Rock Falls Rotary Club

January 2017
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Past President
Public Image Chair
Web Site
Welcome to Rock Falls Rotary !

Welcome to our Club!

Rock Falls

Service Above Self

We meet Mondays at 6:00 PM
Harvest Time Church
1802 Dixon Ave.
Rock Falls, IL  61071
United States
District Site
Venue Map
Home Page Stories


January Rock Falls Rotary Student of the Month is Kaitlin Brown, daughter of Shane and Michelle Brown. Kaitlin was selected by staff at Rock Falls High School based on the criteria of the Rotary Four-Way Test of Things we say, think, and do:


1.  Is it the truth?

2.  Is it fair to all concerned?

3.  Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

4.  Will it build goodwill and better friendships?


Results of the First Annual End Polio Now Walk are still coming in, at which 46 participants registered which included 2 polio survivors and five district leadership including: PDG Bob Newlon from Oregon Rotary, PDG Leo Patterson from Dixon Rotary, DGN Steve Kuhn from Sycamore Rotary, DGNE Kathy Kwiat-Hess from Rockford Rotary, PDG Ruth Lee, District Foundation Chair, from Rock Island,  who joined members of the public and the two sponsoring Rotary Clubs of Sterling Noon and Rock Falls.
The free Coloma Park Shelter Rental was won by Kim Velazquez. Before walkers began their journey along Hennepin Canal  and across the Rock River footbridge to the turn-around at the Gazebo on the Sterling side of the river,  the photo below of all participants was taken outside the Larson Shelter.
Money raised through donations at the event itself, profit from sale of End Polio T-shirts, and Rotarian individual  and club donations to Polio Plus of Rotary Foundation are presently at  $2733.00.  This amount will be tripled to  $8199.00 to eradicate polio, thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation doubling all donations for ending polio.
Polio is almost eradicated.  In 2016 only 26 cases have been reported, those being in the last countries to be declared polio-free: Afghanistan and Pakistan; two of the cases did occur in Nigeria which had been declared polio free back in 2015.  That is exactly why it is so important to continue this fight against this disease, so we can truly say, it has been eradicated!
Participants gathered at Centennial Park for the First Annual End Polio Now Walk on Saturday morning, October 22, sponsored by the two Rotary Clubs of Sterling Noon and Rock Falls.  Each participant is indicating “We are this close” to eradicating polio in our lifetime!
Join the Rock Falls and the Sterling Noon Rotary Clubs as they host the End Polio Now Walk on Saturday, Oct. 22 at Centennial Park in Rock Falls. Registration for the walk will begin at 8:15 a.m. at the Larson Shelter within the park, with the walk beginning at 9 a.m. Registration is free, but donations will be accepted. For a minimum of a $20 donation you can receive a free t-shirt (while supplies last). The walk will follow the Hennepin Canal north, crossing the Rock River on the walking path to Sterling and will return the same route. The public is encouraged and welcome to participate.

Bob Sondgeroth (left), Youth Committee Chair of Rock Falls Rotary, welcomes and congratulates Bailey Bickett (center) selected as August Rock Falls Rotary Student of the Month and Rollie Elder as September Rotary Student of the Month. Staff at Rock Falls High School selects the Student of the Month based on the Rotary 4-Way Test of the things Rotarians think, say, and do:

•Is it the truth?
•Is it fair to all concerned?
•Will it build goodwill and friendship?...
•Is it beneficial to all concerned?

The inbound youth exchange students of our district. This was the first meeting at which each met each other for the first time along with the leadership of the district.
Maggy meets district chair of Youth Exchange Committee Tom Brooks at the Youth Exchange meeting in Loves Park.
Maggy, our 2016-2017 exchange student from Italy, introduces the Sterling exchange student Eye at the recent YEO meeting.

