The Rotary Club of

February 29, 2024 Newsletter

Foundation Night on February 26 was a joyous occasion. Our Giving Circles recognized five Paul Harris Fellows at this event (lead image) and more will be recognized at an upcoming meeting. See the story by John Webb below for more details. Our February 19 Social Night at Home Plate Bar and Grill in Springfield was well attended (see Presidents Comments below). There will be no meeting on March 4, but join us at Maldaners on March 11 to hear Derek Harms speak about recreational opportunities in the Springfield Park District.

Comments from President Travis
February 19 Social Night at Home Plate Bar and Grill
Our Social Night at the Home Plate Bar and Grill in Springfield was well attended and promoted some good conversations among our members. Thanks to all who attended this meeting on a cold February night. We were happy that the patio area is enclosed and well heated.
February 26 Foundation Night
We held our special Foundation Night at Maldaners Upstairs on February 26. We offer special thanks to Harry Mitchell for serving as Acting Foundation Chair and Master of Ceremonies. It was a well attended meeting (images on left and below). Giving Circle members recognized 5 Paul Harris Fellows (lead image for this Newsletter).  Unfortunately our Community Paul Harris Fellow Hope Humphrey Walker was ill and unable to attend as were Joe O'Beirne from the Chancellor's Circle and his recipient Cindy Denby. We will recognize these individuals at a future meeting. Thanks to Shaun Tobias and John Webb for taking pictures at this event. See the article by John Webb in this newsletter for more information.
No Club Meeting on March 4
Please remember that we are not meeting on March 4!
March 11 Presentation on the Springfield Park District
Please join us on March 11 for our club meeting in Maldaners Upstairs. Derek Harms of the Springfield Park District will speak about recreational opportunities and will update us on what's going on at Rotary Park.
PET and Spring Training at UIS on March 16 and 17
President Elects Training (PET) and Spring Training for all Rotarians will take place at the UIS Student Union building again this year. PETS will be on March 17, and Megan Reynolds, our President-Elect, will participate! Presidents Elect and all Rotarians are encouraged to attend Spring Training on March 17. Registration for Spring Training opens at 9:00 a.m. and Sessions end at 3:00. There is no cost to participate in Spring Training! The keynote speaker is MJ Rogers, a professional archery coach. MJ has coached archers on every continent, including Paralympics in London, Rio, and Japan.  Sign up now through the District Website (
2024 Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA)
RYLA will be held on April 12-14 at Lake Williamson in Carlinville. This program is for high school sophomores and emphasizes leadership and citizenship. Students are sponsored by Rotary Clubs and participate free of charge. Our club regularly sponsors students to participate in this program. The sponsorship cost this year is $250 per student. Students must be registered by April 1 to receive a t-shirt.
Mark Your Calendar for the All Club Fundraiser Event
The All-Club Chicken Dinner fundraiser for Polio Plus will be included in a Trivia Night on Saturday,  April 13 (6:00-10:00 p.m.) at Ace Sign Company. The event will include a 50-50 Raffle and a cash bar.  It is hoped that each club will sponsor three tables. A gold level table sponsor purchases 10 tickets at $75 each. We hope that we can at least sponsor a table at this level.  Let me know if you are interested in participating in this event and purchasing a ticket for $75.  
Meeting Link through June 2024 changed the Webex meeting information.
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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 ( 
2024 Foundation Night 
On Monday, February 26, the Rotary Club of Springfield, Illinois held its annual Foundation Night, a celebration of the Rotary International Foundation, at Maldaners Upstairs (image above). The event featured presentations of Paul Harris Fellows from members of our Giving Circles and recognition of Hope Humphrey Walker as this year's Community Paul Harris Fellow. A Paul Harris Fellow is a person who has been recognized as having done something significant for others.
