Over 100 Lockport Rotarians and guests gathered at the Lockport Town and Country Club on Thursday, May 26th, to celebrate the accomplishments of 3 outstanding volunteers and to present Paul Harris Fellowships to them. Two non-Rotarian community members and one Rotarian were honored.
The Paul Harris Fellowship is named for Paul Harris, who founded Rotary with three business associates in Chicago in 1905. The Fellowship was established in his honor in 1957 to express appreciation for a contribution of $1,000 to the humanitarian and educational programs of The Rotary Foundation. The Rotary Club of Lockport is able to designate a Paul Harris Fellow to recognize a person or organization who demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives and mission of the Rotary Foundation to build world understanding and peace. To be recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow is Rotary’s highest honor.
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Rosemary Sansone fondly recalls summers past as a daughter of a Harrison Radiator employee, and, as a child, attending the Harrison Radiator Employee Outing at Olcott Beach Amusement Park. It was a family event, and an event that she always wanted to see others be able to share in.
After graduating from SUNY Brockport and eventually receiving her doctorate from UB, Rosemary dedicated 34 years to public education, completing her professional career as a highly regarded instructor in the Lockport School District’s Gifted & Talented Program.
Previously a resident of Lockport, Rosemary and her husband, Jim, had moved to Olcott Beach in the latter years of her teaching career. Soon after moving to Olcott, Rosemary became involved in a number of community-based organizations, including the Newfane/Olcott Revitalization Committee and the Olcott Beach Improvement Committee. It was during meetings of those organizations, that Rosemary spoke with a passion about the need and the opportunity to restore the Olcott Beach Carousel Roundhouse, in 1999 the sole remaining building on the grounds of the former Olcott Beach Amusement Park. However, Rosemary’s vision went far beyond simply restoring this dilapidated structure.
Today, 17 years from the start of the campaign to restore the Olcott Beach Carousel Building, the Olcott Beach Carousel Park houses four Herschell-manufactured kiddie rides, a restored Herschell Carousel, and numerous other attractions on the grounds of the Park. The Park attracts over 200 hundred thousand children and their families, and is a source of community pride in this Lake Ontario waterfront community. Although Olcott Beach still struggles to regain its early 1900’s notoriety as a lakefront destination, Rosemary Sansone has demonstrated herself to be a tremendous leader, having served as chairperson of the Carousel Park since its inception, as well as an inspiration to others. She truly leads by example – no job at the Carousel Park is too small for her.
Christ Sposito is a native of Lockport/now Newfane, and he is all about volunteering. Christ is often-times seen with a breast pocket full of pens and raffle tickets. Of course, the pens are so that you too can enter a drawing for any one of a number of charitable organizations and causes that he supports.
Christ, a graduate of the University at Buffalo, worked for 29 years for the City of Lockport Parks Department. As a City employee, Christ was a perennial leader in canvassing for United Way contributions from his fellow CSEA members. Christ served in a number of leadership roles for the former Eastern Niagara United Way, and was a forceful leader of the United Way’s Labor Council, which formed a strong foundation for the United Way’s support from organized labor.
Christ has been particularly active as a member of the Lockport Kiwanis Club and Lockport Sunrise Optimists Club. Active in the Masonic Temple organization, Christ has also served on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Niagara, Niagara County Youth Board, Habitat for Humanity, and  Lockport Salvation Army, and has been a member of the Rainbow of Help for 12 years.
Christ’s genuine generosity has made it easy for him to take a leadership role in community-based organizations, especially those agencies that are focused on the youth of our area. In its review of the role that he has played in the community and of his many accomplishments, the Lockport Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Committee found that Christ Sposito clearly has demonstrated a commitment to the Rotary motto of ‘Service Above Self’.
Jackie Davis of Lockport and the Rotary Club of Lockport Immediate Past President was also awarded the Paul Harris Fellow honor.
The Rotary Club of Lockport experienced a wave of creativity during Ms. Davis’ presidency adding 11 new members and launching 7 new service projects: Bushels of Books, Change for Good, Tips for Tanzania, Reading with Rotarians the Remarkable Reading Club, participation in the Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive and Past Presidents Task Force.
In 2015, the year of Jackie’s Presidency, the club was recognized by Rotary International with the Presidential Citation, and by Rotary District 7090 of Southern Ontario and Western New York with The Lighthouse Award, and the District Governor's Trophy.
Ms. Davis is currently Immediate Past President of the Rotary Club of Lockport and Assistant Governor for Area 12 of Rotary District 7090.
A graduate of Cornell University, Ms. Davis received classical vocal training through a Cornell Chorus scholarship. A piano and vocal coach by occupation, she devotes time and effort to spiritual ministry in the area and beyond. She also writes a bi-weekly column for the Lockport Union Sun and Journal.
She has served as soloist, worship leader, speaker and choir director for Kingdom Bound Ministries, choir director and musical producer for The Tabernacle church, worship leader and music director for The Home Church. Jackie has released two inspirational recordings of her original songs: “We Will Sing” and “Center of Your Will.”
Broadcast media has been part of Ms. Davis’ experience with a stint at co-hosting the Total Christian Television (TCT) which aired in 170 nations for 7 years and she continues as a talk show host for this channel. Locally, she has hosted Lockport Community Television’s Government Program.
Jackie Davis enjoys the love and respect of her husband Vince and children Vince, Jr., Marcus, Tyler and Kyle. Ms. Davis’ is committed to her faith, her work and fulfilling the Rotary motto “Service Above Self.”