Carol McGrath unofficially took the reins of the Pearl River Rotary chapter in an installation dinner Wednesday evening at the Rockland Country Club in Sparkill.
In a program celebrating the club’s activities in the community a new slate of officers was introduced for the 2011-2012 year, speeches were delivered by McGrath and outgoing president Robert Simon, and a special award was given to long-time Rotarian and Pearl River school district administrator Sandy Cokeley.
In his parting remarks, Simon pointed with pride to the number of service projects in which the chapter had participated last year, including the PolioPlus campaign, Rotary Scholarship Foundation and law enforcement awards among many other initiatives. He also thanked chapter member Dr. Edward Fisher for his participation in Rotaplast International a project to alleviate cleft palates and burns in people in underdeveloped countries. Simon also noted the celebration in December that marked the 75th anniversary of the Pearl River club.
"It has been a fun year and I have fond memories of the fellowship we have had but I give thanks to the past presidents for their advice and council…and thanks to Rotary for the true meaning of service,” Simon said.
Simon went on the congratulate McGrath as the incoming president and wished her well in the coming year.
McGrath began by thanking all the Rotary members and introducing her family, including her husband Chuck and two sons Sean and James. She expressed her appreciation to past chapter president Steve Panteleakis for getting her involved with the club in 2004 when she started her journey with Rotary.
Regarding her years as owner of the Tall Pines Nursery School in Pearl River she commented it is the, “Greatest compliment in the world to have people trust you with their children.”
She pointed to concepts that have been embraced by Rotary and are extremely important to her including family, continuity and change.
“Our club has been doing these things forever," McGrath said. "We embraced family, helped our community and acknowledged change when necessary. This is a club of givers and doers. When our members are asked, the response is, 'I am there for you.'”
McGrath spoke of her continued desire to work with youth and to reach out to college students who are undertaking projects with Rotary.
“I have arranged meetings with Rotaract students specifically regarding the PolicePlus campaign,” McGrath said
She concluded by thanking Simon for “doing a fantastic job."
“I look forward to working with you and it is an honor to serve as president in the coming year,” McGrath said.
The formal part of the evening concluded with Cokeley being named the Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fellow. This is an award that recognizes outstanding service by a Rotary member. The award included a $1000.00 donation by the chapter to PolioPlus.
Cokeley was surprised by the award.
"You pulled one over on me and that doesn't happen often," Cokeley said at the regular club meeting Thursday afternoon.
Rotary Club of Pearl River
2011-2012 Board of Directors
President Carol A. McGrath
President-Elect John Buonadonna
Vice President James Murphy
Secretary George Westphal
Treasurer Dorothy Filoramo
Past President Robert R. Simon
President Emeritus Andrew Marchfield
Director Peter Bellhouse
Director James Trojan
Director Doreen Buonadonna
Director Barbara Kohlhausen
Director Larry Vergine
Ex Officio Jeffrey Keahon (Past District Governor)