In celebration of 75 years of service to the community, Spencer Exchange Club members are reflecting on the past and looking forward to new opportunities to give back.
The past 25 years have seen the Exchange Club continue several original traditions while also adding new ways to benefit the Spencer and East Brookfield communities. Longtime traditions include the distribution of flags at Memorial Day parades; firework displays at the Spencer Fairgrounds; and support of the local food pantry.
The club also continues to annually recognize David Prouty High School senior honor students with a banquet and award ceremony. Moreover, the club provides a $2,000 annual scholarship through the DPHS scholarship fund, in addition to presenting the A.C.E. Award annually in recognition of a high school student.
Exchange Club members are always thrilled to give back to their community in numerous ways.
“Community service is helping others and making the world a better place for those who come after us. That’s what the Spencer Exchange Club is all about and what drives our membership to continue that mission,” said club member Pat George. “Members have changed through the years, but the mission has remained the same.”
Added club member Wendy Beauvais, “I am a proud member of this group that does so much for the community. That’s why I joined—to help children, veterans, and our town. Hard work and effort by all is what it’s all about.”
Most recently, current club president Sheena Toscano launched the 18 Under 18 program that began this year. Looking ahead, the program will annually honor community members under the age of 18 who demonstrate exceptional leadership and community service skills.
Additionally, a grant from the Exchange Club recently allowed the Richard Sugden Library to visit kindergarteners in Spencer and East Brookfield. Library staff members were joined by author and educator, Wendy O’Leary, to engage class-rooms with books focusing on self-care that were given to every participant.
Meanwhile, under the guidance of former Exchange Club member Gary Herl—as well as current members Scott Conner, Arnie Arsenault, and Pat George—the club raised funds, obtained a state grant, and spearheaded the renovation of Prouty Park that was completed in 2016. In the years since, club members annually provide a spring cleanup at the park. Current club member Wendy Beauvais and her commit-tee are doing the same for Powder Mill Park, including the purchase of new playground pieces.
Earlier this year, the club donated $5,000 for the renovation of the field and concession stand operated by Spencer Little League. This funding was in addition to a $3,000 donation made by the club to the Little League in 2019.
The Exchange Club also occasionally organizes candidates’ nights to familiarize area residents with those vying for public office. Also, the club provides an annual St. Patrick’s Day corned beef dinner to the residents of Howe Village and Prouty Senior Living.
In addition, club member Donna Flannery organizes the club’s Citizen of the Year award that is presented to Spencer residents who have selflessly contributed to the betterment of the community. Flannery also leads the annual Spencer Toys for Kids Christmas program.
Club members thank longtime and newer members alike, who all combine to make a difference in the community.
“In my 44 years of association with the Spencer Exchange Club, I have always been reminded of the incredible generosity, humanity, capability, and strength of the fabric of this community,” said club member Nelson Ezen.
The Exchange Club usually meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month (September through June). Subcommittees meet at other times throughout the year.
“Best organization I’ve ever been a part of,” member Donna Flannery said of her time with the Exchange Club. “I’ve loved every minute of my 25 years as a member.”