2024 Charity Golf Tournament


Our Annual 2024 Charity Golf Tournament
will be held on
Monday, September 9, 2024
at the Golf Club of Avon
at 160 Country Club Road in Avon, CT
Thank you to our Sponsors, Advertisers and Golfers for an outstanding 2023 event
2024 Charity Golf Tournament 2024-09-09 04:00:00Z 0

2024-2025 Officers & Directors

Congratulations to our new
Officers & Directors for 2024-2025
President Debbie Stanwood
Immediate Past-President Luke Violette
President-Elect Colleen Grasso
Secretary Sue Budde
Treasurer Phil Ferrari
Asst Treasurer Gary Hyde
Sargeant-at-Arms Lauren Gardner
Members-at-Large Salin Low and Josh Gillooly
2024-2025 Officers & Directors 2024-07-01 04:00:00Z 0

2024 President's Installation Dinner

The President's Installation Dinner
will be held at 6:00 PM on Friday, June 7, 2024
at the Golf Club of Avon at
160 Country Club Road in Avon, CT
Celebrate the successes of the 2023-24 Rotary Year
and our Officers and Directors
lead by President Luke Violette
Congratulations to our
Officers & Directors for 2024-2025
President Debbie Stanwood
Immediate Past-President Luke Violette
President-Elect Colleen Grasso
Secretary Sue Budde
Treasurer Phil Ferrari
Sargeant-at-Arms Lauren Gardner
Members-at-Large Salin Low and Josh Gillooly
2024 President's Installation Dinner Gary Miller 2024-06-07 04:00:00Z 0

Meet New Member Cat Pellino

New Rotarian "Cat" Pellino on dumpster duty! 
At the annual Shred Event that Collinsville Bank puts on together with the collection of donations for the Canton Food Bank.
Catherine, who goes by "Cat," and who recently became a member of the Avon-Canton Rotary Club, is the Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager of the Canton and Collinsville branch of Collinsville Bank, a division of Northwest Community Bank.  "I started working for Collinsville Bank when I was 16 years-old as a part-time teller in high school," she says, "and I’ve now worked there for 15 years."
A native of Collinsville, who grew up in Avon where her family settled when she was 2, Cat graduated from Avon High School in 2010.  She continued her education at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, graduating in 2014 with a degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Philosophy.  She was a Resident Assistant (RA) for 3 years.  She also graduated from the Connecticut School of Finance and Management, sponsored by the Connecticut Bankers Association, in 2022.
Cat is the secretary of Canton Main Street, a non-profit organization that partners with residents, businesses, government, religious congregations and civic groups to enhance all aspects of Canton. "We currently run the Collinsville Farmers Market, Music on Main and the Champagne Walk in Collinsville," she notes.  
She is also a member of the Avon Canton Chamber of Commerce and on their marketing committee.  In the spirit of Rotary she declares, "I love volunteering."
She lives in Canton with her 2 dogs, Murph and Mags, both of which are Brittany Spaniels and love bird hunting. "My family has a cabin in Vermont, so I frequently take weekend trips there," she says.  "I love to read, bake and cook, hike, garden and travel.  The places I loved the most that I traveled to in 2023 were Belize, Nashville and New Orleans." 
She says that she and her girlfriends love taking weekend trips to New York, Boston, the Hamptons and visiting new places.  "I also love being outdoors (kayaking, paddle boarding), staying busy, and trying new things!  I have an older sister and 2 nephews: Noah (10) and Leo (6) who live in Bristol."
We are delighted to welcome Catherine "Cat" Pellino as a member of the Rotary of Avon-Canton.
Meet New Member Cat Pellino Bill Barnes 2024-06-05 04:00:00Z 0

Breakfast at FAVARH

Please join us for a meeting at the
Rotary of Avon-Canton Building
at 100 Commerce Drive in Canton
on Friday May 31st
Breakfast will be catered by BeanZ & Co.
Fresh Fruit Salad and Coffee Service will be available.
Breakfast at FAVARH 2024-05-31 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Tom Wood

"I call Pleasanton, Texas my hometown," says Tom Wood, recently received as a new member of the Avon-Canton Rotary Club.  "It was a very small town known as the Birthplace of the Cowboy down in Atascosa County.  I have lived in over 25 places, including not only across Texas but also Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Connecticut.  I have resided in Avon since 1996."

Tom attended St. Mary’s University in San Antonio where he received a BBA and an MBA in Finance.  He has been a CPA since 1979, despite the fact, says Tom, that "somehow, I passed the CPA exam on the first sitting, even though I do not have a degree in accounting."
Tom and Marie have been married for 40 years, after meeting on a blind date in Houston on Jan. 23, 1983.  "It was love at first sight," declares Tom, "and we were married at St. Dimitrie Orthodox Church in Bridgeport that year."
Three years later, with a detour through Dallas where their oldest son, Tom, was born, the Wood family moved to West Hartford where their younger son, Chris, was born.    
"We are very fortunate that our children and their families live near us," says Tom, noting that "Tom is an Avon resident, and Chris lives in Burlington.  We have three grandchildren, Morgan, Thomas Atlas and Austin James."
Tom has worked for seven companies spanning five decades, including three banks, a financial planning company, an oil company and the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford.  He was selected CFO of the Year by the Hartford Business Journal in 2014 and currently serves as the treasurer of three organizations: Duncaster, Inc., Hartford Community Loan Fund and St. Dimitrie Orthodox Church.
A long-time active member of the West Hartford Rotary Club, Tom reports that "I was the Club's treasurer for my entire tenure there.  I worked most events,, e.g., the Vine of March, the Jazz Brunch, etc.  I came over the mountain to come home to Rotary in Avon where I have resided for 28 years."
In becoming a member of Avon-Canton Rotary, Tom notes that he has always been inspired these quotes:  "Everyone deserves a little happiness.  Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow." - Plato.  And: "It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see."  - Henry David Thoreau.
We are very happy to welcome Tom Wood as a new Avon-Canton Rotarian.  
Getting to Know Tom Wood Bill Barnes 2024-05-28 04:00:00Z 0

Lonely Rotarians Society Meeting

Posted on May 24, 2024
No regular weekly meeting on Friday,  May 24th
The Lonely Rotarian Society
will convene at 7:30 AM on
May 24th
at the new Lasalle Market & Deli in Collinsville, CT
Please join us for a leisurely breakfast and conversation 
Lonely Rotarians Society Meeting 2024-05-24 04:00:00Z 0

Meet Our Newest Member - Dami Singh

When Dami Singh was received into Rotary membership last Friday, she shared a wonderful quote from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:  "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve."  What a perfect quote in the spirit of Rotary by our newest member!  She was introduced to the Avon-Canton Club by Linda Pendergast, whom she had met while working with the Women's Auxiliary at St. Francis Hospital.
Dami, from a family of nine, grew up in Guyana, South America.  Prior to her country's independence in 1966, Guyana was under British rule as part of the British Mainland of the British West Indies.  Consequently, her education followed the British curriculum. 
"In 1980, I married my high school sweetheart," says Dami, "and we embarked on a journey that took us to Jamaica and later to Barbados as he pursued his medical education. In 1990, we settled in Rochester, NY, where we resided for three years before relocating to Bayside, NY.  Finally we made our home in Avon, CT, where we have lived for 26 years." Dami's professional journey has been diverse.  She started her career in banking in Georgetown and Jamaica.  Later, she obtained an Associates in Computer Information Management from Tunxis Community College and a degree in Leadership and Management from the University of Hartford.  She also pursued HR certification through Ecornell.  Subsequently, she worked as a Production Programmer at AMS Ratings in Windsor, CT. 
"Then I transitioned to supporting my late husband in managing his successful medical practice, progressing from Bookkeeper to Office Manager," she reports.  "After my husband's passing in 2018, I completed the Real Estate License Course and became a Realtor in May 2019 with Berkshire Hathaway in Avon, achieving over 5 million dollars in sales within a short period.  Presently, I work part-time as a Bookkeeper with the Women's Auxiliary at St. Francis Hospital and am still a Licensed real Estate Agent."
Outside of work, Dami notes that she has always been dedicated to volunteering, and over the years has been involved with organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Interval House, League of Women Voters of Greater Hartford and FAVARH.
"I have a son named Rish Singh, who was at Rotary with me for my induction last week, and a beloved Wheaten Terrier named Rhea, who brings joy to our household.  I also enjoy gardening, cooking, theater, hiking, Broadway and exercising."
We are delighted to welcome Dami Singh as an enthusiastic new member of the Rotary Club of Avon-Canton.
Meet Our Newest Member - Dami Singh Bill Barnes 2024-05-13 04:00:00Z 0
TOTV 2024 Flip Book 2024-04-20 04:00:00Z 0
2024 Tastes of the Valley 2024-04-20 04:00:00Z 0