Harry Mitchell, Acting International Foundation Chair for our club (image below), standing in for Nate Clemmer who has been ill, served as master of ceremonies. The 2024-2025 District Governor Elect Dan O’Brien; Mark Hilliard, Springfield Westside club and Assistant Governor; and our Club President Travis Magoulias, assisted with the presentations.
Unfortunately, Hope Humphrey Walker was unable to attend due to illness; therefore, she will have her Community Award presentation made at a later date.
Each year the five members of each of our six Paul Harris Fellow Giving Circles donates $200 to reach the $1000 donation required to recognize a Paul Harris Fellow. In rotation, one person from each circle names a Paul Harris Fellow each year, and these individuals are presented with a Paul Harris Fellow certificate, pin, and medallion.
Joe O’Beirne of the Chancellor’s Circle selected Cindy Denby as a Paul Harris Fellow, but both were unable to attend due to illness. She will receive her recognition at a later date. The following individuals were chosen and recognized as a Paul Harris Fellows by our Club’s other five Giving Circles: 
Brian Mitchell by the President’s Circle. Selected and presented by Harry Mitchell, his father.
Bruce Hays by the Friendship Circle. Selected and presented by Bill Smith.
John Webb by the Fellowship Circle. Selected and presented by Bill Sturm.
Eric Murray by the Director’s Circle. Selected and presented by Barry Tobias.
Stacy (Atchison) Reed by the 1913 Circle. Selected and presented by Chris Atchison, her father.
CONGRATULATIONS to this year’s Paul Harris Fellows!!
Paul Harris was the founder and organizer of the first Rotary Club in Chicago in 1905. He was founder of the Rotary idea, and the first president of the worldwide organization, Rotary International. Paul Harris died in 1947.
Upon his death, memorial gifts poured in to honor the founder of Rotary. From that time, the Rotary Foundation has been achieving the objective of furthering “understanding and friendly relations between peoples of different nations.”
Peace Committee Update and Grant Awards
Over the last several months the Peace Committee reviewed opportunities to support work in Springfield promoting peace through work to reduce the impact of economic disparities and the harmful effects of racism. The Committee selected Helping Hands and The Outlet to partner with this year. Helping Hands is a key player in the “Heartland Housed” initiative to eliminate homelessness in Springfield in five years. The Outlet works with young African American men who are growing up without the presence of a father in the home. We developed a set of priorities in partnership with these organizations for that work which were approved by the club. The committee then went into action.
  1. We secured a Rotary Club Grant with a generous match from Central Baptist Church and our club that enabled us to provide multiple high quality refurbished laptops and secure storage for those laptops to Helping Hands. Our thanks to Rotarian Dave Fowler and Computer Banc for guiding us through this process. The new homeless facility (the ribbon cutting was just last month) now has a computing facility and supplies which will support clients’ efforts to seek and apply for jobs, learn computer skills, and connect with their families. It also will support children there with their schoolwork.
  2. We also received a Rotary Literacy Grant to support work with The Outlet. We used that grant as a match to apply for a much larger grant from the “Healing Illinois: Building a bridge to a racially equitable Illinois” program funded by the State and the Fielding Foundation.  We recently heard that our project will be funded. With this grant, we will launch, with the Outlet, an exciting arts-based program in partnership with the Social Justice Academy ( to support the young men of The Outlet and spark constructive conversations in our community about ways we can foster peace through creating a more equitable and inclusive Springfield.
In addition to the grants, we are connecting our two partners with various Rotary programs (RYLA, Little Libraries, etc.) that can support their clients in various ways. Our hope is our work will lead to our Downtown Rotary Club becoming a Peace Club, among the first in IL, joining other clubs around the world fully committed to this work. Stay tuned.
