For 70 years, the members of the Liberty Rotary Club have been dedicated to doing their parts to make the community a better place. Our 2022-23 campaign was a memorable one under the leadership of President Terry Grafmuller, Presidents-Elect Dr. William Silver and Gary Silverman, Vice President Gary Siegel, Treasurer Matthew Sush, Secretary Dan Parkhurst, Sergeant-at-Arms Barbi Neumann-Marty and Directors Dan Berkowicz, Fay Cerullo, Charlie Mangini and Joseph Abraham.
The board authorized over $70,000 in donations to local causes this year, and the state of membership is strong, especially with the new additions of Susan Haas-Zelinski, Michelle Quick, Alyssa and Jessica Thalmann, Merri White, Hope Blecher Croney and Beth Bernitt.
Here’s a summary of some of the club’s larger efforts! (Note: They could not be done without the support of our partners and the community-at-large)
Traditions continue
Dave Thomson Spirit, Beer and Wine Fundraiser: Named after late Liberty Rotarian and educator Dave Thomson, this event allows attendees to try locally-produced spirits, beer and wine and raises money for our club’s scholarship fund and efforts to support the fight against food insecurity. This year, we raised approximately $10,000 to fund scholarships for 15 students and $7,000 to benefit local non-profit, A Single Bite.
Hummingbird Awards/Paul Harris Fellows honored: Our club once again honored several Rotarians and community members doing their part to make their home and the greater world a better place, at a luncheon in April. Funds raised benefit our club’s Haiti Clean Water Project. This year, approximately $5,200 was raised to help with our efforts in Haiti
Disaster Preparedness and Relief: Through this Committee, our Club responds to disasters and assists in preparing communities for the next disaster. This past year, we donated money to assist those affected by the conflict in Ukraine, and we distributed solar lights (which can charge mobile devices), water filtration systems, and non-perishable food items in Puerto Rico, less than one week before Hurricane Fiona hit. We are also working on a Rotary Club Preparedness Plan for the Rotary Clubs in District 7000 (which encompasses all of Puerto Rico), so that they can work together to prepare their communities for the next hurricane or earthquake.
Feeding the community: Once a month, our club purchases food and prepares/serves dinners at the Interfaith Food Pantry, providing a good meal to those in the community who need it. We also hold several coin drops, with proceeds benefiting several different local pantries. Furthermore, our club often assists A Single Bite on Thursdays, with members delivering meals the non-profit has prepared to local families in the Liberty area.
Coat Drive: In conjunction with Rotary District 7210’s Warming the Hudson Valley initiative that takes place each fall, our club held its annual coat drive in September. We once again setup in front of the Liberty Senior Center and gave away hundreds of coats, gloves and clothes to local families and residents that needed them.
Combating Alzheimer’s: Several members have participated in events put on by the Alzheimer’s Association Hudson Valley Chapter. In September, a group of Liberty Rotarians traveled to Montgomery for the Orange/Sullivan Walk to End Alzheimer’s. In January, the Subzero Heroes’ team Strike Out Alz, which featured seven Liberty Rotarians, held the first ever Freeze for a Cure event on White Lake, as a warmup … figuratively speaking … to the Chapter’s larger event in Berean Lake in February. When all was said and done, Team Strike Out Alz raised $14,000 the most of any team in the Hudson Valley.
Supporting Bold Gold Media NY fundraisers: Each year the generosity of our community is on display during two major fundraisers led by Bold Gold Media Group – the WSUL 98.3 Heart-A-Thon and Thunder 102 Country Cares for St. Jude Kids Radiothon. Several members of our club take great pride in distributing hearts and boot cards across the county, as well as supporting events that generate proceeds for it. This year the Radiothon and Heart-A-Thon raised $123,783 and $103,198 respectively.
Hanofee Park upgrades: One of our long-term initiatives has been the improvement of the Liberty Rotary Club Charlie Topper Pavilion at Hanofee Park. This year, our Parks Committee, in collaboration with the Town of Liberty Parks and Rec department, got new LED lighting installed at the pavilion, repaired the perimeter of its asphalt pad and poles adding support to the roof, as well as repaired the pavilion sign. The kitchen was also renovated and now boasts a new and higher concrete floor to prevent rain incursions, has new counters for added flexibility and cleanliness, two new stoves and a water heater.
New initiatives
Special Olympics Dance: Last July, our club held its first annual Dance Benefitting the Special Olympics. It raised $1,400, but more importantly it was an inclusive event with members of our club and the community, as well as those New Hope Community and Arc of the Greater Hudson Valley support, dancing the night away together.
Engaging Seniors: Our club’s Jannetta MacArthur has spearheaded a partnership with the Sullivan County Office for the Aging on the Community Friends Engaging Seniors project, which is funded by a Rotary District 7210 grant. Gifts for over 150 members of our elderly population in an effort to let them know that someone is thinking about them. Many seniors deal with a great sense of isolation, so this granted program is devising ways to reach out to the group as a whole to assure no one feels forgotten.
CARE-oke: Last fall, our club held its first CARE-oke for Catskill Animal Rescue event. It was a fun afternoon filled with some classic tunes and truly unforgettable performances, which most importantly, raised $1,200 that will benefit several of our furry friends at the Ferndale-based rescue.
Clothing Shed: Our club recently partnered with St. Pauly Textile Inc. to sponsor a used clothing shed, currently located by Panda Parlor on State Route 52 in Liberty. St. Pauly Textile Inc. will use the items for charitable purposes, and through the partnership, our club will receive a monthly host fee that will support our various community projects. If you wish to donate clothing items, please make sure they are bagged and tied. There is a QR code near the drop chute with tax deduction information!
Want to learn more? Anyone is welcome to attend a Liberty Rotary meeting. We meet on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. at Yiasou Greek Restaurant from September-June and at Hanofee Park in July and August. You can also check back here at our website, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram, to learn more