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Temecula Sunrise Rotary honors Rotarian of the Year


Last updated 8/1/2019 at 11:07pm

TEMECULA – The Rotary Club of Temecula Sunrise recently honored its Rotarian of the Year 2019, Mark Sitar, with a standing ovation. The award was presented by former-President John Tamalunas, who himself was honored several days later at his "Demotion Party" as an outstanding leader of the club.

Sitar has been a member of the club since November 2014 and served as its president in 2017-2018. In addition to Rotary, he has volunteered for many local events for over 30 years, including the Great Temecula Tractor Race, the Temecula Rodeo, Temecula Rod Run, Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, the Moving Vietnam Wall, Honor Flight of Inland Empire Guardian, T.I.P., and his favorite, The Temecula Community Christmas Dinner.

After retiring and becoming a Rotarian in November 2014, the volunteer opportunities have seemed almost endless and his passion for youth and senior services has been fulfilled, he said.

"My Rotary family is just that, family, and some of the finest people I have ever met," Sitar said.

Sitar was born in 1949 in Indiana. His family moved to California in August 1956. He has three brothers, one older and two younger, and two sisters, one older and one younger. He grew up mostly in Orange County where he met his wife Diane in the winter of 1975 and wed in the spring of 1976. They have two sons, three grandsons and one granddaughter.

He said that his parents were his biggest influence when it came to helping people, as sometimes he would wake up in the morning and find unknown families sleeping in the living room. They had nowhere to go, so his family took them in for a while, and that was a normal thing for his parents to do.

His first experience to volunteer as an adult was shortly after getting married, when he became a Big Brother to a 13-year-old boy while living in Spokane, Washington. The boy is now 56 years old, and they talk twice a year on their birthdays. He plans to see his "Little Brother" next year and said he can't wait.

Sitar has been a factory worker, a machinist, a construction worker, a painting and remodeling contractor, an electronics technician, a stay-at-home dad and a medical gas inspector, but he said that none of it can compare to his volunteer life.

"Except the stay-at-home dad part; that was the best job ever," Sitar said.

For more information about Temecula Sunrise Rotary and its work in the community, call (951) 698-6116. The club meets every Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. at Journey's End at Pechanga, the golf course restaurant.

Submitted Temecula Sunrise Rotary.


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