July 13 is Rotary Family Day at the Ball Park
Mark your calendar now. Rod Buffington has proclaimed that July 13, 2024 is Rotary Family Day at the Ball Park. The Cardinals will be playing the Cubs at 1:15 p.m. District Rotary Clubs need to sell 2000 tickets. The tickets are greatly discounted at $60 each. Rod is arranging for two buses to go from Springfield to Busch Stadium in St. Louis. He is looking for volunteers to handle logistics for the buses and serve as bus captains. He reminded members that you can sell tickets to non-Rotarians including family, friends, and colleagues. Proceeds from the game support District Literacy Grants.
Potential International Project with Rotary Club of Bajamar
At our February 12 Board and Club meetings, Dave Fowler described a potential International Project with the Rotary Club of Bajamar in Baja, Mexico. Katherine Turner of Baja Bridges fame and a common collaborator with our club belongs to the Bajamar Rotary Club and is encouraging us to serve as the U.S. sponsor for this project. The Bajamar Club has planned a project to develop the ZARCO Sports Center to fulfill a community recreational need in a very poor area in the Valle de Guadalupe, just east of Ensenada, Mexico and provide much-needed facilities for families to enjoy. The facility currently serves 50 plus soccer teams ranging in age from 6 to young adults, volleyball enthusiasts, and families using the aging playground facilities. There are no restroom facilities so the Bajamar Rotary Club is in the process of securing a number to apply for a Rotary International Grant ($40,000) to develop the restroom facilities. The Bajamar Club is looking for U.S. Clubs to serve as the U.S. sponsor for the project. Our Club's Board expressed interest in the project and gave Dave the go ahead to develop a Memorandum of Understanding with the Rotary Club of Bajamar to bring back to our Club and the Board for review. Bob Stuart, our Club's International Services Director, is querying Board members about interests in partnering and contributing some of the funds set aside for international projects in the foundation budget. 
Travis to Serve as Youth Exchange Officer
William Kempiners announced at our February 12 meeting that President Travis Magoulias has agreed to serve as our Club's Youth Exchange Officer after he completes his term as President on June 30. Travis is shown above with his son Cort at one of our Club meetings. Bill noted that our Club will be sponsoring an Inbound Exchange Student in the coming year. We are looking for a host family in the area of Springfield High School for the incoming student. 
Upcoming Programs and Events
Please remember that we are trying our new schedule with 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. 
March 4, 2024 No Rotary Club Meeting 
March 11, 2024 Board Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 4:30 p.m.
March 11, 2024 Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 5:30 p.m. 
Derek Harms, Executive Director of Springfield Park District: Springfield Park District Recreational Opportunities & Rotary Park Update
Derek grew up on a working farm south of Springfield, Illinois and earned a Bachelor of Science in Recreation Parks and Tourism Administration from Western Illinois University. It was at Western where he met his wife while performing volunteer work in the recreation department. They were later married and now have three daughters.

He began his professional career in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago where he held progressively higher positions in leadership and management at the Wood Dale Park District, Bloomingdale Park District and Elk Grove Park District. Although Derek lived and worked in the Chicago Suburbs for several years, he always considered Central Illinois his home.
In 2007, Derek moved to Springfield to accept the position of Director of Recreation at the Springfield Park District and was later appointed by the Park Board of Trustees as the Springfield Park District’s Executive Director in 2013. Under Harms’s leadership, the Springfield Park District has accomplished many significant milestones. The District developed a comprehensive master plan, ADA transition plan, secured millions of dollars in outside grant funding to reduce the burden on local taxpayers while improving local parks and facilities, eliminated negative fund balances and earned multiple credit rating upgrades from Moody Investor’s Service resulting in the District’s highest credit rating ever obtained. 
Throughout his diverse career, he has led and managed both the visioning and construction phases of countless multimillion-dollar community wide park re-development projects including the construction of a $10 million water theme park, community wide recreation centers, athletic complexes, skate parks, dog parks, pump track, splash pad, in-line hockey rink, zoo animal exhibits enclosures and much more.

Throughout his personal and professional life, Derek has witnessed the powerful impact that recreation can have on individuals, families and communities. He believes recreation is critical to fueling the human spirit, building strong family ties, and creating a series of connections with nature and our environment that are as essential to life as air and water.
