Men’s Club celebrates 30 years of service and fellowship

Date Published: 
Oct. 27, 2017

Three decades ago, a group of men met at St. Ann’s Catholic Church to socialize and improve the community. Now, the St. Ann’s Men’s Club is celebrating 30 years of fraternity and charity.

“I find it very comforting to have something out of the house, to give back to the church, back to the community,” said Thomas Defibaugh, past president of the group. “It’s fun. … It’s a good group of people.”

The Men’s Club began in 1987, when the Rev. John Masterson invited parishioners to form a social ministry. The casual fellowship of men would also perform outreach projects.

The Men’s Club 30th anniversary celebration will be Saturday, Nov. 4, at 6:30 p.m. in Delaney Hall at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, 691 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach.

The ceremony will include a magic program by Rich Bloch of Dickens Parlour Theatre and speakers the Rev. John Klevence and club President Frank Mack. Past presidents will cut the ceremonial cake. Local chef Charles Oppman will prepare the cake and other sweet treats for the guests.

Due to space restrictions, guests must RSVP to Joe Martinez at (302) 541-4964 or martinezjre@mchsi.com.

“When you get older … you starting thinking about giving more to the community,” said Martinez.

“It’s a service organization. If you want to give back, it’s a wonderful vehicle to do that. In my particular case, we always looked to get involved,” said Board Member Mike Galu, who joined the club almost immediately after moving to Delaware about two years ago.

Over the years, the Men’s Club has leaned more toward fundraising, with charitable donations reaching nearly $53,000 in the past six years. Every year, the 85 members nearly deplete the treasury with charitable donations and start the new year’s administration with a near zero-balance.

But money’s not the entire focus. These guys are also learning more about their community and world. Every meeting features a guest lecture. Past speakers have included a hazmat responder, an art museum’s head of security, a pharmacist and a Civil War expert. Club members have learned about healthcare, the Electoral College, prison ministry and services, nutrition, election debates and local stories of interest.

Memories have been made at picnics, pancake breakfasts, holiday parties, charity golf tournaments and late-night card games. Special trips have ranged from road cleanups and bridge construction sites to Delmarva Shorebirds baseball games and New York City Christmas shows.

“I guess we’re the social arm of the church,” joked past president Joe Martinez. “We try to do community work, and … all that money we donate back to the neighborhood.”

They split the funds between St. Ann’s church endeavors and other neighborhood charity projects. The members’ annual $12 dues pay for administrative costs. Groups in need can contact the Men’s Club at St. Ann’s to request donations.

Monthly meetings are typically held on a Tuesday, with socializing at 6:30 p.m. and business at 7 p.m. Members must be a member or the spouse of a member of St. Ann’s Parish (which includes St. Ann’s Church and the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe). They don’t need to be fulltime residents.

A membership drive is under way, so people can grab a brochure or ask questions at any Mass. Women’s groups are also available in the church and parish. For details, call the church at (302) 539-6449 or visit www.stannbb.org.