A night of fellowship at a local restaurant featured the induction of Donna Mae Cangiano.

Rotary District Governor Elect Dr. Richard Bassett addressed the 50 or so Rotarians, family members, and friends gathered at Bellini’s Restaurant on Friday evening, January 25th.  He talked about all of the good things that Rotary does and how he enjoys seeing new members join the group.  The DGE was especially pleased that one of our most recently inducted members, LuAnn Buono, was the one sponsoring the newest member to join the club, Donna Mae Cangiano. While indicating that this would put the group at nearly 50 members, he again described how he travels around to the various clubs in District 7980, and believes that ours is one of the most active, and has the most fun.

The new member’s sponsor then spoke about the latest candidate, stating that she has known Donna Mae for almost 16 years because their children went to school together, and said that they live on the same street. The inductee works at a company founded in 1998 called Nxegen, LLC in Middletown as a Controller/CPA. Her application indicated that it's an energy efficiency contractor which retro-fits lighting, saving consumers 30-50%; and they also do energy and lighting audits.

Donna Mae had told her long time friend that she had been looking for something in the community to get involved in when she was approached by LuAnn regarding Rotary.  LuAnn pointed out, “She is the first person you would go to when you needed help with anything.” She then described some examples of Donna Mae’s generosity and community service.  Early in life, she helped her mother with a Brownie Troop which her mom was leader of, and later became involved with the 4H Club, sewing baking and volunteering to do any project that came along.

When she was in high school, Donna Mae volunteered as a Candy Striper (although she told that crowd that she was a stripper, as the crowd roared), and she sang in the church choir.

Upon moving to CT from PA, Donna Mae continued her service to the community by being involved in the PTA, initially as a member, but later served as secretary, and then as president; all while also being a room mother at her son’s elementary school.

When her son got involved with soccer, DonnaMae volunteered to help, both in the refreshment stand and with fundraising.  Furthermore, at her church, she has served on the finance committee, the fundraising committee, and was appointed to be a lector at Mass.

While continuing her many volunteer projects, she found time to continue her formal education and spent a few years as a teacher where she spent time providing extra help in math for her students.

After the induction, Alex Casella, President of the Greater New Haven Rotaract Club, spoke briefly about the good work that they are doing.  They are still looking for young people to join and help with the effort.  He told about the money that was raised since last June, especially through the efforts of their road race which was held in conjunction with the Rotary Club’s Pancake Breakfast.  He explained that it is a good stepping stone for young people before they join the Rotary Club.

Next, President Mike Hallahan’s father addressed the audience.  He said that a tradition in their family has developed over the years where at Christmas time the adult members of the family do not exchange gifts with each other.  Instead they donate the money which they would have spent on gifts to a worthy charity.  He presented a check to the club which represented the gift of money that the family donated this year.

Then, President Mike also presented a check representing funds that he had collected at the holiday party at his home on December 28th, after congratulating and welcoming the new member. Mike’s flyer which advertised the special evening in the new banquet room announced that live music would be provided “by the Mojo Boys, a versatile duo from Branford …playing a wide range of tunes, including rock, reggae, swing, roots, and R&B.” A good time was had by all. 

PHOTO: Sponsor LuAnn Buono (L) introduced Donna Mae Cangiano at her induction by DGE Rick Bassett.