Rotary continues 40-year tradition

Honors safety forces, groups for their service

HOWLAND — For the past 40 years, the Howland Rotary Club has honored township safety forces and other organizations for their service to the community and provided them with funding to help them continue this service.

At the 40th annual spaghetti dinner and program, ”Tribute to Howland Township,” held March 18 at Howland High School, Rotarians honored the Howland High School Interact Club, the Howland food backpack program at the Howland Methodist Church as well as police, fire and rescue personnel, which had displays at the event.

Each group was given a $100 check.

Fire Chief Jim Pantalone said the $100 for his department will be used toward equipment and for smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors for residents.

Carolyn Andrews, club secretary, said the spaghetti dinner fundraiser was an annual event that started 40 years ago and then evolved into a community recognition event.

”We have always recognized police and fire, but in the past five years have recognized other groups and organizations that do good in the community to help Howland,” she said.

Last year, the food pantries at Bolindale Church and Howland Community Church, the local American Legion and SCOPE Senior Center were honored for their service.

Andrews said the dinner gets around 400 people and generates between $3,000 and $4,000, which is given as scholarships for Howland students and to support and contribute to local community events such as the Fourth of July parade and Interact Club spring carnival.

Bob Sincich, club president, said many of the Rotary club’s 33 members and Howland High School Interact Club members help at the event. Sincich said the club’s 40 years is a milestone.

Sincich said the club is starting a flag program where people pay $30 to have a flag placed on their property for Memorial Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July and other patriotic holidays.

”They pay $30 per year and get the flag service and flags taken care of by the Rotary Club. This is another way to give back to the community with monies we generate,” he said.

Amy Mark, adviser to the Howland Interact Club, said the members serve meals at the dinner and host a bake sale.

She said the Interact Club helps with the ”Stuff the Bus” effort to collect canned goods and nonperishables for the local food pantries and the backpack program, which packages food for elementary children.

The club also helps with the blood drive for American Red Cross, ringing bells for Salvation Army and at concession stands in Howland Park.

”We support the Rotary because they are our parent organization,” Mark said.

”It was interesting to see all the groups that were recognized and to each receive a plaque,” said Interact Club member Rachel Helmick.

She said the club members appreciate when they are recognized when coordinating different programs.

”It’s nice to be told we couldn’t do this without you,” Mark said.