NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> During a full meeting on June 24, the Newtown Rotary Club honored its Rotarian of the Year, presented a check to the Newtown Ambulance Squad and marked its annual changing of the guard.
Meeting beneath a tent set up behind the Temperance House, Paul Salvatore presided over his final meeting as president of the local club whose mission is service above self.
Salvatore opened the meeting by remembering the late Paul Chreiman, Pastor Emeritus of the Newtown United Methodist Church and a US Navy World War II veteran. He passed away on May 23 at the age of 95 from complications due to COVID-19.
“Paul was a great guy. He meant a lot to our club over the years. He will be missed,” said Salvatore who led a moment of silence in his memory.
Chreiman, a member of American Legion Post 440 where he had served as chaplain, often led prayers during the Newtown Memorial Day ceremonies.
Salvatore then joined member Dr. Jerry Agasar in presenting the Rotarian of the Year Award to Allen Fidler, a long time member of the club. “It is an honor to give you this award,” Salvatore told Fidler.
“He’s been active in our club and our community for many years,” added Agasar, who especially thanked Fidler for the use of a barn to store used bicycles and sewing machines for the club’s annual Pedals for Progress collection drive benefiting people living in third world countries.
“With his barn we were able to increase our collection from 15 to 20 bikes to more than 200,” said Agasar, adding that Fidler also helps dismantle the donated bikes for shipping. “He’s been very, very helpful.”
Salvatore then surprised Fidler with a second award - the Bob Davis Service Above Self Award given in recognition of a lifetime of service to the community.
“Allen has been a member of this community for a long time,” said Salvatore. “And he has given a lifetime of service. He has achieved so much that we needed to recognize him.”
In addition to his work with the club, Fidler is the chairman of the Newtown Township Planning Commission. He’s also a former township supervisor, former member of the board at the First National Bank & Trust of Newtown and former president of the Rotary Club.
Fidler joins a prestigious group of local Rotarians who have won the award, including Marge Torongo, Sid Yates and Davis, a World War II veteran and former owner of the Newtown Hardware House.
The meeting continued with member Charlie Quattrone joining Salvatore in presenting a check for $1,000 to the Newtown Ambulance Squad. The grant is from a Covid-19 fund set up by Rotary Foundation to help care for and protect people in the community.
Chief Evan Resnikoff was on hand to accept the donation on behalf of the squad, which services the township and the borough and is the third oldest medical response organization in the county.
“It’s a privilege to serve one of the oldest towns in the country,” he said. “Every time I drive through the borough I feel proud that we’re here and serving a community like this. Being supported by organizations like the Rotary goes a long way to help keep us going, especially when we’re having a year like this.”
The squad is staffed by 82 paramedics, medical technicians and wheelchair van drivers “who tirelessly work every day to move people. Last year we had 2200 emergencies and we transported about 8500 people for non-emergencies,” said Resnikoff. “We’re a successful organization because of community support.”
Salvatore continued the meeting with the presentation of a special award given to Temperance House owner Kathy Buczek.
“We have decided, based on what you have done for our community, to make you a Paul Harris Fellow,” said Salvatore. “People don’t realize what she does for the community. She is constantly giving.”
According to Salvatore, Buczek donated a meal last year that helped the local club raise $1450 for the Wrightstown Food Pantry. She also gave the club permission to serve as a drop off location for food donated to the food cupboard.
The meeting continued with member Rick Rogers recognizing the work of Council Rock North’s Interact Club, which is sponsored by the Newtown Rotary Club and advised by Spanish teacher Sarah DeMaio.
He presented achievement awards to Interact officers and 2020 graduates Yazan Barouki and Connor Riesenberger and a $500 Four Way Test Scholarship Award to Eddie Fitzpatrick.
“We’ve been blessed with this group of officers who have been with us as officers for the past two years. They have been involved with everyone of our activities,” said Rogers. “We are proud as Rotarians of what you guys have done.”
Agasar also thanked the club for helping during the annual Pedals for Progress collection drive.
“Two years ago it rained so hard that I’m surprised we had a collection. These guys and the officers organized so many kids. They came out in that bad weather and dismantled 200 bikes,” he said. “And they smiled the whole time. Their attitude was wonderful on such a horrible day.”
The meeting closed with Salvatore officially passing the gavel of leadership to longtime Newtown chiropractor Dr. Jerry Agasar, who will guide the service club in the months and year ahead.
“We have to acknowledge Paul because not only was he President this past year he has been president for the past three years,” said Agasar. “He stepped up three years ago and he’s done a lot for our community. There’s a lot of work we do behind the scenes for the community, but he was doing a lot of it. I felt it was time to let him relax and have fun and take the gavel.
“I’m excited about what we do,” continued Agasar. “We have a small Rotary Club, but we do a lot for the community. I’m proud to be a Rotarian. I became a Rotarian when I was 27 years old and I love what we do. The best feeling in the world is to give back to people who don’t have as much as we do.
“I’m excited about the coming new year,” he said. “I’m hoping to grow our club so we can have an even bigger impact on our community.”