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Jeff Ballentine earns Rotary's Paul Harris Fellow


July 27, 2010
ALTON — District Governor Rick Manganello presented local Rotary member Jeffrey Ballentine with a prestigious Paul Harris Fellow award at last Thursday's Rotary Club meeting.

Manganello used his first official visit to the Alton Centennial Rotary Club to honor Ballentine, a past president of the Alton club.

"We're here to honor a Rotarian," said Manganello. "The foundation of Rotary is about nothing less than world peace, and [Jeff's] generosity helps make that possible."

After the ceremony, Manganello, a successful businessman and former air force officer, spoke about his election and the meaning behind membership in the Rotary Club to the group as they ate scrambled eggs and sipped coffee.

Manganello began serving July 1 as the new District Governor for District 7870, which covers southern Vermont and southern New Hampshire. He now oversees 60 Rotary Clubs and 2,500 members.

But he was humble about his new responsibilities.

"The last thing I do is govern," said Manganello. "I come to you today not as your boss, but as your servant."

Manganello described what it meant to be a 'Rotarian' to the group. He told the story of a Houston businessman and Rotary member who discovers the principles of generosity, philanthropy and empathy after he takes an impoverished child to the hospital.

He asked the audience to think about when they became a 'Rotarian,' not simply as a member, but as a person who embodied the principles of the Rotary Club.

Manganello also unveiled the new theme for the year, which is "building communities, bridging continents." He described how the theme fit into the Rotary's history and future, particularly in the fight against polio.

The Rotary Club has been working to eradicate polio in developing countries since 1987.

"Rotary is the largest and most successful non-government, non-religious philanthropic entity," stated Manganello.

He also encouraged members to donate to the Rotary Fund, which supports polio relief efforts, an international scholarship program, and cooperation with other nations through matching grants.

He concluded his remarks by articulating how members can better serve their club as leaders, recruiters, aid workers, and philanthropists.

Manganello also made sure to thank his wife, Janet, for her support throughout his election and his life.

"We've been adventuring together for 43 years," he said.

The meeting concluded with the "joke of the day." Local Rotary member Doug Dore told the joke, which was based on the three little pigs.

The Alton Centennial Rotary Club meets every Thursday morning at 7 a.m. at the Alton American Legion on Route 28. For information about membership, contact Duane Hammond at 569-3745.

Weston Sager can be reached at 569-3126 or wsager@salmonpress.com

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