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Rotarians offer service with a smile

| Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2005

With donations reaching the $1 billion mark for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, numerous individuals, groups, organizations and clubs have joined forces to help. One of those groups is the Connellsville Rotary Club.

Recently, Rotary Club members donned aprons and carried trays at Bud Murphy's Sports Bar and Restaurant, where they were guest bartenders and wait staff.

"I really enjoyed it, and I only threw away one plate," Rotarian Carl Rose said. Rose, whose day job is general manager of Armstrong Cable, is actually an old hand at serving at functions.

"I've served in the past at the Rotary pancake breakfasts, but the hardest part here is keeping out of the waitresses' way," he said.

The guest Rotarians donated all tips for the evening -- as did the regular wait staff and bartenders -- to the hurricane victims.

Also, as part of the fundraiser, Bud Murphy's donated $2 for every pizza that was sold during the evening.

A total of $1,606 was raised.

Connellsville Rotary President Robin Bubarth, who owns Bud Murphy's, was pleased at the response and the generosity of the patrons and her staff.

"We did very well," Bubarth said. "We had 14 Rotarians help out throughout the evening."

The Connellsville Rotary has 35 members. Many were unable to help with the work end of the fundraiser, but they showed up to support the effort.

Pat Stefano, owner of Stefano's Printing, was a member of the wait staff.

"It was a lot of fun," Stefano said. "The staff said that we did a good job."

However, if it wouldn't have been for the help from the Bud Murphy workers themselves, the volunteers wouldn't have been able to pull it off, Stefano added.

The Connellsville Rotary has been in contact with the Rotary Club of Biloxi, Miss. Funds raised from the local event will be sent to Mississippi.

"I spoke to them weeks ago, and at that time they were in need of food," Bubarth said. "But I plan to get in touch with them again as their needs may have changed and we want to get them what their current needs may be."

Several members of the Biloxi Rotary are now homeless, and their fellow Connellsville Rotarians want to help.

"Rotarians help other Rotarians in other areas," Rotarian Dan Gimmel said. "And they will put the funding where it is needed."

The Connellsville Rotary Club is a service organization, holding numerous fundraising events and programs throughout the year, with all of its proceeds going to the many different functions and programs it sponsors.

"Every penny that is raised goes to the purpose for which is was donated," Gimmel said. "One hundred percent goes to the purpose for which it was given to the club."

Anyone who was not able to attend the fundraiser and would still like to contribute, can do so by mailing a check to Rotary Club of Connellsville for Katrina, P.O. Box 1010, Connellsville, PA 15425.

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