Posted by Diana Nestorova on Jun 11, 2021
Mark Minnucci, a member of the Rotary Club of the Brookfields and director of student services for North Brookfield, mentioned at a September 2020 club meeting that he had been designing and building -  at his own cost- prototypes of desktop “barriers” for the public schools in North Brookfield. Their purpose was to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Mark was overwhelmed by the immediate need - and the support offered by club members. His club reached out to the Rotary Club of Sturbridge which was more than willing to help - and asked the Brookfields club to help them construct barriers for public schools in Sturbridge.
The clubs raised almost $2,100 from their members, to purchase needed materials for the project - plexiglass, PVC pipe, and plastic zip ties. Mark approached local businesses, chain hardware stores, and local merchants, to find materials of the best price and availability.
Soon thereafter, Rotarians and their families from both clubs gathered on two Saturdays - outdoors in members’ yards and driveways - to build the barriers. Volunteers ranging in age from seven to 70 took part in the project.
Mark provided instructions to everyone and oversaw all areas of the work being accomplished. The combined efforts of the Brookfields and the Sturbridge clubs produced 150 desktop barriers, which were provided free of charge to the grateful schools.
The Brookfields club continues to receive rave reviews from users of the barriers - as well as requests for more barriers. School teachers and administrators who have used these barriers say they are far superior to those purchased from either local or online stores.
The Brookfields barriers have more space between the desk and the bottom of the barrier, to pass papers back and forth. The barriers also allow occupational therapy teachers to have a closer view of the student’s facial expressions.
Mark identified a need - and worked long and hard to find a workable solution. He funded the prototype with his own money. He is currently working on developing - and funding - a door-sized barrier, to help divide classrooms into smaller “pods.” 
Mark has gone above and beyond - and the Rotary motto of Service Above Self certainly applies to his efforts. He has demonstrated what a true Rotarian is made of - and has made all members of the Brookfields club better people by his outstanding example.
For more information on our Unsung Heroes, contact Diana Nestorova at



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