Rotary club bestows $40,000 at gala

MIDDLEBURY — More than 100 guests attended the first annual Gala Dinner of the Middlebury Rotary Club in late June, including the Rotary District governor and corporate sponsors and charitable organizations, which received $40,000 in grants. 
The gala began with a transfer of the presidency from Nancy Foster to Tim Hollander, who vowed to strengthen the club’s already close ties to the Middlebury and Addison County communities. Grants were presented to many local and global organizations to foster support of Rotary International’s areas of focus: promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education and growing local economies.
This year’s grants were awarded to Addison Respite Care Home, Addison County Transit Resources, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, the Middlebury Area Hockey Association, the Middlebury football and lacrosse programs, Middlebury Regional EMS, HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects), Homeward Bound, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Vermont Special Olympics and Camp Ta-Kum-Ta.
Hollander was pleased with the turnout of the club’s first gala and vowed to grow the event in the years to come.
“It was a huge success for us.  We had 110 people or so there, who came from all walks of life in Addison County… It looks like we’ll probably be looking for a larger venue next year to expand,” he said. “We’ve already started looking for a keynote speaker.”
This year’s keynote speaker was Travis Roy, author of “Eleven Seconds: A Story of Tragedy, Courage, and Triumph.” Roy shared his life story of courage over adversity after his debilitating hockey injury and his road to recovery to become a motivational speaker. His inspiring words brought a close to a successful first gala, Hollander said, which has set the Middlebury Rotary Club “off and running” into its next year of service. The gala will be the cornerstone of next year’s Rotary week, he said, adding that area residents should not wait until then to get involved.
“We’re always looking for people to join us and help out with the projects we do in Middlebury and Addison County,” he said.

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