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Aaron Cole installed as new Rotary President

HIGHLANDS – About 60 Rotarians, family and friends gathered last Friday night at the Boat Club in Highlands for the installation of new officers, board, and president for the next year.

Dane Listi welcomed everyone, introduced guests, and then reprised the accomplishments of his term.

The club has been quite involved this year in PIE, or partners in Education, with bikes, dictionaries, and birthday cake as incentives at the Elementary school for students.

In international matters, he noted our help with the District 5890 in the Guerrera Eye Clinic, purchasing a van to bring patients to the clinic for work on their teeth and eyes. The club also helped pay for a new water pump for a village in El Salvador.

Disaster relief was important this year, with donations for victims of the explosion in West, Texas as an example.

Locally, the club helped support the summer reading program at the Stratford Library, and two Interact clubs at the high schools.

The scholarship committee reviewed 64 applications, and award $30,000 to 18 college bound students from the community.

And with the partnership of District 5890, we continued the worldwide fight against Polio, which is now almost entirely eliminated due to efforts of many, including Rotary Internatioinal. The club continues a high level of giving to R.I., this year averagin about $225 per member, one of the highest in the nation and world.

After facetiously thanking Denise Smith for talking him into a president’s term, Dane admitted it had been a great experience, and welcomed Aaron Cole as the next president.

Next, Dane presented awards for perfect attendance, as follows: Weston Cotten 27 years (Note, Weston was not present to accept), Charlie Ward and Patricia Scott 13 years, Robert Woodall 4, Betty Brewer 3, Larry White and Sheila MacDonald 1 year.

Paul Harris Awards were given to Robert Woodall and Jeremy Rosenkrantz. Rotarian of the Year was Dane Listi, voted on by all the members of the club.

Bill Palko, next year’s Assistant Governor from District 5890, presided over the swearing in of the new board and officers. Palko is a member of the North Shore Rotary Club.

New officers were as follows: President Aaron Cole, President Elect Raymond Gonzales, Treasurer Sheila McDonald, Secretary Teresa Martin, Sergeant at Arms Jeremy Rosenkrantz, Membership & Partners in Education Chair Betty Brewer, Club Adminnistration Chair Denise Smith, Program Chair and Public Relations Gilbert Hoffman, Rotary Foundation Chair Charlie Ward, Scholarship Chair Dr. Larry White, and Highlands Rotary History & Education Chair Tricia Scott.

The new president, Aaron Cole, outlined his ideas for the next year for the benefit of the audience. He said his goal is to maintain the culture of the club, because every club but especially Highlands is unique, and has proven to be a great club.

He personally came to the realization, after joining and belonging to the club for a while, that the essence of the club is giving back to the community and others, not personal or business gain.

He said his second goal for the year was to increase the membership, and also increase the income from the Chili Feast for additional scholarships.

He noted how important the club has been to Highlands over the years, and that the Highlands Rotary has its “fingerprint on the community.” The club is observing 65 years of service, and R.I. has the theme “Engage Rotary, Change Live” this year.