The Rotary Club of

September 7, 2023 Newsletter

We had a great time at our August 28 Social Night at Papa John's Restaurant. We will be back at Maldaner's for our September 11 Club meeting. Outbound Exchange student Mark McDonald will speak about his experiences in France. See President's Comments and Upcoming Programs and Events for more information. 

Comments from President Travis
Social Night at Papa Frank's Restaurant on August 28!
Our off-site Social Night meeting at Papa Frank's Restaurant on August 28 was a great success. The attendance was strong and the meeting promoted warm warm conversations and lots of fun as indicated by the lead image and those included below.
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.
Rotary Exchange Student Will Speak at September 11 Club Meeting
Please note that we made a change in speakers for our September 11 club meeting. Kathy Johnson's presentation about her experiences as diplomat has been rescheduled for later in the Rotary year. On September 11, our former Rotary Outbound Exchange student Mark McDonald will speak about his experiences as a foreign exchange student in France during the 2022-2023 academic year. Please join us to learn more about the rich experiences we sponsor for outbound exchange students. The image on the left shows Mark with his Youth Exchange Officer, Bill Kempiners, when he spoke at our club meeting prior to his trip to France.  
Meeting Link through June 2024 changed the Webex meeting information.
Occurs on Mondays effective Monday, July 10, 2023 from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM, (UTC-05:00) Central Time (US & Canada)
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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 ( 
Second Flag Installation Completed
Our second flag deployment for this year's Flag Service Project got underway on August 28. Flags were installed by September 1 so they were in place for Labor Day weekend and Labor Day (September 4). These flags will remain in place for the commemoration of Patriot's Day on September 11 and then will be picked up and taken back to our storage warehouse (starting on September 12). Thanks to all the volunteers who installed flags for this second round, including Ross Hodel and John Webb who provided the images (above and on the left). As is their tradition, they celebrated the completion of installation of flags for their flag route with ice cream (image below). Participation in this project is fun and rewarding. It is not unusual for home owners to come out and thank you for installing their flag! Let John Loftus know if you would like to help! See Volunteer opportunities for more information.
There are many tasks that need to be done to make the flag project a success. Bill Sturm provided the image on the right showing flag service volunteers Tony Williams, Barry Tobias, and Alec Tobias proudly standing with the new shelving they assembled for the flag warehouse to replace the plastic shelving that collapsed in the heat. Bill thanked Alec for supervising his dad Barry and Tony.
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 enjoyed meeting him at our August 28 social night and look  forward to learning more about him.
Installation of New Inbound Exchange Students 
On Saturday, August 26, the 2023-24 Inbound class from Rotary District 6460 was installed at a district training session in Jacksonville. Our club is co-sponsoring Nicholas P. Sedijotomo (PS) with the Midtown Club. PS is second from left in the photo.  District 6460 clubs are sponsoring six Inbounds this year, including PS. The other students and the Club sponsors include Lavinia Dametto (Brazil), Galesburg Rotary Club; Phil Liao (Taiwan), Galesburg Rotary Club; Yago Mele Sanz (Spain), Jacksonville Rotary Club; Tommy Demarchi (Italy), Macomb Centennial Rotary Club; and Mathilde Cescon (France), Springfield Sunrise.
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. 
September 11 Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs at 5:30 p.m. (Board Meeting at 4:00 p.m.)
Mark McDonald, Rotary Outbound Exchange Student: My Experiences in France as a Rotary Exchange Student
Mark will be our featured speaker. We sponsored Mark (image below) as an Rotary Outbound Exchange Student in France during the 2022-2023 academic year. The image below shows Mark with his Youth Exchange Officer from our club, Bill Kempiners, just before he departed for his academic year abroad. Mark is currently a senior at Rochester High School, and his career goal is to serve as a State Department foreign officer or the equivalent in another U.S. agency. Please join us to learn more about the important life experiences that we help provide through the Rotary Youth Exchange Student Program.

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 completed installations for Labor Day (September 4) weekend and the commemoration of Patriot's Day on September 11. Teams will be picking up flags after September 11 and returning them to the warehouse. See the article above for more information on this round of installation and pick up of flags. The image on the left shows Ross Hodel, Randy Erford, and John Webb installing flags on May 24.
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!  
Please contact John Loftus ( if you would like to help with any aspect of our Flag Service project.
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.
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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102-2060 Winston Park Drive, Oakville, ON, L6H 5R7
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