March 18, 2024 Rotary Off-site Social Night, 5:30 p.m.
Location to be announced.
March 25, 2024 Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 5:30 p.m.
Lynette Strode, Program Manager: Illinois Assistive Technology Program (ITAP)
April 1, 2024 No Rotary Club Meeting
April 8, 2024 Rotary Board Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 4:30 p.m.
April 8, 2024 Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 5:30 p.m.
Rod Buffington, Rotary Club of Springfield: Art and My 50 Years in Rotary
April 15, 2024 No Rotary Club Meeting
April 22, Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 5:30 p.m.
Dave Fuchs, Public Works Director: Springfield Department of Public Works Services and Programs
April 29, Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 5:30 p.m.
May 6, 2024 Rotary Off-site Social Night, 5:30 p.m.
Location to be announced.
May 13, 2024 Rotary Board Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 4:30 p.m.
May 13, 2024 Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 5:30 p.m.
May 20, 2024 Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 5:30 p.m.
May 27, 2024 No Rotary Club Meeting
June 3, 2024 Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 5:30 p.m.
Distribution of Community Grants from the Springfield Rotary Foundation
June 10, 2024 Rotary Board Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 4:30 p.m.
June 10, 2024 Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 5:30 p.m.
June 17, 2024 Rotary Off-site Social Night, 5:30 p.m.
Location to be announced. 
June 24, 2024 Rotary Club Installation of Officers Picnic
Recognition of Club Members and 2023-2024 Officers and Installation of 2024-2025 Officers and Board
Location and time to be announced.
Be a Food Pantry Superhero
Here's your chance to be a pantry superhero!  Join us in stocking the Ridgely Elementary School micro pantry for two weeks. Your commitment will ensure that families and children have access to essential items when they need them most.  Whether it's a can of soup, a box of cereal, or toiletries, your contribution will brighten someone's day.  Reach out to Allie Montney at or call 217-494-6901 to become a beacon of hope for those in need.  Every item you place on those shelves is a small gesture that collectively makes a huge impact!
Information and Shifts for Ridgely Micropantry Volunteers
Thank you for signing up for a  micro pantry volunteer shift. Your time and effort are greatly appreciated by the community we serve. Below are the details including your two week shift, location of the pantry, and suggestions on items to collect and distribute.  If you are unable to complete your shift, please reach out and we'll work on a better period of time to meet your needs. If you have suggestions for future volunteers, please let me know and we'll adapt the program along the way.
 Ridgely Elementary School 
 2040 North 8th Street
 Springfield, IL  62702
 Main entrance to the school (look for the yellow and purple pantry by the front  doors).
The image below shows the location of the pantry at the entrance to the school.
 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.
Time Commitment:   Two consecutive weeks (1-2 restocking visits per week)
 Volunteer Schedule for Winter 2023 - Spring 2024
Thanks to Bonnie Styles for stocking the pantry for the December 17-31 shift during the holiday season. Bonnie provided the image on the left that shows the special items she stocked in the pantry for Christmas Eve and Christmas. She restocked the pantry on December 27 and December 30 (image below) to be certain that it was ready for New Years Eve. Each time she checked the pantry, there were only a few canned goods left, including some green beans and chickpeas. This pantry continues to be heavily used during the winter months.
Thanks to Bill Sturm for stocking the pantry from January 1-14, which has included some extremely cold weather! Special thanks to Rod and Rosemary who took the next shift (January 25-28) and also encountered severely cold weather. Thanks to Jim Applegate for stocking the pantry from Jan. 29- Feb. 11 and to Harry Mitchell for stocking from Feb. 12-25.
