Bristol Rotary, Inc., Post Office Box 469, Bristol, RI 02809

Welcome to Bristol Rotary!

Rotary is a global community of more than 1.2 million men and women dedicated to building a better world.  Founded in 1929, the Rotary Club of Bristol is a fellowship and service organization of over 50 men and women dedicated to the Rotary motto of Service Above Self.  Our club has made many large and small contributions to the welfare of this community and to communities throughout the world. Through the Rotary community, you can exchange ideas and build lifelong friendships with like-minded people. If you have a sincere interest in making a positive contribution to your community, we’re interested in meeting you. Email our President or Secretary to learn how you can become a Bristol Rotarian.

We meet the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month at 12:15 P.M. at
The DeWolf Tavern Restaurant
259 Thames Street
Bristol, RI 02809

DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) is an association of marketing students that encourages the development of business and leadership skills through academic conferences and competitions. This school year, at Mt Hope High School, we had 26 students compete at the RI DECA Career Development Conference. Of those, 17 placed in the top three of their events with 11 students earning an invitation to compete this April at the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in Orlando Florida with over 18,000 students. Of the 11 students who qualified, 8 represented RI DECA and competed at the Conference. This is an incredible achievement and the students have worked very hard to attain their goals.
Below are the 8 students who competed. Rear Center, is Maureen Gauthier DECA Advisor for Mt. Hope. To her left is Paul LaFleur, President of Bristol Rotary who delivered Bristol Rotary’s donation to help the team get to Orlando, and far left is Christina Vieira, Bristol Rotarian assisting Paul, who participated in DECA when she was at Mt. Hope as a student.
This year, due to our generous donors, (who have responded to our motto “Help Us Help Others”), Bristol Rotary donated over $40,000 to a variety of charities that help our community. That also includes charities that are helping Ukrainian refugees resettle here - like Dorcas International and the 2nd Baptist Ukrainian Church. The latter, not only helps refugees from the current conflict but also from the takeover of Crimea in 2014. 
Bristol Rotary not only makes donations during the year, but sets aside a Board Meeting in April as our April Giving event - using funds donated to Bristol Rotary from a variety of fundraisers for that purpose.
In the pictures below, one or more Bristol Rotarian is bringing a donation to the representatives of the charity or project. There are some familiar names, but this year we have emphasized several school projects. Due to a shortfall in funds, we donated to supplement the budgets for Art programs at Guiteras, Colt Andrews and Rockwell schools. In addition, we contributed to the DECA program at Mt. Hope HS, the Kickemuit Science Olympiad and, a student competition established by MADD. In the center, is a list of other donations made this year. It includes organizations that help both young and old, mentally challenged or physically challenged by war or relationships, music and art. And, thanks to one Rotarian couple, we even managed to send an ambulance, full of medical supplies and winter clothing, to Ukraine!
It's been a very good year – help us help others - next year.
The KMS Science Team gets a few miles down the road with help from Bristol Rotary
Kerri Krawczyk (front left), the veteran Science Olympiad coach at the Kickemuit School, recently led her team to a spot in the 39thScience Olympiad National Tournament which will take place on May 19 and 20th.  As reported in last week’s Bristol Phoenix, the team is looking for donations to transport the team and parents to Wichita State University, at a cost of approximately $20 to $30 thousand dollars.
Below Paul LaFleur (front right), President of Bristol Rotary, contributes to the ride with a check from Bristol Rotary for $4,000 and encourages other businesses and local organization to help grease the wheels. “We are all  proud of these outstanding local students!”
Sunday, April 30, The Imagine Walk fundraiser, which has been run annually by The Autism Project of Johnston, RI came to Goddard Memorial Park. The Imagine Walk contributes to The Autism Project ‘s mission to “support children to young adults with autism, their families and the many professionals who work to support them. They touch more than 7,500 people each year through their direct programming, training, outreach, and parent consultants.
The Autism Project is a ‘Hub of Hope’ that supports autistic people, their families and caregivers, community members, and educators to build a more neuro-inclusive community for all to be successful. A world where individuals with an autism spectrum disorder are valued participating members of their communities.”
