Rotarians Crab and Pasta Feed – enjoy the Crustaceans and experience the wisdom of giving
The Russian River Rotary is preparing to celebrate its 26th annual all-you-can-eat Crab and Pasta feed from 5 to 8 p.m. on February 9 at Dutton Pavilion, Shone Farm in Forestville and 38-year Rotarian, Herman Hernandez, owner-broker of Frank Howard Allen realty in Guerneville, couldn’t be more excited about it. One of Guerneville’s (and the lower River’s) premier boosters, Hernandez recently returned from a “great trip to Mexico” and has returned “with lots of energy to bring back home.” Says Hernandez, who has never missed a Rotary Crab Feed, “The excitement of being able to be one of many to organize this Russian River Rotary event, is inspiring, since all that is raised at this crab feed goes right back into the community!” Hernandez is proud to remind us that the Rotary is “the
last and the only service organization in Guerneville, and we’ve given over $300,000 from just this fund raiser (the 25 annual crab and pasta feeds) back to many areas of the community,” The 2012 feed alone raised $20K.
But there is one other organization in Guerneville which for more than a decade has dedicated itself to philanthropic and compassionate causes and has raised more than $1 million for the needy and disadvantaged. The order which calls itself the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, with less than thirty members, has in fact worked side by side with the Rotary and continues to work toward raising the quality of the lives of the disadvantaged, worthy causes and those who need help the most.
Aside from monetary help, Rotary also works hard to help with projects like the Guerneville Senior Center’s back yard and patio, and speaking for the group Hernandez states, “In addition, I’d like to see our membership grow. New blood makes it better.” This year is the local Rotary’s 82nd anniversary which makes them “seniors” themselves.
Ed Smith is currently the local Rotary President and treasurer Brendan Coen will be the incoming Vice President in July. Says Coen, a local Realtor and a six-year member who moved to the Russian River from San Francisco at the age of five, “I joined because I knew many of the members and saw the kind of work local
Rotarians were doing.” The Rotary’s scholarship fund, which awards $1,000 to each of five El Molino High School graduating seniors has been ongoing for several years, and the Rotary also reaches out to elementary schools in Guerneville, Forestville, Cazadero and Monte Rio with money for materials that aren’t covered by school budgets.
There will be live and silent auctions, “a D.J. who plays a little bit of everything”, a wine bar and desserts by the El Molino High School culinary department (a well-funded, fairly new entity at the school, with an excellent reputation) which will also serve and bus tables. And as always, enough crustaceans to form a ring around Sonoma county.
Supervisors Efren Carrillo and Mike McGuire will oversee the live auction with prizes including a week in Mazatlan, a week in Cancun and a week in Hawaii.
Cruising from town to town around the USA, motorists are often greeted by signs announcing resident service organizations such as Kiwanis, Lions, Optimists, Soroptimists, Moose, Elks, Foresters, and more often than not, Rotary.
They’re all well-intentioned, but Rotary Clubs seem to be among the most ubiquitous and the most dedicated. Nearly 1.22 million people belong to 33,976 clubs throughout the world, working on Rotary’s stated purpose: “to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.”
A secular organization, Rotary is open to all persons regardless of race, color, creed, gender or political preference, and the Russian River Rotary meets weekly to share a meal together, enjoys interacting and sharing ideas with each other and focuses on establishing their service goals.
Since 1910, Rotary’s primary motto has been “Service above Self,” and its secondary motto is “One profits most who serves best.” Counting among the membership “ordinary” citizens as well as business and professional leaders, Rotarians seek to “encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in more than 160 countries worldwide.”
Last year one of the Rotary’s chief achievements (in partnership with Russian River Park and Rec) was the popular and eagerly looked forward to summer concert series held on the Plaza at the northern terminus of the old Guerneville
walking bridge. Held alternate Thursdays from June 21 until August 30 the line up featured Maria Grazia Rosa Domenica D’Amato (aka Maria Muldaur), the Thugz and Fargo Brothers, Elvis impersonator, James Clark and other entertainers. Perhaps the most popular and the favorite of many who attended all the concerts was Paraguayan virtuoso performer and child prodigy, Carlos Reyes, whose specialty is playing the complex 36-string Paraguayan harp (as well as the violin).
The booking was done by Kathy and Jim Ocean, KGGV radio show hosts and talented performers themselves, who moved to the River for some peace and quiet but instead found themselves involved in exciting pursuits that raise the quality of life of many of us who live on the River. The Oceans will be doing the booking this year as well, and Hernandez believes the budget they’ll have to work with might be a little greater than last year’s.
And because people often work up an appetite burning calories on the dance floor, a group called Eco-Ring put together an organic Farmers Market situated in the parking lot of the Sonoma Nesting Company, which is adjacent to the Plaza, and opened a few hours before the scheduled concerts.
The consumate host, Hernandez is looking forward to helping put the event together and, “making you feel like you’re at home ”
The Rotary is continung to look for sponsors for the event (as well as other projects) and those inclined to pitch in can reach Hernandez at Frank Howard Allen realtors on the Guerneville downtown Plaza.
All photos (except Mr. Carrillo) Stephen D. Gross