History About the Old Bridge-Sayreville Rotary Club
Our original club charter was issued by Rotary International on May 13, 1960. This charter was issued in the name of the Madison Township Rotary Club. The document was signed by then International President Harold T. Thomas and by then General Secretary George R. Means. We were sponsored and assisted in organizing by the South Amboy Rotary Club and our Charter Night was held on Thursday evening June 30, 1960.
Our first president, Tom Browne, in the classification of Auto Sales Manager, led our first meeting at the Pumpkin Shell Restaurant on Route 9. This eventually became Lily Langtrey and has since been replaced by a 7-11. Our meeting places over the years have been held at the Pumpkin Shell, Old Clare & Coby's (Route 9 Sayreville), Dorian Manor, Pier 34 (Route 34), Clare & Coby's (Route 34 & 9), Howard Johnson's (Sayreville), El Quixote (Sayreville) Don Quixote's (Matawan), Ocean Blue (Sayreville), and Buttonwood Manor (Matawan). We have always been a dinner club and continue to meet on Thursday nights at 6:30 P.M. Over the years, we have been very active in both fund raising and community services. Our efforts can be categorized as:
In 1974-75, we focused on the problems of our senior citizens. We invited leaders of all senior groups to our meeting so they could express their critical needs. They emphasized transportation and housing as their top priorities. Our club spearheaded the drive to obtain a grant for our first mini-bus. We donated funds toward the purchase of our first bus. Our Rotarians attended many meetings on the county level and also visited our Congressman in Washington to finalize the grant.
Our long battle for our senior housing began in the fall of 1975. We had such a strong opposition from local residents that our first Zoning Board Meeting hearing had to be held at our local high school. All of you should be are aware of the long battle we had. Our variance was denied, but our Rotarians dug into their own pockets to fund an appeal of this decision to Superior Court. New hearings were held and we were granted our variance. It took several years of lobbying and countless trips to Trenton by our Rotarians before our project was funded and became a reality. The 204 unit building was completed in 1983, at a cost of over $11 Million.
From its inception until January 2007, our Rotarians were actively involved with this project. The Rotary Senior Housing Corporation Board held monthly meetings monitoring and overseeing the complete management of this building. This board was made up of Rotarians elected by our club to oversee the management of the facility. To the 204 families that occupy this building, the ideals of Rotary Service has been truly rewarding.
Youth Services and Scholarship Awards
Our second project was a Soap Box Derby for our youngsters held at the Sayrewoods Shopping Center.
Annual scholarships awarded to our local high schools started during the 1962-63 Rotary year.
One of our major projects of 1963-64 was the creation of the Kennedy Athletic Field. Formerly it had been used as a dairy drop off of empty cases and for the dumping of debris. Our club, through the assistance of attorney Harold Smith, was able to obtain a long term use arrangement with the city of Perth Amboy for this five acre tract. Our club raised the funds necessary to clear and grade this site for an athletic field. We erected cables and poles along the roadway and put up a backstop for baseball. Rocky Gentile donated brick and a plaque was installed dedicating the Kennedy Field.
Our 1964-65 project was funding Nursing Scholarships. We also assisted in the Earthquake Relief Fund in South America. We loaded trailer trucks of clothing and medical supplies for the victims. We collected reading materials and books for the South American schools affected by the disaster with the assistance of our library and local school board.
A playground was set up in a predominately black neighborhood of Genoa. The land for this playground was donated to the Township Recreation Department by Rocky Gentile. Our Rotarians raised funds to pave the area and buy the playground equipment.
The following year a similar playground was set up off Sommerfield Avenue in the Laurence Harbor section.
Annual scholarships were awarded to our local high schools. Working with the Cedar Ridge Co-Op program, we purchased all materials to erect bus shelters for commuters.
We have recognized our outstanding students, both scholastically and athletic, by honoring them at our meetings.
We have held annual circuses to fund scholarship programs, and in fact, member Rocky Gentile was nearly trampled by a runaway elephant during one of these fund raisers.
Bus trips were arranged and tickets purchased to take our youngsters to many Rutgers Football games.
Our Rotarians unselfishly devoted their time to sell Christmas trees as a fund raiser. Assisted by one of our dedicated Rotarian, Phil Horowitz, these funds were donated to the Middlesex Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse for a drug awareness program for our elementary school children.
In 1993 members of our club assisted in providing assistance to our community in forming a Challenger Little League for handicapped and special children.
In 1994 President Joe Tarallo and Anthony Bertram worked many hours to start our first INTERACT CLUB at Old Bridge High School. They were assisted by Mr. Ray Wiznal, faculty advisor. The young Interact student members have made a good contribution to our community and Rotary Club.
Bethany Rocque-Romaine led the club effort to establish a Rotaract Club at The Cook College of Rutgers University.
From Community Development Escrow Funds (CDEF), funds generated from the syndication of our Senior Housing Project, we were able to award $500,000.00 to Rutgers University and $200,000.00 to Middlesex County College for full scholarships to Old Bridge/Sayreville students. These scholarships are awarded by the respective colleges based on a balanced criteria of grades, community service, and financial need.
Our very first project was the restoring of two old cemeteries on Route 34.
During the early 1970's, we had a joint fund raiser with Burger King's Dom Renzi. One day's receipts were donated to help pay medical expenses for a student that was a survivor of a serious accident that claimed the lives of five other students. Fred Kurtz was in charge of the kitchen.
We assisted in the South Amboy Hospital expansion with a donation of funds.
Starting in 1970, and for every year since, we have donated and delivered food baskets at Thanksgiving to needy families in both towns. Through this activity, we can witness first hand, the real need that exists within our communities.
Our Rotary Club contributed funds to our local police department for the purchase of bullet-proof vests for Old Bridge's finest
We assisted the Armenian Earthquake victims with cash donations.
We have participated in Rotary's World Renowned Humanitarian Project, POLIO PLUS. This project has the goal to immunize every child in the free world against Polio by the year 2000.
Currently, our annual Steak Dinner and our annual Golf Outing Fund Raiser, both a success each year due to the diligent effort put forth by our Rotarians, while the current focus of our club is assisting disabled American Veteran's that are returning home, your generous donation will help us consider other worthy causes and projects
Provided assistance to Help Our Children Playground in Poland
Provided financial assistance to the Fort Monmouth Operation Gift Box which mails care packages to the military serving overseas.
Provided financial assistance to Bring them Home to Homes (for military families).
Provided assistance to the Reformed Church Home for Homeless Veterans, Highland Park.
March 2011-Received Rotary District Grant for assistance ot the All Saints Home for Veterans.
April 2011-Provided Assistance to Bredan Marrocco Road to Recovery Trust.
May 2011-Conducted a Steak Dinner and Comedian Fundraiser for Military Veterans.
June 2011-Provided assistance to Colin Pascik Road to Recovery Fund.
This year our Annual August Golf Outing is benefiting disabled American Veterans.