Q&A: Meet Riverhead Rotary president Angie Reese

Riverhead’s Rotary has a new president who is focused on encouraging young local business owners to join the club.

Angela “Angie” Reese, who began her new role this month, said she believes all Rotaries are struggling to attract millennials and plans to work with her group to come up with ways to attract new members.

“I’m a people person,” said Ms. Reese, who’s also a past president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce. “That’s why I’m here and that’s why I love being a part of the Rotary.”

Her husband of 35 years, Michael, and their two children also work locally. Their daughter, Karissa Despres, owns North Fork Academy of Dance in Cutchogue and their son, Robert, works at Malvese Equipment in Riverhead.

She grew up in Indiana and moved to Texas with her husband when he served in the military. The family moved to Long Island after he got a job offer from National Response Corporation, where he’s currently a senior vice president.

Ms. Reese has lived in Mattituck and worked at Suffolk County National Bank in Riverhead, which has been taken over by People’s United Bank, for 23 years. She currently serves as vice president and market manager at the West Second Street branch in Riverhead.

We sat down with Ms. Reese at her office to discuss her new role with the Rotary. Here are some excerpts.

Q: When did you join Rotary and why?

A: I’ve been in the Rotary for 12 years. I joined because one of my customers who has since passed, Roanoke Plaza Liquors owner Joan Marshall, told me about the Rotary and said she would be my sponsor. I had known about it because some of the leaders at our bank were part of Rotary. When I first came to the club, I could see all of the leaders in town were a part of Rotary. It was such a great opportunity to network, but it also helps you grow because you learn a lot from your peers. When you’re there as a team, you can see what can be accomplished. We want people to know we’re here for the community.

Q: How does the Rotary help the community?

A: One example is we took over the Peconic Bay Medical Center’s annual garden festival this year, which was spearheaded by our current president, Beth Hanlon, over Mother’s Day weekend at Tanger Outlets. That benefited the hospital and Dr. Rajesh Patel, who works with International Surgical Mission Support. We support the veterans and give dictionaries to local elementary schools. And we always do the annual spaghetti dinners and pancake breakfasts for the community. We’re really trying to give back as much as we can. Rotary is a service organization that’s international. Its motto is “service above self.” You make such nice friends and create bonds.

Q: What are your goals as president?

A: It keeps growing — we’re building — and we want to continue the activities we’ve been doing and also add more. Each year, the president can elect a project. Not every president does it, but you can. I really want to try to secure a grant for McGuire’s Hearing Aids and Audiological Services in Riverhead. Every year, they do a community project where they help provide hearing aids for people who can’t afford them, which is part of the Help America Hear program. The owner, Dave Carr, is one of my clients and I’ve learned a lot about the foundation he’s a part of. I see how it’s helping children and adults hear. My goal for this year is to help them.

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Photo: Angela “Angie” Reese. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)