health, Greater Hudson Valley Health System came to speak to us of the many challenges that Sullivan County is facing in elevating its health statistics.  She explained a number of the metrics that currently cause our area to be the second most unhealthy in the state.  She then offered great hope by informing the club of all the initiatives being taken to improve our standing, and make our neighbors more fit.  We thank Amanda for her interesting and eye opening presentation.

Annual Liberty Rotary Club Winter Raffle

 1ST PRIZE - $1000.00
2ND PRIZE - $250.00
3RD PRIZE - $100.00 

DONATION $50.00/TICKET

 DRAWING WILL BE ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY  21ST, 2020 
AT THE 42nd ANNUAL 98.3 WSUL HEARTATHON 
(All payments must be received by Thursday, February 20th, 2020)

PROCEEDS BENEFIT: 
LIBERTY ROTARY PROJECTS/LIBERTY ROTARY CLUB

 Tickets are on sale from any Liberty Rotary Club Member or
 reserve your ticket by emailing 
Gary Siegel at cdtripsLLC@gmail.com 
with the number of tickets you would like to reserve.

and then send your donation of $50/ticket to: 

Liberty Rotary Club
C/O Gary Siegel – Raffle Co-Chairperson
PO Box 493
Liberty, NY  12754
845 798-2188

 When donation is received a raffle ticket stub will be sent back to you so please include your return address.

PLEASE SHARE!  
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Liberty Rotary Club was pleased to welcome Shea-Leigh and her family to speak about their "Santa Paws" program that is seeking assistance for local animal shelters, including C.A.R.E.  Shea-Leigh is only 9 years old, but spoke eloquently about her dream to let all animals live happy lives. They will collect blankets, pillows, towels, pet shampoo, flea and tick spray, pet food, pet toys, pet treats, litter boxes, litter or puppy pads until the 20th at numerous drop off points.  The drop off points include Roscoe and Liberty Diner, Ponchos, Steak Out, Dutch's, Liberty Dunkin Donuts, BOCES, Liberty Elementary School and Peck's in Livingston Manor.  It is a beautiful thing to see a person as young as Shea-Leigh doing work for her community.  She is an impressive young lady.
 
Liberty Rotary Club held its Thanksgiving Food Drive on Saturday, 11/23, and the community was tremendously supportive.  ShopRite customers generously purchased extra items and made cash donations to help stock the local food pantry.  The results of our efforts yielded two carloads of food and nearly $350 in donated funds for future food purchases.  Thanks so much to our host ShopRite of Liberty, all the Rotarians and their loved ones that braved the chilly air to collect the food and money, and to all the community members that gave so much to assure our neighbors will have food.
Below are a few pictures from the collection.
Liberty Rotary Club was fortunate to host an Open World delegation from Belarus.  The Belarusians stayed with Rotary club members and experienced many of the wonderful things our area offers.  Their stay lasted from November 1st through the 9th.  Shown below is a photo of the delegates with  Congressman Antonio Delgado.  Below that, an assortment of photos from various destinations.
                 
