The Rotary Club of

August 24, 2023 Newsletter

Join us for a fun Social Night at Papa Frank's Restaurant in Springfield on August  28. We will meeting there rather than Maldeners! See President's Comments and Upcoming Programs and Events for more information. 

Comments from President Travis
Join us at Papa Frank's Restaurant on August 28!
We are holding our August 28 meeting at  Papa Frank's Restaurant (4111 Wabash Ave., Springfield, IL 62711).  We will have a section in the restaurant for our group, and members will order and pay for their own meals. We hope you will join us for dinner, drinks, and conversation. You did not need to sign up or make reservations for this gathering. Just show up! We look forward to seeing you.
Upcoming Meetings and Presentations
Club Services Director John Webb has lined up a great series of speakers for our meetings. See the Upcoming Program and Events section of this Newsletter to see the lineup of speakers through October 2. We will be trying some some off-site social night meetings in August and September.
August 14 Club Meeting Presentations
We enjoyed learning about the Illinois Conservation Foundation from their Executive Director Steve Ettinger (image above). He gave a detailed review of their programs that foster and support ecological, educational, and outdoor experiences for public benefit. We also inducted two new members to our club (see story below), and Bruce Strom led us in singing happy birthday to Ross Hodel (image below).  
Meeting of Springfield Rotary Club Presidents
At our Springfield Presidents meeting on July 27, we explored the possibility of forming an international club partnership with SIU School of  Medicine. We also discussed the Chamber of Commerce membership. If we continue this membership, then we need to become more active and use it as a membership recruitment tool. I asked if anyone in our club was interested in volunteering to be a regular attendee of Chamber events. If you are interested, please let me know. We discussed moving the annual Chicken Dinner Fundraiser to spring instead of having it at such a busy time in the fall. Finally, we are considering having a special program for our annual All Club luncheon or dinner. John Webb is working on having this event at Lincoln Land Community College in the Ag Center building and scheduling a program on the Illinois Rotary Vocational Training program for the Zambia Corn Project with Rotarian Eric Dolbeare as the speaker. More information on the dinner and this program will come later. 
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Reserve Your Maldaners Meals
When we meet at Maldaner's, please submit your reservations for dinner! Click on the link embedded below and enter the date, your name, dine in/carry out and number of meals being consumed in the restaurant and/or carried out prior to each meeting. Preferably, everyone will fill out the form by noon on the Friday before the upcoming meeting. I have given Jesse at Maldaner's access to the view, so it will help him with planning. As always, we will direct him to have a few additional servings available for members who forget or last minute guests. 
Here is the link:
The same link will work for the entire Rotary year and will be shared within each Newsletter, so do not delete the Newsletter until you have submitted your dinner information. Please remember that the three most recent Newsletters can also be accessed from the Website Home Page ( so you can also access the link for reservations from the Website Home Page ( 
Welcome to Two New Members
At our August 14 meeting, we welcomed two new members to our club: Allison Montney, an Accountant for the Illinois State Treasurer's Office, and Jason Huddleston, a pay and audit specialist for the Illinois Department of Human Services. Membership Chair Harry Mitchell began their introduction to our club before the meeting started (image above).
With assistance from President Travis Magoulias, Harry inducted them as new members of the Rotary Club of Springfield (image on left). They both received their blue membership badges and Rotary pins. Harry reported that we plan to have a formal orientation program for new members in October. 
Each new member had an opportunity to speak about their lives and interest in joining Rotary. The whole club applauded them and welcomed them to our club. Allison has participated in several previous meetings as a guest of John Webb, and Jason has attended several as a guest of Bill Smith. Be sure to introduce yourself to these new members if you have not already done so! We are delighted to have these wonderful individuals as members of our club. 
Peace Committee Sets Priorities and Submits Grant Proposal
The Peace Committee has spent several months reviewing local opportunities to engage our Rotary Club in work that, in the words of Rotary International, promotes peace “by addressing the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, discrimination, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.” We are committed to work that provides sustainable solutions to these issues in Springfield. Based on conversations with community leaders and site visits, we focused on partnership with two outstanding efforts in Springfield: the collaborative effort to eradicate homelessness in Springfield in the next 5-7 years and the work of The Outlet, a fast-growing organization providing multiple forms of support to young African American men. The Outlet’s programs help these youth address the challenges they face coming from poverty, systemic racism, violence, and addiction in their communities by developing the considerable talents and grit they bring to our community.
The Committee has already applied for a district club grant that includes matching local funds to provide computing access to clients of Helping Hands, a primary partner in the effort to eradicate homelessness. We learned that a computing lab is a priority for Helping Hands so clients in their facility can search for jobs, write resumes, and connect with resources and family. It also will help their children access school and education resources. The Committee will bring its other top priority recommendations for club work with both Helping Hands and The Outlet over the next year to the club in the next month.
We hope the active work of the Committee will lead the club to become a Rotary Peace Club. This will bring recognition and access to additional resources from Rotary International to continue our efforts to promote peace in our community through service.
