DGE Rick Bassett inducted Donna Mae Cangiano into the NHRC, a CPA with a massive community service record.

At a recent Friday evening of fellowship in the new banquet facility at Bellini’s Restaurant, the North Haven Rotary Club gathered for some relaxation, as well as a review of their first six months of service to the community under the leadership of President Michael Hallahan. However, the night’s activities opened with the official induction of new member, Donna Mae Cangiano, by Rotary District Governor Elect, Dr. Richard Bassett.

The fifty members and guests present were soon to learn from LuAnn Buono, the new member's sponsor, that from her childhood days at Queen of the World Elementary School in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania, where the school girl helped her mom with a Brownie troop, the inductee has spent her life doing things for others. As a high school student at Elk County Christian, she not only taught others how to bake and sew as a leader at 4H, but she worked on parade floats, sold potato pancakes at local festivals, served the hospitalized and visitors as a candy striper, and even sang in the church choir, specializing in weddings and funerals, at no charge.    

The 1978 graduate of Clarion State College with a BS in business administration and accounting, and 2004 graduate of Quinnipiac University with an MA in Teaching (Math Certified), has resided in North Haven since 1989. Although the CPA was a successful business woman prior to teaching from 2004-08, she said, “I wanted to give back after hearing President George Bush talk about his ‘1000 Points of Light’ and the need for everyone to give back. I loved teaching, and my students.” She would remain after classes to assist her students, and even provided a free breakfast to her wards during state testing. However, she later explained that she decided to return to the world of accounting for personal reasons. Nonetheless, she continued to tutor children in math, and even helped a freshman at SCSU this fall.

Indicating that when her son, Ben, started school that her life “revolved around him, the school, and the PTA,” she revealed that she began as the fundraising chairman, then became treasurer, and eventually served as the PTA president. Her list of school fundraising sales and events was endless. She also served as a room mother for her son’s classes in elementary school, and shelved books in the school library. The active mom also stated, “One of my fondest memories as a kindergarten room mother was making valentine French toast!  I believe the first year I prepared pink heart-shaped French toast was with Theresa Viele,” a well known resident whose son, Jack, was in the first grade at the time.  

As a parishioner at St Therese Church on Middletown Avenue, Donna Mae served on the finance committee, as well as raising funds for the new parish center. Not only could she be found in the food booth at the annual carnival, but she was a lector at Mass, and every Monday morning counted the weekend offerings to the church.

In retrospect over the weekend, she made the following comments about her special evening at Bellini’s, “It was a wonderful evening with welcoming friends, marvelous food, mid-year Rotary highlights, entertaining music, and relaxing conversations. I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and helping with the many volunteer efforts of this great organization!”

PHOTO: Dr. Richard Bassett, a SCSU professor and the Governor Elect for Rotary District 7980, inducted Donna Mae Cangiano into the North Haven Rotary Club on January 25th at Bellini's.