Meet New Member Loren Clarke

It was our privilege recently to welcome Loren Clarke as a new member of the Rotary Club of Avon-Canton.  After being introduced to the club earlier in the year, she attended several meetings as an enthusiastic visitor before being received into full membership on June 16.
Loren is the Branch Manager of Northwest Bank in Avon, on Simsbury Road, Route 10.  During her first year as manager, the Avon Branch won the Best Large Business award from the Chamber of Commerce.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, she lived in Massapequa NY (Long Island) and then in Avon from the age of 7.  She graduated from Avon High School in '92 and currently resides in Simsbury with her 9-year-old son, Tyler (TJ) and husband, Matthew.  "We have been married for 20 years," says Loren.  "Matthew and I met when I was 11 years old at Simsbury Lanes, where we had a group of friends that has stayed together ever since, 6 marriages and 8 kids later.  I have a wonderful, smart son that has CP but is a determined fighter and surprises us every day.  We were told that we couldn’t have children and then 10 years later discovered that sometimes God has other plans."
Loren has earned two 2 Bachelor of Science Degrees, one in Business Marketing and the other in Merchandising.  She also spent a semester in London and traveled all over Europe.  She started her career in the fashion world as a buyer and was lucky enough to visit sites throughout Asia.  "Unfortunately," says Loren, "I had to make a choice of what I wanted to do when Weathervane and Filenes closed.  I spent some time in Real Estate, and then I decided to go into the Banking world.  I am happy I did.  As a banker I discovered that I can help people with one of the most important needs in someone's life, the assets they have spent a lifetime working for."
Loren is happy to have become a Rotarian because, she says, "I really enjoy and I am honored to help others."   
We are delighted to have her as an enthusiastic fellow Rotarian.
Meet New Member Loren Clarke Bill Barnes 2024-04-19 04:00:00Z 0
New Member Event 2024-04-04 04:00:00Z 0

GLO and AHS Interact Club

On April 1st, the Avon High School Interact Club hosted a program on Guiding Light Orphans presented by Rotary of Avon-Canton member Jolly Lux. Jolly is the founder of GLO. According to Interact Club Advisor, Maria Mascoli, the AHS Interact Club had the privilege of hosting Jolly and hearing her impactful presentation. The Interact students are very excited to partner with GLO and help make an impact in Uganda.
GLO and AHS Interact Club 2024-04-01 04:00:00Z 0

Meet New Member Bill Budde

Meet Our New Member - Bill Budde
It was our privilege last month to welcome Bill Budde as a new member of the Rotary Club of Avon-Canton.  No stranger to our club as husband of our inimitable Sgt-at-Arms, Sue Budde, Bill has been a frequent visitor and occasional speaker at our meetings.  
He was born in Chicago, northside, which of course made him a Cubs fan.  An entrepreneur from the get-go, he spent his early years forming a business that collected bottles from neighbors and exchanged them for candy to pay his helpers.  "Turns out," says Bill, "that the 5-year-old with a wagon can influence kids twice his age to work for sweets."
There were many family moves when Bill was young - to Florida, Tennessee and Illinois over a 10-year period - but things came full circle ending back in Evanston where he attended Northwestern, started his career, got married and had two kids, which ultimately led to moving to Avon in 1995 where he has lived happily ever since.
Meet New Member Bill Budde Bill Barnes 2024-04-01 04:00:00Z 0

PHF Bill Budde Joins Rotary

Community Paul Harris Fellow recipient Bill Budde joined the Rotary of Avon-Canton this morning. Sponsored by his wife, Sue Budde PHF+3, Bill was inducted by our members and handed his Rotary pin and badge by President Luke Violette (l) and Membership Chair Peter Vignati (r). Bill immediately became our morning speaker.
PHF Bill Budde Joins Rotary 2024-03-01 05:00:00Z 0

2024 Meeting Notices

Posted on Jan 01, 2024

Our regular meetings are normally held in-person
at the Golf Club of Avon in the Family Room

unless posted otherwise

Members and guests are able to attend via Zoom
Zoom instructions can be requested
by emailing: Rotary of Avon-Canton

2024 Meeting Notices 2024-01-01 05:00:00Z 0
District 7890 Foundation Brunch Gary Miller 2023-11-05 04:00:00Z 0

Nancy Nation Award Recipient

Rotary of Avon-Canton recognized Gary Hyde
with the club's highest award
Nancy Nation Lifetime of Service Above Self Award
at the 50th Anniversary Celebration
on October 19, 2023
Gary Hyde served as the club's Treasurer for the past 24 years guiding the fiscal health of the club's scholarship and charitable funds. Past President Salin Low presented the award with a standing ovation of the club membership and distinguished guests. Gary recently turned the reins of Treasurer over to Phil Ferrari
Nancy Nation Award Recipient 2023-10-19 04:00:00Z 0

50th Anniversary Dinner

Celebrate 50 Years of Service to
our Communities and the World
Thursday, October 19th
Golf Club of Avon
160 Country Club Road, Avon, CT 06001
5:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Cash Bar and Hors D'oeuvres followed by a Buffet Dinner
50th Anniversary Dinner Salin Low 2023-09-18 04:00:00Z 0

Shelterbox Hero Silver

Congratulations on achieving ShelterBox HERO SILVER level recognition for Rotary Year 2022-2023.
2022 was the biggest year yet for ShelterBox and your support helped us to reach over 400,000 people across 22 projects in 12 countries. This year is shaping up to be just as busy and your continued support is truly appreciated. Please watch and share “THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP: TURKEY EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE” which was featured at the recent RI Convention. Here is the link:https://youtu.be/0L8v4KPKyjI
Shelterbox Hero Silver 2023-06-19 04:00:00Z 0
Rotary Day of Service 2023-05-20 04:00:00Z 0

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

On Saturday, March 25th, eight members of the Rotary of Avon-Canton worked at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Bloomfield for 4 hours. The event was organized by President-Elect Luke Violette who recruited the following members to sort merchandise and work on displays: Luke Violette, Heather Pantano, Scott Nardozzi, Debbie and John Stanwood, Bob Cave, Dick Kisiel, and Gary Miller.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore Gary Miller 2023-03-25 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Dick Kisiel - Again

Dick Kisiel, who served with such distinction during his earlier time of membership in our Avon-Canton Club, returned home to us by rejoining in July.  As these notes, which Dick graciously wrote for us, will show, he repeatedly flunked retirement during these later years much to the benefit of the communities in which he continued his professional life and commitment to Rotary service.   Here is how he tells his story and reintroduces himself to our club:
After being appointed as superintendent in Avon in 1997, Dick joined the Avon-Canton Rotary Club serving as president in 2003-04.  In 2012, he chose to join the Manchester Rotary Club while serving as Manchester's interim superintendent of schools.  He continued his Rotary service with the Suffield Rotary Club eventually serving as its president for two years.  He currently resides at the Reservoir condominium complex in West Hartford.
Getting to Know Dick Kisiel - Again Bill Barnes 2022-09-16 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Steve Horenstein

Steve Horenstein became a member of the Avon-Canton Rotary Club in February of this year.  He was born and raised in Connecticut and is a 1973 graduate of the University of Connecticut.  Following graduation he attended a Respiratory Therapy program at Hartford Hospital.  He then worked for 12 years as a Respiratory Therapist at Mt. Sinai Hospital.  In 1987 Steven left Mt. Sinai and started his own company called Per Diem Medical.  It was the first company in the state to supply respiratory therapists to hospitals on an as-needed basis.  Five years later Steven started another company called Help at Home, which supplied homemakers, companions and personal care assistants to senior citizens.  He sold the company in 2020 and is now retired.  Steven lives in Simsbury with his wife Arlene.  He has two daughters who both reside in Boston.  
Getting to Know Steve Horenstein Bill Barnes 2022-09-01 04:00:00Z 0
2022 Tastes of the Valley 2022-05-14 04:00:00Z 0

