said, is to double the club’s membership.
The club meets every Wednesday at 7:30 a. m. at the Chalet Restaurant. It must have weekly meetings to be recognized as a part of the Rotary International, she said, but the meeting time may prohibit new members from joining. Michelle hopes to start monthly evening meetings so new members can join, possibly as charter members, she said.
Another of her goals is to get the club a Presidential Citation. This is a recognition given to rotary clubs that meet a list of criteria involving promoting membership growth and enhancing local humanitarian service.
Michelle’s third goal is to bring back the Rotary Club’s extremely successful Steam Train Excursion from Mountain Top to Jim Thorpe held Saturday July 5, 2014. 600 passengers enjoyed the 40 mile scenic ride from Mountain Top to Jim on the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad (RBMN) train pulled by the restored Steam Locomotive #425. The excursion fundraiser was popular and lucrative for the club and a future outing is planned. “I will work hard on bringing the train excursion back again,” Michelle remarked.
Michelle spoke of her work as chairperson of the club’s Taste of the Mountain event, where about 30 local restaurants, wineries, and breweries set up tables where attendees can sample their fare. This year’s event will be held at the Edgewood in the Pines on Sept. 30. Michelle added that, when her colleague at Century 21 Smith Hourigan Group, Michael Pinko, heard all the work she was doing to run last year’s Taste of the Mountain, he decided to join the Rotary Club and help. This year, she said, he’s been elected as vice president of the club.
Revenue from all the Rotary Club’s events in 2014 was donated to the Marian Sutherland Kirby Library, the Mountaintop Food Bank, Wounded Warriors, Liv with Autism Foundation, Palermo Foundation, Mountaintop Little League, Make-a-Wish, St. Paul’s Free Medical Clinic, as well as local fire departments and global Rotary causes.
“Our motto is ‘Service above self,’” Michelle explained, “and every year we have a different campaign. This year our slogan is ‘To Be a Gift to the World.’”
Michelle grew up in Mountain Top and raised two children here. Now a grandmother of three, her family is still local and a vital part of this area.
“This is definitely home,” she said. “I’ve called Mountain Top my home my entire life... I thank my parents for all their love, support and guidance to make me who I am today.”
Her family has owned Reilly’s Garage, on North Main Street, for 50 years. The business was started by her father, the late Jack Reilly, and is now run by two of her four siblings, Tim and John.
Her son, Harry, works in the office of the family business, a job that Michelle used to do. Her daughter, Molly, also works in Mountain Top, at the Mountain Top Senior Care and Rehab Center.
Being a member of the Rotary Club is a good way for business professionals to get connected, Michelle related. “I encourage every Mountain Top business member to be a part of the rotary as a network link and as a way to give back to the community,” she said.
Another of her goals as president, she said, is to hold quarterly business mixers for local professionals.
The Rotary Club works with other public service groups, like the Kiwanis Club and Mountaintop on the Move. “We all try to stick together to make this mountain a better place,” Michelle said.
Thousands of rotary clubs exist all over the world. The organization was founded in 1905, “to bring together business and professional people to promote the community good,” Michelle explained.
The Mountaintop Rotary Club was chartered in 1989. It continues to not only support people locally, but also contributes internationally. Michelle gave an example of an African Mercy Ship that the Rotary Club donates to. A Mountain Top man volunteers on this ship, with other surgeons and doctors, to help those in need in Africa, and he often corresponds with the local club, Michelle said.
Other global causes the club helps with include donating for volunteers to build schools or provide immunizations to poorer countries, she added. “It comes back to that ‘Service above self’ motto,” she said.
For more information on getting involved with the Mountaintop Rotary Club, Michelle invites anyone to call her at (570) 715-7752.