Has anyone seen the Ali Rose?

Norwich Ali Rose

The ” Ali Rose” by Norwich Rotary with Past President Bonnie Hong and Current President Barry Shead

The “Ali Rose” is a 12-passenger high-tech electric powered old-fashioned looking trolley shuttle bus that is the product of a three-year project to convert a former ambulance chassis donated by American Ambulance into a retro-look, high-tech, electric-powered and computerized shuttle bus by the Norwich Rotary Club.

At $80,000 the “Ali Rose” is the the largest community service project ever done by The Norwich Rotary Club as it involved scores of local companies and schools that helped with the grassroots project, from Norwich Regional Technical High School and Three Rivers Community College to Netkin’s Upholstered Furniture on Talman Street.

Donating the trolley was only a small part of the Rotary’s plan. The Club has also launched the formation of Green Energy Technologies, Inc., an employee-owned company that will produce electric-powered trolleys for tourism districts across the country. The “Ali Rose” is a prototype of future trolleys to come from this sustainable initiative. Bonnie Hong, Past Norwich Rotary president has been the project leader of this initiative since it’s inception.

The trolley, which was donated to the City of Norwich in May,  should be in service soon, as soon as the logistics with the charging stations resolved.

Trumbull Rotary completes Habitat for Heroes House for Veteran

CT Habitat for Heroes Dedication Day

CT Habitat for Heroes Dedication Day

In September 2012 the Trumbull Rotary Club announced their plans for an ambitious Habitat for Heroes project to build a home in Bridgeport for a veteran’s family. The project was co-sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County. With this project the Trumbull Rotary Club became the founding sponsor of the first ‘Habitat for Heroes’ initiative in Connecticut.

Trumbull Rotary 50k challenge

Trumbull Rotary 50k challenge

The first phase of the project was completed in mid-October 2012 when the two non-profit organizations raised the initial $50,000 required for ground breaking.  The Trumbull Rotary Club contributed $22,000 in challenge matching funding.

Ground breaking on the first CT Habitat for Heroes home

Ground breaking on the first CT Habitat for Heroes home

On Veterans Day, November 11, 2012, The Trumbull Rotary Club and Habitat for Humanity broke ground and began excavating the building lot. The building lot was donated by the city of Bridgeport.

One of many Build Days

Trumbull Rotarians on one of many Build Days

In March 2013 Trumbull Rotarians were the first workers to help construct walls for the structure on a ‘build day’. The Rotarians were joined by other civic and veterans organizations, as well as local businesses and individuals. There would be a number of additional hands-on ‘build days’ that Trumbull Rotarians actively participated in during the construction of the home.

Staff Sgt. Juliet Taylor

Staff Sgt. Juliet Taylor

The Heroes House was completed and dedicated on Veterans Day 2013 this past November, just 1 year after the ground breaking.  Army Staff Sgt. Juliet Taylor is now living in her new home with her two sons, daughter and grandson. Taylor has served more than 11 years of active service, including an 18-month tour in Iraq and two humanitarian tours in Afghanistan.

Mike Rappa, Bill Zeidenberg and John McBride

Mike Rappa, Bill Zeidenberg and John McBride

This initiative got started after Past President Jim Malski came back from NE PETS and challenged the Club membership to come up with a meaningful multi-year project benefiting the surrounding Trumbull community and having a significant impact on someone or some persons. The Club voted on Malski’s proposal and Past Presidents Bill Zeidenberg,  Mike Rappa and John McBride took led the project from conception in Jim’s year to completion this Rotary year under Holly Sutton-Darr’s Presidency.

Immediate Past President Jim Malski

Immediate Past President Jim Malski

The completed project cost approximately $150,000 plus a considerable amount of donated labor.

Current President Sutton-Darr with Juliet Taylor

Current President Holly Sutton-Darr with Juliet Taylor

The Trumbull Rotary Club led the way in helping to raise the initial $50,000 required to break ground, they also provided project oversight, ‘hands-on’ labor during build days and they assisted  Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County in raising the additional $100,000 required.

Update: The Trumbull Rotary Club has agreed to assist a second house and they hope to have the initial ‘ground breaking’ funds raised by 2/14/2014. Interested in helping out, partnering or donating? Then contact Past President Bill Zeidenberg via email.

Black Rock Rotary and Fairfield Rotary Spin to Feed the Hungry

The Black Rock and The Fairfield Rotary Clubs teamed up last night at ZenRide for event called ‘Spin to Win 2013’ that was designed to benefit The Connecticut Basket Brigade.

The Connecticut Basket Brigade (see flyer) is part of the larger organization known as The Basket Brigade which was founded by self-help author and success coach Tony Robbins, The Basket Brigade is built on a simple notion: one small act of generosity on the part of one caring person can transform the lives of hundreds. It takes only one light to dispel the darkness and even just one basket or a few, to bring hope. A Basket Brigade takes place when one individual prepares one basket to personally deliver to a needy family or individual.

Dozens of participants cycled for 45 minutes and provided a minimum donation of $30 each as a simple donation of $30 can feed one whole family.

Couldn’t make it and want to donate $30? Then contact Fairfield Rotarian Oscar Recalde at baskets@orecalde.com

Happy Campers at Camp Rotary in New London

The New London Rotary Club has been a major supporter of Camp Rotary for many years. During that time the camp has grown from a few dozen campers in a 5 week long program to 120 campers (plus a long waiting list) in a 8 week program.

Camp Rotary is made up of middle school aged students that attend academic programs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. four days a week. Students in Camp Rotary receive STEM-themed (science, technology, engineering and math) instruction and focus on the middle school’s goal of improving vocabulary, enhancing strategic reading skills and increasing math literacy. For the remainder of the afternoon, students participate in a regular camp day. On Fridays, students enjoy a full day of camp.

The camp starts just as the academic year ends in June and continues through until mid August and culminates with a day long field trip to Block Island.

New London Rotary has been Engaging Rotary to Change the lives of these young people in a positive way for many years. Campers enjoy the program’s rigor and benefit from the responsibility and interaction they are engaged in.

Want more information on Camp Rotary? Then contact AG/DGN Gerry Tom.