We Stand with Ukraine

Help us support the Rotary Clubs in Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Maldova which are providing aid and comfort to the war torn areas and nearly 5 million refugees fleeing the war zones in Ukraine.
We Stand with Ukraine 2022-03-22 04:00:00Z 0

High School Chorus Visits

Celebrate the Season with Music
Canton High School Choir - Friday, Dec 10th
Avon High School Choir - Friday, Dec 17th
No regular meetings December 24th or 31st
High School Chorus Visits 2021-12-10 05:00:00Z 0
Our Rotary Year - 2020-2021 Katelyn Kaplan 2021-07-09 04:00:00Z 0
Happy New Year 2021 Katelyn Kaplan 2021-01-01 05:00:00Z 0
Tastes of the Valley 2020 2020-03-28 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Jennifer Gonzalez

Jenny Gonzalez was born in 1970 in the small country town of Perry, Florida, where her parents grew up. They moved to Tallahassee when she was four and she grew up with her brother Jon who is seven years older.
Both of Jenny’s parents were hard workers. Her mom was in business administration first in the medical field, then thirty plus years at an environmental law firm until her retirement two years ago. Her dad was a proud Vietnam veteran who had a 32-year career with the Postal Service. He retired early and enjoyed a life of leisure until he was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away three years ago. He was always working on cars, boats, and home improvement projects. In retirement he enjoyed spending time on my cousins’ farm in Alabama bailing hay, feeding cows, hunting, and fishing. His family misses him dearly.
Getting to Know Jennifer Gonzalez Salin Low 2020-03-06 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Luke Violette

Luke was born and raised in Connecticut, a Hard Hitten New Britain native, and most of his family continues to reside within the Northeast. He grew up in a family-oriented household, with strong roots in sports and sarcasm, but most importantly, an emphasis on family first. He spent a lot of my summers boating and fishing in Lake George, NY and on the Charlestown, RI beaches. He has an older sister, Kylee, who holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. 

When Luke was younger, he played baseball, soccer and lacrosse was an avid snowboarder. Frequenting the various mountains throughout Vermont is something he has been doing for the past 20 years, sometimes with his girlfriend Katie. He thoroughly enjoy the outdoors, whether it’s hiking or biking at the West Hartford Reservoir, fishing / kayaking along the Farmington river, or taking in the rays and waves in Montauk or Block Island in the summer.

Getting to Know Luke Violette Salin Low 2020-02-21 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Lauren Gardner

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Lauren Gardner was raised in Farmington, Connecticut in the same house her father grew up in, graduating from Farmington High School in 2011. She pursued her Bachelor of Social Work with a minor in psychology at Southern Connecticut State University, graduating magna cum laude in 2015.

At the age of sixteen, after being encouraged to strengthen her resume for prospective colleges, Lauren began volunteering a few days after school at FOCUS Center for Autism. What she once viewed as an easy way to enhance her resume, rapidly turned into a passion that she followed into a career. Lauren quickly fell in love with the FOCUS clientele, adoring their individuality, honesty and unique perspectives. She also fell in love with the FOCUS organization, its approach and how it transformed lives, including her own.

Getting to Know Lauren Gardner Craig Buhrendorf 2019-06-14 04:00:00Z 0

2019-2020 Slate of Officers & Directors

Congratulations to our 
2019-2020 Slate of Officers
President Heather Pantano
President-Elect Alicia Canning
Immediate Past-President
Michael Mezheritskiy
Treasurer Gary Hyde
Secretary Chris Lamadrid
Sgt-at-Arms Katelyn Kaplan
Dale Bronson and Sue Budde
2019-2020 Slate of Officers & Directors 2019-06-07 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Yvonne Gardner

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf
Yvonne Swanson Gardner grew up in Southington, Connecticut. Her parents still reside in the house where she was raised and have been very involved in the soccer community by volunteering their time and skills in town for over forty years. Yvonne is proud to say they are both in the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame.

After Yvonne married, she moved to Farmington. She and her husband Greg raised their two daughters in the same house that he grew up in and will be celebrating their thirtieth wedding anniversary on September 9th. Yvonne has worked at FOCUS Center for Autism for seventeen years and says that it is by far the most rewarding job she has ever had. Her older daughter Lauren, “one of the lights of my life” has worked with her in some capacity at FOCUS since she was a young girl. For the last few years Lauren has been a full time employee. She is also a Rotarian. Her younger daughter Kara is “the other light in my life”. She recently graduated from CCSU with a degree in Elementary Education. Yvonne is also a graduate of CCSU. Her degree was in Psychology and Interpersonal Communication.

Getting to Know Yvonne Gardner Craig Buhrendorf 2019-06-07 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Mike Mezheritskiy

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf
Mike Mezheritskiy, aka, Misha, was born and raised in Kiev, Ukraine. In 1994, at the age of seventeen his family moved to Boston, Massachusetts. Mike recalls skipping all his English lessons in school, thinking, “Why in the world would I want to learn English? It’s not like I am ever going to use it!” His first job was as a dishwasher at McDonald’s. Within a year he was promoted to Shift Manager - a very big deal for him at the time. Next he went to work at the Doubletree Hotel in Waltham, Massachusetts which was frequented by a number of local and visiting sports figures. During his time there he met Larry Bird, Dominique Wilkins, Rick Pitino, and Bobby Orr. He even helped Kenny Anderson jump-start his Cadillac.
Getting to Know Mike Mezheritskiy Craig Buhrendorf 2019-05-31 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Vaughn Young

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf
Vaughn Young was born and raised in Williamston, Michigan, a small town near Lansing and the “Heart of Industrial Michigan.” He graduated from Michigan State University in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science in Math. During his college years Vaughn played the piano with a five-piece jazz group. After graduation he accepted a job with Allen-Bradley, an industrial control manufacturer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Following a two year training program, he was assigned to the Boston office as a sales representative. While living in the town of Lynnfield, north of Boston, Vaughn was active in Republican town politics and served as chairman of the town’s planning board for several years.
Getting to Know Vaughn Young Craig Buhrendorf 2019-05-24 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Lisa Barall-Matt

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Lisa Barall-Matt was born in Hartford, Connecticut as one of four siblings, having a sister and two brothers. After living in Bloomfield through her high school graduation, she went to Ithaca College. Upon finishing school, Lisa took a computer programming job at Aetna. What was going to be two to five year stint at Aetna turned into a career as an information technologies executive with a run of twenty-two years.

Lisa got restless living the corporate life and decided in 2002 to “retire” from Aetna. She then entered the real estate profession and continues to practice today. Lisa has been with Re/MAX since becoming a realtor and has been its number one agent in Connecticut for six of the last eight years.

Getting to Know Lisa Barall-Matt Craig Buhrendorf 2019-05-17 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know AnneMary Gordon

Annemary Gordon was born and grew up in Ghana, West Africa, where she also had her formal education and completed her undergraduate studies. In June of 2014, Annemary migrated to the United States and settled in Avon with her three children - Elijah and Brianna, twins age fifteen, who attend Avon High School and Geri, age fourteen, who attends Avon Middle School.
Annemary graduated May 2018 from the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford with a Master of Social Work degree and is currently working for the United States Postal Service in Asset Management as an Inventory Control Specialist. She looks forward to making a change very soon and pursuing her career as a social worker, so that she can have a positive impact on the lives of others within her sphere of life.
Getting to Know AnneMary Gordon 2019-05-10 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Steve Harris

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Steve Harris grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut and moved to Avon in 1977. He has lived there ever since. Steve graduated Kingswood-Oxford School in 1969 and attended the University of Virginia.

Steve was “fixed up” up with his wife Donna on a blind date, although they were in the same elementary school class together. They married in 1975 and have three daughters - Jennifer, Lauren and Katie and three grandchildren - Hanna, Trevor and Mason.

Getting to Know Steve Harris Craig Buhrendorf 2019-05-03 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Bill Barnes

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

A good way to describe my career might be to call it "bi-vocational" - clergy and publishing. I grew up in a newspaper family in Bristol. My grandfather owned and operated the Bristol Press from the early 1900s until his death in the 1950’s, when my father and uncle took over. As a kid, I often got to tag along as my father chased stories all over the state. During my college years, I worked most of my summer vacations in the composing room, setting type and serving as a gofer for the newsroom.

After graduation from Bristol High School, I earned my B.A. in history from Wesleyan University. Feeling a call to the ministry of the United Methodist Church, I went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree at Yale Divinity School. I was subsequently ordained Deacon in 1960 and Elder in 1963. Later I earned an M.A. in American Studies and Religion from Trinity College.

