Debra Shanahan installed as new Sunrise Rotary president


The Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise installed Debra Shanahan as president and recognized those contributing to the club's accomplishments under president Eugenio Cardenas.

Incoming Rotary District Gov. Pete Doragh installed Shanahan along with her incoming board and officers – President-Elect Neil Snyder, President-Elect nominee Erik Condee, Secretary Wanda Day, Treasurer Erik Condee, Assistant Treasurer Tom Wagor, Directors Kathleen Beaufait, Bill Morris, Stan Niemczyk, Dick Shanahan, Bob Thomas and Stuart Unsworth.

Before looking to the future of the new board, the club shared accomplishments and recognized some of the Rotarians who made significant contributions during the past year.

Bob Thomas was awarded Rotarian of the Year by last year's recipient, Erik Condee. Thomas is the first club member to be awarded Rotarian of the Year for the second time (1998 was his first award). Bob Blow, Stan Niemczyk and Dick Shanahan all presented their wives with a Paul Harris Fellow. The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges contribution of $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. It is honorary recognition and often bestowed upon non-Rotarians by contribution of funds to the Rotary Foundation so the recipient can be recognized for good work.

Cardenas addressed many of the club's accomplishments during the past year, including playing a leadership role in Meals of Hope by packaging 240,000 meals; awarding $30,000 in college scholarships to local students and the seventh annual Seafood Festival.

Cardenas was particularly enthusiastic about three new programs. The club was a major participant in the first Marco Island Academy Interact Golf Ball Drop. The Kindness On Patrol Services (KOPS) program under which Marco Island police are authorized to meet needs of community members was created and funded with matching grants from islanders Bill Morris and Keith Dameron. The club also started an Unsung Hero Program to recognize members of the community who unselfishly provides service above self and who have not been generally recognized or rewarded for those services.

Closing highlight of the evening was the address by incoming Debra Shanahan, who praised club members for their accomplishments and challenged them to do more. Shanahan emphasized three main points:

1. There are many in need on Marco Island. She noted that there are school children on the island who do not even have underwear or socks.

2. Importance of recruiting new members. As noted by Shanahan "New members bring new ideas."

3. Need to continue developing leadership for the future.

Shanahan's speech was warmly received with a standing ovation.

More information

The Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise meets at Bistro Soleil in the Olde Marco Inn on Tuesdays at 7:30 a.m. For more information about the club and its activities, contact Bill Morris at 642-6020 or via email at or visit the Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise website at