               
Liberty Rotary Club hosted its annual "Spaghetti and Meatball Supper this evening.  Liberty Rotarians and Interact Club members pitched in to make this great community event a success.  We were fortunate to have the company of a number of Liberty School Organizations, including a visit from the cast of the forthcoming Liberty musical "The Little Mermaid".  Thanks to all that worked at the supper, which served over 260 guests.
This week's meeting(10/23)featured a guest that was a bit different than our usual informational presenters.  Liberty Rotary was treated to a "chair yoga" class.  Yoga master Justine Sutherland created a serene environment in which we got to stretch and exercise.  Her instruction was a great opportunity for the mind, spirit and body.  Thanks so much to Justine for taking the time to work with our club and expose everyone to this exceptional form of exercise.
Thanks to the efforts of Barbara Hackett Blakey and Sullivan 180, Liberty Rotary Club was able to host a Community Health Fair at Liberty Elementary School on October 19th.  The day featured representatives from numerous "healthy living" organizations throughout our region as well as an exercise program, live dance performance, games, healthy snacks and much more.  Thanks to all the groups that supported this event and all those that attended.  Most of all, thank you to Barbara who did a great job creating this wonderful day.
Numerous Rotarians visited our local food bank and thrift store to distribute information about our new public bus routes and "Access to Care".  Under the leadership of Barbara Blakey, we distributed bus schedules in English and Spanish so that those without transportation would have better access to assistance programs, shopping and government offices.  "Access to Care" provides a pathway for those in crisis, so that they can get the assistance needed.
Liberty Rotary Club was pleased to host this year's Region 5 Summer Meeting / Barbecue.  It is always wonderful to get together with other clubs to find out all the great things local Rotarians are doing.  Thanks to all who came to share in fellowship at the Rotary Pavilion at our beautiful lake setting.
Andrew Oni is a community health specialist, focusing on mental health, and is implementing a program called Mental Health First Aid.  He works with Amanda Langseder, Director of Community Health at Catskill Regional Health Center.
Andrew explained the importance of removing the stigma often associated with mental health issues and speaking openly about the importance of good mental health and hygiene.  Through the Mental Health First Aid program, those that serve our community will be able to identify the signs of those in need of mental health assistance and help them get the services needed.  As he pointed out, when we suffer a physical ailment, we seek medical attention immediately.  The same should be true for mental health ailments.
We thank Andrew for his informative and thought provoking words.  It is a great thing that Catskill Regional Medical Center is providing support for the  Mental Health First Aid program.
Debra McGuiness is the new CEO of New Hope.  For over forty years, New Hope Community has been enhancing the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.Through teaching, coaching, encouragement and role modeling, New Hope Community advocates for people to integrate and participate in the wider community. 
Debra updated us on all the great things New Hope Community is doing for its clients and the county.  New Hope employs over 650 county residents and has numerous programs that impact our area.  Debra focused on the fact that community involvement has improved greatly over the years and is going well, but further believes that those with disabilities can become even more integrated into our local culture.
We thank Debra for her interesting and inspiring words!
Liberty Rotary Club was proud to once again march in Liberty's Independence Day Parade.
Liberty Rotary Club wishes the best for both incoming President Dr. William Silver and outgoing President Jack Strassman.  
We wish Bill a very successful year.  He has shown great skills in management, uniting our club and getting the job done.  We are confident he will put these skills to work to make it a great Rotary year.
Jack Strassman provided great leadership the past year and has led our club to many great accomplishments.  We thank him for his tremendous contribution of leadership, organization and encouragement.  
Our newest group of Rotary officers for the 2019-2020 Rotary year. Our club has chosen excellent leaders!
Liberty Rotary Club members were part of the latest mission to Moca, Puerto Rico to deliver bed sets, stoves, refrigerators, and dressers to families still struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
 
Don't miss your chance to own this beautiful painted window inspired by the "Hummingbird Story" that has been associated with Liberty Rotary's work in Haiti.  This artwork was created by Erin Lipsky, and is truly exceptional.  See any Liberty Rotarian to purchase tickets for $5 each or 3 for $10.
Liberty Rotary Club sponsored an Arbor Day Celebration at Liberty Central Schools on 4/26/19.  5th Graders and ESL students of Liberty Central School District attended an assembly and all attendees received saplings that they could take home and plant.
Thank you to all that attended this year's Liberty Rotary Club Hummingbird Award and Paul Harris Recognition Brunch.  Congratulations to all those that were honored at this event.  Special thanks to all that made donations to support the Haiti Water Program.  It is through your generosity that Liberty Rotary Club can sustain its program in Cap Haitian to provide clean water to 1,000 families.  Below are some photos from the event.
 

Cat Wilson was our guest speaker on Wednesday, 3/20. She told us about the Catskills Food Hub, located here in Liberty, New York. The food hub is an aggregation and distribution center for local and regional products including fresh produce, packaged meat and dairy products, and shelf-stable pantry items. The Food Hub is a non-profit with a mission of education and working with local farmers and producers to acquire the knowledge and safety standards necessary to expand their retail and wholesale markets, thus growing the agriculture economy in the region.  Working with community partners, they are committed to improving the viability of local agriculture, access to fresh food,  and the health outcomes for Sullivan county and the region.

Their project partners include Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County, the County of Sullivan Industrial Development Agency, Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation, Sullivan Renaissance, producers, and small business owners.

 

They look for demand within a 50 mile radius. Essentially they connect growers with local businesses that have a need for fresh farm goods. It is a win-win situation for both the seller and the grower. The grower may have a small amount of product to sell, but through the aggregated system, they gain access to viable markets. Delivery of these products is done through their standard route, and those outside of that route can pick up. Farmers get educated about washing, packing, shipping and pricing their goods so that they are more likely to be successful. The restaurants and businesses gain access to quality local products at reasonable prices.

 

We thank Cat for joining us at Liberty Rotary and explaining this important organization that is helping the local farmer and local food purveyors connect to find greater success.

 
     If the measure of a man’s greatness is the legacy that he leaves behind, then there are few greater than David F. Thomson.  Dave’s dedication to improving the lives of others was truly inspirational.  He was a man of kindness, a man of strong moral fiber, and a man who gave of himself for the betterment of all those around him.
     As a Rotarian, Dave was the guy you went to when a job needed to be done.  He participated in a plethora of service events throughout the year.  While doing so, he was always there to offer his wisdom, his never-ending enthusiasm and his endless kindness.  Some of the Rotary projects for which Dave was an integral part were polio eradication efforts, The Community Dinners at the Interfaith Food Pantry, food collections for the needy, The Heart-A-Thon, the annual spaghetti dinner, raffle sales to support Rotary projects, scholarship recipient selections, coin drops and pretty much every other initiative Liberty Rotary Club undertook.  It will be very difficult to find people to do all the work that Dave did for our club and community.
     Dave was the kind of friend that every friend would want to have.  He exuded warmth and compassion and often had meaningful words of wisdom to make difficult and complicated tasks much easier to tackle.  For a big guy, he expressed a gentle, teddy bear like gentleness and kindness.  His great sense of humor merged with his strong sense of purpose made him the guy you wanted at your meeting, your event or your party.  He had a great and boisterous laugh that filled the room with joy.  He was a lover of fine food and drink, great books and a patron of the arts.  Dave was a master at the art of conversation and it was always a pleasure to speak with him about the news of the day, his most recent great read or his inside information about the latest happenings around town.
     It is hard to imagine our club or a world without Dave Thomson.  He was a good friend and loved by so many.  Although we feel tremendous sorrow at this time of his passing, we can also focus on the joy we obtained from having him in our lives.  If there was ever a man who exemplified “service above self”, it was David F. Thomson.  Our lives and our club will never be the same without him.
 
Don't miss your chance to win this beautifully painted, stained glass style, window created by the incredibly talented Erin Lipsky.Tickets are $5 each or 3 for $10. All proceeds support the Liberty Rotary Club Haiti Clean Water Program Sustainability Fund. Contact any Liberty Rotarian to get your chance to be in it to win it! Drawing to be held June 19th, 2019
 
We are thrilled to welcome our two newest Liberty Rotarians: Jorge Delgado (sponsored by Gary Siegel and Theresa Panny) and Sean Zigmund (sponsored by Jack Strassman) We look forward to working with you to make the world a better place!
 

Did you know that 1 in 7 US adults cannot read?!?!

 

32 million US adults lack basic prose literacy skills – that means they can’t read a newspaper or instructions on a pill bottle!

 

Please help the INTERACT CLUB of Liberty High School bring awareness to literacy in the US and encourage our youth to READ, READ, READ by bringing in new or gently used books during the month of March!

 

There will be drop off boxes in the office of each school building! 

 

We will be donating the books to the Literacy Volunteers in Monticello AND to their new building in Bethel (they are seeking specifically children’s books!).

 

Thanks for all your support!

The 41st Annual 98.3 WSUL Heartathon took place on Friday, February 22nd and once again our club was a powerful force in helping to raise funds for the annual event.  Over $120,000 was raised by the event.

 

In addition our winter raffle drawing took place at the event with SC Democrat Publisher and CEO Fred Stabbert (ticket #34) taking the $1000 first prize, LM Rotarian Diane Babich (ticket #84) won the second prize of $250 and Daniel Belgard (ticket #83 purchased by his Mom and Liberty Rotarian Donna Belgard) won the $100 third prize.  This was a true club effort as 18 members sold tickets and all 100 tickets were sold out 2 1/2 weeks before yesterday's drawing.  The raffle cleared a profit of $3650 which the board of directors has designated the proceeds to go to the WSUL Heartathon, Boys and Girls Club, Literacy Volunteers and the 2019 Arbor Day Programs.  

 

Our club has a number of "hummingbirds" that do their part when it comes to both the Heartathon and the Annual Winter Raffle.  Our heartfelt thanks (pun intended) goes to Dave Thomson who has been an active member of the Heartathon Committee for many and years and was responsible for scheduling local organizations and VIPs to man the phones and appear on the air during designated times at the event.  Thanks to Fay Cerullo who was a "main artery" to "The Heart Man" Al Frangipane as she organized the distribution of hearts by 11 of our club members to 36 local businesses bringing in $4726 for the event.  Thanks to Sue Kraycer, Barbi Neumann Marty, Theresa Panny, Judy Siegel, Bill Silver, Gary Silver, Gary Silverman, Anna Milucky (Jeff Bank), Jack Strassman, Dave Thomson and yours truly (CD) for taking the time and effort. 

 

We had a great turnout of members who came to the event during the Rotary "Power Hour" joined by our brothers and sisters of the Monticello Rotary Club.  Participants included President Jack Strassman, Immediate Past President Judy Siegel, Past President Gary Silver, Barbi Neumann Marty, Charlie Mangini, Anna Milucky (Jeff Bank), Jonathan Schiller, Lori Orestano James, Les Kristt and Orshii Boldis.  In addition there were a number of our members who not only gathered pledges but also reached deep into their pockets to make donations to Heartathon. 

 

There is only one way to express how much the Liberty NY Rotary Club accomplishes locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.  That would be 

 

WGSD!!!!

 

On February 13th, Robert Dufour - Sullivan County BOCES Superintendent gave an update about the myriad of programs and services offered.  Sullivan County BOCES serves 8 component districts and adjusts its programs to meet the constantly changing needs of those school systems.  They provide specialized education services for students with disabilities, particularly because individual districts may not be able to offer such services on their own campuses.  They also offer career and technical education, which may include: auto shop, auto body, animal science, broadcasting/music production, construction, innovative design, culinary arts, early childhood education, health occupations and many more.  Some of their newer endeavors involve partnerships with Catskill Regional Medical Center and Sullivan County Community College. Additionally, they offer high school equivalency programs and ESL education.
Beyond programming, BOCES also acts a central business office for most of the county's school districts in the capacity of accounts payable, accounts receivable, paying services, payroll and more.  They also provide professional development for the teaching and administrative staff of our county schools.
It was impressive to hear of the wide range of programs and assistance that Sullivan County BOCES provides to our area and our local schools.  We thank Mr. Dufour for providing us with a lively and informative synopsis of all the good S.C. BOCES is doing in our region.
Robert Dufour, BOCES District Superintendent

Mary Williams – Development Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Orange and Sullivan County updated our club about the exciting changes happening with their annual Sullivan County fundraiser.  This year’s event will be a brunch held on April 28th from 11-3 at the Sullivan in Rock Hill.  The theme will be centered around the Woodstock Festival, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. 

The event will be honoring Jerry Skoda, who donates large quantities of vegetables from his gardens to provide nutritious food for the club members.  Entertainment will be provided by “Murder Mystery Manhattan” which will be writing a Woodstock themed murder mystery for the event.

The cost is $125 per person or $1,000 for a table of ten.  Attendees will be asked to help sponsor children to attend summer camp.  Also, assorted baskets and other items will be offered at a silent auction.

We thank Mary for joining us at our January 31st meeting, at which her enthusiasm about the event was contagious.  Liberty Rotary looks forward to supporting the Boys and Girls Club and wishes them great success with their brunch.

Liberty Rotary Club is pleased to welcome our newest Rotarian, Jonathan Schiller!  Jonathan was inducted by Gary Silver and officially pinned by his sponsor, Judy Siegel.  We look forward to working on many projects with Jonathan and we are confidant that he will be a tremendous asset to our club's efforts to improve the world. 
We were pleased to have Jessica Toscano of Sullivan 180 speak to our club on Wednesday, December 5th.  Ms. Toscano was promoting an initiative known as Sullivan Club 180.  This is a countywide campaign to support groups, clubs, and organizations in an effort to improve their health through activities that promote healthier living.  As a club that operates in a county that is ranked 61 of 62 in New York for health outcomes, this resonated substantially with the group.  Below, a picture of Jessica Toscano with club member Pat Abbott.  Below that, the Sullivan 180 Vision.

For the past several years, Sullivan County has been ranked 61 out of 62 counties in the state of New York by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings.  While the County has scored poorly on these indicators in the past, Sullivan County residents are eager to start turning this ranking around. SULLIVAN 180 is a vehicle to foster and support community efforts to improve the health of all residents. Our goal is to turn this ranking around by 180 degrees. With the understanding that this is a long term effort, SULLIVAN 180 is committed to change by degrees, the kind of slow, steady and enduring transformation that is thoughtfully conceived and implemented.

There is a clear need to offer our residents opportunities for improving their health and prosperity. This encompasses not only physical but also mental, spiritual and environmental wellness. A sense of purpose; connection to family and community; access to fresh food; and an active lifestyle are all essential for a thriving Sullivan County. SULLIVAN 180 works in all these areas offering an inclusive approach that unites the entire community— businesses, organizations and individuals in healthcare, education, agriculture, government, the arts and faith-based institutions. Together, with our community partners, we address immediate health concerns and promote innovative ways for all of our residents to live a healthier lifestyle.