Upcoming Schedule:
February 26 -  March 10: Sheila Mack
March 11 - March 24: Ross Hodel
March 25 - April 7: Randy Erford
April 8 - April 21: Jason Huddleston
April 22 - May 5: Bill Kempiners
Micro Pantry Coordinator:  Allie Montney
Phone 217-494-6901 (for the quickest response, please text)
Things I've noticed that may be helpful:  Stocking the pantry on a weekend or after 4:00PM during the weekdays means less people and easier to get a parking spot.  Ask friends and family to donate unused household items for the pantry that you can collect.  If purchasing bags of fresh fruit or veggies, stock them individually so that more in need can take what they need.  It's going to be freezing outside soon, so consider if the items will no longer be good if frozen.  ALDI grocery stores have prices that cannot be beat. 
Volunteer Update
At our January 8 Board and Club meetings, President Travis reported that our 2023-2024 Club's Community Service Director, Madeline Boner had resigned as Community Service Director and from our Club because her job is requiring more work than she had anticipated. We wish her the best in her career and hope that she will be able to come back to us in the future when the duties of life and work are perhaps a little less demanding. We thank all the volunteers who gave and are giving generously of their time on service projects this fall and over the holiday season. Work on our ongoing service projects continues, and we thank all who have stepped up to help coordinate these activities.
Stocking our Little Libraries
Jason Huddleston ( and Allison Montney ( have taken on the important task of coordinating the stocking of our Little Libraries. We previously built a  series of Little Libraries with a support from a District Club Grant and secured a large number of books that were donated by a group in St. Louis. The books are stored in the Computer Banc warehouse. We thank new members Jason and Allison (far right in image to right) for taking on this important task. 
The image of the Little Library at Ridgely School (to the left) clearly shows that this little library needed to be regularly stocked. Thanks to Jason and Allison for coordinating this project and ensuring that it is well stocked. Let them know if you would like to help.
We also need to help keep our newest Little Library at the old Firehouse well stocked with books (image below)! We thank Kathryn Harris for her work and promotion for this Little Library, which is right across the street from her home! If you would like to help stock this little library and any of the others we have installed in Springfield, please contact Jason and Allison.
Stocking of the Ridgely School Micropantry
We previously installed a Micropantry at Ridgely Elementary School (our adopted school) with support from a District Grant. At our October 23 meeting, Allison Montney volunteered to coordinate the stocking of this micropantry with food, cleaning, and toiletry items. She has implemented a system for volunteers to sign up to stock the pantry for a two week period. If you would like to volunteer to stock this important and regularly used pantry, please let Allison know ( as soon as possible. More information is provided in Allie's article in this Newsletter. 
Flag Service
On September 12-15, Flag Service teams completed the last pick up of flags for 2023 following the commemoration of Patriot's Day (September 11). Teams picked up the flags and returned them to the warehouse. The teams consist primarily of Rotarians, but numerous family members assist Rotarians in this effort. Alec Tobias, son of Barry Tobias, often assists Barry. The image above shows Alec picking up flags in this final round for 2023. The image on the left shows Ross Hodel picking up flags, and the image below shows John Webb and Jim Theis returning flags to the warehouse.
At our September 18 meeting, President Travis extended a special thanks to all the individuals who participated in flag installation and pick in 2023. Please consider volunteering for the Flag Service project. There is much work to be done throughout the year. Bill Sturm relayed that there is a current need for volunteers to help replace faded flags with new ones and help transfer good flags from bent poles to new poles. If you are interested in assisting with this task please contract Bill Sturm ( Please contact John Loftus ( if you would like to help with any aspect of our Flag Service project. It's rewarding and raises lots of money for our community grants program!  
Citrus Campaign
As noted by our Warehouse Czar Bill Smith, this year's successful campaign had ended and has raised monies for our community grants program. We thank all the Rotarians who ordered and sold citrus, and all those who worked on the planning of the campaign and in the warehouse.
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.
Be sure to record the service you conducted over the holidays. The images below show Rotarians from our Club volunteering on holiday projects.
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102-2060 Winston Park Drive, Oakville, ON, L6H 5R7
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