Getting to Know Bill Barnes Craig Buhrendorf 2019-04-26 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Linda Pendergast

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Linda Sue Pendergast was one of four children born to Reverend and Mrs. Boyce Van Osdel in San Bernardino, California. She moved to the Bay Area at the beginning of high school and was in the first graduating class at Skyline High School in Oakland, preceding Tom Hanks by a few years. Other than one year in Colorado, it’s been “C” (California) to shining “C” (Connecticut) for Linda who resides in Avon.

Linda graduated from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon with a major in Sociology and a minor in Psychology, giving her the credentials to become a Probation Officer for the County of San Bernardino, a job she held for six years. After moving to Connecticut she had several short-lived jobs before venturing into retail. Together with partner Kaye Foland, “Lettres - Stationery of Distinction” was conceived and born in the late 1980’s. Linda sold the business in late 2001, giving her more time to devote to her growing family. Linda has two daughters - Laurie and Shannon. Her husband Paul has three sons - Sean, Kevin and Ryan. Together they are grandparents to twelve grandchildren, ranging in age from two to twenty-two. They also have one great grandchild, age three.

Getting to Know Linda Pendergast Craig Buhrendorf 2019-04-19 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Phil Ferrari

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf
Phil Ferrari grew up in Agawam, Massachusetts and has lived in Hartford, New Britain and Wallingford in Connecticut, before settling in Avon in 1996. Phil graduated from Western New England University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He became a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Massachusetts and served six years in the United States Air Force Reserves.
After an eleven year stint as a CPA for KPMG in Hartford, Phil worked for Superior Electric Company in Bristol, Connecticut until it was sold in 1988. From there he went on to become Chief Financial Officer for the Reflexite Corporation in Avon until its sale in 2011. Phil finished his career at Virginia Industries in Rocky Hill before retiring in 2017.
Getting to Know Phil Ferrari Craig Buhrendorf 2019-04-12 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Bob Cave

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Bob Cave was born in Hartford, Connecticut and grew up in West Hartford. He received his electrical engineering degree from Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, he accepted a job with Connecticut Natural Gas and later became the Assistant to the President. Bob moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts to take a senior management position with Berkshire Gas Company. Later in his career, Bob spent many years in Washington, DC as President of a natural gas trade association. In 2004 he returned to Connecticut and started a new venture - remodeling homes. To date, he has “flipped” twenty-two homes in our area.


Getting to Know Bob Cave Craig Buhrendorf 2019-04-05 04:00:00Z 0

Tastes of the Valley 2019

Tastes of the Valley

Saturday, March 30, 2019

A Food and Wine Festival
at Farmington Gardens
on Route 4 in Farmington, CT
Thank you to our sponsors, restaurant and beverage vendors, and attendees for another successful event. Your contributions allow us to fulfill our mission of support our community and international service commitments. 
Tastes of the Valley 2019 2019-03-30 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Kim Murphy

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Kim Murphy grew up in Burlington, Connecticut and attended Tunxis Community College. Her son Tim, his wife Britt and her two grandchildren (ages five and two) all live in Ridgefield, Connecticut with their bulldog, Millie. She has two sisters and one brother that all live within thirty minutes of each other, as does her mom. Kim lives in Torrington at Lakeridge Condominiums.

For over ten years Kim has been a manager at Northwest Community Bank and has worked in banking for over thirty years.

Getting to Know Kim Murphy Craig Buhrendorf 2019-03-29 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Salin Low

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Salin Low grew up in Oklahoma and lived in Manhattan, Dallas, Tulsa, and Philadelphia before moving to Connecticut. She attended William and Mary and the University of Oklahoma for undergraduate studies, receiving a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting. Later she received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Tulsa and a Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary. Before going to seminary, she spent sixteen years in public accounting and banking.

Salin has lived in Connecticut since 1993 and was rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Hartford before she retired in 2014. She now substitutes and leads services at various parishes. She also serves on several boards and committees for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. Salin lives in Canton in the Oxbow Ridge townhomes and is now President of the Board for the residents’ association. Her husband died in 2016, so her golden retriever, Ellie is now in charge of the household. Salin’s hobbies include knitting and going to the movies.

Getting to Know Salin Low Craig Buhrendorf 2019-03-15 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Peter Vignati

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Peter Vignati has fond memories of growing up in East Hartford. He says he is “the classic middle child” amongst five siblings. Peter attended the East Hartford public schools and went on to Bates College, where he majored in chemistry and biology. At Bates he really enjoyed playing golf and was the Maine intercollegiate champion one year.

After graduation, Peter went to work for Enthone, a West Haven, Connecticut manufacturer of specialty chemicals for the plating, electronics and aerospace industries. He started in sales, first in Wisconsin and then returned to Connecticut. Later he became an International Marketing Manager, traveling worldwide establishing relationships with overseas companies to license Enthone’s technology to them and also to license some of their technology. Being single, it was an exciting time for him to see and experience different people and their cultures. He went on to earn a Master of Business Administration from the University of Connecticut, taking classes at night.

Getting to Know Peter Vignati Craig Buhrendorf 2019-03-08 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Gary Roman

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf
Gary Roman was born in Torrington, Connecticut and remained there through his college years until 1976. Since then, he has lived in Enfield, Suffield (thirty years) and now Canton (almost five years). Gary has a background in accounting. He earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Connecticut and his Master of Business Administration from Western New England University. He began his career at Combustion Engineering, where he worked for six years. Before entering banking in the mid 1980’s, he worked as a CFO in the Massachusetts real estate management industry. He has been at Collinsville Savings Society since 2012.
Getting to Know Gary Roman Craig Buhrendorf 2019-03-01 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Natasha Haims

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf
Natasha Haims was born in St. Petersburg, Russia as an only child. She immigrated in 1976 with her parents and came directly to Hartford, Connecticut where she was in one of the first five families from the Soviet Union to do so. After arriving, she studied English as a second language, but shortly thereafter she went to work so that her parents could also learn English. Before settling in West Hartford, she lived in Baltimore for a year. While working full time, she earned an Associates degree in computer studies and continued her education with a Bachelor’s of General Studies at the University of Connecticut. Later she earned her paralegal certificate from the University of Hartford, also while working full time.
Getting to Know Natasha Haims Craig Buhrendorf 2019-02-22 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Rauf Majidian

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Rauf Majidian was born and raised in Tursunzoda, Tajikistan, where most of his family still resides. HIs appetite for education was established at the Tajik-Turkish High School in the same town, where he graduated and ultimately served as a tutor.

At age twenty, Rauf decided to venture alone outside of Tajikistan and pursue educational opportunities in the United States. He spent the following years refining his English and going to school. He graduated from Brooklyn College, having majored in International Business with a minor in accounting. English is the fifth language Rauf has mastered. He is also fluent in Russian, Persian (Tajik), Turkish, and Uzbek.

Getting to Know Rauf Majidian Craig Buhrendorf 2019-02-15 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Craig Buhrendorf

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Craig Buhrendorf was born in Dayton, Ohio and grew up in Westfield, New Jersey. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and is the third generation member of his family to graduate college with a Mechanical Engineering degree. While at Lehigh, Craig was actively involved with the Lehigh Radio Network as a “progressive rock” deejay, serving first as Program Director for its FM station, and later as General Manager for the AM-FM network. Craig also belonged to Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, where he was both Treasurer and President.

After graduation, Craig began his career at General Electric’s aircraft engine manufacturing plant in Lynn, Massachusetts. He had several assignments there, including a stint as a shop foreman. He then switched to selling large industrial machinery, working as an area manager for a couple of smaller international companies and living in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut before settling in Avon in 1984. During that period he closed the largest industrial air compressor order ever for his division and broke into the ski industry with his division’s first sale of air compressors for snowmaking.

Getting to Know Craig Buhrendorf Craig Buhrendorf 2019-02-08 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Ed Queirolo

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Edgardo “Ed” Queirolo was born in Lima, Peru. At age eleven his family moved to Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he spent his high school years. Ed received an Industrial Engineering degree from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. After graduating, he returned to Ecuador to work in the family candy business. During this period, he started his first company, distributing chemicals for the food industry. While in Ecuador, Nancy Schilling, a friend from Lehigh, came to visit with friends on vacation. A year later they married and moved to Nancy’s hometown of Farmington where they have been living for twenty-eight years.