Thanks to all that assisted in making this year's Spaghetti Supper a great community event.  We served about 225 meals and once again proved that Liberty Rotary Club has fun while doing good.  W.G.S.D.
HURRICANE RELIEF COLLECTION DRIVE UPDATE
OCTOBER 7, 2018
 
ROTARY/OPERATION ENDEAVOR MISSION 30 TEAM
DELIVER SUPPLIES TO NORTH CAROLINA
 
Mission accomplished!  Two 26' box trucks filled with supplies collected in Sullivan and Orange County were delivered to Clinton, Ivanhoe, and Wallace, North Carolina.  Those participating on the Mission Team included Charles "Chuck" Atwell (OE CEO) Shannon Barry (OE Secretary), Gary Silver (OE VP Legal & Government Affairs and Past President of Liberty Rotary Club), and VP of Public Information, and Gary Siegel (OE VP of Public Information and Treasurer of Liberty Rotary Club) with Charles Lee Miller (OE COO and Liberty Rotary Club Member), Stuart Hirsch (OE Founder and current board member) and Al Shamah (OE VP of Tactical Paramedicine and Law Enforcement) at Mission Control.  The drivers of the supply trucks were donated by Rolling V Bus Corp  (Billy McArthur, George Lewis, Tom Danies) and arrived at the hurricane relief staging site/distribution center in Clinton, North Carolina on Friday morning (10/5) where they were greeted by the mission team along with volunteers from the Clinton, Sampson Clinton, and Wallace Rotary Clubs and the United Way of Sampson County. 
 
"Much appreciation and gratitude for Liberty NY Rotary club. Your enthusiasm and passion for helping others is contagious," says District 7730 Governor April Clark, "One of the best parts (of Rotary) is getting to know the people and now we have friends in Liberty New York. Because y’all are fun we had fun!"   DG April, along with Nancy Carr, Region 7 ADG and Executive Director of the United Way of Sampson County, were the mission team's Carolina contacts with 'boots on the ground' and were instrumental in arranging the distribution of the supplies collected in Sullivan and Orange Counties.  
 
 
Sue Diamond talked about "How to leverage charitable giving" which focused on how to build capacity for engaged philanthropy through understanding the different vehicles that work for charitable giving – so that we can achieve our philanthropic ambitions for ourselves, our families and our communities.
Hurricane Florence has devastated the Middle Atlantic States and many victims have been left homeless and suffered catastrophic losses as a result of the storm.  As the rain moves out, flood waters crest and begin to recede, the Liberty NY Rotary Club is teaming up with the Brevard, NC Rotary Club, Operation Endeavor, and Wings of Michael to organize a hurricane relief drive that is based on the model that was utilized for Hurricane Harvey which targeted the Friendswood, Texas area.  We are in touch with contacts in North and South Carolina working on identifying the community(ies) that we would like to target to provide relief for the hurricane victims. 
 
 
 
Thanks to all that helped make the 2018 Spirit, Beer and Wine Tasting a great success.  Our sponsors and guests gave generously to allow Liberty Rotary Club to offer numerous scholarships for Sullivan County students.  It seemed a good time was had by all that attended.
This year's Spirit, Beer and Wine Tasting at the Downtown Barn was a great success.  Much money was raised to help give scholarships to Sullivan County Students.  Thank you to our wonderful sponsors who generously donated funds to help further the education of all our scholarship recipients.
James Goldfarb spoke to our group as a representative of The Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless on August 29th.  
Sullivan County has the fourth highest child  poverty rate in New York State, with the most recent census reporting 27.9% of  children under the age of 18 in Sullivan County live in poverty. In spite of some improvements, our unemployment rate continues to be rather high for our region. Many young children and their families spend their days worrying where they will get their next meal. 

The Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless addresses this concern. They  operate the only soup kitchen in Sullivan County, providing breakfast and lunch five days a week to local residents. The number of people who need their help is substantial. They serve tens of thousands of meals through their soup kitchen’s breakfast and lunch program. They also operate a food pantry twice a month, where individuals receive canned food, cereal, juice, pasta and other staples. 
We are thankful to James and all those working at the Federation for helping those in our community ,who otherwise would be left hungry.
On August 22nd, Liberty Rotary Club was delighted to host Joseph Abraham and Matt Shortall from the Sullivan County Democrat.  As the world's media has changed, it was great to hear of the Democrat's commitment to our community.  These two well spoken gentleman gave great insight to the mission of the Democrat and also offered insightful views of the media's place in our society today.

