Christmas Gatherings


A small group of Rotarians gathered to make a JOYFUL noise at Storybook Island as part of our Christmas Social on December 15th. The weather was a chilly 30 degrees, but we enjoyed caroling, strolling through the park to see the lights and visit Santa, followed by warm drinks and treats at the Twiteros. 
At our December 22nd meeting, Feeding South Dakota came to make a presentation and members donated food and cash to support this great organization.  See "We are People of Action" for more information on our monthly volunteering opportunity at Feeding South Dakota.
New Members: Shawn Walters and Dave Ellenbecker
Shawn Walters is married with three children and five grandchildren.  Shawn spent 26 years in the Army, mostly as a specialist of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He and his wife Terri chose to retire here 6 years ago to be equally close to family in three different states. Currently he is a graduate student at the University of Montana as he tries to figure out the second stage of his life.  His interests are too many to list, but learning and exploring are his most favorite. Watching a comedy is also up there. He joined Rotary here in Rapid because they are a fun group that is also trying to make a better world. 
Dave Ellenbecker is married with two sons and two grandchildren.  He grew up in Pierre and attended University of Minnesota going through their Navy ROTC program.  Dave served 21 years in the Navy, starting out as a Surface Warfare Officer and then transferred to the Medical Service Corps. He retired in 2011 and moved back to South Dakota wanting to be closer to family.  He has worked for Monument Health for the past 10 years and is currently serving as their Vice President of Facilities Management.   Dave loves the Black Hills and being outdoors.   He joined Rotary after coming to a morning meeting as a speaker and seeing what a positive, high energy group the Rushmore Rotary team had.   Dave looks forward to finding new and better ways to serve the Community via Rotary.
Pictured with Shawn and Dave are President Scott Van Dam and Rene Sorenson receiving their "Four Way Test" plaques.  
Carmen Hansen receives "Rotarian of the Quarter for District 5610"
District Governor Doug Lind presented a new award "Rotarian of the Quarter" 2021-2022 to Carmen Hansen for her dedication and service to the District and Rushmore Rotary.  She has served as District 5610 Membership, as well as several committees in Rushmore Rotary -- programming committee, youth advocacy and grants.  Carmen was instrumental in preparing and managing the Rotary Plaza grant at Rapid City High School,  which will be dedicated in the Spring in memory of George Lyons.  Congratulations Carmen on a well-deserved recognition.
Rotary Plaza Update
Carmen Hansen shared an update on the Rotary Plaza constructed in memory of George Lyons at Rapid City High School. Pictured are Carmen and Dana Foreman with the new plaque that will be installed in Spring 2022, followed by an official dedication ceremony.  The plaque recognizes several businesses and individuals who have contributed to this project:  Rushmore Rotary, Lind Exco Inc, KLJ Engineering, Western Dakota Tech, Timber Ridge, Bob Quinn Construction, Pat Peel, Roger & Chris Heacock, and Carmen & Gary Hansen.  As previously mentioned, benches and skateboard racks designed by Western Dakota Tech are already being used by the students and staff at Rapid City High School.  Thank you to members who have helped with installation/site preparation.  


Another great volunteer night in December at Feeding South Dakota.  We packaged food for backpack program and sorted donations.  Had help from KLJ engineering, St. Thomas More Interact Club and Brownie Troop 75106. 
Did you know the west river facility provides 1500 backpacks weekly and distributes 75 to 80 lbs of food to families once per month at 42 distribution centers west river; all thanks to corporations, retailers, and individual donors.  Thanks Rushmore Rotary Community Action for organizing.  monthly volunteer opportunities for Feeding South Dakota on the third Tuesday of each month from 4:30pm - 6:00 pm.  

Whiteclay Makerspace Christmas Bazaar

A total of nine Rotarians attended the Whiteclay Makerspace Christmas Bazaar on December 1st.  A quilt wall was created and installed by our own Mark Berry.  Members helped decorate donated items in the Gallery space.  Numerous residents visited the space, enjoyed lunch of chili and frybread, cocoa and cookies.  The Makerspace is a District 5610 Global Grant that equips artists and craftspeople located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with needed tools and equipment to produce their art. Training classes are in the works to help artists succeed in developing their small business practices. Thank you to Linda Peterson for her hard work in getting this global grant off and running.  

International Committee Update

We have completed many Global Grants with this district in India over the last 10 years, including Happy Schools.  It shows us making the world a better place (see Then and Now photos). Thank you for your dedication to Rotary.
Locally, the St. Thomas More Interact Club will be completing an International Project with The School of St Jude who needs water storage tanks (see example) for their new girl’s school.  The tanks will enable them to store clean water for use during the dry season.  The tanks hold 10,000 liters and cost $1,000.  They need 8 tanks for the school.  Rushmore Rotary's International Projects Committee proposed and approved a match for the money that the Interact Club raises up to $1,000.

Russell Hampton
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