Garwood named Rotarian of the Year

Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Amherst News-Times

Sara Garwood was selected as the Rotarian of the Year.

President Douglas Means talks about the members countless hours of service and programs they helped put on throughout the year.

Sara Garwood was named Rotarian of the Year last Thursday by her Amherst peers in a ceremony at Ziggy’s Pug & Restaurant.

A Rotarian of just a year and a half, Garwood’s efforts to date drew the praise of club president Douglas Means.

“(She) introduced four projects this year for the Amherst Rotary Club and helped run each one of them,” he said. “The most surprising thing (Sara) did was (she) took on the most challenging project we have every year, which is the wine tasting contest.”

Means wanted his members to host four events but they went above and beyond with eight, from planting flowers and trees to a Girl Scouts work day, wine tasting, and movie night.

Rotarians put in more than 230 volunteer hours and raised $12,535, according to Means.

“I’d say that’s a very successful year and something to be very proud of,” he said. “All Amherst Rotarians were our driving force for success.”

The group also met each requirement set by Rotary International: to inform the community about what Rotary is, engage current members, and increase membership.

The Amherst club was restructed this year with every member more involved on committees. The Rotary also added five new members and held a June luncheon to highlight the work of the charitable and civic organizations it funds.

The awards ceremony doubled as the introduction of new leadership for 2015-2016.

Pete DiDonato was selected as the club’s president and said he is looking to have the members be more involved this year.

“I want to have a presence in the community,” DiDonato said. “I truly believe in presence over presentation. You lead by example.”

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-988-2801 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.