Ed’s first years in Connecticut were spent in manufacturing, first at Precision Dynamics and later at US Surgical. In December 1993 he started his own commercial real estate company, ENE Realty Associates. The company currently owns 160,000 square feet of office space in Avon and Simsbury. Ed continues to love going to work every day.

Getting to Know Ed Queirolo Craig Buhrendorf 2019-02-01 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Heather Pantano

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Heather Pantano was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and moved to Thompson, Connecticut when she was seven years old. She notes that Thompson is located in the “quiet corner” of Connecticut and that her house was one mile from Massachusetts and five miles from Rhode Island. Although she spent most of her childhood in Connecticut, Heather like most people from Thompson, identifies with Massachusetts which has resulted in her passion for the Red Sox and the Patriots.

After graduating high school in 2000, Heather moved to New Britain, Connecticut and attended Central Connecticut State University. After graduation she moved around Hartford County from New Britain to Manchester to Rockville, back to New Britain, then to Windsor Locks, Hartford and finally to her current home in Avon. In addition to her BA from CCSU, Heather earned a Masters in Business Administration from Bay Path University. She is Director of Marketing for a Fortune 500 company, where she has been for over thirteen years.

Getting to Know Heather Pantano Craig Buhrendorf 2019-01-26 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Robin DiNicola

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Robin DiNicola grew up in Newington, Connecticut. She attended Newington High School and Connecticut School of Finance and Management. Robin spent many years in community banking and is now a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones in Southington, Connecticut.

Robin has run three marathons, raising over $15,000 for charity. She is especially proud of being an Avon-Canton Rotarian and currently serves on the board. She is also a Paul Harris recipient and has served the Club as an editor of the Early Riser, Sergeant-at-Arms, Secretary and President-elect. Robin is a long time member of the Avon Chamber of Commerce, having served as president and as a board member. For her service and dedication, the Chamber honored her with the Loren Bristol Spirit Award. Other organizations Robin has been involved with include the Salvation Army, the Exchange Club of Wolcott and the Junior Women’s Club.

Getting to Know Robin DiNicola Craig Buhrendorf 2019-01-18 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Larry Sullivan

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Larry Sullivan was born in New London, Connecticut. He married his wife Brenda in June of 1964 and graduated University of Hartford on their first anniversary. Their oldest daughter Colleen was born the day before. All-in-all they have five children (three boys and two girls) and eleven grandchildren.

In September 1968 Larry went to work at O’Neill’s Chevrolet and took over the dealership in 1986. Later he expanded to two adjacent dealerships in Torrington with Chevrolet, Pontiac and Oldsmobile in one store and Chrysler and Jeep in the second. Around 2006, he added Cadillac, Buick and GMC in Torrington (after Pontiac and Oldsmobile were discontinued). In 2013 he purchased a Honda dealership, also in Torrington and at about this time, turned the management of the dealerships over to sons Sean and Kevin. He also turned over his Car Biz Collision and Towing Center off Old Farms Road in Avon to his son Tim.

Getting to Know Larry Sullivan Craig Buhrendorf 2019-01-11 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Chuck Joseph

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Chuck Joseph grew up in Stoughton, Massachusetts where he met and married his high school sweetheart, Debbie. They raised their family in Sparta, New Jersey and moved to Avon in 2010 to start their family business, operating ShopRite grocery stores in West Hartford and Canton. Their son, Chuck III who also works in the business, his wife Paige and granddaughter Morgan Joseph (better known as MOJO) live in West Hartford as does Chuck and Debbie’s daughter, Liz.

Chuck attended Boston College as a pre-med student. After college, he began his supermarket career as Director of Operations for Heartland Food Warehouse stores. During that time he served as Chairman of the Finance Committee for the town of Mansfield, Massachusetts. In New Jersey, Chuck was the General Manager for the ShopRites of Hunterdon County. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Morristown YMCA and was Vice Chair for Junior Achievement of Northern New Jersey. In Connecticut he is Chairman of the Connecticut Food Association, is a member of Focus on Canton and serves on the Board of Directors for the Avon Chamber of Commerce.

Getting to Know Chuck Joseph Craig Buhrendorf 2019-01-04 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Gary Miller

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Gary Miller was born and raised in New Jersey—mostly in Livingston, where he lived until leaving for Dartmouth College in 1966. He attended Dartmouth on a full Navy ROTC scholarship and was commissioned an Ensign upon graduation. He served as a Naval Aviator for twenty years prior to retiring in 1990. While in the Navy, Gary lived in Pensacola, Florida (one year), Virginia Beach, Virginia (fourteen years), Somerset, United Kingdom (two and a half years), and Key West, Florida (one and a half years). Following flight training, he flew helicopters for the majority of his career—mostly ship-based, engaged in helicopter anti-submarine warfare.
While in England, he served with the Royal Navy, flew with the Royal Marines and worked at the Royal Navy Flight Safety Centre. Prince Andrew trained and flew at the same Royal Navy Air Station (Yeovilton). While serving, he received an MBA from Golden Gate University and the Aviation Safety Officer designation from the Navy Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He completed a Master of Science in Computer Science from RPI while working for the Travelers in its IT Department.

Getting to Know Gary Miller Craig Buhrendorf 2018-12-28 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Greg DeManche

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Greg DeManche grew up in East Hartford, Connecticut and lived in Pennsylvania, Tangier, Morocco, and Indiana before settling in Avon. While earning his Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, he was recruited for the rifle team and received varsity letters in track and field, football and soccer. At Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut he received his Master of Arts in Education and earned his Connecticut secondary school teacher certification. He earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence at Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Greg is currently an attorney at DeManche, McChristian, LLC in Avon. Previously he was a teacher, coach and dormitory master at the Rectory School in Pomfret, Connecticut; Director of Athletics, coach and teacher at The American School, Tangier, Morocco; Assistant Athletic Director, coach and teacher at The Park Tudor School, Indianapolis, Indiana; Tax Examiner and Senior Analyst at Indiana State Department of Tax and Department of Commerce; and Sales and finance executive at United Technologies Corporation, Otis Elevator Company, Indianapolis, Indiana and Farmington, Connecticut.

Getting to Know Greg DeManche Craig Buhrendorf 2018-12-21 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Rollie Sterrett

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Rollie Sterrett was raised in North Haven, Connecticut and graduated from Williston Academy, a boarding school in Easthampton, Massachusetts. He graduated Colgate University in 1965 with a major in political science. As an undergraduate, Rollie was on the varsity swim team and a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He took Air Force ROTC and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant at graduation.

In the USAF, Rollie was trained as an air intelligence officer (at Lowery AFB, Denver, Colorado), assigned to the Directorate of Targets at 7th Air Force Headquarters (Tan Son Nhut AB, Saigon) and after one year, in 1967, was assigned to the underground Command Post at Strategic Air Command Headquarters (Offutt AFB, Omaha, Nebraska). His duty assignments were as a daily intelligence/operations briefing officer at the Commanding General level, including USAF General William Momyer (Commander 7AF), USA General William Westmoreland (Commander US Forces, Vietnam), and USAF General Bruce Holloway (SAC Commander). Rollie separated from the Air Force as a captain in 1970.

Getting to Know Rollie Sterrett Craig Buhrendorf 2018-12-15 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Paul Mikkelson

Paul Mikkelson grew up in Hartford, spent some time in Tampa, Florida and now lives in Simsbury, Connecticut with his wife, Ann. Paul and Annie have a son, David who works for the Travelers and is married to Jen, a pharmacist. Their daughter Liz is a consultant who works with women entrepreneurs and is married to Mark, who also works for the Travelers.

As an undergraduate at University of Connecticut, Paul was a marketing major. He earned his Masters in Business Administration at the University of Hartford. Early in his career Paul worked as an Employee Benefits Consultant for CIGNA. Later he became President of Dill, Joyce & Thresher Insurance, working with twenty-eight non-profit organizations. Paul is retired now, but still volunteers and serves as a board member with several of them. He is both a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC).

Getting to Know Paul Mikkelson 2018-12-07 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Joanne Santiago

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Joanne Santiago was raised in New Jersey and moved to Avon in 1984. Her extensive education credentials include a BA in Zoology from Rutgers University, an MS in Nutrition from University of Bridgeport, her Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College, a three year postdoctoral resulting in a Diplomate American Board of Chiropractic Sports Physician and another three year postdoctoral resulting in a Diplomate American Board of Chiropractic Internist.