Rock Falls Rotary President-Elect, Jim Geer (far right) exchanged the Rotary district banner of the Rock Falls Rotary Club with Allegra, the short term Rotary student's  Rotary district in Verona, Italy.  Allegra is staying for a month in Morrison with the Stan Steines family (left to right) Stan Steines, Deb Milder, Madison Steines, and  Allegra.  Short term exchange is a 3 - 4 week actual exchange between two students.  Madison had enjoyed July in Italy, and Allegra is now enjoying her first visit to the USA in Illinois.  Rock Falls Rotarians heard about the Short Term exchange program available to students who wish to travel, but not to spend a full year out of the USA.

Amber Rasmussen, daughter of Troy and Mary Rasmussen, receives one of the Rock Falls Rotary scholarships to graduating seniors from President Dave Chavira. Amber plans to attend Illinois State University with a major in Public Relations.

The Ohm family from Denmark, one of three who had hosted Tess Schaefer while a Rotary Exchange Student in Denmark from August 2015 to June 2016, came to visit their 'daughter Tess',  her family, and her family of Rock Falls Rotarians.  Presenting the Danish Rotary Club flag to President Dave Chavira, are Tess Schaefer, host father Søren,  host sisters Eva and  Katrina, host mother Kirsten who is a Lutheran Pastor and Rotarian, and host sister Petrea Ohm. The Ohm family are spending a week in Rock Falls with plans to visit Chicago before returning to Denmark.




Congratulations are exchanged at Rotary Park in Rock Falls when 2015-2016 President Julie Logan inducted David Chavira as the President of Rock Falls Rotary for 2016-2017 by giving to him the President's Lapel Pin. Dave in turn thanked Julie for her presidency year by presenting to her a plaque of appreciation. Rotary Year is from July 1 through June 30. 

The 77th Annual Rock Falls Rotary Corn Boil benefits community and youth Rotary programs. Tickets are $8 for adults; $4 children (under 12). Includes Pulled Pork BBQ or Hot Dog, Chips, Beverage and ALL the corn you can eat. Eat in, carry-out using our drive-thru service, or pre-order (must be 10 or more orders) in advance for pickup anytime after 11 a.m. To pre-order fax business name, contact name, phone and number of meals, including # of each kind of sandwich to 815-625-3726 or email to, by Noon, Monday, July 18.
The Rock Falls Rotary Club celebrated their 80th Anniversary with an invitation to all Past Presidents to come to celebrate and share the history of their presidencies.  Rock Falls Rotary was founded on June 6, 1936.  Rotary Clubs served as the Chamber of Commerce at that time and included the city fathers and business owners in Rock Falls.
Those who shared their year as a Rock Falls Rotary President included the following from left to right:
Julie Logan 2015 – 2016; Bob Sondgeroth 2008-2009 and 2013 – 2014; Pat Novak 2001 – 2002 and 20003 – 2004; Mark Young 2000-2001; Mike Albert 1998-1999; Pam Erby 1995-1996 and 2014 – 2015; David Blanton 1996 – 1997; Betty Clementz 1997 – 1998; Joe Wetzell 1991-1992; Bill Wescott 1986 – 1987; Glen Kuhlemier 1977 – 1978; and Carl Gates 1974 – 1975.

Sarah Willey, Rock Falls Rotary member, had invited Marc Geil to share his experience as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student abroad in Okinawa some twenty years ago. Marc stated that his assignment to Japan as a Rotary Youth Exchange student was the proverbial door that opened to him, as it changed his career choice. He credits his interest in International Business as the result of that year long experience in which he realized the world was much larger than Sterling/Rock Falls. His language skills have supported his career change from education to international business as he presently works at Wahl Clipper. 


Rotary Youth Exchange programs may either be for a long term of one school year (approx. 10 months) or short term in the summer for one month as a host and one month as the guest in the country of one's choice. For any questions concerning the Rotary Youth Exchange program, contact Bob Sondgeroth of Rock Falls Rotary at 625-1495.

