The Rotary Club of

August 10, 2023 Newsletter

At our August 14 Club Meeting, Steve Ettinger (image above), Executive Director of the Illinois Conservation Foundation, will discuss their efforts to foster and support ecological, educational, and outdoor programs that benefit the public. Please join us at Maldaners Upstairs for this informative program.

Comments from President Travis
July 24 Presentation by Mike Coffey on the BOS Center
We hope you didn't miss State Representative Mike Coffey's (image on left) presentation on the Bank of Springfield (BOS) Center. Mike is the Chairman of the Springfield Metropolitan Exposition and Auditorium Authority, which governs the BOS Center. He spoke about plans for the Center and all the benefits it brings to our community.
Rotary Family Day at the Ballpark
Thanks to all of you who braved the ominous weather (image below provided by Bonnie Styles) and participated in Rotary Family Day at the Ballpark on July 29. Proceeds from the event support the District's annual Literacy Grants program. We had a full bus for the roundtrip from Springfield and great ticket sales and turn out from our Club and the District for the annual Cubs-Cardinals Game. Special thanks are due to Rod Buffington for spearheading this fundraiser and to Harry Mitchell for serving as Bus Captain. See the story below for more information.
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. We are exploring the possibility of holding our August 28 meeting at  Papa Frank's Restaurant (4111 Wabash Ave., Springfield, IL 62711). We will let you know when the final decision on the location of  this meeting is made. We will reserve a section in the selected restaurant for our group, and members will order and pay for their own meals. We hope you will join us for dinner, drinks, and conservation.
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)
5:30 PM  |  (UTC-05:00) Central Time (US & Canada)  |  1 hr 30 mins
When it's time, join the Webex meeting here.
More ways to join:
Join from the meeting link
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Meeting number (access code): 2591 969 2692
Meeting password: B89UhMRTJU2 (28984678 from video systems)
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Join by phone
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Reserve Your Maldaners Meals
Please reserve your reservations for dinner at Maldaner's! 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 ( 
Rotary Family Day at the Ballpark
Rotary Family Day at the Ball Park on July 29 was a successful event despite the torrential downpour on the way to the park and the ominous weather after we arrived. The rains stopped and Rotary dignitaries and our event were recognized (image above; special thanks to Marge Verschuyl-Ogle from Springfield South for capturing this wonderful image). Our own Rod Buffington was recognized (far left, image above) and got to throw a first pitch after he received instructions from the Cardinals mascot (image on left). Numerous Rotary dignitaries joined Rod and our group (image below).
District Governor and former member of our club Neal Miller (image on left) was also seated in our section as was our past District Governor William Durall, his son and daughter-in-law (image below).
Here are a few images of Rotarians you should recognize (images below):
The game started about 2 hours late, and the Cubs beat the Cards 5 to 1. A good time was had by all, even the Cards fans. Rod announced on our bus on the way home that it's the 20th anniversary of the Rotary Family Day at the Ball Park fundraiser! In these 20 years, District 6460 has sold 43,000 baseball tickets and has raised over $580,000 for Literacy. He noted that we have sold enough tickets to fill the entire stadium. Wow! The applications for the 2023-2024 Literacy Grants are available on the District Website and are due by October 31, 2023. Our club has funded numerous great literacy project through this program.
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 14 Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Uptairs at 5:30 p.m. (Board Meeting at 4:00 p.m.)
Steve Ettinger, The Illinois Conservation Foundation
Steve Ettinger is a Springfield native who graduated from Springfield High School before going on to earn his Bachelor's Degree in psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and his Master's Degree in Political Studies from UIS. A career in politics eventually led him back to his passion ─ the outdoors. Steve is an Eagle Scout and former Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). He currently serves as Executive Director of the Illinois Conservation Foundation, a 501c3 organization whose purpose is to raise private funds to support the IDNR. He will speak about the Foundation's role in fostering and supporting ecological, educational, and outdoor recreational programs for the benefit of the public at large.
August 21 No Rotary Club Meeting
August 28 Rotary Club Meeting offsite at 5:30 p.m.
 Social Night at a Springfield Restaurant
We are exploring the possibility of having this social night at at Papa Franks, 4111 Wabash Ave., Springfield, IL We will notify you when the final selection of a location is made. We plan to reserve 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.
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 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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102-2060 Winston Park Drive, Oakville, ON, L6H 5R7
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