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Lahaina’s first Rotary Club celebrates record year

By Staff | Jun 20, 2013

President-elect Art Ortiz (right) presided over an evening Rotary social this spring at Paradise Grill in Kaanapali.

KAANAPALI – Completing one of the most successful years in its 48-year history, the Rotary Club of Lahaina will inaugurate a new president July 1, is gearing up for its annual “Savor the Sunset” benefit at the Royal Lahaina Resort and is continuing its successful drive to recruit new members.

President Liz May summed up what she called “an awesome year.” The club spearheaded and implemented the $300,000 renovation of Lahaina Public Library in 2012 and recently won seven Hawaii awards from Rotary District 5,000.

In a rarity for Hawaii, the club was also recognized with a news article in the 40,000 circulation Rotary magazine.

Rotary District 5,000 awarded the club a first place for Membership Development and first runner-up for Net Membership Increase, Public Image and Foundation Participation among clubs throughout Hawaii. It also won a District Governor Citation and Premier Club award.

Succeeding May will be Art Ortiz of Paradise Grill.

Ortiz is an ideal choice, May said. He has long been known for his support of the community when he was at Outback Steakhouse, and he is continuing the tradition at both Paradise Grill and Rotary.

The club and the Rotary Youth Foundation raised $27,000 for scholarships.

Seniors from Lahainaluna High School and Maui Preparatory Academy who received scholarships from $500 to $5,000 from the club and the Rotary Youth Foundation included Jeannie Ramelb, Abigal Haduca, Leslie Garo, Junna Gazmen, Vincent Sarian, Robert Griffith, Alexis Oku, Kawaiola Wendt, Xavier Damo, Troy Otto and Bailey Pendergast.

Three new members who joined the club in the last three months are Chuck Yeaman, Kahana Branch manager of Bank of Hawaii; Leah Lambros McCray, sales professional, Cutco Cutlery; and Bill Brandt, a retired financial officer.

Ortiz invited residents and part-time visitors who might wish to join the club to meet members at the Royal Lahaina Resort any Thursday at 11:45 a.m., learn about the club and hear the weekly speaker.

Members dedicate themselves to service above self by participating in community projects, enjoy weekly speakers and frequent early evening socials.

Ortiz said to celebrate its upcoming 50th anniversary, the club is planning a “50 in 2015” to bring membership to the 50-member total or above.

Higher membership increases the club’s resources and provides more people to work on community projects, he said.

Rotary has nine clubs on Maui, including the Rotary Club of Lahaina established in 1965 and its sister club, the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise that meets at the Pioneer Inn.

More information is available on the club’s revitalized website at www.rotarycluboflahaina.org as well as the blog at lahainalibraryfacelift.wordpress.com.