Past District Governor Bob Newlon of Sterling is explaining how the UDDT (Urine Diversion Degradable Toilet) he created functions to President of Rock Falls Rotary Julie Logan. Bob recently traveled to the jungle area of the Philippines where he shared how sanitation of human waste will eliminate much disease and early deaths, as well as clean the water sources because of manure removal. The principle is to remove the water content of the manure so pathogens and smell are eliminated. The UDDT may be constructed of a variety of materials - all readliy available. Bob was recently awarded the Rotary International Service Above Self  prestigious award for his work worldwide in the area of clean water and sanitation.
The Rock Falls Rotary Club held a food drive during the months of April and May and recently donated items collected to the Rock River Christian Center Food Pantry in Rock Falls. Bev Mills and Mary Shuman attended the Rotary meeting and shared the history and benefits to the community of the panty.  Pictured are Rock Falls Rotarians (front row l to r) Jan Whitlock, Linda Murray, Sarah Willey, Bev Mills and Mary Shuman both with the Rock River Christian Center Food Pantry, Pam Erby and Bob Sondgeroth; (back row l to r) Mike Albert, Gail Wright, Rotary Foreign Exchange Rebound Student Tess Schaeffer, Deb Gonzalez, Julie Logan and Karen Voss.
Dave Chavira, Rock Falls Rotary Literacy Chair, accepts the two certificates of achievement which were presented at the recent Rotary District 6420 Conference: Club Achievement Award in meeting all criteria for an outstanding Literacy Program and Continuing Excellence Award for the club's 19 year program of members reading to students weekly at East Coloma/Nelson in grades K through grade four. Of 48 clubs in the district, Rock Falls was one of five so noted and honored.

Dave Chavira, Rock Falls Rotarian, had invited  Director of Youth Services, Mai Britt (Back row right), to share the purpose and activities of GPA (Giving Power to Adolescents). She also stated that there now exists a J(unior) GPA for students of middle school age. Former student members of GPA, Samantha Butts (front left) and Sierra Cassidy, (front right) shared their experiences in support the organization.

WHAT     Candidates are being sought for two Rotary college scholarships. Applicants must be:
  • college freshmen who plan to study abroad their junior year or
  • upperclassmen/college graduates who want to complete a graduate year abroad.
District Grant Scholarships are for undergraduates/graduates who seek to spend the 2017-2018 academic year abroad. This scholarship provides funding for round-trip transportation, tuition and fees, room and board, some educational supplies and brush-up language training, if necessary, to a maximum of $25,000. The applicant should plan to study in a vocational area that is consistent with the mission of the Rotary Foundation, “Doing Good in the World.” Part of the experience will include performing service work with their host Rotary Club.
Global Grant Scholarships are available to students who will pursue a graduate degree abroad during the academic year 2017-2018. It is a $30,000 award for one academic year. Applicants must very closely align their curriculum and future career plans with one or more focus areas of Rotary service:
  • Peace and Conflict Resolution;
  • Disease Prevention and Treatment;
  • Water and Sanitation;
  • Maternal and Child Health;
  • Basic Education and Literacy; and
  • Economic and Community Development.
The awardees will also be responsible for performing a service project abroad consistent with their area of study.
Both scholarships, which are designed to further international understanding and good will, provide for study abroad in more than 200 countries where Rotary Clubs are located. During their studies abroad Rotary scholarship recipients will be “Ambassadors of Goodwill.”
HOW APPLY     Each applicant must be sponsored by his local Rotary Club of residence.  District Interviews will follow in June.  For more information on application process, please contact
George Bass,
Rotary District 6420 Scholarships Chair
WHEN          The deadline for applications is May 13, 2016.

 Rock Falls Rotarian Mark Young (right)  had invited Jim Walters (left), Executive Director of the YWCA, to present a program on his recent appointment to the YWCA of the Rock River Valley. He shared that there are only some 230 YWCAs in the US that belong to the national organization which focuses on: Eliminating Racism and Empowering Women. The hotline for child - elder abuse cases and the shelter in Sterling are two of the programs most used.

Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce named Rock Falls Rotary as the organization deserving of the Shoulder to the Wheel  Award at their annual meeting. This award is presented to the organization which most promotes the community of Rock Falls in the spirit of volunteerism in making the community a better place to live. Rock Falls Rotary is 22 members strong with great emphasis upon support for literacy and youth of the community and will be celebrating its 80th anniversary in June.  members of the club who were present at the annual dinner included: (left to right) Karen Voss, President Julie Logan, Pam Erby, Betty Clementz, and Bob Sondgeroth.
Mary Nelson (right) of University of IL Extension  shares the newly constructed Storybook Walking Trail from Avenue D to McNeil Road in Rock Falls with Rock Falls Rotary member Cheryl Faber (left). The storybook,  Pick a Pocket of Prairie, was selected as the first book to be posted in laminated form to be read to children as they walk the trail of 1/4 mile. What a wonderful opportunity for families to be able to walk outdoors, appreciate nature, and at the same time to share the love of literacy!
President Julie Logan (left) presents an award from Rotary International to Betty Clementz (right) for her proposal of two new members to her Rock Falls Rotary Club in the past year.  The award was a bronze pin back for her Rotary lapel pin.
 President Julie Logan (right) congratulates Liz Lego, left, daughter of Joel and Amy Lego, recently named the February Rotary Student of the Month at Rock Falls Rotary.  Her selection by Rock Falls High School Staff was based on the Four Way Test of what every Rotarian thinks, says, and does: 
1.  Is it the truth?
2.  Is it fair to all concerned?
3.  Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4.  Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Gail Wright, right, was recently inducted into membership of Rotary International in the Rock Falls Rotary Club. Shown with her is her sponsoring member, Jim Geer (left). Rotary is a service organization in which the focus is service to one's club, community, vocation, and world. Visit the Rock Falls Rotary website ( for a history of the activities of the club which will be celebrating 80 years in June 2016.
The Rock Falls Rotary Club is currently selling raffle tickets for their $100 Monthly Raffle drawing. Each month beginning with March 2016-February 2017, one ticket will be drawn and the winner will receive $100. All tickets are eligible every month, which means you could win more than once. Tickets are $20 each and available from any Rock Falls Rotarian or check in with us on Facebook or send us an email, and we'll make sure you get a ticket. Hurry, deadline to purchase is the end of February.
Two members of the Rock Falls Rotary,  Past President Pam Erby, (far left) and Jim Geer, (far right) were informed by two members of the Piecemakers Quilt Club, Jan Kinney (middle left) and Linda Geer, (middle right) of the community support provided by the club in the past three years. Close to $20,000 has been donated to local charities that provide for those in need. In addition, the club has made quilts for  the Whiteside County Health Department. This king size quilt is one of many which the club creates to earn monies for this community service from an annual auction held in October at Bethel Reformed Church. The group meets monthly at Wesley Methodist Church.

Cooper Kilberg (left), son of Craig and Rebecca Kilberg, is being welcomed by Past President Pam Erby as the January Student of the Month for Rock Falls Rotary. Staff at Rock Falls High School select  the outstanding seniors based upon the criteria of how the student conducts his/her life, based on the model of the Four Way Test of what every Rotarian thinks, says, and does:

Is it the truth?  Is it fair to all concerned?  Will it build goodwill and better friendships?  Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Four members of the Rock Falls Rotary Club Literacy Committee  - Cheryl Faber, Dave Chavira, Bob Sondgeroth, and Betty Clementz - visited every third grade classroom in the Rock Falls Schools, both public and parochial, to present to each third grade student an age appropriate dictionary as a gift from the Rock Falls Rotary Club.  A short program of how to use a dictionary and introduction to what other valuable information can be found in this version for third grade students at each classroom was well -received with interest by the students.  More than 200 dictionaries were delivered to Thome School, East Coloma School, Montmorency School, St. Andrew School, and Merrill School as  major Literacy project for the Rock Falls Rotary Club. 

A St. Andrew third grader is very interested in investigating what information her gift from Rock Falls Rotary of a dictionary contains.