Region 5 Barbecue hosted by Liberty Rotary Club

Liberty Rotary Club was pleased to host the Rotary Region 5 meeting! Congratulations to all our clubs for doing so much good in our communities and around the world. Thank you to our keynote speaker Charles Lee Miller and Operation Endeavor for making lives better here in the US and abroad.
Charles Lee Miller of Operation Endeavor
Our beautiful setting at Hanofee Park in Liberty.
District 7210 Governor Christine Giangrasso came to speak at our weekly meeting on July 18th.  Christine made it clear to all our members that the District is there to support all of the initiatives we have for doing good in our community and the world.  Her mantra for the year is "We can do it", which is based upon the well known image of "Rosie the Riveter" that was established in the 1940s to promote the concept that with enough effort, particularly from women, anything can be accomplished.  It was great meeting with Christine, who has much enthusiasm and a straight talk approach, that is both motivating and inspiring.  There is no doubt, that this year, our leadership will be there so that we can get stuff done.  W.G.S.D.

Congratulations and thank you to Jack Strassman, who was installed as Liberty Rotary Club's 2018-19 President. We have no doubt that Jack will do a great job of leading our club in many successful projects. Also installed for this Rotary year were William Silver - President Elect, Fay Cerullo - Secretary, Gary Siegel - Treasurer, Dan Berkowicz - Sergeant-at-Arms along with three additional board members: Gary Silver, Gary Silveman and David F. Thomson.

We want to offer our great appreciation for all the hard work Judy Siegel put in to being President for the 2017-18 Rotary Year.  Her tireless efforts, strong vision and outstanding leadership helped our club do so much good in the past year.

Shown below, newly installed President Jack Strassman

Shown below, Assistant District Governor Susan Kraycer with Immediate Past President Judy Siegel

Shown below Fay Cerullo, Susan Kraycer, Jack Strassman, Judy Siegel, Gary Siegel and Dr. William Silver


 
Liberty Rotary Club was honored to be included as a sponsor of this year's Liberty-July 4th Parade.  It was great to see the streets of Liberty filled with so many visitors and community members.  What a wonderful way to celebrate our country's independence!
Jayme Kaplan-Krutz from Allies in Development is providing aid for the deaf in Ethiopia
Ms. Kaplan-Krutz is originally from our area and is a speech pathologist who has dedicated her life to the hearing impaired and deaf.  She is fluent  in American Sign Language and when she traveled to Ethiopia, she fell in love with the kids, the teachers and the people.  She is associated with Visions Global Empowerment which is an organization that is quite small, but they have numerous partners including Nazareth College and SUNY New Paltz that are working to provide assistance to a number of underserved countries. 
As their website states:
Visions is committed to helping fill the gaps in education, promote community development, and develop a more robust civil society
in Sri Lanka, India, Ethiopia, and Nicaragua.
When the program began, there were virtually no programs for deaf students in Ethiopia, except for a broken down old building with only about 4 students that came to classes.  They set a goal of getting the children out of that old classroom and into a better learning environment to provide a quality education for the students and bring them communication skills.  Focus was placed on getting the kids to school and giving them language access.  They now have two classrooms with some computers, sign language courses and interpreters.  They offer scholarships for deaf young adults to help them get training for employment.  They have daily instruction of sign language in 3 different schools and interpreters at one school.  They also have one of the first preschool programs in the country.  All of this is greatly enriching the lives of the children they teach and for whom they provide hearing devices.
The deaf in Ethiopia are stigmatized there due to their disability, particularly because they were not taught to communicate with others.  Fortunately, Visions Global Empowerment, with the assistance of Ms. Kaplan-Krutz, is making a real difference in these children's lives and giving them the opportunity to access language to learn and be understood, which they so desperately need.
Thank you to Jayme for sharing with us the amazing work you are doing!
 
To donate to this outstanding program, go to : https://www.visionsglobalempowerment.org/donate/
Shown below: Jayme Kaplan-Krutz
Six Liberty Rotarians attended the Rotary International Conference in Toronto, Canada to learn more about how Rotary can make the world a better place.  Those members attending were Fay Cerullo, Sue Kraycer, Judy Siegel, Gary Siegel, Peter Blakey and Barbara Blakey.  Some of our members that attended are shown below along with other members from District 7210.
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