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03/05/2023 06:14 AM

Nancy Morin: Preparing for the Next Chapter

Nancy Morin is the president-elect for the Old Saybrook Rotary Club. Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

“It’s going to be a new chapter in my life, that’s for sure.”

Recently, Nancy Morin was voted to be the next president of the Old Saybrook Rotary Club. While she might not be a longtime resident of the town, giving back to the community is something Nancy is passionate about.

Three years ago – and not long after she had moved to Old Saybrook – Nancy was looking for ways to get involved in the town when an acquaintance made a recommendation to her.

“I was looking for something that could I could work on that would help others when I was approached by a Rotarian who mentioned that I might like the rotary,” Nancy explains.

Soon after, she was hooked.

“I attended a couple meetings and quickly realized it would be the perfect fit,” she says.

According to its website, the Rotary’s main objective “is service in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world,” adding that, “Rotarians develop community service projects to address needs in their local communities and in the international community.”

However, put simply in Nancy’s own words, “They’re involved in helping uplift people’s lives.”

The Old Saybrook Rotary in particular is made of up people not only from Old Saybrook, but also Westbrook, Lyme, and Old Lyme. The group has initiatives such as Meals on Wheels, scholarship programs for local schools, and international projects like a commitment to eradicating polio, in addition to building a well in a village in Uganda.

Nancy is currently president-elect of the club and, though her term doesn’t begin for another year, she says she’s going to be taking training courses to prepare for her role.

“I’m ready to hit the road running. In my three years as a member of the Old Saybrook Rotary, I have been fortunate to have had two awesome presidents before me – Gary McCauley and Pat DeVito — as role models,” Nancy says. “My goal over the next couple of years is to continue in reaching out and making a difference in our communities, as well as international endeavors.”

One project that Nancy specifically works on is what’s called the dictionary project.

“We supply every 3rd-grader with dictionary books where two-thirds of the book is a dictionary and the last third is filled with information about countries or other facts,” Nancy describes. “They just get so excited about the books. It’s more than a dictionary; it’s a book of knowledge. It gives me goosebumps every time the way they respond.”

Nancy says the project was actually started several years ago by a Rotarian named Charles Norz. Only four months after Nancy joined, Charles approached her about taking over the oversight of the project. Nancy says the club gives away about 250 of the books every year.

To raise money for the club, the rotary holds fundraisers throughout the year.

“The biggest one we do is the annual Wine/Beer Tasting and Silent Auction, which is on March 3,” says Nancy.

The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Saybrook Point Resort and Marina. Tickets are $45 each and are available from

“It’s just a really fun event,” Nancy says.

Asked what her favorite aspect of being in the Rotary is, Nancy responds, “Working with the other Rotarians. They’re just such a kind and heartfelt group.”

“There are teachers and doctors and so many other people from different backgrounds. It’s just such a wealth of knowledge in the group,” says Nancy. “I just really like it.”

Besides working with the Rotary, Nancy also spends time running a business from her house. Nancy started Custom Designs and Embroidery shortly after she retired.

“The day after I retired, I realized I couldn’t do nothing – I had to do something,” Nancy says with a laugh.

With her business, Nancy makes custom T-shirts, hats, and promotional materials and proudly says that many of her clients are local businesses.

“I am really happy to be working with the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber and the Rotary really go together. I’m blessed to be a member of both,” says Nancy. “The Chamber helps so much with my business and in the community. I really think it’s the best Chamber of Commerce around.”

Prior to retirement, Nancy was a teacher and, in 2010, she was recognized as the National Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher of the Year. Nancy credits being a teacher with helping inspire her to give back to the community.

“I did community service with the students. I’ve been involved with the March of Dimes. It’s something I’ve been doing,” says Nancy.

Nancy originally grew up in Massachusetts, but has been familiar with Old Saybrook for years.

“My dad and stepmom had a cottage down here that I used to take the kids too pretty often. When I retired, I wanted to retire here, too,” Nancy says.

In her spare time, Nancy likes going for walks, riding her bike, and spending her time with her four grandkids.

“I just love walking out of the house and going to the end of the street and going to the beach with a book,” she says.