Service above self

May 24, 2013 Editorial Staff
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A club that has raised millions of dollars used to support local, national and international charities turned 35 years on April 12, celebrating the grand anniversary at Gargiulo’s Restaurant.

It was their time to shine as the Rotary Club of Verrazano, founded in 1978, gathered to honor the memory and legacy of its founders.

“The founders of our club dreamed of making a difference in the community and helping to improve the lives of others, and today their legacy lives through our continued commitment to service above self,” said Peter Ungaro, president of the club.

“We are extremely proud of the success of our Gift of Life program which has saved the lives of hundreds of children by performing open heart surgeries,” Ungaro noted. So far, the organization has funded 60 open-heart surgeries for children.

The goodness of the 38-member group doesn’t stop there. The organization will be funding 10 additional open-heart surgeries in July in El Salvador because of joint efforts between UCLA, Hospitale Riuniti Bergamo and the Gift of Life.

“That’s the night where we try to enjoy ourselves and not raise money,” the president explained of the 35th anniversary, but the celebration is also a fundraiser with every single of the attendees helping the club reach its goal; $50,000 were raised to fund the surgeries,

“We did it right there in the room,” Ungaro continued, saying that the 200 people who were present stood up and donated money for the cause.

“We’re just businessmen trying to give back to the community and to all the people in great need,” he added.

Rotary Club supports the River Fund, which hands out food and clothing in Coney Island twice a month. They also support the Guild for Exceptional Children, and the Interact Club at Xaverian High School and St. Edmund’s.

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