Ray Mann has been a Rotarian for more than 50 years. As a past president of the Chittenango Rotary, Ray has played an important part in the life of our club for many decades and he shares his thoughts about Rotary’s impact in his life and the Chittenango community.
How did you get started in Rotary, Ray?
Rotary has been good to me. Looking back, most of my closest friends have been Chittenango Rotarians. Back around 1969, Ed Mann told me I should be in Rotary. We were both real estate salesmen with Madison Properties, but I was more tied up with building homes than sales and had a really busy schedule. I told Ed I had concerns about having enough time to participate in the club. But I recognized that I already did business with many Rotarians — Doc McCann, Pappy Stickles, the Mayers boys, Joe Gardner, Don & Chop Perone, and other merchants in town. So, I gave in to Ed’s persuasion, and have never regretted it. 
What are some of the highlights of your time with the Chittenango Rotary Club?

I was president of the club in ’72—’73. Over the years, I’ve brought in many new members (friends and relatives) into the club and spearheaded many projects. For quite a while, I arranged the weekly programs. I also wrote and distributed the club bulletin (The Wheel Thing) for many years.
I can’t even remember all the fundraising projects and celebrations we’ve held — auctions, shrimp bakes lobster fests, the Rotary Chuckwagon, horse shows, phone books, dinners, district conferences in Montreal, Lake Placid, Ottawa. Those were the days! Looking back, I see that the amount of enjoyment I got out of Rotary has been directly related to the amount of energy I put into it. 
Any advice for new or prospective Rotarians?

These days, younger club members supply the energy for our club. It takes all my energy just to figure out Zoom so I can participate in club meetings. But Rotary has been good to me and I’m glad I’m still a part of it.