The Rotary Club of

August 4, 2022 Newsletter

We recognized Mark McDonald (image above), long-time host and producer of Illinois Stories, as a Community Paul Harris Fellow at our August 1 club meeting. See story below. Join us at our August 8 Meeting for a special presentation by speaker Tom Swoik, who will speak about gaming in Illinois. You will also get to hear from one our Outbound Youth Exchange Students.

President Randy's Message
A Speaker and Paul Harris Fellow
This past Monday, August 1, our Rotary Club welcomed Mark McDonald (lead image) as our featured speaker. Mark is perhaps best known in Central Illinois as the creator of Illinois Stories, which until recently had been a fixture – for the past 19 years – on our local PBS television station. Although Mark has moved on from the Illinois Stories part of his professional life, he reminisced with club members about the program and its impact upon our community.
Mark was introduced by his neighbor and friend of many years, our own Rod Buffington, who later in the evening recognized Mark as a Community Paul Harris Fellow (image above) for his work in Springfield over the past several decades. See story below for more information.
Speakers for August 8 Meeting
Members should take note that our speaker for August 8 will be Tom Swoik, a former member of our Club, who will speak on the topic of Casino Gaming in Illinois.  We look forward to an enlightening discussion of this topic. See Upcoming Programs and Events for more information on this presentation.
Also addressing the Club on August 8, will be yet another Mark McDonald (image on right), this one being our own sponsored Rotary Outbound Youth Exchange Student, who will soon be leaving for his studies in France. The image shows him with Bill Kempiners, our club Youth Exchange Officer, at a Bon Voyage Luncheon for Outbound Youth Exchange Students. See story below for more information.
Please Fill out the Know Your Rotarian Data Form
I am collecting some fun facts about each member of our Club as a part of my goal for us to get to know each other better and have fun at our club meetings. The data form was distributed at our August 1 club meeting, and many members filled it out. However, we want all club members to participate whether or not you participate online or in person. Here is the link to the Know Your Rotarian Data Form. You can also download the form from the Download Files section on our Website Home Page ( Just download the Word document, type in your answers, save the file, and send it to me as an email attachment ( You may also mail your completed form to us at Rotary Club of Springfield, PO Box 615, Springfield, IL 62705.
August 8, 2022 Meeting Link is inviting you to a scheduled Webex meeting on August 8.
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August 8,  2022 Meal Reservation
Our August 8 club meeting will be hybrid with the opportunity to dine in person at Maldaners Upstairs or dine at home by ordering a meal to pick up behind Maldaners. In either case, make a reservation!
All meals include the main course, sides, salad, and dessert. Take out meals are well packaged, and are hand deliverd by Maldaner's staff, sometimes by Chef Michael Higgins!
Please make reservations for dining in or take out so we can estimate our food needs and so Maldaners knows you are coming. The deadline for reserving dinner for the August 8 meeting is Monday, August 8 at noon. Meals are $15 each. Please use the following link to make your reservations for the meal for dining in or pickup by clicking: 
For curbside takeout, please place your meal tickets or cash in an envelope with your name and “for Sheila Mack” on the outside of the envelope and give it to the Maldaners staff member that gives you your food. They will get the envelopes to Sheila Mack. Curbside pickup is between 4:45 and 5:15 p.m. To pick up food, turn into the alley behind the building and pick up the food at the back door. It's easy to pick up your food an the food is delicious!
Another Community Paul Harris Fellow Recognized
At our August 1 meeting, Rod Buffington recognized Mark McDonald as a Community Paul Harris Fellow (lead image and image above). Harry Mitchell, our club's RI Foundation Chair, assisted with the presentation of the Paul Harris Fellow medallion and pin. Club points were used to make a $1000 donation in Mark's name to the Rotary International Foundation. The funds will support the RI Annual Fund, the PolioPlus program, and approved RI grants. 
Rod spoke about Mark's extraordinary contributions to our community. Mark McDonald excelled as the host and producer of Illinois Stories, a well-known series that aired on Public Television for 19 years, but will no longer be produced. It provided an up close look at many of the interesting people, places, and work in our communities in central Illinois. Mark shared some background stories of his experiences with the series and noted that the program focused on the many fascinating folks right here in our area.
Mark has worked in television and media relations for more than 30 years as a news reporter and anchor, public affairs specialist and as an Emmy award-winning chronicler of life in Central and West Central Illinois in Illinois Stories. When he spoke at our Rotary Club meeting in 2019, he noted that while he enjoyed his positions in television news and media affairs, his job as producer and host of Illinois Stories was his favorite. His passion for this program came through loud and clear in his August 1 presentation to our group and his responses to the many questions from club members. 
At the close of his presentation, we invited him to become a Rotarian, and President Randy presented him with the coffee mug bearing an image designed by Rod Buffington.  
Chris Atchison Recognized for RI Donations
At our August 1, club Meeting,  Harry Mitchell, our club's Rotary International Foundation Chair, presented Chris Atchison with a Paul Harris Fellow +1 pin. When Chris joined our club he was already a Paul Harris Fellow, but his Paul Harris Fellow pin was upgraded with a blue stone to reflect the fact that he has donated another $1000 to the Rotary International Foundation. The donated funds support the Rotary International Annual Fund, the PolioPlus Program to eradicate polio worldwide, and approved Foundation Grants. We thank Chris for his generosity and are glad that he chose to join our club. 
Bon Voyage for Outbound Exchange Students
On July 30, Rotary District 6460 had a Bon Voyage Lunch for Rotary Outbound Youth Exchange Students. Bill Kempiners, our Youth Exchange Officer, presented the two high school students our club is sponsoring with our club's flag for showing and sharing in their host countries. 
The two Outbound Youth Exchange Students we are sponsoring for the 2022-2023 academic year are Mark McDonald (image on left), who  will be headed to Bondues in northern France, and Carmen Correa (image on right), who is going to Kleinich in western Germany. Both high school students will live with host families and are co-sponsored by local Rotary Clubs in the host countries.
Upcoming Programs and Events
Our New Club Services Director Ross Hodel is arranging for programs for us in the new Rotary year. Stay tuned for more details on programs.
August 8--Hybrid Club meeting at Maldaners and online via Webex
Tom Swoik, Director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, will speak about gaming in Illinois.