Since she was a child, Joanne knew that she wanted to be a Chiropractic Physician. Her practice is Avon Chiropractic Health Center located across from Avon High School. She is currently President of the Connecticut Chiropractic Association as well as President of the Northeast Chiropractic Council, which are important in her profession.

Getting to Know Joanne Santiago Craig Buhrendorf 2018-11-30 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Sue Budde

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Susan Budde was born in Reading, Pennsylvania and grew up in Southington, Connecticut. Since her marriage to her husband Bill sixteen years ago, she has lived in Avon. Sue has two stepchildren: Jessica, age twenty-nine and Ryan, age twenty-six. Jess is engaged to be married and will give birth to their first grandchild in May 2019.

Sue is one of the founders of Dog Star Rescue, an all breed dog rescue that started in 2014. To date they have placed over 2,000 abandoned, abused or neglected dogs into forever homes. She also chairs the Board of Christian Outreach at West Avon Congregational Church. Sue has been an Avon-Canton Rotarian since 2012 and serves on both the Community Service and Membership committees.

Getting to Know Sue Budde Craig Buhrendorf 2018-11-25 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary of Avon-Canton Building Breaks Ground


The members of the Rotary of Avon-Canton are proud to announce the they have made the first installment payment of $90,000, to begin the outfitting of the Favarh Life Enrichment Building located at 100 Commerce Drive in Canton. The remaining $60,000 of the $150,000 pledge will be paid in 2021 to complete the facility.

This project will help the nonprofit organization provide even greater support for its clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The 7,836 square-foot building, located on Commerce Drive in Canton, will enhance Favarh’s day programs for adults who can’t work because of disability and medical complexities or who have retired from work. 

The new facility will be named the Rotary of Avon-Canton Building.

Rotary of Avon-Canton Building Breaks Ground 2018-11-20 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Jim Gordon

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf
I’m a Boston guy” proclaims Jim Gordon. Born and raised in the city, he attended the Boston Public Schools and graduated from Massachusetts College of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Advertising. Jim and his wife Jayne moved to Farmington in 1972 “and here we are...forty-six years later”. They have four grown children: Kathleen who lives in Avon with their two oldest grandchildren, Timothy and his wife Tracie who moved to Colorado this past summer, Chris and his wife Kristen who live outside of Boston and their youngest Matthew who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife Sarah. They feel blessed to be grandparents to eight wonderful grandkids: Cameron, Lizzie, Maggie, James, Thomas, Audrey, Yates and Rory.
Getting to Know Jim Gordon Craig Buhrendorf 2018-11-16 05:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Sarah Leathers

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Sarah Leathers grew up in Simsbury and graduated from Union College, Schenectady, NY with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Afterward she went on to work for Procter & Gamble as an engineer and then worked for two different construction companies as a project manager. She has worked in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors throughout her career.

Sarah is the Founder and Executive Director of Healing Meals Community Project, a nonprofit organization that provides organic meals for free to families going through a health crisis while empowering youth chef volunteers with leadership, job ready skills in addition to purpose and belonging.

Sarah met her husband Alan through their fellowship group at church when they were in high school. Her husband is a private school teacher and coach. Sarah and Alan have raised three children: Samantha,married; Hannah, married and Will, a sophomore in college. They also have a 1 year old granddaughter, Madison.

Getting to Know Sarah Leathers Craig Buhrendorf 2018-11-03 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Carrie Firestone

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Carrie Firestone grew up in a rural area in central New York with her younger sister, Jennifer and her service-minded parents. She studied English and anthropology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Inspired by her work with Chinese students at a summer program, she moved to Taiwan five days after graduating to teach English in a remote town. Carrie discovered she loved teaching English to speakers of other languages and decided to pursue her Master's degree in TESOL (Applied Linguistics) at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Carrie settled in New York City and taught American history and government at a Manhattan Comprehensive High School where she worked with young people from more than thirty nations. She started a community service club to share her love of service with her students. One day, at a New York Sports Club on the Upper East Side, Carrie met Michael, young radiology resident. They married two years later. Recently, Michael and Carrie returned to the gym to show their daughters Emily (a freshman at Avon High School) and Lauren (a seventh-grader at Avon Middle School) where it all began. Michael is a huge poker fan and currently a partner at Radiology Associates of Hartford. They have two dogs - Murphy, a mix and Roxie, a loveable pitbull.

Getting to Know Carrie Firestone Craig Buhrendorf 2018-11-02 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Katelyn Kaplan

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf
Katelyn Kaplan grew up in Avon, CT and graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences. Since then, she has never passed up an educational opportunity and has traveled extensively to attend conferences related to her field. Katelyn is a naturalist in that she educates people of all ages about the natural world around them. She explains that a man by the name of Baba Dioum described “quite wonderfully” what her occupation entails when he said “In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught.”
Getting to Know Katelyn Kaplan Craig Buhrendorf 2018-10-28 04:00:00Z 0
World Polio Day 2018 - Oct 24th 2018-10-25 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Debbie Stanwood

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf
Deborah Stanwood was raised in Phoenix, Arizona along with five siblings. She received her Associates degree in 1985 from Phoenix Community College, where she met her husband John. She later pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Education at Arizona State University until their first daughter, Kristin was born. Kristin was just six weeks old in 1987, when they moved to Connecticut. They were only supposed to stay here for two or three years but have been in Connecticut ever since. They now have three children: Kristin, who lives in New Orleans with her husband Andrew and two year old son Logan, JohnMichael who lives in Kentucky with his wife April and three daughters - Crystal (age seven), Willow (age five) and Harley (age four), and Jenna who lives in Washington, DC. The only child remaining at home is their eleven year old beagle, Maggie. Deb and John spend their free time traveling to see their kids and grandkids.
Getting to Know Debbie Stanwood Craig Buhrendorf 2018-10-21 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Dr. Sabrina Waqar

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Dr. Sabrina Waqar, is currently a dermatologist in Avon CT. She opened her medical practice, Farmington Valley Dermatology & Surgery, in 2014. During various phases of her medical education, she has lived in California, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Florida. She has an undergraduate degree in Biology, a Masters in Public Health, and a Doctorate in Medicine. She did an Internal Medicine residency and followed it with a Dermatology residency. She is Double Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Dermatology.

After she completed her Dermatology residency, Sabrina her husband Joel moved to Worcester Massachusetts. After working for two large medical groups, she decided to open her own practice in the Farmington Valley.

Sabrina immigrated from Pakistan with her parents and siblings in 1992, and settled in Oakland California. She met her husband Joel while volunteering at the Berkeley Free Clinic.

Getting to Know Dr. Sabrina Waqar Craig Buhrendorf 2018-10-14 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Kathleen Parr

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf
Kathleen Parr spent her early years in various suburbs outside of Detroit, Michigan. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree at Michigan State, she moved to London with her future husband Stephen for a six month work/study program. Afterwards, they backpacked through Europe and returned to Connecticut where they worked and finished their Master’s degrees at the University of Connecticut. In 2000 they moved to Bethesda, Maryland where she had accepted a position with PG&E National Energy Group. In 2004 they returned to Connecticut and settled into a home in Burlington where Kathleen consults part-time on energy management for merchant power plants. They currently spend their winters working from their condominium in Austin, Texas.
Getting to Know Kathleen Parr Craig Buhrendorf 2018-10-06 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Eleni Kavros DeGraw

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Eleni (rhymes with “a-penny”) Kavros DeGraw was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. She grew up in Alexandria, VA and moved to Farmington in 1998. Eleni attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA graduating with a B.A. in English and a minor in Technical Writing, with concentrations in Criminal Justice and Italian. She worked as a journalist right out of college and as a marketing writer when she moved to Connecticut. She has spent the last several years writing children’s books.

She met her husband Allen “just like every Greek woman” - working at a Greek diner in Alexandria, VA. They joke that they should probably be getting royalties from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” since much of it is their story. Her husband is a small business owner in Middletown and they have three children, Callista (17), Sabrina (15), and Lucas (8). Eleni and Allen moved to Avon in 2013.

Getting to Know Eleni Kavros DeGraw Craig Buhrendorf 2018-09-29 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Dan Rodrigues

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Dan attended UConn, Storrs where he majored in economics and minored in marketing. He was Vice President of the Entrepreneur Club and was very active in other clubs around the campus. He is currently pursuing his MBA as well as a Master’s in Business Analytics and Project Management at UConn in Hartford.