Second Flag Deployment Begins August 28
Our second flag deployment for this year's Flag Service Project will get underway starting on August 28. Routes and instructions have already been distributed to volunteers. If you are unable to find the red-capped conduit, then call or email John Loftus and let him know. Flags should be installed by September 1 at the latest so they are in place for Labor Day weekend and Labor Day (September 4). Thanks to all the volunteers who are installing flags. These flags will remain in place for the commemoration of Patriots Day on September 11 and then will be picked up and taken back to our storage warehouse starting on September 12. 
The image to the left was sent by Bill Sturm and shows that one of our plastic shelving units in the warehouse collapsed. We are in the process of securing new metal shelves in the warehouse. Volunteers have already replaced flag poles damaged in the derecho and made the flags accessible for the upcoming installation. We extend special thanks to Barry Tobias for drilling the new poles. If you are interested in volunteering for this wonderful project, please let John Loftus ( know. Remember that the proceeds from the flag service program support community grants and Honor Flights.
New Inbound Exchange Student Arrives
At our August 14 meeting, Director of Youth Services Bill Kempiners announced that our new inbound exchange student for the 2023-2024 school year had arrived in Springfield. His name is Nicholas Putra Sedijotomo, and he is from Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. Bill noted Nicholas goes by the nickname PJ.  Bill already had the opportunity to show PJ some of the highlights of Springfield including the Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library (image above). PJ is living in Chatham with his host family and is going to Chatham High School.  We look forward to meeting and learning more about him at an upcoming club meeting.
2022-2023 Inbound Exchange Student Returns Home
In July, our 2022-2023 Rotary Inbound Exchange Student Tawan-OK Sirichote, who goes by Maii or Mark, from Sathorn (Bangkok area), Thailand completed his exchange program and returned to his family in Thailand. Our Club sponsored Mark, along with the Sathorn Rotary Club. He stayed with two host families in Springfield and attended Springfield High School.
Mark participated in numerous meetings and events of our club and gave us two presentations. Bill Kempiners our Club's Youth Exchange Officer advised Mark during his time in Springfield. Bill accompanied Mark to the Peoria Airport (image on left) where he started his journey home. The image below shows Mark with his sister and parents upon his arrival back in Thailand. It was wonderful to get to know Mark, and we will miss seeing him at our meetings. The Rotary Youth Exchange Program provides high school students with amazing cultural experiences in another country.
Upcoming Programs and Events
Please remember that we are trying our new schedule with fewer club meetings each month and some social night meetings at locations other than Maldaners. Please pay attention to the meeting schedule listed the Newsletter, on our website home page (, and on our Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram pages for the dates and locations of the meetings. I am in the process of scheduling speakers now and will provide more details as soon as they are available.
August 28 Rotary Club Meeting offsite at 5:30 p.m.
Social Night at Papa Frank's Restaurant
We are this social night at at Papa Franks, 4111 Wabash Ave., Springfield, IL. We plan to have a section in the restaurant for our group. Members will order and pay for their own meals. Please join us for drinks, dinner, and conversation. You did not need to sign up to participate in this event. We are all looking forward to trying this off-site social night.
September 4 No Rotary Club Meeting (Labor Day Holiday)
September 11 Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs at 5:30 p.m. (Board Meeting at 4:00 p.m.)
Kathy Johnson: My Career as a Foreign Diplomat
Fellow Rotarian Kathy Johnson (image below) will speak about her experiences as a Foreign Diplomat, including during the events of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the relevance of these experiences to Rotary.
September 18 Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs at 5:30 p.m.
Dr. Sameer Vohra, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health: Recent Polio Developments in Illinois and the United States
Dr. Vohra will discuss findings of the polio virus in Illinois and elsewhere in United States and the significance of these discoveries. 
September 25 Rotary Club Meeting
Social Night (location to be announced, not at Maldaners)
Details will be provided in a future Newsletter.
October 2 Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs at 5:30 p.m.
Scott Richardson: The Legacy Theatre
Scott Richardson, Executive Director of the Legacy Theatre, will speak about the past, present, and future plans for the Legacy Theatre in Springfield.
Volunteer Update
On June 26, I was honored to be installed as our Club's new Community Service Director (shown standing in image above). I am working with my predecessor in this role, my sister Megan Reynolds (shown seated in the image above), who has become our President-Elect. I will provide volunteer opportunities soon. We thank all the volunteers who gave and are giving generously of their time on service projects in May, June, and July. If you have ideas for service projects, please contact me at
Central Illinois Foodbank and Girls on the Run
Thanks so much to the volunteers from our club who gave their time to work at the Central Illinois Foodbank and Volunteer for Girls on the Run in May! It's amazing to see the impact we can have when we come together. 
Special thanks are due to John Webb, Randy Erford, and Barry and Alec Tobias for sorting food for the Central IL Foodbank in May We also thank John Web for sending these images.
Thanks to John Webb for volunteering for the Girls on the Run 5K in May to process race bids and pass out racing bags on the night before the event. Girls on the Run is an after school program that inspires girls to be healthy and confident using a fun, experienced based curriculum that creatively integrates running. The 5K race is their closing event and this year's run took place at Lincoln Land Community College on May 20. Thanks to John Webb for providing these images.
Ridgely School Micropantry & Little Library and our new Little Library at the Old Firehouse!