Tom Swoik has been the Executive Director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association for nearly 20 years. He will join us on August 8 to discuss the history and status of gaming in Illinois including casinos, video gaming, horse racing and sports betting. He will particularly highlight its impact on Springfield.

Swoik led the Association through some interesting and hectic times, including helping his members navigate and advocate for the repeal of a 70% tax rate that nearly devastated the industry. The Association also helped its members mitigate the impact of the statewide smoking ban and most recently the gaming industry’s responsibility to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the course of nearly 20 years, Swoik helped the Association reach consensus to help shape innumerable proposals to expand and/or change gaming policy in the state.

Swoik has been involved and represented the casinos of Illinois at numerous regional and national forums and has led the industry in various activities related to Responsible Gaming including acting as the Chairman of the Illinois Alliance on Problem Gambling.

Tom's previous experience included serving as Deputy Administrator-Finance and Administration from November, 1994 through March of 2002 of the Illinois Gaming Board and for a short period in 2001 as Interim Administrator. The Illinois Gaming Board is the regulatory body governing the State’s riverboat gaming industry.  As Deputy Administrator he was responsible for budgetary matters, legislation, data processing, personnel and all accounting for the operations of the Gaming Board.

Tom, who was a career government official, served in various managerial positions at several state agencies.  Prior to going to the Gaming Board he was Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for three years and prior to that served in various capacities at the Illinois State Board of Education for nearly sixteen years.

He is also a former member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. Swoik has a Masters Degree in Education Administration from the University of Illinois-Springfield and received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Murray State University in Kentucky.

Tom and his wife recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and have 2 children and 2 grandchildren.

August 15 – Hybrid Club Meeting at Maldaners and Online Via Webex

Kam Cox, UIUC INFLUENCE Program (NIL-Name, Image, and Likeness) Coordinator and Kent Brown, Associate Athletic Director for Media, will discuss the NIL Program and its challenges and other developments in the Big Ten and UIUC Athletics. 

