Oops, I angered the Rotary Club.
I was only trying to describe the jolly Republican Chris Callaghan, who ran and lost the race for state comptroller…and in a recent column I came up with the thought that he reminded me of a Rotararian at an Oktoberfest.
This was not meant to besmirch the hard volunteer work performed by those in the organization. I also poked fun at Callaghan’s bow tie, but I didn’t hear from any bow tie lovers.
I did hear from the Rotary. Here’s a letter that really lets me have it!
1 Gannett Drive
White Plains, NY 10604
Dear Mr. Riesman (sic),
I write to you on behalf of members of the Brewster Rotary Club who were dismayed at your characterization of Rotarians in your recent political commentary on Chris Callaghan, candidate for NYS Comptroller, entitled Ã¢â‚¬Å“Bow tie canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be beat as political fashion flawÃ¢â‚¬?. Your comment that Mr. Callaghan has the Ã¢â‚¬Å“amiable, rumpled look of a Rotarian at an OktoberfestÃ¢â‚¬? portrays Rotarians as disheveled Ã¢â‚¬Å“party boysÃ¢â‚¬?. On the contrary, Rotarians around the world are among the most respected members of their communities, leaders in business and civic affairs, who devote their personal time, money and energy to advancing RotaryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mission of improving their local communities, providing service and support to people in need nationally and internationally and advancing international understanding, goodwill and peace through an ideal of Ã¢â‚¬Å“service above selfÃ¢â‚¬?. Over 1 million men and women in 163 countries worldwide are members of Rotary. Your characterization of Rotarians, though meant to amuse IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure, actually trivialized the important volunteer work of these many community-minded men and woman and the serious goals of Rotary.
You did get one thing right- we Rotarians are Ã¢â‚¬Å“amiableÃ¢â‚¬?. In that spirit, I would like to extend an invitation to you to join the Brewster Rotary at one of our lunchtime meetings so that you can become more informed about how a Ã¢â‚¬Å“typicalÃ¢â‚¬? Rotarian looks and behaves. We meet each Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. at the Southeast Grille House on Route 6 in Brewster, NY. We would enjoy the opportunity for you to get to know the members of our club, who are professional men and women leaders in education, law, medicine, government and business. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d also like to inform you about our local charitable activities including our college scholarship program, international student exchange program, Rotary InternationalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s polio eradication program, and other local charitable initiatives.
Please contact me at my office at the Putnam County Planning Department at 845-878-3480, ext. 109 to arrange a time to be our guest at an upcoming Rotary meeting. Or, you may contact our Brewster Rotary Club President, Paul Fucito, at 845-279-6541. We look forward to meeting you.
On behalf of Brewster Rotary
cc. Reader Services Editor