Why Join Ardmore Rotary
Why Join Ardmore Rotary
Membership in the Rotary Club of Ardmore offers you and all of us a greater opportunity to build new personal and business friendships while expanding the work we can accomplish together to improve people’s lives in our communities and world. The spirit of fellowship and the personal satisfaction and enjoyment each of us receives is an essential part of all that we do.
Reflections of two Ardmore Rotarians
Why I’m a Rotarian
By Richard Brower, M.D.
I am a hard-working doctor in my own practice of general internal medicine and my time
is precious, BUT:
I am a Rotarian because an older gentleman invited me to lunch over 20 years ago. A
group of friendly men and women welcomed me, I enjoyed a good lunch, and I heard an interesting speaker.
I learned that the speaking topics were even more diverse than the men and women in
the Club. In principle, we are all proprietors or managers of local businesses with an interest in our community. That diversity promotes acquaintance with business leaders I would not have met in my office or hospital functions.
Through Rotary International, Rotarians visit Clubs all over the globe. It’s fascinating to
see how such apparently diverse people in other countries really share the same goals. Rotarians organize projects that serve both their own communities and the world at large.
Local Clubs operate independently with the support of the international organization,
Rotary International to help support local civic groups and charities, and to develop and
support ambitious international projects. International projects include: worldwide
eradication of the Polio virus, projects to provide sanitary well water and sewer systems
in third world countries, and projects to develop independent businesses to raise the
living standard of underdeveloped countries.
But the main reason I am a Rotarian is: ROTARY IS FUN!
Why I Joined Ardmore Rotary and
Why I Have Continued to Be a Member for 20 Years
By Mike Silver, Esq.
About 30 years ago, my wife and I purchased the former Bell Telephone building in the heart of downtown Ardmore. At the time, Ardmore was going through a difficult stage. Many of the older businesses that had been successful for so many years had turned over and buildings were becoming vacant. The streets looked run down and were dimly lit. Since we had committed to extensively rehabbing our building, a project that was, frankly, over our heads at the time, we felt it was important to do everything we could to improve the neighborhood. I joined the local Business District Authority, which eventually became known as the Ardmore Initiative, and soon found myself chair of the Streetscape Committee, which eventually was able to restore the sidewalks, lighting
and many of the trees and bricks. Later, I became chair of the Initiative, after working for many years alongside a very well-respected Ardmore native, Charlie Ward.
Charlie often invited me to be a guest at the Rotary meetings, but I always felt too busy to attend. Later on, a new a friend I had made in Ardmore, realtor Kevin Murphy, convinced me to finally see what a Rotary meeting was like. After two or three meetings, I began to realize that I was in the presence of community leaders who, like me, were interested in seeing the town improve. I shared their goal of doing community service
with a hands-on approach, as opposed to simply sending a check. I also grew to deeply respect some of the older members who, despite their challenging careers, seemed to
do incredible things. And because I was so active in the Ardmore community, I was often able to make contacts and conduct Ardmore town business before or after the Rotary meetings.
One of our past presidents, George Uhlig, personally contributed $50,000 to the fight to eradicate Polio, a worldwide “corporate” Rotary mission, and provided the leadership for Ardmore Rotary Club to raise 10 times that much over the years. Another member, Joe Daly, who was superintendent of the Lower Merion Police Department and had served two tours of duty in Vietnam, somehow found the time to personally inoculate children in India from the Polio virus. A third member, Tom Stuart, developed a system to obtain costly (donated) medical equipment such as x-ray, MRI and CT machines that were being replaced by newer models in this country, and safely transport them to Third
World countries, which could make life-saving use of these older models. And Tom worked with the daughter of another Ardmore Rotarian, Hogie Hansen, who was teacher at The George Gordon Meade School in North Philadelphia, and saw firsthand the penalty of poverty that those children paid daily. He set up a program where our members could read with underperforming grade school students each week, with the
goal of teaching them to love reading and become better students. Tom also led an effort to provide the Meade School with gently used musical instruments, arranged for a music teacher to visit the school, and eventually create an orchestra. I can clearly remember its development from a very crude sounding group to a cohesive band after just a few short years.
