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Massena Rotary installs new president, recognizes members

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MASSENA - The Massena Rotary Club installed a new president this week and recognized several members for their efforts over the past year.

Susan J. Bellor said that, as incoming president, she planned to continue the path set for them by Rotary International President Ron Burton.

“My goals will simply parallel the goals of Rotary International President Ron Burton under his motto of ‘Engage Rotary and Change Lives’ in three global areas - membership engagement, service engagement and charitable engagement with Rotary Foundation,” she told fellow Rotarians and guests during a dinner Tuesday at the Massena Elks Lodge.

Mrs. Bellor said they were starting with a goal of $6,300 in member contributions to Rotary Foundation and plan to complete 11 community service projects over the next year.

“And we already have 36 members who have volunteered to lead in various roles this year, 2013-2014,” she said, echoing Mr. Burton’s statement that “when members are active and contributing, that is when we make a difference and do meaningful work in Rotary.”

Outgoing President Dwight Job said it has been a productive year for Rotary, with the local club raising more than $31,000 through fundraisers and dues. They also raised more than $1,000 for the Hurricane Sandy relief fund.

“We exceeded all the goals that we set. We raise this money so we can give away, and that’s the fun part,” Mr. Job said.

Their fundraising benefits many organizations and efforts, he said, such as local food pantries, the Massena High School’s academic banquet and scholarships.

“It takes good people to make this happen,” Mr. Job said, as he recognized several Rotary Club members who had contributed to the club’s efforts.

Those who received plaques included Phil and Jackie Sheehan, Kenneth Marlow, Ronald Patnode, Michael Darling, James Venier, Frank Lallier, Thomas Gramuglia, Darcy Sharpe, Scott Manley, Kathleen Kelly-Ori and Thomas Sullivan.

The club’s Service Above Self awards were also handed out to those who stood above and beyond. The Rotary recognized members Real “Frenchie” Coupal and John Murray, and community member Miriam Catapano, whose father, Harry Clopman, was the last living charter member of the Massena Rotary Club. Mr. Clopman died March 3 at the age of 98.

Speaking about Mr. Coupal, Rotarian Forrest Kimball said he had been active in many efforts in the community.

He said Mr. Coupal “has been voluntarily active in many local organizations this year and for several years,” serving on the Massena Meals on Wheels Board, the Massena Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, organizing highway cleanups and assisting with St. Vincent de Paul fundraising.

Mr. Coupal has also assisted with The Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving baskets, the Massena Neighborhood Center’s Advisory Board and fundraising for St. Mary’s Church, and “has enthusiastically participated in every Rotary event, fundraiser and fellowship activity, and doesn’t mind cleaning the roads, cooking the steaks or washing the dishes,” Mr. Kimball said.

“He’s one of the first to jump up and volunteer at a Rotary event,” he said.

Mr. Coupal was humble in accepting the award.

“It’s an honor,” he said.

Mr. Murray, like Mr. Coupal, has been very active in the community, according to Mr. Kimball, listing a list of activities that included serving on the Massena Memorial Hospital Foundation Board, implementing the Rotary’s wine and cheese fundraiser, selling Rotary tickets for any event, helping Sacred Heart Church as past parish council member and hosting a youth exchange students.

In addition, Mr. Murray has served as liaison for the Interact Club, been active in minor hockey, served as village trustee and town councilman, served the rotation of all Rotary offices, “has passionately served both club and district as Rotary governor and has always offered friendly guidance and mentorship to incoming members, directors and officers,” he said.

Mr. Murray, a Rotarian since 1980, said he believed in the Rotary mission.

“I don’t think I’ve ever joined an organization that I love any more (than Rotary). The more I got involved at the higher levels, I was never more impressed with the leaders,” he said.

“I appreciate you honoring me, but you’re also honoring Rotary,” he added.

Mrs. Catapano was recognized for her service in local business with Clopman’s Furniture, membership in and past presidency of the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce and her active role on the Massena Memorial Hospital Foundation Board. She has also chaired Massena’s Winter Carnival and has supported Rotary events and fundraisers.

“Where I learned this came from home. I learned from a Rotarian,” she said, speaking about her father. “He believed very much in giving back to the community and raised us to give back to the community.”

Mr. Clopman’s goal in business, she said, was to take care of the people in the community.

The Service Above Self Award “means so much to me, it means so much to my family,” Mrs. Catapano said, “and I know that he’s here with us tonight.”

This year’s Rotary officers were sworn in during the ceremony, including Mrs. Bellor, President-Elect Scott Manley, Secretary Eric Gustafson, Treasurer Pete Bashaw and Assistant Governor Walt Mulyca.

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