Bristol Rotary raised funds in 2015 – 2016 to bring The Autism Project to the East Bay to provide closer support to the over 2,000 families in the East Bay affected by autism spectrum disorders. Support is still critical, as the rate of children born with autism has grown from 1 in 68 in 2016, to 1 in 36 today – per the CDC.
Below center left is Joanne Quinn Executive Director of The Autism Project, center right is Bruce Cox, President of Bristol Rotary’s Charities Foundation. Also, Bristol Rotary Board Members, left Maria Cesario and right Jacques de Labry.
Ken Watkinson, from Bristol Rotary, working with Tom Carroll, President of Paramedic Systems & Alert Ambulance, managed to donate an Ambulance to be sent to Ukraine through the unique channel of the Second Baptist Ukrainian Church.  The Second Baptist Church through donations, have already sent four large containers to the Ukraine. Bristol Rotarians, Ken & Mary Watkinson, with help from the Bristol Rotary Club, have managed to bring 50 truckloads of supplies for the soldiers and civilians: such as PPE defibrillator, heart monitors, winter jackets, hygiene bags, and warm clothes to the church. The Church in turn packages the goods in containers and sends them to Ukraine.
Alert Ambulance is donating the ambulance and all the necessary equipment inside.   Life of an ambulance in the Ukraine is 60 days. This ambulance will be brought over to the Ukraine via container. Once there, it will be painted in camouflage and will go right into the battlefield to help the wounded. Soldiers are transported from the war zone via pickup truck then they will be placed into the ambulance and brought to the hospital.
The Bristol Rotary also donated $1000 which will go toward obtaining wound VAC kits to be placed in the ambulance.  Vacuum-Assisted Closure kits (VAC) assists in the closure of wounds, a type of therapy to help wounds heal faster.
Below, is Ken and Mary Watkinson (center) delivering the check to Slavik Krishchuk (right) Mission Director for the Second Baptist Church, and his brother Leonid Krishchuk (left), Pastor of the New Life Church in Lutsk, Ukraine.
Chief of Bristol Police Kevin Lynch (left) and Lieutenant Stephen St. Pierre brought a timely and important story to Bristol Rotary Meeting of how to prepare and deal with an active threat to your business, school, property or home. The Chief emphasized that Bristol was named, not only the safest town in Rhode Island, but also the safest University town. However, that doesn't mean that, in this day and age, we should not be better prepared to deal with threats to our well being. Lieut. St. Pierre presented a detailed PowerPoint video reviewing all the stages of such an attack, beginning with being always aware and watchful of your surroundings and people coming into your establishment; how to deal with the threat when it happens (run, hide and fight as the last resort); to how to help the wounded when the police have eliminated the threat. This is an important presentation that should be seen throughout Bristol. Bristol Rotary is making it available to you on this website by clicking below. It will download the presentation on your computer to be watched on your time schedule. Pass it on to your friends and family. Thanks Chief and Lieut. St. Pierre for keeping us safe!
Bristol Rotary is growing! Four new members joined Rotary at the luncheon on March 22, in addition to Chef Sai of DeWolf at the last meeting. Below from left to right are Cesar DaPonte (of Northwest Boats & CC Marine in Bristol ) and his sponsor Maria Cesario, Christina Vieira (Commercial Lines Account Manager of John Andrade Insurance) and her sponsor President Paul LaFleur, Hannah Araujo (Owner of Victoria Flowers) and her sponsor Lisa James, and Dawn Jenkin (Director of Rogers Free Library) and her sponsor Marie Knapman. All new members will make a significant contribution to Bristol Rotary and the community. They will "Help us Help Others."
