Rotary celebrates work of community groups

Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Representatives from groups supported through the year by the Amherst Rotary came together Monday for a special luncheon.

A teen who helps rescue and foster Shelties was one of many groups recognized Monday by the Amherst Rotary.

Marissa McKinney, 18, who has worked hard to help many dogs find new homes, was among those who in 2014-2015 received funding support from the civic group.

She stood proudly among honorees at the St. Joseph Church social hall as Rotary for the first time ever honored those who benefit from its fundraising efforts.

“As Rotarians, each of us is touching a life and touching a future, and that’s what it’s all about,” said club president Doug Means.

Other groups receiving assistance through the year include the Steele and Firelands high school choirs, Amherst Food Pantry, Second Harvest Food Bank, Community Foundation of Lorain County, Boy Scouts Heart of Ohio Council, Skeleton 5K Run for Your Bones, Oberlin Rotary Memorial Fund, Lorain County Office on Aging, and Salvation Army Amherst Unit.

The Rotary has been growing in the past year all across District 6600, which includes Amherst, said outbound president Rex Engle.

Members are looking for ways to trumpet the worthy causes the club supports, he said.

Part of that is a renewed effort to reach out more to the community, according to Rotarian Jeremy Watson. He recapped engagement this past year ringing bells for the Salvation Army, building picnic tables with Scouts, and launching a monthly movie night through the summer at Rotary Park on Cleveland Avenue.

Eight such projects have been completed in the past year, including the club’s annual wine-tasting and auction, passing out candy at Halloween, support for a Girl Scouts camp, and park clean-up.

“That’s what it’s all about – getting in there, getting your hands dirty, doing some work for our community,” Watson said.

The Amherst Rotary meets at noon each Monday at the St. Joseph social hall and is always open to new members.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.