Rock Falls Rotary Club

April 2017
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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
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Pam Erby (left), who sponsored the newest member of Rock Falls Rotary, Tom Myers (center), pins him with the Rock Falls membership pin as President Dave Chavira (right) congratulates him and presents him with materials that support his understanding of the privileges and responsibilities of membership in Rotary.
President of Rock Falls Rotary Dave Chavira thanks Janell Loos of Rock Falls Tourism for her presentation of the plans for the Pink Heals Tour returning to the Sauk Valley in September. In addition to arranged visits to ladies who have had a diagnosis of cancer, the pink fire trucks will be on the Rock Falls riverfront for a vendor give-a-way prior to the pink fireworks to be shot off from Lawrence Park.
With one third of the world's population having no basic sanitation available to them and 6000 deaths of children daily in third world countries where clean drinking water is unknown, Rotary has made Clean Water and Sanitation an area of service around the world as one of their six areas of focus.  Bob Newlon, Past District 6420 Governor and member of Oregon Rotary Club, has traveled to many parts of the world to help install both sources of clean water and basic sanitation. Tyler Ewing, Rock Falls Rotary member, had invited Bob to share with members of the Rock Falls Rotary his trips to Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nigeria, and Phillipines for this purpose.
Bob has designed a UDDT (Urine Diversion Degradable Toilet) which is inexpensive to construct anywhere and which will eliminate the pathogens spreading disease with proper removal of human excrements, at the same time as salvaging each to be used as fertilizer where soil is poor and in need of such.  His device diverts into a container the urine  which is rich in nitrogen and can be used in a vegetable garden to enrich the soil.  The human manure can be used to enhance tree and shrubbery growth where plants often do not flourish.  And the best part of this hands-on Rotary promotion of basic sanitation is the education of the people in the villages  where basic needs are addressed.  To quote one such recipient in a village which received  a bio sand filter system to purify the water, "Now our children will stop dying." 
Bob is planning a trip to the rain forest of Costa Rica to install some of the UDDTs.  If anyone is interested in joining his team to install these UDDTs, please contact him or any Rock Falls Rotarian for his contact information.
Bob Newlon (right), Rotary Zone 29 Chair of Water and Sanitation, shows Tyler Ewing (left) of Rock Falls Rotary how a simple UDDT can save lives for persons with no basic sanitation available.

Rotary Presidents-Elect in Rock Falls Rotary, Sterling Noon Rotary, Twin Cities Sunrise Rotary, and Walnut Rotary Clubs spent the March 2-4 weekend in Itasca with more than 560 other Rotary Club Presidents-Elect being trained to take office on July 1, along with their Assistant Governor. This Mid-West Presidents Elect Training Seminar (PETS) is for seven districts from middle of Illinois, up through Wisconsin and up into Minnesota. Incoming President of Rotary International in 2017-2018 Ian Riseley from Australia spoke to the attendees on Friday evening.

Caption: (from left to right) Mike Sprague, Sterling Noon Rotary, Cheryl Faber, Assistant Governor of Area IV, Mary Beach of Walnut Rotary, Betty Clementz of Rock Falls Rotary, and Allen Przysucha of Twin Cities Sunrise
Rock Falls Rotary Members
Front row (l to r) Pam Erby, Jan Whitlock, Julie Logan, Betty Clementz, Gail Wright, Sarah Willey, Mary Rasmussen; Back row (l to r) Dave Chavira, Mark Young, Mike Albert, Bob Sondgeroth, Cheryl Faber, Keith Zoeller, Tyler Ewing, Deb Gonzalez. Absent from photo:  Art Johnson , Brent Martin, Rollie Ducoing, Vicki Dunphy, Jim Geer, Pat Novak, and Karen Voss.
All third grade students in Merrill, Thome, East Coloma-Nelson, Montmorency, St. Andrew, Prophetstown and Tampico Elementary School classrooms were presented with an age- appropriate dictionary to use and to keep. Close to 300 dictionaries were given out in 13 classrooms by Rock Falls Rotary Club members who shared how a dictionary is helpful and how to access numerous items of additional information within this particular dictionary. Students were anxious to start using the dictionary immediately and especially liked the section of large words in the English language.
This is the seventh year the Rock Falls Rotary has completed the Dictionary Project with third grade students in all Rock Falls schools, and the first year that Tampico and Prophetstown classrooms were included in this literacy project. 
A third grade student is becoming familiar with her dictionary which had been given to her by Rock Falls Rotary Club members who presented age-appropriate dictionaries to every third grade student in Rock Falls, Prophetstown, and Tampico this past week.

