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Richmond Rotarians show charity begins at home

Don Fennell   May-14-2019

From left, Blair and Janice Pocock, Barry Hobbis, John Kapp and Fran Hobbis were among those who got into the Rhinestone Cowboy theme at the Rotary Club of Richmond Sunrise's 31st annual Gala and Charity Auction Friday at Riverside Banquet Halls.

Photo by Chung Chow


Service Above Self isn’t just a Rotary motto, but a way of life for members of the Richmond Sunrise chapter.

Believing that charity begins at home, the service club’s annual gala and charity auction is proof of that. Held for the 31st consecutive year on Friday, May 10 at the Riverside Banquet Halls, members and their guests (totalling about 400) netted upwards of $75,000 to support various charitable projects.

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This year’s feature charity is the Nurturing Empathy in Children, Roots of Empathy pilot project. Nurturing Empathy in Children is a take-home resource for parents of children participating in the Roots of Empathy program, offering insight into what their children are learning as well as social and emotional learning and development for parents.

“We’re always looking for new quality projects, like the Roots of Empathy program which is trying to reduce bullying and increasing understanding amongst elementary kids, so early they can appreciate other people’s feelings and points of view,” said John Marquardt, chair of this year’s auction committee.

“We also sponsored a local high school robotics team, that went to Houston and won a competition there, and purchased life jackets for Abreast in a Boat (local breast cancer survivors who are an ongoing symbol of hope).”

The list of projects in the gala program takes up a full page, ranging from local to international, and reflects the generosity of members and the wide scope of initiatives Richmond Sunrise supports.

“All the Rotary clubs do what they can within their capacity,” Marquardt said.

Marquardt reiterated the selflessness of Rotarians, noting that without their willingness and dedication a successful fundraiser such as this year’s, which featured a Rhinestone Cowboy theme, would not be possible. Each member also donates items for the silent or live auctions, and often both. He also lauded master of ceremonies Fred Lee and Thor Diakow for their dedication and enthusiasm.

“They brought a lot of energy to the night,” he said.


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