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The Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise recently held its installation and awards dinner at Hideaway Beach Club, Marco Island. More than 40 Rotarians and spouses were in attendance to congratulate outgoing President Natalia Armstrong and welcome incoming President Tom Wagor.

After social hour and dinner, Armstrong offered a summary of Sunrise Rotary accomplishments for 2017-2018. The list was long.

On an international basis, the Club donated $10,000 to Gift of Life to provide surgery for children with heart disease. The club also supported a homeless shelter in Ecuador, contributed over $13,000 to Rotary Foundation and with three other Rotary Clubs led the organization and funding of the planting of 100 trees in Cuenca, Ecuador.

The club’s community service included leadership in Meals of Hope with Noontime Rotary and The Marco Island Kiwanis to pack over 250,000 meals. The club raised over $1,500 as Salvation Army bell ringers and made numerous donations to worthy causes including St. Matthew’s House, Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, Marco Island Academy, Marco Island Center for the Arts, Marco Island Youth Boxing, Teen Court and American Cancer Society. The club was particularly generous with a donation of $8,850 to Baby Basics, a program providing diapers to needy families who are not otherwise on welfare, through a combination of fundraisers, donations and a Rotary District grant. The Club and its members were also a major part of the Ninth Annual Seafood and Music Festival, joining the Noontime Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs in what has become one of Marco Island’s signature events.

Armstrong concluded her remarks with much thanks for the members of the club and her outgoing board members.

Local attorney Bill Morris was awarded Rotarian of the Year. Armstrong started by recognizing Morris as devoted father of nine and went on to explain that his contributions to the community and Sunrise Rotary were sandwiched into his busy family and his active law practice. Morris’ contributions as chair of Marco Island Meals of Hope, Chair of the Club’s Unsung Award recognition program, member of the Board of Directors and volunteer at numerous Rotary functions were highlights of the recognition. President Armstrong concluded by emphasizing that Morris’ service was not only to Rotary as he is also a community leader outside of Rotary.

After awarding Morris as Rotarian of the Year, the incoming board and officers were invited to join President Armstrong and were installed by Rotary District Governor Elect Sandra Hemstead.

The Sunrise Rotary’s 2018-2019 Officers and Board are President Tom Wagor; President-Elect Thomas Mann; President-Elect Nominee Erik Condee; Secretary Natalia Armstrong; Treasurer Erik Condee; Assistant Treasurer Debra Shanahan; Sergeant at Arms Joseph Billi and Directors Eugenio Cardenas, Wanda Day-Burson, William “Bill” Morris, Stan Niemczyk, Kevin O’Fee, Robert K. Thomas, Denise Pancyrz and Alexis Lessard.

Incoming President Tom Wagor followed the installation of officers and directors with an enthusiastic speech addressing his upcoming year as president. Wagor began his speech by thanking the president and president-elect of Marco’s Noontime Rotary, Tarik Ayasun and Pat Rutledge, who were both in attendance. He explained that the two clubs have many opportunities to work together and that he looked forward to expanding the cooperation between Marco’s Rotary Clubs. Wagor thanked the incoming Board and Officers for their willingness to serve and lead the Club and then moved on to his vision for the upcoming Rotary year.

Wagor noted that Rotary Internationals theme for 2018-2019 is “Be the inspiration for positive change, to face today’s challenges with courage, optimism and creativity in our communities and our clubs.” Wagor explained “I think that theme is very appropriate to our Marco Island Rotary Sunrise Club.” Wagor noted the Club has been inspiring the Marco Island community for over 30 years. The Club has inspired local students with its Rotary Interact affiliate at Marco Island Academy and its Scholarship Foundation, which donated $35,000 in scholarships during the past year. He explained that the Club was also inspired to successfully reach its Rotary Foundation goals for years on end and to strive to be the best it could be, day in and day out.

Wagor explained, “Inspiration for us means to continue the great work we’ve been doing… and strive to do that work just a little bit better.”

Wagor wants to increase membership in the Club by doing a better job of “telling out story, then we can attract different generations to service above self.” He intends to expand the Club’s use of social media and will not only look to continue the Club’s existing service, but also to look for additional needs in the community to enhance the legacy created by the club.

At the conclusion of Wagor’s speech, those in attendance showed their appreciation with a standing ovation. The new Sunrise Rotary Board will officially take office on July 1, which is the beginning of the Rotary year.  

To become a Rotarian or for further information about the Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise, contact Chairman Bill Morris at wgm@wgmorrislaw.com or visit the Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise website at www.marcoislandsunriserotary.org.

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