Foley Installed as President Of the Rotary Club of Chelsea

Foley Installed as President Of the Rotary Club of Chelsea

Maureen Foley was installed as the 91st president of the Rotary Club of Chelsea at the organization’s Installation of Officers Receptions June 21 at the Homewood Suites Event Center.

Rotary Club President David Mindlin (right) and President-Elect Maureen Foley congratulate Paul Harris Fellow honoree Ledia Koco after she received the prestigious award.

Foley was on her home turf. She is the director of community relations for Colwen Hotel Management which operates three hotels in Chelsea, with a fourth, brand new hotel on the Chelsea-Revere line set to open soon.

Foley has become the face of the busy and beautiful hotels since their openings. She is visible at community events and has been a goodwill ambassador for Colwen with her numerous philanthropic and community-spirited endeavors.

And now she’s ready to lead one of the city’s most prominent service organizations that has been here for close to a century. She succeeds outgoing president, Attorney David C. Mindlin.

“When I came to Chelsea and Saritin [Rizzuto] invited me to my first meeting, I had no idea what Rotary was,” said Foley. “I came to make business connections because my company was building a hotel here, but it didn’t take very long before it wasn’t about the business connections any more, it was about a feeling – that I was part of something special and I wanted to stay.”

Foley, who is the eighth woman to serve as Rotary Club of Chelsea president, called it “a great honor” to be the new leader of the club. She noted that Rotary International approved a new vision statement last years.

“It says, together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves,” Foley told the gathering.

“Preparing for tonight and the year ahead,” Foley continued, “I thought about that statement and this year’s ‘Be the Inspiration.’

“Inspiration comes from the Latin word, meaning to breathe into; to put life into. I realize before inspiring passion, energy, enthusiasm, or excitement into our club, all of us must work to create change within ourselves, to first inspire ourselves to bring new attitudes, ideas, and passions to Rotary.”

Concluding her remarks, she said, “I am sure the Chelsea Rotary Club can be the inspiration for each other, for our community, and for all those who will follow us in the next 91 years.”

As proud as Maureen Foley was to take office as Rotary president, you could sense the equal feeling of joy and proudness in her daughter, Marika, son, Peter, and 5-year-old granddaughter, Aria, who sat together at a table closest to the podium.

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Our Summer of Discontent

Tragic events seem to be cascading upon us from throughout the world almost on a daily basis.

Whereas for the past 15 years (since 9/11), a terrorist-inspired event might happen sporadically, now when we go on-line each morning to look at the latest news, we find ourselves reading about some terrible act committed either by ISIS-inspired terrorists, politically-motivated individuals (Dallas and Baton Rouge), racist or poorly-trained police officers, or simply drunken losers (Nice, France).

Politicians, commentators, and all of us search for a common thread in such acts because to be able to rationalize such horrible deeds would allow us to make sense of them and come up with a plan to deal with them.

For example, when we go to war, that is a fairly easy thing to conceptualize. We can identify our enemies and set ourselves on a mission to destroy them.

But the tragedies that have occurred both abroad and at home are not so easily solvable. We can do everything from carpet-bombing the desert in the vain hope of getting rid of ISIS’s Middle East leaders, to imposing sensible gun laws, and to training our police to better-handle stressful situations, but deep down, we know there is no magic-bullet solution to the violence that is taking so many innocent human lives.

At times such as these, common-sense solutions — not panic — are what is called for. Further, as uncertain as the world may seem, we cannot yield to the impulse to retreat into a shell. The French consulate in Boston went ahead with its annual Bastille Day celebration in the Back Bay despite the calls by some to put it off. Capitulating to those who seek to deprive us of our freedoms by voluntarily curtailing our freedoms essentially means that they have won — and we must never allow that to happen.

Inspiration and leadership are sorely lacking from most the world’s democratically-elected heads of state, and we are not expecting much from the conventions on either side of the political fence in these next few days.

So unfortunately we must look backwards to find the right words to serve as our guiding principle in times such as these, and Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best at the height of the Depression:

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”

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