Dan’s parents came to the United States from Madeira, Portugal when they were ten and six years old. A fun fact for international soccer fans is that his grandparents’ house was two houses down from Cristiano Ronaldo’s childhood home and she knew the family very well. Dan is currently single and “looking for the right dog”. He has a brother who is a Chemical Engineer in Fairfield County.

Getting to Know Dan Rodrigues Craig Buhrendorf 2018-09-14 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Cherie Walton

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Cherie worked as a molecular biologist in a hepatology lab at the UCONN Health Center for twenty years. She now teaches biology, microbiology, as well as anatomy and physiology as an adjunct at Tunxis Community College, Central Connecticut State University and the University of Hartford.

When Cherie was a little girl, she used to daydream about becoming a scientist and traveling to Africa. In August 2016 she found herself in Africa presenting her scientific research to nursing students. At that moment, Cherie realized her little girl dreams had come true!

Getting to Know Cherie Walton Craig Buhrendorf 2018-09-08 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Jimmy Ssekawaabe

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Jimmy Ssekawaabe grew up in Kampala, Uganda and moved to Connecticut in 2000 at age sixteen. He attended primary and secondary school in Uganda and college at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and University of Hartford. He jokes that he is single and “looking”.

Jimmy is employed by Liberty mutual as an insurance agent. In addition to Rotary, he is a member of the Canton Chamber of Commerce. He is particularly proud that he has been a special ed/paraprofessional for almost five years.

In his spare time Jimmy enjoys basketball and skiing. He also says he has an affinity for dining out.

Getting to Know Jimmy Ssekawaabe Craig Buhrendorf 2018-08-31 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Alicia Canning

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Alicia Canning was raised in Providence as one of seven children.  It was there that she started her career at age sixteen with McDonald’s.  In the years that followed, she took business courses at a junior college and met her former husband, a fellow McDonald’s employee.  

In 1979 Alicia (pronounced “ah-LEE-shah”) received her degree in Hamburgerology at Hamburger University in Chicago.  From 1982-1995 she lived in New Jersey. In 2000 she and her husband became owner-operators of McDonald's franchises in Windsor and South Windsor, Connecticut.  They subsequently added franchises in Canton, Granby, Simsbury and Torrington. Alicia ran the Canton McDonald’s from 2009 to 2015, after she and her husband parted ways.

Getting to Know Alicia Canning Craig Buhrendorf 2018-08-27 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Steve Morris

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Steve Morris was born in a Navy hospital at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Since his dad was an anti-submarine helicopter pilot, he and his family moved around quite a bit. Steve has been in Connecticut since the 4th grade however, and he graduated from Simsbury High School. Steve attended the University of Rhode Island where he played football and received a BA in Psychology and UConn Storrs where he received his Masters in Public Administration.

Getting to Know Steve Morris Craig Buhrendorf 2018-08-18 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to know Christine Lamadrid

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf
Christine Lamadrid holds a Masters in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. As an elementary school principal, her school was named a National School of Excellence and one of seven schools of curriculum excellence, highlighted in William Bennett’s final report as Secretary of Education. She had the privilege of meeting President Ronald Reagan and Secretary Bennett in Washington, DC. She currently volunteers at the FAVARH Thrift Shop.
Getting to know Christine Lamadrid Craig Buhrendorf 2018-08-10 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Arnie Goldman

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Dr. Arnold Goldman is well-known in our community as a veterinarian. After several years working in general practices as well as emergency and critical care practice, he opened Canton Animal Hospital in 1995. Arnie earned his Master of Public Health degree in 2011 and is one of a very few veterinarians accredited as a Certified Emergency Manager by the International Association of Emergency Managers.


Getting to Know Arnie Goldman Craig Buhrendorf 2018-08-05 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Michelle Traub

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf
Raised in New Hartford, CT Michelle is the oldest of seven siblings, spaced over nine and a half years.  She received her BS in Elementary Education from DeSales University and studied Spanish at the University of Granada.  She recently earned her MA in International Education from the SIT Graduate Institute.

Michelle teaches Spanish to fifth and sixth graders in Canton and is a roving instructor for the middle and high schools.  Concurrently, she participates in a Fulbright Fellowship program, “Teachers for Global Classrooms”. This program included a one month stay last May in a small village in Senegal, Africa where she taught English and Spanish.  The program includes a rigorous one year online curriculum which she will complete in September.

Getting to Know Michelle Traub Craig Buhrendorf 2018-07-29 04:00:00Z 0

Getting to Know Bruce Sayward

Posted by Craig Buhrendorf
Getting to Know is the first in a series of profiles of recently inducted new members.

Bruce Sayward grew up in Southington, CT doing woodworking with his father, who did it as a hobby.  He eventually became a carpenter and has had his own business, Sayward Companies, LLC for over thirty-three years.  Early in his professional life, Bruce spent eight years living in Colorado and Maine. During his time away from Connecticut, he served in the Air Force as a Munitions Maintenance Specialist and attended classes at Colorado State and the University of Maine.  He returned to Southington where he currently lives with his wife Bonnie.

Getting to Know Bruce Sayward Craig Buhrendorf 2018-07-22 04:00:00Z 0

Favarh-Rotary Building Groundbreaking

Rotary of Avon-Canton Building to break ground in May, 2018!
The new Harry and Renee Haag Life Education Center (12,500 sq ft) and the Rotary of Avon-Canton Building (7,500 sq ft) have been approved by the Canton Planning & Zoning and Inlands/Wetlands Commissions. We hope to break ground on this exciting new project in May.
Favarh-Rotary Building Groundbreaking 2018-04-26 04:00:00Z 0

District Governor Conducts New Member Induction Ceremony

District Governor David Mangs had the honor of inducting two new members on April 20, 2018. Standing with their sponsor, Brian O'Donnell, and President Don Bonner, Eleni DeGraw and Carrie Firestone received their Rotary pins and membership certificates to the rousing applause of our members.
Eleni DeGraw, DG David Mangs, Carrie Firestone, Brian O'Donnell, and President Don Bonner
District Governor Conducts New Member Induction Ceremony 2018-04-20 04:00:00Z 0

Canton Interact Club Visit

Eight Students from the newly formed Canton Interact Club joined us this morning (Feb 9th) along with their club advisors, Superintendent Kevin Case and teacher Michelle Traub
Each of the students introduced themselves and spoke briefly about their role and hopes for the club: Alex Leaderman (Co-president), Chris-Ann Brown (Co-president), Zahra Kahn (Vice president), Shian Earlington (social media), Madelynn Dunahoo (PR), Tom Eayton (Treasurer), Anna Melendez (Secretary), and Evan Adams.
Canton Interact Club Visit 2018-02-12 05:00:00Z 0

International Service Committee presents $4950 check

Craig Buhrendorf presented a check for $4950 to Jolly Lux for Guidling Light Orphanage. The money covers the medical supplies and equipment. Jolly was very grateful for a program that started with no real plans at all and has grown to a wonderful outreach program in her home village in Uganda.
International Service Committee presents $4950 check 2018-01-12 05:00:00Z 0
Tastes of the Valley 2018 2017-12-20 05:00:00Z 0

Check Presentation to Gifts for Canton

Posted on Dec 06, 2017
A check for $1000 was presented to Jill Brandon, Chair of the Canton Chamber's Gifts for Canton benefit by Rotary President Don Bonner and Gary Roman, Community Service Chair and Chamber President. The check was presented at the Canton Chamber Holiday Party at the Canton Historical Museum. Quite a few Rotary members were also present: (pictured left to right) Gary Roman, Jill Brandon, Ann Gagnon, Gary Miller, President Don Bonner, Sue Budde, Chuck Joseph, Colleen Grasso, Peter Vignati, Paul Nelson, Gary Hyde, and Larry Sullivan.
Check Presentation to Gifts for Canton 2017-12-06 05:00:00Z 0
Rotary of Avon-Canton Giving 2017-11-29 05:00:00Z 0

World Polio Day

Posted by Gary Miller on Oct 24, 2017
Don't miss the live streamed celebration from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Rotary's involvement in eradicating polio started in 1989 when over 350,000 cases existed in the world. Barely 30 years later, only 10 cases exist--6 in Afghanistan and 4 in Pakistan--in 2017. 99.9% of the cases have been eradicated. Over the next three years, Rotary has pledged to raise $50 million per year to support global polio eradication efforts. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has agreed to match these funds 2:1. We must all commit to reaching the goal of ending polio in the world. We are so close.

