MADISON, NJ - First and foremost, what is the Rotary?  It’s an organization dedicated and focused on five key issues:  Service, Fellowship, Diversity, Integrity and Leadership.  The Madison Rotary is a group of dedicated individuals who have completed works for many causes near and far.  Their humanitarian efforts continue to improve lives locally and internationally.  Its primary mission:  To do good in the world.  Did you know one of the Rotary’s most notable projects is the global polio eradication initiative?  To date, over two billion children have received the oral polio vaccine and the Rotary has contributed over one million dollars to same.  The Rotary has worked for over 25 years to help eliminate this crippling disease.

The Madison Rotary Club’s contributions to name just a few include:  The Rose Garden Park near Town Hall, a Senior Citizens’ garden and pathway on Chateau Thierry, the renovation of Dodge Field, the facilitation of Colombian Independence Day in collaboration with the YMCA, “Camp Merry Heart”, the “Gift of Life” program, natural disaster assistance in Haiti, Andaman Island and Northern Japan.  Did you know for all these years the Rotary has been sponsoring  Santa Claus for the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Madison? 

Sign Up for E-News

So, after 90 years of service, the Madison Rotary Club enjoyed a lavish celebration last night at the Primavera Regency in Stirling, NJ.  Approximately 140 guests “dressed to impress” and arrived at 6:00 p.m.  Many past presidents and district governors attended.  Also present, a representative for Santa Claus.  The cocktail hour included an assortment of cold and hot appetizers, four dinner choices and a room filled with desserts.  The familiar music was provided by the R & B Trio who has appeared at Rocco’s Tuscany Grill and Bar in Madison a number of times and is very popular among the customers.  

The celebration began with an introduction from Carmela Moeller, President of the Rotary.   Mayor Robert Conley gave the proclamation.   Past President, Jim Allison, led the guests in singing “God Bless America” and Rev. Clarissa South Holland said the evening’s prayer. 

“The mayor has declared that May will be Madison Rotary Month, and a new Rotary flag will be waving beneath the United States flag for the entire month,” said Carmela Moeller.

“The celebration of the Rotary can’t be just a day.  It has to be a month,” said Mayor Robert Conley. 

A special presentation honored three long time Rotarians for over 50 years of service.  Mr. E.T. Holland with 51 years, Mr. William Saller with 54 years and Mr. Michael Rabasca with his 51 years in Madison exclusively .   

Jim Allison said, “When it comes to the Madison club, Mike Rabasca is really the Rotarian of the Century”. 

Moeller described past and present Rotarian memberships as “a family affair.”  The first President of the Rotary in 1923 was Mr. Joseph Ruzicka,  grandfather of one of their longtime Rotarians Cathie Coultas.  Later, Cathie Coultas’ uncle served as President.  His name was Mr. Robert Nichols.  Another President was Mr. Sam Gordon and then several years later, his daughter served as President – Ms. Marcia Brous.  Mr. Jack Morris was President, and his son John is a present member.  Dr. Robert Bull was President and now his son Camper is the President-Elect. There were also spousal presidencies with Rick and Marcia Brous, Nancy and Joe Adamczyk and Carmela and Hal Moeller.

Congressman Freilinghuysen was in attendance and congratulated the group , offering his best wishes for 90 years of service.  Through the congressman, the Madison Rotary was recorded in the Congressional Record.

At the end of the evening, Carmela Moeller paid special tribute to Rocco Iossa, owner of Rocco’s Tuscany Bar and Grill, located at Cook Plaza in Madison saying, “Without Rocco’s help and the people he knows, this night would have never happened.”

The Madison Rotary happily reported that 1.5 million in contributions have been made over the last 90 years.  May 23rd marks the official anniversary.  That’s something to celebrate in a very big way