Attn: Rock Falls Rotarians

Are you planning to join Rock Falls Rotarians at Smokin’ on Third on February 13th? If you have not made a reservation with Cheryl Faber, please do so before Friday. Spouses/guests welcome.

No meeting on Feb. 20 due to President's Day.

Regular Rotary meetings at Harvest Time will resume on Feb. 27.

The Rock Falls Rotary Club is currently selling raffle tickets for their $100 Monthly Raffle drawing. Each month beginning with March 2017-February 2018, 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. You can send us an email through our Facebook page or drop us an email at and we'll make sure you get a ticket. Hurry, deadline to purchase is the end of February.


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?
Rotary International
Convention: Southern hospitality
The Atlanta Host Organization Committee is offering some good old-fashioned Southern hospitality at the Rotary International Convention from 10 to 14 June. It has planned a wide range of activities featuring everything from good food and music to inspiring tours of local landmarks. If it’s your first convention, these events are chances to meet fellow Rotarians from around the world, and if you’re an experienced convention goer, you can catch up with old friends. Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron will host Rotarians for a “Strike Out Polio” night at the new SunTrust Park, where you’ll...
Member spotlight: The power of the press
When Teguest Yilma helped found the Rotary Club of Addis Ababa Entoto in 2002, she thought polio had already been eradicated from most of the world. But while Ethiopia had been free of the disease, Yilma was shocked to learn that new cases had started cropping up in surrounding countries such as Somalia. “I was thinking, it’s not possible, we can’t be free if the countries around us are not free,” she says. Yilma, the managing editor of Capital, Ethiopia’s largest English weekly newspaper, has brought a journalist’s skills to the fight against polio. She became vice chair of the Ethiopia...
Member interview: Writer sheds light on FDR’s right-hand woman
Battling breast cancer in 2000, Kathryn Smith found comfort pursuing her lifelong interest in Franklin D. Roosevelt. The more she read, the more intrigued she became with the 32nd U.S. president’s private secretary, Marguerite Alice “Missy” LeHand. “I thought, what a fascinating life she had because she was by his side through the polio crisis, establishing the polio rehabilitation center in Warm Springs and then after his return to politics,” she says. Smith, a past president of the Rotary Club of Greater Anderson, S.C., and a longtime newspaper journalist, turned that curiosity into a book...
The Rotarian Conversation with Ban Ki-moon
One of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s earliest memories is of fleeing with his family into the mountains during the Korean War, his village burning behind him. His father and grandfather had to forage for food in the woods; his mother gave birth to his siblings away from anything remotely resembling a health facility. “I have known hunger,” he says. “I have known war, and I have known what it means to be forced to flee conflict.” The soldiers who came to their rescue were flying the blue flag of the United Nations. The UN provided them with food and their schools with books....
Culture: Life in the bike lane
Like a lot of us, I spent much of my childhood riding bikes, but fell out of the habit for a while. Forty years. Then my wife and I moved to New York, where cyclists risk their necks in a daily Thunderdome of cabs, police cars, firetrucks, double-decker buses, messengers on motorbikes, and delivery trucks backing around corners at 20 miles an hour. Not for me! At least not until my 50th birthday, when my metabolic furnace flamed out. Calories started going directly from beer bottle to beer belly. It was time to start exercising. Either that or give up Samuel Adams, and I couldn’t do that to...