Posted by Harry Mitchell
We held our Rotary Foundation Night at Maldaners Upstairs on February 27, 2023. As the RI Foundation Chair for our Club, I had the pleasure of serving as master of ceremonies. Special thanks to Bonnie Styles for turning my script into this story and for Kathryn Harris for providing Bonnie with these images for the Newsletter.
                          Background on The Rotary Foundation
For the benefit of our guests, I provided a little background regarding the Rotary Foundation at our gathering:
  • Rotary was founded 1905 by Paul Harris.
  • The Rotary Foundation dates to 1917 and a gentleman named Arch Klump.
The Rotary Foundation Today
  • The Rotary Foundation distributes $100 million dollars in grants in a variety of forms.
  • Note that 478 of the grants were District Grants. These are the grants that return Foundation donations to local Districts around the world.  Our club has benefited from receiving a portion of our District funds almost every year for the past ten years to help with educational programs for Ridgley Elementary School and other entities and hunger prevention programs.
  • Polio eradication is one of the most visible Rotary programs.  The Foundation provided over $150 million dollars to the effort last Rotary year alone.
  • The Foundation funded 130 Peace Fellows in graduate programs at the 7 Peace Center Universities located around the world.
Polo Certificate Presentation
As pointed out, the eradication of Polio remains a top priority with our Foundation.  I asked Past District Governor and District Foundation Chair Brian Barstead to take a minute for a special presentation. Our largest fundraiser for Polio Plus is our March Madness lottery, chaired by Bill Smith and Bill Sturm. We asked both of them and Immediate Past President Barry Tobias to join Brian at the podium, and we recognized the contributions of Bill Smith and Bill Sturm to managing this fundraising  project for the eradication of Polio (image below).
            Multiple Levels of Donor Recognition
The Rotary Foundation has a number of donor recognition programs.  Named after our founder, Paul Harris Fellows are recognized in increments of $1000 donations.
  • A new Paul Harris Fellow (PHF) receives a certificate, a medallion, and a Paul Harris Pin
  • Reaching subsequent levels of $1000 gifts result in recognition with a pin that adds blue sapphires up to 5 (for a total of $6000) and then pins with 1, 2, and finally 3 rubies. When a donor reaches $10,000, they become a major donor with a new recognition process. 
On Foundation Night, we recognized some of our members who have reached a new level as Paul Harris Fellows. President Randy Erford presented each member with their new pin:
  • Dave Fowler – Level 3, a pin with two sapphires (first image above). 
  • Joe O’Beirne – Level 3, a pin with two sapphires, but was not able to attend the event. 
  • John Loftus and Sheila Mack – Level 4, pin with three sapphires (second image above).
  • Vicki Megginson – Level 5, a pin with four sapphires (first image below). 
  • Joe Ludtke – Level 5, a pin with four sapphires, but unable to attend.
  • Harry Mitchell – Level 6, a pin with five sapphires.
  • Bruce Strom – Level 7, a pin with one ruby, but was unable to attend.
  • And we are very happy to recognize Tony Williams (2nd image below). Tony received a pin with three rubies. This marks Level 9, meaning Tony is just $1000 away from becoming a Major Donor. 
We thanked all these individuals for their ongoing support of the Rotary Foundation. 
Rotarian and Rotary Circle Presentations of Paul Harris Fellows
Rotarians may also name other members or nonmembers as a Paul Harris Fellow.  These are people who have had a meaningful impact and who represent our motto “service above self.”  On Foundation Night, we recognized seven individuals as new Paul Harris Fellows.  District Governor Bill Durall, District Governor Elect Neal Miller, and club president Randy Erford made the presentations.
  • Barry Tobias recognized his guest, Patsy Klekamp, as a Paul Harris Fellow (image below). He recognized his sister Patsy for her innovative strategies to engage residents of Concordia Village during the pandemic. She is the Independent Living and Lifestyles Enrichment Activities Coordinator at Concordia. She used a chair at the door of each person’s room as a lifeline for engagement and got the residents to write stories, which were shared in their Newsletter, read to others from the chairs, and ultimately published as a book. The chairs also were used to provide supplies and for other functions.
Several years ago, Rod Buffington implemented the concept of Paul Harris Fellow Giving Circles.  In our club, each Circle has five members who donate $200 a year to the Rotary Foundation.  The total donation of $1000 allows the Circle to name a new PHF.  The members rotate for making that nomination. We now have six circles in our club.  On Foundation Night, we recognized the Paul Harris Fellow nominated from each Circle. 
  • Circle One (President’s Circle: Roger Randolph, Harry Mitchell, Jim Theis, Marty Michelson, Travis Magoulias). Circle Member Roger Randolph named Major Jeff Eddy of the Salvation Army in Springfield as a Paul Harris Fellow (image below).
  • Circle Two (Friendship Circle: Bonnie Styles, Bill Smith, Joe Ludtke, Sheila Mack, and Vicki Megginson). Circle Member Bonnie Styles recognized Club Member and Community Services Director Megan Reynolds as a Paul Harris Fellow, but Megan was unable to attend the event. Her  recognition will be presented later. 
  • Circle three (Fellowship Circle: Chuck Hunt, Bill Sturm, Bill Kempiners, Katherine Harris, Kirk Kellus). Chuck Hunt recognized our club’s Sergeant at Arms Kirk Kellus as a Paul Harris Fellow (image below).
  • Circle Four (Director’s Circle: Rod Buffington, Barry Tobias, Ross Hodel, Bruce Strom, Bob Stuart). Rod Buffington named Kimberly L. Jones as a Paul Harris Fellow (image below). Kimberly is the photographer who captures the true colors in Rod’s paintings and makes his prints, including the Rotary Theme prints.
  • Circle Five (Chancellor’s Circle: Dan Milligan, Joe O’Beirne, Loretta Meeks, Wendell Meeks, Naomi Lynn, John Loftus). Dan Milligan selected Dr. Richard Milligan as a Paul Harris Fellow. Dr. Milligan is Dan's deceased twin brother. He was a dentist in Michigan. Unfortunately Dan was not able to attend the event. 
  • Circle Six (the 1913 Circle: Christine Banks, Nate Clemmer, Chris Atchison, Jim Applegate, Dave Fowler). Christine Banks named Pam Molitoris, Executive Director of the Central Illinois Foodbank as a Paul Harris Fellow (image below).
Community Paul Harris Fellows
For the past 28 years, the Rotary Club of Springfield has recognized members of our community who are not Rotarians.  These individuals have demonstrated in their vocation and their community involvement that they understand our motto “Service about self” and have made outstanding contributions to the community. On Foundation Night, we recognized two such individuals. 
This year’s nominating committee was chaired by Barry Tobias and included Bill Sturm, Loretta Meeks, and Ross Hodel.
  • Our first honoree was introduced by Bill Sturm. Bill escorted Joan Bortolon, President of Land of Lincoln Honor Flight Program, to the podium. The bio for this community fellow is provided in the following story in this newsletter.
  • Our second honoree was introduced by President Randy Erford.  Randy escorted Chris Richmond, Chairman of Moving Pillsbury Forward, to the podium. His bio is also provided in the story following this article.
We congratulated Joan and Chris, and thanked them for all that they are doing for the Springfield area and our fellow citizens.
That wrapped up our 2023 celebration! A good time was had by all!