Kam Cox (image on right) joined Illinois Athletics in June of 2021. His role synchronizes the various aspects of the INFLUENCE program, and he serves as the external and internal point person for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics' approach to NIL. Prior to joining the Illinois staff, Kam practiced business law in New York City at two of the nation’s most prestigious firms, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Covington & Burling.  He earned his undergraduate degree from Auburn University and his law degree from Vanderbilt. In addition to legal practice, he has had experience with athletic programs at Auburn, Vanderbilt, and Rutgers.
Kent Brown (image on left) began his career in athletic communications as an undergraduate student at Illinois in 1986 and served as a graduate assistant from 1987-89. Brown was an assistant sports information director at the UI from 1989-96 before being named the Sports Information Director at Kansas State University in July 1996, where he helped the Wildcats begin competition in the Big 12 Conference. In 2000, Brown returned to Illinois, and has directed the Athletics Communication office since that time. During his career in intercollegiate athletics, Brown has helped publicize teams in two men's basketball Final Fours (1989 and 2005) and 16 football bowl games, including the 1997 Fiesta Bowl, 2002 Sugar Bowl and 2008 Rose Bowl. At Kansas State, he publicized 13 national football award finalists, including the 1998 Davey O'Brien Award winner and Heisman Trophy runner-up (Michael Bishop). At Illinois, Brown has led publicity efforts in men's basketball for two National Players of the Year (Dee Brown, Ayo Dosunmu), three Big Ten Players of the Year (Frank Williams, Brian Cook and Dee Brown) and six consensus All-Americans (Dee Brown-twice, Luther Head, Deron Williams, Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn). With the football program, he helped lead publicity efforts for 1994 Butkus Award winner Dana Howard, 1995 Butkus Award winner Kevin Hardy and 2011 Hendricks Award winner Whitney Mercilus. During his career, Brown has worked with Hall of Fame Coaches Lou Henson, Bill Snyder, Bill Self, Lon Kruger, Gary Wieneke and Itch Jones and has worked under Athletic Directors Neale Stoner, John Mackovic, Ron Guenther, Mike Thomas and Josh Whitman at Illinois, and Max Urich at Kansas State. 
August  22 – Hybrid Club Meeting at Maldaners and Online Via Webex
Social Night  
Club President Randy Erford will lead another friendly challenge designed to help members get to know each other better and have some fun in the process. The smiling faces in the image below relay the fun that we have on our Rotary Social Nights. Bring a guest because social nights are always engaging.
August 29 – Hybrid Club Meeting at Maldaners and Online Via Webex
Speaker Dave Tretter, President of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities, will discuss the challenges facing small colleges and universities.
This topic is timely given the closures of Lincoln and MacMurray Colleges and the downsizing of Lincoln Christian University. David W. Tretter, the fourth President of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities, assumed that position on January 1, 2004, following his selection by the Federations Board of Directors. As the Federation President, Tretter is responsible for coordinating the state and federal public policy advocacy efforts of around 60 Illinois private, non-profit, independent institutions of higher education. In addition, he serves as the key liaison to the Illinois General Assembly, K-12 and higher education agencies, and the media.

Tretter completed undergraduate work at Illinois State University and earned a graduate degree in public administration and a certificate in public budgeting and finance from the University of Illinois. He has lectured on lobbying and state finances and has taught as an adjunct professor of public policy at the University of Illinois. Outside the field of higher education policy, he has published numerous journal articles on the Illinois property tax system. He serves on the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and University State Executives.

August 6 Rotary Family Day at the Ball Park--Sold Out!
Rotary's Family Day at the Ball Game for Literacy is presenting a BONUS game on August 6, between the New York Yankees and the St Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St Louis beginning at 6:15 p.m. The seats are in Sections 271 and 272 (Big Mac Land).  All tickets have been sold! Please don't try to order tickets!

Thanks to those of you who purchased tickets to help increase our Literacy Grant resources! We have raised over $1/2 million in nineteen years! 

