The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster, among other things, the advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
Pictured (l-r) are Village of Mineola trustees Linda Fairgrieve and Elizabeth Conlon, Williston Park incoming president Lou DiDomenico, Mineola Mayor John P. Colbert, outgoing president Ludwig Odierna, wife Ursula Odierna, son Lud Odierna, and incoming secretary Ursula Maria Odierna.
Last week, the Williston Park Rotary Club held an installation and awards dinner at LaMarmite Restaurant. The evening provided the opportunity for members of the Rotary to recognize their efforts and install the organization's new officers - President Lou DiDomenico, Vice President Robert Separ, Secretary Ursula Maria Odierna and Treasurer Linda Coffey.
Although there were citations and awards presented, the true meaning of Rotary was sitting at a table in the restaurant after coming from a different continent.
Through the Gift of Life program, a worldwide Rotary International Service Program which helps those needy children who require corrective heart surgery secure another lease on life through the miracle of open-heart surgery, the Williston Park Rotary was able to practice the very principles of Rotary by sponsoring a child in need of surgery.
On May 22, 2-year-old Syed Osam Bin Mammad and his father Syed Hammad Raza Zaidi arrived in New York from Pakistan. Osam is like any other 2-year-old except for a hole in his heart. Williston Park Rotary president-elect DiDomenico and secretary-elect Ursula Maria Odierna picked the boy and his father up at the airport and took them to St. Francis Hospital, where he was scheduled to undergo the surgery.
During the next ten days, club members visited the child and his father with gifts and support. Through the Williston Park Rotary's various fund raisers, the club was able to raise $5,000 for the Gift of Life Program.
"We're very happy the operation was a success. We are so glad that we could help," said Williston Park outgoing president Ludwig Odierna.
On May 31, the child had successful surgery. The boy and his father were scheduled to go back to Pakistan last week. However, before they went, Usam and his father attended the dinner as members of the Williston Park Rotary were honored for their commitment and well-being of others.
"It was a great feeling that night to know that the club was there in the saving a child's life," said DiDomenico.
The evening also provided the opportunity for the club to honor its leader for the past two years and welcome a new one. As president from 1999 to 2001, Odierna has exemplified the object of Rotary, fulfilling the club's mission of helping others in need while holding high ethical standards.
In recognition of Odierna's efforts, Mineola Mayor John P. Colbert presented him with an official village proclamation, which proclaimed June 25 to June 29 as Ludwig Odierna week.
The evening proved to be a memorable one for the Odierna family as Lud's daughter Ursula Maria was named Rotarian of the Year. She, too, received a proclamation from Mayor Colbert before being sworn in as the club's next secretary.
The Williston Park Rotary, beginning July 1, will be led for the next year by president Lou DiDomenico, who most know as the village clerk for the Village of Mineola. DiDomenico swore in the other officers including Ursula Maria, Bob Separ as vice president and Linda Coffey as treasurer.
The organization now continues its tradition of helping others in a selfless, dignified and generous manner.