Rotary International initiated a program asking all Rotary Clubs to offer financial support to Ukraine early in the invasion by having Rotary Clubs all over the U.S. and other countries contribute to Rotary's Disaster Relief Fund. This fund was to be dedicated to Ukraine and and sent to Rotary Clubs in-country as well as in neighboring countries. Bristol Rotary's  members donated over $3,000 at the time. Bristol Rotary wanting to continue the support as more and more refugees were sent to our area, teamed up with  Dorcas International, a local 501(c)(3), dedicated to helping and integrating Ukrainian families locally.  Through a fundraiser, Bristol Rotary was able to contribute to Dorcas for their immediate needs. See near the top of the picture, Paul La Fleur giving a check to Dorcas representatives, the first of checks totaling $5,000. But, that was the beginning, throughout 2022 Bristol Rotary focused on local help to Ukrainians, not only those families arriving during the current conflict, but also those left homeless during the first Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014. Both groups of refugees still had families left behind and were eager to help them too.  Working with the local 2nd Baptist Ukrainian Church, Bristol Rotary led by Ken and Mary Watkinson, Bristol Rotarians, and supported by the Club and other Bristol donors, have collected, packaged, and delivered to the Church over 45 truckloads of medical equipment, hygiene kits, warm clothing, bedding, winter coats and other vital items. The value of these contributions are in the tens of thousands.  These were processed at the church and distributed  to the refugee families with the remainder sent to their families and friends in Ukraine. These shipments in containers were also paid for by donations from many other supporters including Bristol Rotary. The containers make their way into Ukraine by special underground routes using air, trains and trucks. This local support to our local congregation of Ukrainians will continue to be one of Bristol Rotary's charitable projects for "as long as it takes."
At our Bristol Rotary lunch, Lynn Smith (Linden Place Historian) treated us to a fascinating lecture on the history of Bristol, both the ugly slave trade business of the DeWolf family as well as several stories of  the almost 600 enslaved people in Bristol, from it's founding in 1670 to 1808, when the slave trade was officially outlawed. This included Indigenous People who were also enslaved. Linden Place has been reexamining its history as part of the Rhode Island Slave History Medallion Project. They will be sharing the stories that have been uncovered about the house, its inhabitants, and most importantly the enslaved and free black people connected with Linden Place and our community. As part of this project, one goal is to create a safe space at Linden Place to discuss this difficult topic. Lynn had so much to share that she will be invited again to speak at a future meeting. This is not a lecture to miss. Come join us.
Chief Anthony Silva, ret. (left), accompanied  by Kevin Lynch, Chief of Police of Bristol, came to our Rotary meeting to stress the importance of  stopping Impaired Driving. Chief Silva represents the "RI Impaired Driving and Engagement Council." Chief Silva stressed that the car is the most dangerous weapon we have - killing more people in the U.S. (over 35,000 p/a) than any other - even guns! He reiterated all the cautious actions to take when dealing with driving after drinking (the legal limit .08%) or driving after taking marijuana. Or, more importantly what you can do to prevent a friend from doing so. Surprisingly, with the legalization of marijuana in RI, the police have many more tools for identifying alcohol than marijuana abuse while driving.  More tools and standards need to be developed for dealing with marijuana police stops. Chief Kevin Lynch will be speaking to us at a future meeting (March 15) about actions the Bristol Police are taking to protect our businesses and schools in Bristol in the dangerous national environment we're in.  Come to our lunch meeting at DeWolf, lunch is $20. Please send an email to, if you would like to come listen to the Chief.. 
Sai Viswanath, Owner and Executive Chef , of DeWolf Tavern at 259 Thames St, in Bristol, has joined Bristol Rotary as an active member. Sai has hosted Bristol Rotary lunch meetings for the past ten years and was very supportive of Rotary during the Covid years, as we were both challenged to keep going.  By joining Bristol Rotary, Sai wants to participate in the charitable support of our community, which is the mission of Bristol Rotary, as a way of paying back the community that made DeWolf Tavern so successful. Below Sai (center) is being sworn in by Paul LaFleur, President (left) and supported by his sponsor, Jacques de Labry.
The new Executive Director of the East Bay Food Pantry (EBFP), Emily Mushen, briefed us on the impact the EBFP has had in the East Bay during this transition year of 2022. She reiterated their mission to "engage, educate, and empower the East Bay in creating a hunger-free community." She thanked Bristol Rotary for our continued financial support not only last year, with the Food for Kids program, but for our donations at the height of the pandemic, when food insecurity was at its most challenging. See below Emily's further comments and EBFP's incredible performance through out last year. 