The image below is from our Rotary Family Day at the Ball Park on June 26.
Springfield  Frontiers August 27 Golf Outing
For a number of years we have supported the local chapter of Frontiers International in a number of ways:
            1. Youth they support have attended RYLA.
            2. We have a strong attendance at the annual Martin Luther King breakfast in January.
3. A number of members play in the annual golf outing that raises funds for their scholarship programs. 
This year the golf outing will be held on Saturday, August 27 at the Rail Golf Course (image above). Registration and lunch are at noon with a 1:00 p.m. shot gun start. The cost is $125 per golfer.
I am happy to serve as the coordinator for our club's participation.  If you are interested in a fun afternoon with fellow Rotarians and providing support for another community organization, please let me know ASAP.  I will contact Frontiers and inform them of how many golfers we have. You can pay when you register on August 27.
Thanks for all you do for Rotary and for our community.
Harry Mitchell
The Rotary Club of Springfield
2022 Volunteer Opportunities and Thanks
I am so honored and thankful to have been chosen to take over the Director of Community Services position, and I wanted to give a huge shout out to the incomparable Vicki Megginson for working so hard these past few years and giving me so many amazing contacts and information to start this Rotary year off right!
Clean Up Robin Roberts Stadium and Watch a Lucky Horsehoes’ Game on Aug. 4 (Tonight)
Please join us as we collaborate with the Springfield Westside Rotary club to help clean up Robin Roberts Stadium before the Springfield Lucky Horseshoes game this evening (August 4, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.) Participants that purchase a ticket for the game immediately following will be treated with Nate Clemmer's son Cohen's rendition of the National Anthem! 
If there are any cancellations due to weather I will update accordingly through a ClubRunner email. See you there! 
Special thanks to Bill Sturm for signing up to help already!
Megan Norman
Director of Community Service
Ridgely School Micropantry
I'm asking my fellow Rotarian's to continue help with the Ridgely School micropanty (image on right). It's currently inside their school, but will be brought out and positioned at their main entrance at the beginning of August. Please let me know if you are able to help with this amazingly successful  project by taking a two week slot.
Volunteers are needed to monitor and stock the pantry for two shifts each month (Shift A during the first half of the month and shift B during the second half of the month). Feel free to add food to the pantry anytime you are in the area.
Thank you so much for your responses to help with the Ridgely pantry! Between everyone, we are good to go until mid December! I will send out reminder emails a few days in advance of your chosen shifts. 
August A: Bill Sturm
August B: Vicki Megginson
September A: Christine Banks
September B: Harry Mitchell
October A: Kathryn Harris
October B:  John Loftus
November A: Kirk Kellus
November B: Jim Applegate
December A: Megan Norman
December B:
Thank you so much to everyone! Please let me know if you would like to take the second half of December. 
Have an amazing weekend! 
Little Libraries
There will also be opportunities to assist with our Little Libraries by sorting and stocking books. The image below shows the Little Library at Ridgely Elementary School. Feel free to add books to the Ridgely School Little Library at anytime. Information on our other Little Libraries will follow soon.
Central Illinois Foodbank
We will need 10 volunteers for packing food for the Central Illinois Foodbank on the afternoon of August 9 or 10.  Stay tuned for more details. Let me know if you are interested in this opportunity.
Flag Service Project
We have collected and stored the flags until our next deployment for Labor Day (September 5) and Patriots Day (September 11). We installed 550 flags for our Flag Service Project. Thank you to the volunteers who installed flags and lights and collected flags. All flags were in place before the Memorial Day (May 30) weekend and remained in place through Flag Day (June 14) and the Fourth of July holiday.

Many hands make light work! We are recruiting for more folks to help with conduit installations (for new customers) and to take or team up with a spouse/friend/child/fellow Rotarian for a distribution route. This is an excellent service opportunity for just a few hours work. Please consider helping out with this.

Contact John Loftus ( or Marty Michelson ( if you have any questions and about what you could do to volunteer and sign up for this worthwhile projects. Proceeds from flag program help support our community grants program. 

Wooden It Be Lovely Little Black Dress Gala on August 26

Wooden It Be Lovely offers hope to women healing from lives of poverty, addiction, and abuse by providing transitional employment, mentoring, recovery tools, education, community networking, and safe place to stay. The women in the program help refurbish old furniture for sale.

We hope to enlist enough Rotarians to fill a whole table at this fundraiser. Tickets are $100 each. The Gala will be held at the Crowne Plaza from 6:00-9:00 p.m. The event includes a cocktail hour, dinner, dessert, and a swag bag. The program will include testimonials of hope from women in the program and an auction of furniture refurbished by the women as well as dancing. Stay tuned for more details and sign-up sheet. 


Megan Norman, Community Service Director


I implore each one of you to never be shy in offering suggestions for service projects, and I will try my best to fill the big shoes left by Vicki Megginson! Thanks you for everything you do for the community!

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 Membership Application in a new window. You can also download a 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 2022-2023 Rotary Membership Chair
Tony Williams
Record Your Service Hours and Contributions
Please remember to report your service hours and related contributions. 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 Flag Service Project hours and any other volunteer hours that you have not reported. 
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102-2060 Winston Park Drive, Oakville, ON, L6H 5R7
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