Rotary serves up pancakes for 40th year

Fundraiser continues today, next weekend

BOARDMAN — For Maggie Garland, the return of a longtime popular fundraising event feels more complete with the main ingredients finally consisting of all three “F’s:” food, fun and folks — the latter of which adds to the feeling of an extended family.

“It’s almost like one big family reunion,” she said. “We treat the community as part of our Rotarian family. The reason we do that is that we love our community.”

Garland, co-chairwoman for Boardman Rotary’s 40th annual pancake breakfast fundraiser, was thrilled Saturday morning to see folks return to in-person dining at Boardman Park’s Lariccia Family Community Center. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the gathering was canceled in 2020; for the last two years, it was drive-thru only.

“I’m excited that everyone can come back in and have that interaction,” Garland added.

The event continues 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, Saturday and March 26 at the center.

A primary goal is to raise $15,000 — money that will be used to fund scholarships and support the Boardman Local School District, the Salvation Army, the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County and other entities, she noted. Garland added that the breakfast also is the Rotary Club’s second largest annual fundraiser, next to the Oktoberfest each fall.

Another fixture at the breakfast includes Dick Dowell behind the grill skillfully and carefully placing the batter to make the pancakes for the many meals, which also consists of sausage and beverages. For him, the task can be described succinctly with another “F.”

“It’s fun, it really is,” Dowell, a 30-year Boardman Rotarian, said. “It doesn’t feel like work.”

Also working in Dowell’s proximity and completing a working quartet of sorts at their respective grills to get the pancakes prepared were fellow Rotarians Ted Thornton, Bill Grigg and Joe Ignazio.

In the middle of the well-oiled operation were Jill Cox and Brian Gabbert, who have been members of the Boardman Rotary Club 10 and five years, respectively. In assembly-line fashion, they boxed and served the food items.

The event’s kickoff Saturday also featured musical entertainment via the solo acoustic guitar sounds of Gabriel Davis of Boardman, who also is in a band called Honey Brother.

Davis borrowed mainly from the rock ‘n’ roll and R&B genres and provided his rendition to songs from artists such as Stevie Wonder, as well as some he wrote.

“I try to hit all the decades I can,” he said.

Also on hand Saturday were members of the Western Reserve Woodcarvers Club, who had on display a table filled with hand-carved and hand-crafted pieces from a variety of types of wood.

John Lorenzi, president of the 12- or 13-member club, had figures he made that resembled a gnome, as well as animals such as a bulldog, a mountain lion, a cheetah and rabbits. The club meets 6 to 8 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of each month at Canfield Presbyterian Church, he added.

The pancake breakfast also includes a raffle drawing, fellowship, wagon rides, a coffee bar and games for children.

In addition, Garland thanked members of the Boardman Spartans football team and the school’s Emerging Leaders club for volunteering on Saturday.

If you go …

WHAT: Boardman Rotary’s 40th annual pancake breakfast

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, Saturday and March 26

WHERE: Boardman Park’s Lariccia Family Community Center

COST: $7 per person. Children 12 and under are free.


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