Work stocking our Our Ridgely micropantry and little library continues and is important at all times. As you can see from the image on left,  the Little Library needs more books. Please feel free to drop off  books for the Ridgely little library and any food/toiletries/cleaning supplies for the micropantry as you see fit. The families that frequent these resources are very thankful for your generous donations!
Vicki Megginson sent the images of the empty pantry she encountered at Ridgely School and the exciting image of the full pantry after she stocked it on March 12, 2023 (images below). We thank the Rotarians who have signed up for shifts stocking the micropantry during the New Year. If you want to sign up, let me know. I will be updating volunteer opportunities and will provide contact information in our next newsletter. We need your help!
We also need to help keep our new Little Library at the old Firehouse well stocked with books! Please feel free to add books to this Little Library at any time. We thank Kathryn Harris for her work and promotion for this Little Library, which is right across the street from her home!
Flag Service
The Flag Service Committee installed flags for Memorial Day (May 29, 2023). Teams started installing flags on May 22 and finished with installations by the evening of Friday May 26 so the flags were in place for the holiday weekend. We are looking for more volunteers to help with deployment of flags and other aspects of this project. We have established teams of two to three people and most teams will install flags along one route. However, three teams had to take two routes each and some individuals are on more than one team. The image on the left shows Ross Hodel, Randy Erford, and John Webb installing flags on May 24. The image below shows the reward they gave themselves for a hard day's works. Volunteering for Rotary is always fun!
From July 5-7, teams collected the flags and lights for storage (image on left) in in our warehouse until we install again in September for the Labor Day holiday (September 4) and the commemoration of Patriots Day on September 11. Thanks to John Webb for providing this image of Randy Erford collecting flags. 
Please consider volunteering for the Flag Service project. There is much work to be done, and it raises lots of money for our community grants program!  The recent derecho in Springfield caused a lot of damage to the flags and the flag poles so help is needed with repairs before we reinstall flags in September. 
Please contact John Loftus ( if you would like to help with any aspect of our Flag Service project.
Suggestions for Pantries from People Who Use Pantries
We are repeating a list of suggestions of foods and other items to stock in the Ridgely Food Pantry. These suggestions came from people who use food pantries to help feed their families. 
1. Everyone donates Kraft Mac and Cheese in the box. They can rarely use it because it needs milk and butter, which is difficult to get from regular food banks.
2. Boxed milk is a treasure, as kids need it for cereal, which they also get a lot of.
3. Everyone donates pasta sauce and spaghetti noodles.
4. They cannot eat all the awesome canned veggies and soup unless you put a can opener in too or buy pop tops.*
5. Oil is a luxury and needed for Rice a-Roni, which they also get a lot of.
6. Spices or salt and pepper would be a real Holiday gift.
7. Tea bags and coffee make them feel like you care.
8. Sugar and flour are treats.
9. They fawn over fresh produce donated by farmers and grocery stores.
10. Seeds are cool in Spring and Summer because growing can be easy for some.
11. They rarely get fresh meat.
12. Tuna and crackers make a good lunch.
13. Hamburger Helper goes nowhere without ground beef.
14. They get lots of peanut butter and jelly but usually not sandwich bread.
15. Butter or margarine is nice too.
16. Eggs are a real commodity.
17. Cake mix and frosting makes it possible to make a child’s birthday cake.
18. Dishwashing detergent is very expensive and is always appreciated.
19. Feminine hygiene products are a luxury and women will cry over that.
20. Everyone loves Stove Top Stuffing.
* At our November 29 club meeting, Ross Hodel reported that he followed this advice and stocked numerous can openers in the Ridgely Pantry. He noted that they were quickly snapped up.
Encourage Membership in Rotary
Do you know or are you someone who has a passion to give back to your community? The Rotarians in this image are helping pack essential items for the Illinois Police Department to give to homeless individuals in our community. As a Rotarian, you adhere to the principles of the 4-way Test., which are:
  • Is it the Truth? 
  • Is it Fair to all concerned? 
  • Will it build Good Will and Better Friendships?  
  • Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?  
If you find value in these ideals and want to be part of a great organization, right click on the attached link to open our online Membership Application in a new window. You can also click on this link to download an electronic copy of the Membership Application from our Club's website Home Page ( in the Download Files section. You can send the completed application to the Membership Committee at We look forward to hearing from you! 

Downtown 2023-2024 Rotary Membership Chair
Harry Mitchell
Record Your Service Hours and Contributions
Please remember to report your service hours and related contributions. Travis Magoulias has added the 2023-2024 Rotary Year to the form. You will be able to enter your hours now and correctly assign them to the correct Rotary Calendar year. Just follow this link:
Please email images of service activities to Bonnie Styles at It's easy to take pictures if you have a smartphone, but even an old style camera works just fine. Send me an email ( to let me know when you will be volunteering for a service project, and I will come out and take some images.
Be sure to turn in your hours for any volunteering that you do on behalf of Rotary.
The image below shows John Webb transplanting Virginia Blue Bells at Lincoln Memorial Gardens for our Club's participation in the United Way Day of Service on April 28, 2023.
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