On Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at a regular Rotary Club meeting, Breakfast with the Bands event chair Barbara Frantz bestowed the Golden Pancake Award to Rotarian Warren Rorden.

This award is given every year to the individual who exhibits dedication above and beyond normal expectations for the annual Rotary fundraiser called Breakfast with the Bands, formerly called Rotary Pancake Day.

The proceeds of this fundraiser go to college scholarships and community grants. Musical groups form Westfield High School, Roosevelt Middle School and Edison Middle School performed. Last year the Rotary Club of Westfield awarded $117,400 in college scholarships and $26,000 in Community Grants. The Club has been running this event every year since 1967. Approximately 400 people attended the event this year.

The Rotary Club would like to especially thank the sponsors of the event: Mary Ellen O’Boyle - Prominent Properties Sotheby’s; Children’s Specialized Hospital; Fanwood Animal Hospital; Phelan, Frantz, Ohlig & Wegbreit, Esq; Dr Shruti Shukla, DDS at Great Smiles General Dentistry; Westfield Area YMCA; Raymond Kostyack, Wells Fargo Advisors; Steven Lowe; Maxwell’s Furniture Restoration; Northfield Bank; Spencer Savings Bank; Star Painting; Warren and Ginny Rorden; Westfield Financial Planning; and David & Shuang Wroe.

Warren was in charge of making sure the coffee was delivered and prepared for the breakfast. Some people really need their coffee in the mornings. Warren had an accident the night before and went to Overlook Hospital at midnight. They patched him up by 2 am, and wanted him to stay overnight and into the next day to run more tests, but he refused, because he wanted to make sure the coffee was delivered and brewing for the first customers of the day. Warren showed exemplary determination to make sure that Breakfast with the Bands was a success.

Warren moved from Queens, NY to Westfield in 1942, at the age of six, during the height of World War II. He grew up in Westfield, and was owner of Rorden Real Estate firm in Westfield, and was also the owner of the “Flatiron Building” at the corner of Quimby and Elm. He is currently retired.

Warren has been a member of the Rotary Club of Westfield since 1987. He accepted the post of chair for the Rotary project to collect used bicycles and ship them to the third world. He has done this for 26 years, starting in 1997. The club has shipped over 2,500 bicycles to date. Bicycles do not produce any air pollution, create jobs, and allow individuals to increase their production and effectiveness, or for children to ride to school which might be too far to walk. Americans throw 20 million bikes in landfills every year - why not put them to good use, and “recycle” them?

Warren likes to tell a story where he had never read an entire book up to 7th grade. When his English teacher at Roosevelt, Mrs. Guggenheimer, heard that, she promised him a puppy if he would read a book all the way through, as long having a dog was ok with his folks. He read a book about a dog, “Treave”. He received the puppy, and had that dog for many years until he entered the Navy. Warren said that teacher changed his life, because he now loves to read, and it opened up a whole new world to him. Warren is now at the Westfield Memorial Library all the time.

The Rotary Club of Westfield meets the first three Tuesdays of each month for lunch at noon, at Limani Seafood Grill on North Ave. Guests are always welcome. For information check out the website www.westfieldrotary.com  or contact club secretary Dr. D. Michael Hart by email at drmhart@yahoo.com

Photo: Left to right: Event Chair Barbara Frantz; Award Recipient Warren Rorden; Rotary Club President Tony LaPorta