Dambrino gives ideas to grow Rotary membership

Keith Mooney, West Point Rotary President Kevin Flurry and Robert Dambrino after the meeting of the West Point Rotary Club.
Staff Writer

Robert Dambrino isn't only a previous president of the Grenada Rotary Club, he is an attorney in Grenda and a combat veteran of the U.S. Army in Iraq, having the rank of brigadier general.

"Our group in Grenada is about the same size as this one," Dambrino said. "Ours is about 95 years old. Rotary clubs were booming in the 1980s. We had fallen to about 24 and are now at 54. To build membership you have to care about Rotary."

Dambrino said he wanted to do something significant as a member of Rotary. He found himself in a target rich environment in Grenada.

"In Grenada there is a soup kitchen," Dambrino said. "People donated out of date canned goods and the people there made soup from it. We had a lot of skinny, malnourished people to came there for a meal."
Dambrino wanted to do something more.

"I said why don't we have a Rotary Garden for the soup kitchen?" Dambrino said. "They loved the idea. We donated 785 pounds of fresh produce to the soup kitchen. We brought nutritious, farm to table dining to those people."

Dambrino also writes a column in the local paper about what the Rotary Club is doing in the community.

"We took photos," Dambrino said. "And kept the public up-to-date on what we were doing."

The Grenada Club approached the two area high schools about the members teaching a class on their specialties and professions. Schools don't teach things like writing checks or balancing a checkbook. They developed a 10 class course for seniors.

"We have all sorts of professional people in Rotary," Dambrino said. "The members we have in insurance talked to the students about that. All boys want to get that truck with the big tires and V-8 engine. Our people told them how much insurance would cost. We had bankers who explained the interest rates on a loan for that truck. I don't know what the kids thought, but the parents loved it."

This was highly applauded by the public, just like the Rotary Garden, Dambino said.

"Get your face out there," Dambino said. "Have a Facebook page and an Instagram account for your club. Find out the needs in your community. A club that is alive and vibrant brings in new members. People get excited and want to be a part of what you are accomplishing. And you don't want just members, you want people who love the community and will bring positive energy with them."