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Rotary Happenings: Rotary holds gavel exchange

By Staff | Jul 15, 2015

Friday, June 26, was the last official duty day for our outgoing Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, President July 2014-2015, Bill Rahe.

But before handing over the gavel to incoming Club President July 2015-16, Chris DeCosta, there was a review of sorts of some of the major highlights of Bill Rahe’s term in office.

Under Bill’s leadership the club undertook the exploration of a new type of fundraiser for San-Cap Rotary with the Club presenting the highly acclaimed theatrical production of ‘Unsinkable Women’ a one-woman show written and performed by award winning New York actress Deborah Jean Templin.

This type of fundraiser will not replace our primary Rotary Arts & Crafts Fair Fundraiser but will supplement giving specifically on the Islands.

This year the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Trust Foundation-giving arm of the Sanibel Captiva Rotary Club- has been able to distribute close to $120,000 for global, national, and local projects; some of our larger global projects were matched by Rotary International and included collaborative grants on water projects in Guatemala.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary is currently participating in micro-loans for coffee farming in Guatemala and micro-loans to a women’s co-op in Ethiopia.

Rotary International and the Polio Plus campaign has brought huge progress toward the eradication of Polio throughout the world and our club’s dedication to funding for the Wheelchair Foundation and the distribution of wheelchairs in Haiti and Jamaica has distinguished ourselves among the Rotary Clubs in our Rotary District and with Rotary International.

Local non-profit organizations on and just off Island have received close to $60,000 including the proceeds from ‘Unsinkable Women’. A list of these organizations will soon be posted on the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary web site sanibelrotary.org.

This has been a great Rotary year and we thank all Rotarians and the community for helping us with our fundraising efforts and their support throughout the year.

Another remarkable achievement under Bill’s leadership this year has been the induction of fourteen new members into the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club. To stress the quality of a couple of our new members they were asked to present a brief informal oral biography at this meeting.

Ty Symroski of Tarpon Bay Explorers Nature Tours & Rentals and his family have had a connection to Sanibel since the 1920.

Two of his family’s residences are now part of the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village. Although he didn’t grow up on the Island, he visited often.

After graduating from the University of Michigan he got his first job with the newly formed City of Sanibel’s planning department staying on for the next ten years. Ty told us he bought his first house on Sanibel on Periwinkle Way for about $1,000.

Ty left Sanibel for adventure and travel eventually landing a job in the planning department in Key West.

The commonality of these two Paradise Islands is obvious; beaches, sand, sun, great lifestyle, tourism and a Rotary Club. Years went by and Ty found himself lured back to Sanibel and back as an active member of the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club.

Cindy DeCosta, Director of The Children’s Education Center of the Island. While attending St. Mary’s College in Virginia Cindy spent some time in Brazil.

She laughs at herself because she thought she was pretty good at Spanish and that would come in handy when she studied in Brazil but quickly found out Brazilians spoke Portuguese.

One thing about Cindy, she has a good sense of humor and that comes in handy throughout life.

After graduating from St. Mary’s, she soon found herself quickly immersed in childcare, with four of her own.

Cindy meshed the need to stay home with the desire to run her own at home day care business for a number of years. After moving to Florida, she found a teaching position at the Children’s Education Center on the Island. It wasn’t long before the director of CCI wanted to retire and Cindy applied for the job and the rest is history.

Speaking of history and still having Sanibel-Captiva Membership in focus. Jim Reed, a fifty-one year Rotarian. First starting out in Muncie, Indiana and then transferring to Sanibel in 1991 just at the beginning of our club.

He gave us some background on our scholarship program and how it was first funded by a pancake breakfast at the Community House but soon that breakfast became the nucleus of the now Rotary Arts and Crafts Fair.

This Fair is the primary fundraiser for San-Cap Rotary and continues to fund all of our Rotary projects.

Now it was time for Bill Rahe to handle over the President’s gavel to Chris DeCosta.

It has been a great year for Rotary under Bill’s leadership and Chris has some big shoes to fill. Thanks, Bill.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7 a.m., Friday mornings at the Dune Golf & Tennis Club, Sanibel. Currently meetings are being held in the Pavilion in back of the Dunes Club House. Guests are always welcome.