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09.08.16 – Luncheon Notes

SPOKES Notes written by Paul Arnold

Paul Arnold led the singing and Chelsey Dubey did the invocation and led a moment of silence for long-time member Jon Forslund.

Steve Starnes introduced guests and visiting Rotarians. Lynn Beck from the Lafayette Indiana Club was here and he exchanged flags with President Michael.

Paula Jastifer was pleased to announce that several new members were being inducted to the club and each membership category was represented: Regular, Small Business and Corporate memberships.

Derek Alten introduced Tom Moore. Tom is a Sales Executive for HUB International, an insurance business. He is a Hope grad and has a wife and two kids.

Sam DeVries introduced Rick Irvine, the owner of West Michigan Technology Services. His experience in Information Technology should be helpful to the club.

Chelsea Dubey introduced Liz Burnson. Liz is a Community Relations Consultant for Spectrum Health. She is a GVSU grad and has two young daughters.

Josh Conran introduced Beth Pasikowski, a Sponsored Programs Administrator at Spectrum Health. She is a former Rotary Youth Exchange Student and will be an active member of the RYE Committee for our club.

Larry Robson re-introduced us to Kris Palosaari. She was a previous member of our club and is re-joining under the Spectrum Health Corporate Membership category. She had been a member when she worked at Salvation Army.

Kris has three daughters and three grand children with another on the way.

Kristen Nauss introduced her replacement, Angela Varga from the Extend Your Reach organization. Angela is a grad of Siena Heights University and is very involved in athletics.

Tyler Smies, a guest of the club and a local golf pro, presented information about his program, “First Tee of West Michigan. First Tee helps kids with character development through golf.  It is part of a national organization that is sponsored by the PGA, LPGA, The Masters, USGA and the Shell Oil Company. First Tee hopes to instill nine core character values (respect, judgement, etc.) with nine corresponding golf skills. Six area golf courses provide golf facilities for this program. The program has grown from 73 kids in 2011 to 629 participants in 2015. 56% of the kids are on free or reduced lunch programs at their school. Future opportunities include: a partnership with Indian Trails course and the city of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Public Schools, and expansion to Holland, Muskegeon and Zeeland. Funds are needed to take advantage of office and classroom space above the clubhouse at Stoney Creek. The Grand Rapids Rotary Foundation has already helped get the program started with age-appropriate markers set in some fairways. Tyler invited club members to an open house on September 20th from 4:30 to 6:45 to see the new office space and meet some of the kids.

Jim White, representing the District Governor and Bob Stark, the GR Rotary Foundation Chair, presented Paul Harris Fellow Awards to twenty-some club members. Phil Wise got the only Paul Harris Award without a pin since there was no pin that indicated his high level of participation. The Rotary Foundation has the highest level rating from the highest level charity watchdog organizations.  The club raised a  $36,000 last year and the club got to use $10,000 of that for it’s own projects—including a monument at Ah-Nab-Awan Park, medical supplies to Africa and water filters to Central America.

President Michael spoke about our membership goal of 250 members by the end of this year. We have 44 members to go.

The Strive program needs 5 new mentors.

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