And if the Ardmore’s Merion Fire Chief, Tom Hayden, doesn’t have enough to do responding to over 500 alarms each year and running an active printing company where every employee is also a volunteer fireman, he does not hesitate to drop everything and organize relief efforts when emergencies arise to aid the victims of local disasters on the East Coast and beyond.
Let me just touch on a few other projects from which I take pride in belonging to a group of well-intentioned adults who want to make the world a little better place. A busy podiatrist, Doug Klepfer, carries on his father’s tradition as a Rotary member and has led a decades-long tree exchange program with our sister club, The Tokyo Rotary Club, Japan. And when the tsunami struck we assisted the Tokyo Club in developing several childcare facilities in devastated areas. Doug also realized that the “Garden for the Blind” in Wynnewood was markedly underutilized. Doug and his band of Rotary volunteers, led by Libby Goodman, as well as other neighborhood folks, restored the garden and made it a real asset for our community, especially for those with visual,
physical, or emotional handicaps.
Jim Whelan, a very successful insurance broker, came up with the idea of doing a simple pancake breakfast, cooked and served by our members, to benefit Ardmore’s Merion Fire Company. This event has been most recently chaired by every animal’s friend, veterinarian Reggie Royster and Ardmore optometrist Jim Hall. Looking back now, after more than 30 years of this relatively simple experiment, we have contributed nearly $250,000 fire company. And each year we celebrate the holiday season with both a silent and public auction that Dr. David Dillon, a successful dentist, and Jim
Whelan before him, orchestrates for the benefit of over a dozen local Ardmore charities. Chris Hoyt, who runs a large payroll service, conceived of and organized a community a
cappella contest for the local high schools, where the winners get a grant and get to choose the charities they support. Finally, Bob Overheiser, broker extraordinaire, organizes support for our disabled veterans, with a race around Suburban Square, which has grown with each passing year.
Joan Toenniessen, a former editor of the Main Line Times, was our first female member in 1990, our first female President, and first female Assistant Governor from our Club in District 7450. She has utilized her journalistic background to provide a weekly Club newsletter to keep our membership informed and volunteers at every opportunity. Our second female president, Jane Williams, has become active in Rotary District leadership and has led youth exchanges and Rotary Polio projects on an international scale. Fred Fromhold, a past chapter president and the dean of real estate law on the
Main Line, is revamping our website and planning a glorious golf outing in the coming year at the renowned Philadelphia Country Club to raise funds for polio eradication.
I have held a variety of Rotary positions over the years, including chair of multiple events, president-elect and president. While a number of these responsibilities were
time consuming, I always felt that the personal satisfaction I derived far exceeded my time commitment. I was especially fortunate to have represented our Club as Club President to the International Rotary International Convention held in Copenhagen in 2006.
Similarly, I want to salute the men and woman who have honorably served as our Club Presidents over the last decade:
Rich Brower, M.D.2020-2021
Our presidents enjoy great support from a number of dependable Rotary volunteers, including attorney Peter Kraybill, Lower Merion Library Director David Belanger,
accountant Jack DelPizzo, Sergeant-at-Arms David Blumenthal, and Worldwide Stereo Principal David Barrickman.
I know I’m leaving out many of my Club heroes and the great projects that they have championed over the years. And for all the Rotarian volunteers whom l inadvertently omitted, I thank you too for making my membership in this Club so special. But I mention these collective efforts as examples of the kind of local and international measures that our small Club has undertaken, to help us do “our part.”
Now let me mention some things that I like about Ardmore Rotary. From our humble beginnings, meeting in various restaurants in the area, to several stints in fire houses that did not have catering facilities, we have been fortunate to have relocated to the Merion Cricket Club where we enjoy the most wonderful meals in a grand historic setting and hear from an array of excellent speakers. Our meetings are almost always
delicious, entertaining, and soul soothing. We are community of men and women who care and support one another, while at the same time look to the needs of those less fortunate.
That’s why I am proud to say that I am a member of Ardmore Rotary.