Due to budget cuts, Bristol Rotary donated $1,000 each to the three elementary schools in Bristol to restore more fully their art programs. Below, Paul LaFleur presents a check to the school to support the art teacher's program: center picture is Rockwell School, teacher Sarah Jacobs; upper left is Guiteras School, also Sarah Jacobs; upper right Colt Andrews, teacher Lynne Ramos. See full story below.
At the beginning of the holiday vacation period, children in need don't get their meal as school is closed. To meet this need, the East Bay Food Pantry has created a "Food 4 Kids" program, though their funds are strained this year. Here Bristol Rotary President, Paul LaFleur, brings some help with a check for $2,000 to Emily Mushen, Executive Director of the EBFP.
On December 3, Bristol Rotary held their annual fundraiser to fund donations to over 20 local charities that the Club supports every year.  Fun was had by all and just as important, through the generosity of donors and participants, our goal was met and exceeded. Click on Read More to see how to apply for a donation. 
Below on right is President Paul LeFleur giving a check to Diane Sanna, Asst. Superintendent of Bristol Warren Regional School District (center) for the Guiteras School Art Department to supplement their budget for art supplies. On left is Sarah Jacobs, Visual Arts Teacher, for Rockwell and Guiteras Schools, who gave a compelling presentation of the need to continue art programs at these difficult times for her students. 
Above: President Paul (left), Steven Gallo, Operations Manager (center), Maksim Krishchuk (right), Ukrainian Response Coordinator, both of Dorcas International
At Wednesday’s lunch meeting (9/13/22), President Paul LaFleur handed a check to representatives of Dorcas International, a 501c3, who has launched a program to support Ukrainian refugees coming to Rhode Island with a variety of services to ease their relocation. Bristol Rotary has raised close to $8,000 through donations and fundraisers since April 2022 to help Ukraine and Ukrainians both here in RI or through Rotary Clubs in Ukraine and surrounding countries.
For more about information about what Dorcas International of Rhode Island is doing for Ukrainian refugees, click on Dorcas International on the left side of our website ( under "Downloads."  Or click here.
Bristol Rotary has been having its luncheon meetings at DeWolf Tavern for over 10 years. Chef Sai Viswanath has made his restaurant welcoming and the home of Bristol Rotary all those years. And, the food is always excellent! The real test of this relationship was during the pandemic. Despite all the pressures that DeWolf and all the other restaurants faced during Covid, Chef Sai always accommodated Bristol Rotary and the changes we were forced to make. We both did what we could to help each other out.  Here, Elisabeth Habecker, President of Bristol Rotary (fiscal year 2021/2022), offers our thanks the Chef Sai for his unfailing support and hospitality to the Club. On the right, Chef Sai counters with his thanks to Bristol Rotary - at the meeting where a new President, Paul LaFleur, is inducted for fiscal year 2022/2023.
Paul LaFleur is sworn in as the new President of Bristol Rotary for the fiscal year 2022/2023 by Assistant District Governor, Betty Galligan, at the Rotary lunch at DeWolf Tavern. Paul has been a Rotarian for 25 years and has been President 3 times. On the right, is Elizabeth Habecker, former President of Bristol Rotary for fiscal year 2021/2022, and Betty Galligan and Paul.  Lower Right, is John Andrade, President of John Andrade Insurance, who came to honor Paul's induction. John is not only Paul's boss but has been his mentor for decades. John Andrade has been a Rotarian for 59 years and was President of Bristol Rotary in 1965. Welcome Paul!
Joyce Watts, the Director and inspiration for Global Outreach, spoke about their broad services for people in need. Global outreach and its partners are dedicated to putting this mission into action by providing a full range of charitable, human service, educational, religious and community development activities. 
David Harrington, curator of Linden Place, spoke at our Rotary lunch meeting of the evolution of Linden Place from being the home of prominant Bristolians to a center for charitable and artistic events in Bristol. The history of Bristol is embodied in the beautiful house which was the home of DeWolf's, Colt's and Ethel Barrymore, as well as the families and historical activities they represented.
