At Rochester Rotary, giving back is woven into a way of life

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Rochester Rotary President Bob Magnusson prepares to accept a couple of "happy dollars" from a luncheon guest at the Governor's Inn during last week's meeting. (Rochester Voice photo)

ROCHESTER - On Monday Rochester Rotary Club members will begin the process of distributing free summer reading books to first- and second-graders at the city's eight elementary schools, just one of a slew of philanthropic endeavors the venerable community organization undertakes every year.

The generosity among Rotarians comes from a "sense of giving back," said Rochester Rotary President Bob Magnusson on Wednesday.

And they "give back" a lot. Most years the Rochester club hands out between $25,000 and $30,000 to 40 or so separate causes, mostly through area nonprofits, noted Magnusson, who will be ending his term as club president at the end of the month.

Rochester Rotary comprises about 75 members from Rochester and Somersworth and holds regular weekly meetings during Monday luncheons at the Governor's Inn.

"We try keep to keep it light and fun," said Magnusson of the meetings where "fine-masters" put the pinch on fellow members for perceived misdeeds and anyone with a couple of "happy dollars" can make an announcement or have the floor for a moment or two.

Magnusson, a senior district manager at Waste Management, said some of the recent causes the club has underwritten include funding for the anti-opioid drug Narcan to be delivered to at-risk populations and the police finger-printing of Rochester's first-graders.

One of the largest projects the organization completed was the building of Howie's Field of Dreams at Roger Allen Park, where a handicap-accessible ballfield, including seating and lighting, was completed in 2012.

The Rochester Rotary has also donated money to help build a hospital in Mexico, rebuild Puerto Rico after it was ravaged by Hurricane Maria and work toward the global eradication of polio.

For more information on the Rochester Rotary click here.

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