Rotary Club of St. Maarten Honuors Two and Changes the Guard

PHILIPSBURG - Saturday night, the Rotary Club of St. Maarten used their Change of Board ceremony to honour two individuals for their outstanding contributions to St Maarten.

Heather Mercuur of Love for Kids Foundation and Geoff Heilman of Chesterfields were named Paul Harris Fellows. Also recognized for her tremendous dedication to the club, was new Rotarian Henna Budhrani who received the award of Rotarian of the year by outgoing President, Rebecca Low.

Elie Bendaly, Country Head of Scotia Bank will be taking over the reins as president as of July 1 with his theme "strength in numbers".

Building on the recently elected Lions' District Governor Claudius Buncamper' s quote, he praised the outgoing president as he pointed out that she and her team understood the importance of vision and the required action to get things done.

~2012-2013 Rotary International Theme "Peace Through Service"~

Elie Bendaly said: "They aligned their vision with Rotary principles and values, put a plan in place and with hard work accomplished a great deal.

They maintained our traditional events – they presented 700 grade 3 students their own dictionary; distributed over 180 food hampers to those in need at Christmas; took the Islands' seniors on an afternoon luncheon cruise; held a Christmas party for children in need; placed water fountains in schools and planted trees.

But in addition they put their own stamp on the year. Two of the exceptional accomplishments of Rebecca and her team were first providing support for the Alzheimer's foundation which included a massive public education campaign in which 3000 public service announcements were aired, t-shirts sold and $5,000 donated for the work of the foundation and organizing and second hosting the GSE (Group Study Exchange) leadership youth from Devon, England which involved enormous planning, coordinating and long hours during the hosting.

Under Rebecca's leadership the St Maarten Rotary Club was awarded the Platinum District Governor Award at the District Conference that was recently held in Haiti.

Rebecca, on behalf of our club I say to you, thank you, for your generous volunteer time and commitment to Rotary. I know it was not simple and easy in particular in dealing with all of the triple A type personalities in our club. I tip my hat to you and am looking forward to working with you on my Board ". Several other persons were thanked and the incoming president ended his presentation with presenting and pinning his board for the year 2012-2013.

The board is comprised of President Elie Bendaly, Past president Rebecca Low, Secretary/President Elect Maria Buncamper, Treasurer Frederick Fleming, Aadu Abel, Pierre Decelles, Valda Hazel Woodly, Henna Budhrani, Fred van de Peijl, Jeff Sochrin, Deepak (Danny) Ramchandani, Oliver van de Gevel, Franklyn Maynard and Robert Judd.

The Change of Board ceremony followed a tremendously successful third annual fundraiser on Oasis of the Seas – the world's largest cruiseship. This year's fundraiser collected close to $23,000 which has been earmarked for projects aimed at children with special needs. President Rebecca Low stated, "Once again, RCCL and Oasis of the Seas have shown they are true partners in corporate social responsibility.

They continue to graciously donate all their services for the event and have been instrumental in Rotary help the children of St Maarten."

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