Ken and Mary Watkinson updated us on the situation in Haiti and specifically on the children's school in La Mothe, with over 200 students, that they have been selflessly helping with medicines, clothing and financial support. Bristol Rotary has held several fundraisers in the past to help this cause as well. It is called Haiti's Child.  In short, the situation in Haiti continues to be very dangerous with lawless gangs controlling the country and stealing or attacking any source of money or goods. The Watkinson's have suitcases full of medicines that have not been sent to Haiti for fear that they would be stolen. However, the support continues to be collected here while we continue to find new ways to get it to Haiti. 
Maria Cesario joined Bristol Rotary and is being pinned by President Liz and her sponsor Mary Jo Fidalgo-Tavares. Maria recently retired from Textron where she was Senior Tax Accountant. She has now formed her own tax consulting company, called World Consultancy Services. Maria also continues to serve on the Bristol Fourth of July Committee as Correspondent Secretary. Welcome to Bristol Rotary, Maria.
Our Speaker for our Bristol Rotary lunch on March 16 was Joanne Quinn, Executive Director of The Autism Project, which serves Rhode Island with support services for families with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. They also train teachers and professionals on methods and practices. In 2015 and 2016, Bristol Rotary teamed up with The Autism Project to fund and create The Autism Project - East Bay Support Center, to bring these services to the under-supported East Bay of Rhode Island. With participation from all the towns in Bristol County, the joint project raised the highest level of donations in Bristol Rotary's history. The Center was opened in September 2015. 
 Zach Rivers, is owner of Judge Roy Bean and he is the President of the Bristol Merchants Association (BMA). He explained that "BMA is an association of Bristol Merchants and organizations who enhance the business environment for the profitability of our members through mutual cooperation by common marketing advocacy, event hosting and sharing of best business practices." In addition, there was discussion of how BMA could help Bristol Rotary help the Community through collaboration on charitable projects.
Margueritte Heenehan, volunteer administrator for many churches and support groups in the community, is being inducted into Bristol Rotary. Here she is being pinned by her sponsor Marilyn Mason, with President Liz Habecker in support.
Chuck MacDonough, the new General Chairman of Bristol's historic 4th of July Celebration, spoke to our Rotary lunch at the also historic DeWolf Tavern. Chuck reviewed the cost and complexities involved in putting on the Celebration. He also summarized  the many fundraising activities to fund the over  $400,000 cost of the event. Become a Sponsor at "".
At our last Bristol Rotary meeting of the year, we celebrated not only the Christmas to come but three fundraising projects we ran to help the community. First, our Local Food for Local Friends program, that over 5 months, distributed 525 meals from local restaurants to grateful seniors from the Senior Center and Franklin Court Independent Living. Second, our Bingo fundraiser at St. Elizabeth's Auditorium that hosted over 160 people who helped raise funds for financial grants (scholarships) for some of our High School graduating Seniors. Lastly, in early December, we distributed Food Gift Certificates for $70 each from Seabra Market to Benjamin Church Senior Center, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Bristol Fire Department, and Franklin Court Independent Living.  These gifts will allow the recipients to buy the food they would prefer for Christmas. What ever may be left over from these projects will go to the food pantries in our area.  Considering the kind of year we've had, we are grateful to have accomplished these projects before Christmas.  If you'll notice on the right of the picture, not to be left out, everyone at the lunch brought gifts that we shared with each other.
President Liz, at our December 1 meeting, launched Bristol Rotary's annual Christmas Food Gift Program by giving envelopes each containing gift certificates from Seabra Market worth $70. They will be distributed to the needy in our community by the Benjamin Church Senior Center, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Bristol Fire Dept. and Franklin Court Independent Living. Shown in the first picture are Maria Ursini and Donna Wilson from the Senior Center, and in the second picture, Jennifer Mancieri from the Ladies Auxiliary. All donations to purchase the certificates were made by the members of the Bristol Rotary Club. 
Last night, Bristol Rotary held a Bingo Night, for almost 200 people, to raise money for educational grants for our graduating High School students. The evening was successful in providing a fun night for all who came and in raising funds to support our students. Barbara Palumbo masterfully ran the games while the rest of the Rotary team made sure everyone else was having fun - providing food, drink and other games of chance. We look forward to next year! 
