The Hammonton Rotary Club celebrated the start of a new club year July 26 by installing officers for 2021-22, presenting awards, and looking forward to what lies ahead.

Members gathered at the Mt. Carmel Pavillion the annual changeover dinner. They took a moment to look back on the extraordinary year that was 2020-21, on the impact of the pandemic and taking pride in what they achieved.

Sadly, COVID forced cancelation of Rotary’s popular Homemade Wine Event two years in a row. The pandemic also prompted Rotary District 7505 to cancel its popular RYLA program, a leadership conference held each year at Stockton University for high school juniors, where numerous Hammonton students have attended over the years.

But just as noteworthy were the achievements in 2020-21, which included continuation of the Hammonton Rotary scholarship program, ongoing support of the Hammonton Youth Soccer Association’s concession stand / restrooms project, and the creation of a new and successful event, the Modified Murph Challenge.

For the second year in a row, Franco Catania was installed as club president. He pointed out that there is much to look forward to for the Hammonton Rotary Club in the year ahead, including 15th Annual Homemade Wine Event, set to return Sept. 25, and a new event, the club’s first ever Fun Shoot which is planned for October.

Officers were sworn in by District 7505 Gov. Chuck Watson, who gave a talk on the themes for the upcoming Rotary year. For Rotary International, “Serve to change lives” is the theme; for District 7505 it’s “Climb.”

Inductions included Catania as president for the second year in a row, Michael Brown as incoming president, Joe Brown as sergeant at arms, Deana Harold as secretary, Jerry Daunoras as club co-treasurer, and Phyllis Mazzeo as co-treasurer and foundation chairwoman.

Two members of the Hammonton High School Class of 2021 attended as recipients of a combined $4,000 in scholarships. 

Olivia Catania of Hammonton received the inaugural Hammonton Rotary Club Service Above Self Scholarship. Worth $500 a year over four years, it’s presented to the child of a Hammonton Rotary Club member who reflects the Rotary Club motto of “Service Above Self.”

In the fall she will enroll in the biology / pre-dental program at Goucher College where she will pursue her career goal of becoming a U.S. Air Force dentist.

Catania is the daughter of Franco and Deana Catania of Hammonton.

Also recognized was Matthew DeFiccio of Hammonton, recipient of the annual Hammonton Rotary Club Foundation Scholarship. The award, also worth $500 a year over four years, is presented in recognition of a student that demonstrates outstanding qualities in service, leadership, and academics.

Matthew, the son of Gerard and Nancy DeFiccio of Hammonton, will be attending Rowan University in the fall where he will be pursuing a nursing career.

The Hammonton Rotary Club continued its tradition of supporting our heroes by making a $500 donation to DAV Chapter 66 and VFW Post 1026.

Funds were available thanks to donations and sponsorships collected for the club’s Modified Murph Challenge fitness event held on Memorial Day at the Boyer Avenue Recreation Complex. 

On hand from DAV were Micky Doto, and Larry Adair, DAV chapter commander. Accepting for VFW were members Craig James, John Delucca, and John Griffee. 

From veterans to students, you too can show your support and appreciation for the people that make Hammonton a great place to live by patronizing Hammonton Rotary events. The club is always looking for new members. Check out the Hammonton Rotary Club’s Facebook page to learn more.