Rock Falls Rotary recently inducted Tyler Ewing into Rock Falls Rotary membership. Tyler is at Edward Jones on West Route 30. Shown pinning the Rotary wheel to Tyler's collar is Julie Logan, President ,who conducted the short ceremony of welcome and commitment. Membership in Rotary is by invitation. Anyone interested in joining the Rock Falls Rotary, Service Club is asked to contact any Rock Falls Rotarian or send such a request to Rock Falls Rotary, PO Box 902, Rock Falls, IL 61071.


November Student of the Month for Rock Falls Rotary is Amber Rasmussen, daughter of Troy and Mary Rasmussen. Rock Falls Rotary December Student of the Month is Francisco Arellano whose parents are Horacio and Hermelinda Arellano.

Both students are seniors at Rock Falls High School and were selected based upon the Four Way test of everything a Rotarian thinks, says and does:

Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Amber Rasmussen, November Rotary Student of the Month, is welcomed by Bob Sondgeroth, Youth Exchange Officer of the Rock Falls Rotary Club.

Francisco Arellano is selected by Rock Falls High Staff as December Rotary Student of the month.

Brenda Fiorini, teacher at Rock Falls High School and author of several children's books concerning humane treatment to animals, shared with members of the Rock Falls Rotary her first book, Rescue Puppy, which is being translated into Spanish for distribution next semester to every first grade student in Lee, Ogle, and Whiteside Counties. In the years of past distribution to first grade students and teachers, over 7,000 books have been made available to students and teachers. This year Rock Falls Rotary has assisted with the cost of publishing and distribution.
Shown with Brenda Fiorini and a display of the books and supporting materials for classrooms is Dave Chavira, Literacy Chair of Rock Falls Rotary.
Rotary International
New Grant Center makes applying for grants easier
We are pleased to announce the debut of the new Grant Center, formerly known as the grant application tool. The new site has a fresh look and better organization. The grant application includes clearly defined steps so it’s easier for you to track your progress. Learn more about grants and how to apply.
The Rotary Foundation ranked in list of top charities
CNBC has ranked The Rotary Foundation No. 3 in its annual list of Top 10 Charities Changing the World in 2016. The list includes some of the largest and highest-rated charities that help women, children, the poor, and the environment throughout the world, according to Charity Navigator, and that maintain high standards of financial health, accountability, and transparency of reporting. The Foundation was noted for connecting 1.2 million members from more than 200 geographic areas to tackle the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges, including projects that focus on disease prevention,...
Australian entrepreneur announces $1 million gift to Rotary
On Wednesday, over breakfast with the Rotary Club of Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist Dick Smith announced a donation of AU$1 million to Rotary (about US$750,000), citing admiration of Rotary members for the time they devote to others. The Rotary Australia Benevolent Society (RABS) will administer the funds. “With 29,500 Rotarians in 1,100 clubs throughout Australia, we have an army of volunteers eager to assist those in need,” says Michael Perkins, RABS chair. “The impact of this donation will be felt throughout all of Australia, from the cities to the...
Convention: City of peace
Though Atlanta has seen its share of violence and inequity over time, today it brims with reminders that there is another way. Get inspired while you’re visiting for the 2017 Rotary International Convention from 10 to 14 June. Take a short walk from the convention center to the Center for Civil and Human Rights. There, you can see the handwritten notes, speeches, and sermons of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., experience an interactive 1960s-era lunch counter “sit-in,” and learn more about persecuted groups all over the world. A streetcar will take you to the Martin Luther King Jr...
The Rotary Foundation ranked in list of top charities
CNBC has ranked The Rotary Foundation No. 3 in its annual list of Top 10 Charities Changing the World in 2016. The list includes some of the largest and highest-rated charities that help women, children, the poor, and the environment throughout the world, according to Charity Navigator, and that maintain high standards of financial health, accountability, and transparency of reporting. The Foundation was noted for connecting 1.2 million members from more than 200 geographic areas to tackle the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges, including projects that focus on disease prevention,...