Our speaker this week was Jennifer Mancieri, President of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Bristol Volunteer Fire Dept. This group provides invaluable service to the victims of a fire disaster and to the firemen fighting it. Most significant is the support of the families who have survived such a disaster - by feeding and clothing them and helping to relocate them. In addition, they help the victims with the recovery process; as well as filling out insurance forms to initiate the recovery. They are a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation and gratefully accept donations. 
Bristol Rotary will host a bingo night on November 17, 2021 to raise money for educational Grants to be given to graduating local students. Come help us help them - and enjoy yourselves too! On-line, buy tickets at ""
Glen Donavan a retired RN and Timmy Phongsamphanh a medical student and EMT (originally from Laos), spoke at the Rotary lunch about their involvement in helping a school in Haiti.  The school called "The Land" is for 200 students in the city of La Mothe.  They spoke and showed a movie of the team at the school where they had provided medical support, food, clothing and financial assistance to help them have a more survivable existence. The team also includes two Bristol Rotarians, Mary and Ken Watkinson. Glen also covered the tragedy that Haiti has become over the past few months. 
The new District Governor, William (Billy) Roberts, came to visit Bristol Rotary and praised our accomplishments, our management and our processes.  Billy is Governor of District 7950 which encompasses 65 Rotary Clubs throughout Southeast Massachusetts, Cape Cod, the islands and the State of Rhode Island.  In total the District and it's Clubs have over 2,000 women and men working for their local communities with the guiding principle - "Service above Self."
The Emergency Dialer Program (EDP) is a free service provided by the Town of Bristol for people who want the security of having a button to push to get Emergency Services to their home. It is run by Ed Carusi, Director of Social Services and Welfare and supported by outside donations primarily from Bristol Rotary. The device is installed, typically in the home of an aging or physically impaired person who would like to remain independent knowing that help can be on the way as soon as the button (which can be worn like a necklace) is pushed. EDP is installed and maintained regardless of the financial means of the client - free of charge. The battery backed up device is installed on a land line to insure that it works in a power failure. Many lives have been saved using EDP. Call Ed (401) 253-4831) to order one for you or a loved one, or to find out more. 
The Membership, Fellowship and Communications Committee is one of the two committees established at the beginning of President Liz's term. The other one being the Fundraising and Budget Committee. Great plans being generated by both.
Maria Cesario and Bruce Cox were the guest speakers.  Maria, as a new member of Bristol Rotary, gave us her background since coming to the US in 1967 from the Azores, her distinguished business career, and her involvement in the 4th of July Committee's activities. Bruce Cox, a 32 year member of Bristol Rotary, took us through his transition, from joining a local Rotary Club to becoming a Rotarian in the broadest sense, and what it has meant for his personal growth. 
President Liz Habecker thanks our speaker Michele Martin, Chairperson of the Bristol 4th of July Celebration, who took us through the work and effort it takes to put on this historic parade and Celebration.
On July 21, our lunch meeting at the DeWolf Tavern drew 29 members out from the pandemic haze. It was great to see so many old friends back. Thanks to President Liz for a very successful meeting. Also thanks to Chef Sai for the set-up. It was also great to see ex-President Deb Metaxas.
Our first open meeting of Bristol Rotary since the Pandemic. Next time, we'll be back to our old spot upstairs at DeWolfs. President Liz is  presiding at the end of the table. Please notice our Joan Roth up front. Good to see her.
On June 23 an Installation lunch greeted our new President Elizabeth Habecker for the 2021/2022 year. And we thanked Paul LaFleur for his accomplishments during the very difficult Pandemic year.

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Club Officers & Directors
Immediate Past President
Vice President
Vice President - BRCF Treasurer
BRCF (501(c)(3)) Officers and Directors
President & Chairman
Bruce H. Cox
Vice-President & Director
Mary Jo Fidalgo-Tavares
Treasurer & Director
Jacques de Labry
Secretary & Director
Maria Cesario
Scott Pickering
Paul LaFleur
(President Bristol Rotary 2022/2023)
Michelle Hughes
Board Meeting Reports - Club and BRCF