Category: Current Issue


Bell Ringers Lauded
Members of the Putnam Rotary stand with Interact Club members who celebrated their successful annual Salvation Army Kettle bell ringing fund-raiser campaign. Above, at left are Rotarian advisors Woody Durst and Roberta Rocchetti. In the center is Putnam Rotary Club President J. Scott Pempek. At right, Pempek congratulates the top individual bell ringer, Abby Smith. Linda Lemmon photos.

By Linda Lemmon
Town Crier Editor
PUTNAM — The Putnam Rotary Club’s Interact Club conquered the brutal cold and raised more than $11,000 for the local Salvation Army. And they celebrated with pizza and awards.
Jan. 22 trophies and awards were given out to the top individual bell-ringer and top schools in raising $11,050 for the Salvation Army in the club’s annual bell-ringing campaign.
Rotary President J. Scott Pempek commended the Interactors “Thank you for the work you’ve done. My part was a brief 20 minutes on ‘Kettle Days,’” setting up the kettles and waiting for the Interact members and their friends to come ring the bells. “I got cold in those 20 minutes,” he said. ”Then I thought to myself “Wait, how did you guys stand out there in that cold for way longer than 20 minutes. Week after week?’ The cold was brutal and there you all were, ringing the bells to raise money.”
Abby Smith of The Woodstock Academy rang the bells for nine hours, and she was awarded the individual trophy. The 26-year-old trophy goes home with the winner and is brought back the next year to be awarded to the next top bell ringer. Tied for second on the individual race were Elizabeth Lovrien, Zack White and Curtis Desabre, all of The Woodstock Academy, with eight hours each.
In a blowout, The Woodstock Academy took the award for the school with the most volunteer hours with 182 hours. In second was Tourtellotte Memorial High School with 27 and Putnam High, with 31 hours, took third.
Schools taking part included: EO Smith, Killingly High, Plainfield High, Putnam High, Quinebaug Middle College, Tourtellotte and The Woodstock Academy.
Kathleen A. Orfitelli, Salvation Army Service Extension director, also commended the students and thanked them sincerely. "There is not another town that supports the Salvation Army the way you do," she said.
The 145 bell ringers, she said, raised $11,050 and she said Putnam had not broken the $10,000 ceiling since 2014.
She said: “Over the past years, young people have raised $228,160 under the guidance of the Rotary Club to support the needs of others; clearly exemplifying the Rotary motto: ‘Service Above Self.’”
“Because of your efforts,” she said, “you have helped to strengthen your community and will definitely make an impact in the lives of hundreds of people who struggle with day-to-day hardships.”