During the month of October, Rotarians in District 7890 have been asked to focus on the goal of a polio free world. To this end, World Polio Day on October 24th presents an opportunity to sponsor programs to highlight our efforts and seek a continuing commitment from our members, friends and business associates.

Special events are being planned around the world. A key event will the live streaming of the fifth annual World Polio Day event at 5:30 PM EST. The website: https://www.endpolio.org/world-polio-day has a host of materials and planning guides that can be used to plan events and learn what other Rotarians will be doing.

World Polio Day Gary Miller 2017-10-24 04:00:00Z 0

34th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Thank you to the 170 golfers who enjoyed a perfect day on a great golf course.  Our sponsors and advertisers paved the way for an extremely successful event.  Thank you to our partner FAVARH for helping us to exceed our fundraising goal. A very special thank you to Tournament Chair, Larry Sullivan, his team, and the staff of the Golf Club of Avon for making the day a most enjoyable event for everyone involved.
34th Annual Charity Golf Tournament 2017-05-03 04:00:00Z 0

2017 Tastes of the Valley - Thank You

Posted on Apr 02, 2017
2017 Tastes of the Valley - A Huge Success
Thank you to the entire TOTV team for pulling off another successful event. Swaying to the rhythm of the music performed by Mass-Conn Fusion, our members and guests enjoyed great food, wine and other libations.  The event was co-sponsored by Seabury along with Gold sponsors: ENE Realty Associates and Collinsville Savings Society; Silver sponsors: Avon Chiropractic and Raymond James; and Table sponsors: Edward Jones of Avon, Simsbury Bank, NW Auto Group, and Myers, Piscatelli, & Link. 
Proceeds from the Tastes of the Valley fund our many local and international initiatives, including our $150,000 commitment to FAVARH toward their building expansion plan.
2017 Tastes of the Valley - Thank You 2017-04-02 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary of Avon-Canton Pledges $150K for FAVARH

Posted on Jan 20, 2017

Rotary of Avon-Canton Pledges $150K for Favarh 

Keeping with Rotary’s commitment to public service, a portion of proceeds from the Tastes-of-the-Valley and the annual golf tournament will go towards the construction of an exciting new Life Enrichment Program (LEP) building for Favarh – The Arc of the Farmington Valley. This project will help the nonprofit provide even greater support for its clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The 7,500 square-foot building, located at 100 Commerce Drive in Canton, will enhance Favarh’s day programs for adults who can’t work because of disability and medical complexities or who have retired from work. Favarh day programs place a high emphasis on daily community excursions with a priority on volunteer work.

The new facility will be named the Rotary of Avon-Canton Building.

The Rotary has pledged $150,000 through 2021 toward the project. The new building will be adjacent to the Rails-to-Trails, enabling the inclusion of a Rotary Café operated by Favarh participants where walkers, bikers and their canine friends will be able to enjoy healthy snacks and drinks. Construction is expected to begin this summer, with completion slated for late 2018. 

Anyone interested in donating to the project can send contributions to:

Rotary of Avon-Canton

Favarh Building Fund

P.O. Box 11

Avon, CT 06001


Rotary of Avon-Canton Pledges $150K for FAVARH 2017-01-20 05:00:00Z 0

Paul Harris Community Awards

Posted on Jan 20, 2017
(L-R: Peter Vignati, Rebecca Stevenson, Gary Miller, Joanne Santiago, Dennis Bianchi, President Don Bonner, and Josh Gillooly)
The Rotary of Avon-Canton presented two Paul Harris Fellowship awards to members of the community on Friday, January 20th.

Dennis Bianchi served as a police officer in Avon from 1973 to 2000 and over many years, he has been involved in many community activities, fundraisers and has coached several children's teams in a variety of sports. He has been very involved in the Avon Volunteer Fire Department, where he directs the Citizens Fire Academy and helps raise funds for departmental needs. President Don noted the similarities between Mr. Bianchi and the many Rotarians he knows who are very active in their communities.

Past president Gary Miller introduced our second Paul Harris Fellowship recipient, Rebecca Stevenson. Ms. Stevenson is also a Burlington resident, and is Director of Admissions & Marketing at Cherry Brook Health Care Center in Canton. She has been very involved in her community, participating in community events and fundraising. She serves on the Canton Chamber of Commerce Outreach Committee, and has supported organizations such as Gifts for Canton, Focus on Canton and the Canton Senior Center, as well as the event Walk for Food & Hunger.

Paul Harris Community Awards 2017-01-20 05:00:00Z 0

Sara Bonner Receives Paul Harris Award

Sarah Bonner is the youngest daughter of President Don.  Sarah graduated from the Avon schools in 2010.  While in high school, she was an original member of the school's cappella group, Rhapsody, and an active participant in the Unified Sports program which is a high school  based Special Olympics program.  Sarah attended the University of Mass-Amherst where she was a double major in Social Thought & Political Economy and Sociology with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.  She graduated in 2014 and entered the Peace Corps as a volunteer in the Dominican Republic.  Sarah was a youth, family, and community development volunteer in a small town on the Haitian Boarder.  She recently was a speaker at our club presenting the accomplishments and struggles of being a Peace Corps Volunteer.  Sarah finished her work with the Peace Corps in October 2016 and is now working at a non-profit organization in Boston focusing of attaining housing and basic resources for low-income families.  In recognition of her "service above self" she was presented as a Paul Harris Fellow.
Sara Bonner Receives Paul Harris Award 2017-01-06 05:00:00Z 0

FOCUS Center for Autism Grant Award

On Friday, Dec 16th, a check for $750 was presented to the FOCUS Center for Autism in Canton for their programs supporting students and young adults on the autism spectrum. Pictured are Community Service Chair, Paul Mikkelson, Lauren and Yvonne Gardner of FOCUS Center for Autism, and President Don Bonner.
FOCUS Center for Autism Grant Award 2016-12-18 05:00:00Z 0

Paul Harris Award to Sean Blacker

On Friday, December 16th, Foundation Chair, Joanne Santiago, and President Don Bonner presented a Paul Harris Fellowship to Sean Blacker, a member of the Avon Old Farms Hotel staff. Sean's award had been announced to his manager, but was a total surprise to him. Sean has been an integral part of the Rotary Club of Avon-Canton for many years. Each Friday he ensures that our meeting room is ready to go by coordinating with other hotel staff and management. He is always alert to room assignments and schedule changes that need to be communicated to our club President and Sgt-at-Arms. Our members are indebted to Sean for his outstanding service.

Paul Harris Award to Sean Blacker 2016-12-16 05:00:00Z 0

Louisiana Flood Relief

Posted on Dec 09, 2016
A check to the Rotary Club of Livingston Parish Louisiana was presented this morning for their Flood Relief project. (L-R) Gary Miller, Immediate Past President; Paul Mikkelson, Community Service Chair; and Don Bonner, President 2016-2017.
Louisiana Flood Relief 2016-12-09 05:00:00Z 0

Paul Harris Fellowships

Congratulations to Paul Cioffari and Nancy Nation, who were recognized for their Rotary Foundation donations.  Foundation Chair, Joanne Santiago, and DG Frank Wargo had the pleasure of giving Paul his first PHF pin and medallion.   Nancy received her PHF +3 pin.
Paul Harris Fellowships Gary Miller 2016-09-09 04:00:00Z 0

33rd Annual Charity Golf Tournament

32nd Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Thank you to Larry Sullivan and his committee for an outstanding
33rd Annual Golf Tournament

Monday, September 12, 2016 at the Golf Club of Avon


Tournament Co-Sponsor
Farmington Bank

Please say thank you to our 2016 Sponsors and Advertisers 
for making our 33rd T
ournament a success.

33rd Annual Charity Golf Tournament 2016-05-12 04:00:00Z 0
Mercado Global Gary Miller 2016-05-03 04:00:00Z 0

2016 Community Paul Harris Fellows

Four members of the Avon and Canton community were awarded Paul Harris Fellowships for their public service on April 15, 2016.
L-R:  John Carmon, Dr. Arnie Goldman, LT Kelly Walsh, and Bill Henson
2016 Community Paul Harris Fellows 2016-04-15 04:00:00Z 0
A Century of the Rotary Foundation 2016-03-22 04:00:00Z 0