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Rotary Happenings: Rotarians learn about ‘Put It On Pete’s Tab’

By Staff | Oct 13, 2020
PHOTO PROVIDED

During this strange COVID time, there have been many stories of compassion in times of heartache. Last week at its hybrid meeting, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club heard from Kayla McCurry with “Put It On Pete’s Tab.” Peter O’Brien, Kayla’s boyfriend, worked for the Rotarian Bill Letendre at the Blue Giraffe Restaurant. O’Brien passed away unexpectedly in March. He was known to many as a nice guy who always had a smile. O’Brien was not only a veteran of the hospitality industry, but he also visited those very restaurants leaving tips that usually exceeded 50 percent.

“Put It On Pete’s Tab” was created to take care of those who take care of us — the essential but often forgotten workers within the hospitality industry. When O’Brien passed away, he had money in his bank accounts as well as a note that said it should be considered “Peter’s last big fat tip.” His family decided to gift the money to his friends who had all recently lost income due to COVID-19 restaurant closures.

The spark of “Put It On Pete’s Tab” had been lit. Random conversations led to an idea that could carry on O’Brien’s legacy of generosity and purely altruistic giving by coming together and creating a community. And thus the Facebook group was born. Within two weeks, “Put It On Pete’s Tab” had over $1,000 in donations and 300 members. It was officially launched as a registered nonprofit on May 22 and surpassed $10,000 in contributions a little over a month later.

The group paired with a local brewery, Point Ybel Brewing Co., which created Pete’s Pint in his memory. Described as a “perfectly Pete and perfectly drinkable” IPA, its intent was to help raise money for the charity. The specially brewed beer sold out in one day. It can now be found at several local island restaurants, including the Blue Giraffe.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club holds a meeting on Fridays at 7:30 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel, and via Zoom. To attend in person, email Bill Harkey at William.Harkey@gmail.com; attendance is limited to 20 people. To take part via Zoom, call 239-472-7257. For more information, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary.