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Gail Matarazzo
President 2017-18
 

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Greetings from Asbury Park Rotary

Welcome to our Club! Where Service and Fellowship Flourish!

Asbury Park

We meet Wednesdays at 12:15 PM
The Renaissance
1110 Valley Rd & Hwy 35 S
(Just North of Wegman's)
Ocean, NJ  07712-3977
United States
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Member Spotlight
MIKE FORNINO
“I tell it like it is”. This comment is all too familiar to many who know Mike Fornino.  Most think they know Mike but really are not aware of his long and distinguished life of dedication and involvement in many areas. Mike reminds us of his immigrant parents from Italy/Ireland and points to their work ethic and many other positive ideals that formed Mike’s love of country and family. He is unwavering in this regard. His father died when Mike was only 13.
This July 18th, Mike will be celebrating his 83rd birthday and on July 1st will be Mike’s 54th year as a Rotarian with 53 years of PERFECT ATTENDANCE. Bypass heart surgery in 2003 nor anything else gets in his way in maintaining this record.
Mike was born and raised in Long Branch and was graduated from Long Branch High School in 1953. He went to Monmouth College as a night time student and during the day, worked as a mechanic at a new car dealership in town. He was “drafted” in 1958 into the U.S. Army and was later stationed in Vincenza, Italy. After his military service Mike completed college and received his Business Administration degree from Monmouth College. Also following discharge, he became the Service Manager at his old job but ended up having a problem with arthritis at the age of 26. Concrete floors exasperated this issue and decided to join his brother Ben’s bill collection business in 1962. They had an office in Perth Amboy and that is where Mike was invited to join the Perth Amboy Rotary Club in 1964. Two years later he transferred to The Rotary Club of Asbury Park, where the business was located and also where he met his future wife Sandy who was working as a legal secretary. This June, they will have been married 50 years and have lived in Neptune from the beginning. Mike and Sandy have two sons, Gregory and Mike Jr. with one set of twin grandsons and one granddaughter. 
In 1976 Mike parted with his brother and with nothing but a hand shake with his new business partner Jerry Wagenheim, created Atlantic Advisors in Asbury Park that lasted 41 years. They owned the Walter Reade Building on Mattison Avenue which was sold in 2014 and moved their operation to Ocean Township.
While still in Long Branch, Mike was a member of the Jaycees as well as being president of the Long Branch Republican Club. Competitive ice skating (racing) was the sport of choice for Mike from 1957 until just 6 years ago. He won a competition at Madison Square Garden in 1958 and was a top racer and champion in the region for years. Other sports were running, softball, bike riding and rollerblading.
Once in Neptune, Mike continued being involved. He was President of our Rotary club for the year 1972-73, a Paul Harris Fellow and a RI Sustaining Member for many years. He was appointed to Neptune’s Planning Board, the Board of Adjustment and Board of Health at different times and elected to the Board of Education. He is proud that he successfully had the New Jersey Supreme Court overrule the Board of Education claiming that they had been conducting teacher negotiations illegally for 35 years. “The Neptune Decision” took 5 years of litigation. He was not well liked by the teacher’s union.
Mike’s long membership in Rotary defines him in so many ways and has set an example for so many members over the years. There is no one more proud to be a Rotarian than Mike Fornino, and it shows. He shows up to work on practically every event.  “I will never forget the night our club raised $25,000 in 15 minutes to benefit Mary’s Place in Ocean Grove”. Polio Plus, Rotary Shelter Boxes are just a few projects Mike says that “defines” Rotary. The one thing that Mike claims that Rotary did for him was “to help me get over my shyness”. Hard to believe that one but that’s what he says.  Mike also takes credit for sponsoring Jim Jeffries as a member in 1986.
Sandy Fornino has been equally active. She has been an active member of the Woman’s Club of Asbury Park for 57 years. Sandy attends practically every event our club holds and is very supportive. She is a “Reading Buddy” and President of the Friends of Neptune Library just to name a few areas of civic involvement.
Mike has said many times, “Rotary is the finest organization of its kind in the world and Rotarians are the finest people in the world”. If everybody in the world could live by our motto, Service Above Self, think about how great that would be”. Mike Fornino, every Rotarian’s, Rotarian.
 
Stories of Asbury Park Rotary in Action

When HIV/AIDS was at the height of its epidemic, Asbury Park was no stranger to this disease.  Already working on prevention and treatment, the A-Team out of the Jersey Shore Medical Center, knew that more was needed.  In 1992, Fr. Bob called a meeting inviting churches and community groups to address this issue, and was surprised when the meeting was attended by 60 people, a clear sign that others were concerned.  This meeting had an agenda with three questions:  1) what is this disease?, 2) what do those infected need?, and 3) what can we do?  Even in the early stages of understanding the disease it was clear that the homeless and malnourished were the less likely to be able to fight it.  The Center started by providing food, actually delivering it those in need along with transportation so that medical attention could be obtained.  As this part of the program continued, it was clear that the real problem was housing.  In 2003 their current location on 3rd Avenue in Asbury Park was built, and they now have 25 apartments.  Residents of these apartments receive three meals/day.  This is permanent housing, theirs until they no longer need it.  In addition to housing, The Center provides a healthy lunch to 50 clients/day, organizes 70 volunteers/week and have a full-time staff of five.  “Meals on the go” are meals that can be frozen, then heated in a microwave and are given to the lunch customers for a dinner, and sometimes several on Fridays to tide them over the weekend.  Three years ago they opened a thrift store in Belmar as a source of income.  They receive state grants, support from individuals, and have three events each year: Bike-a-thon, Walk-a-thon, and Center a la Carte.  For more information go to  www.thecenterinap.org, or  make an appointment and Patsy will give you a tour.

Our club took a group of veterans and their guests on a bus trip to visit Memorials in Washington DC.  We were able to provide this trip for the veterans as a result of funds raised at the 2018 Wine Dinner.

We visited Arlington, WWII Memorial, Korean Memorial and Vietnam Memorial.  It was a long day but the veterans and their guests we so appreciative.  They especially liked the police escort!

More photos available here http://asburyparkrotary.org/photoalbums/2018-tour-of-honor/
  Our club collected 40 bikes and 6 sewing machines for Pedals for Progress and Sewing Peace this weekend.  Thanks to everyone who participated.  For information about the program check out their website at http://www.p4p.org
 
Celebrating Memorial Day and honoring service men and women, past and present, members of the Rotary Club of Asbury Park and the Asbury Park Environmental Shade Tree Commission joined together to beautify Veterans Park along Sunset Lake. Over a dozen magnolia and crepe myrtle trees were planted, and flowerbeds containing roses and hydrangeas were added to the site.
 Rotarian Brooke Bennett participated in the Police Unity Tour Ride.
 She's the rider on the right.
 
 Asbury Park Rotary had a table at the Greater Ocean Chamber of Commerce Expo last week.  Great way to meet future Rotarians!
 
Rotary Fun Fact: in April 1950, our Rotary club raised money for the Boy Scouts for their Camp Brisbane, and the following year contributed to both Forestburg Scout Reservation and to a Boy Scout troop in Rome, Italy.
 
We welcomed Don Zumbach, Thunderbird District Executive, for Boy Scouts of America, Monmouth County.  The Thunderbird Council covers the area of West Long Branch through Manasquan. Don shared that through 100 years of Scouting in Monmouth County, this area has an 83% retention rate.  Their scout reservations of Quail Hill and Forestburg have both seen substantial upgrading: Quail Hill has upgraded roads, updated the ranger station, renovated the chapel and is currently improving the pool; Forestburg has added a zip line, is reroofing and improving the electrical system. The conversation moved into the recent decision on the part of the Boy Scouts to admit females into their program.  Don pointed out that both the Venturing (age 14-20) and the Exploring (high school age) programs have been co-ed for many years. That what is new is the younger aged scouts.  He was also quick to remind us that “scouting is a movement, and we will move into the future making adjustments as are needed along the way.”  For more information review their website www.monmouthbsa.org.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Brian and Donnie celebrated Birthdays!
 
 
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