Club President
member photo
You might think that publishing the weekly club newsletter is one of those tasks that might show up on a "least favorite things to do" list.  Although this Friday task does seem to come around before seven days have gone by, I'll admit to it being something I look forward to.  And, I look forward to it because there's so many positive things to include.  Each week the Risers have members that deserve to be congratulated, programs that need highlighting, community service projects worthy of recognition, District information worth sharing and Rotary International news of significance.  This week's issue is a perfect example.  Thanks to your active participation in our Zoom meetings, willingness to engage in community service projects, and generosity in supporting our club's chosen projects, even during this challenging pandemic, when many other clubs have struggled to maintain engagement, the Risers level of sharing time, talent and treasure has never wavered.   Thank you for your "Service Above Self!"
December 15 Double Feature!
Some of you might be too young to remember how excited we got when the local theatre offered a Double Feature.  This week's program goes one step inner-club double feature.  Jason Wagner, Rotary Foundation Team Lead, will share some interesting information about the Foundation, Fast for Hope and PolioPlus.  That will be followed by Joanne Rosener, Vocational Service Team Lead, facilitating another interesting vocational panel/talk presentation.  The vocational sharing of our members has been interesting, informational and inspiring.  Watch for a Zoom meeting invitation over the weekend.
And next week, the last regular meeting of this calendar year, we'll hear from Rochester Fire Chief and Emergency Operations Lead Eric Kerska.  I suspect he'll surprise us with some hot news and be able to answer your burning questions.
Twin Metals Minnesota Presentation Follow-up
If David Ulrich's presentation last week stirred your desire to learn more about the future of precious metal mining in northern Minnesota, or if you missed the meeting, here's a link to Twin Metals Minnesota's website:
As with most new ventures, especially mining, there's two sides to the story.  Matt Cantlon, Program Team Lead, is working to connect with a possible speaker from "Save the Boundary Waters."  Did you know that the Environment is a new focus of Rotary International?  See the article in the "Stories" section of the newsletter.
Sylwia Bujak Oliver Inducted
As your Club President, there's no greater honor than to induct and welcome into Rotary a new member.  This past week we were honored to have Sylwia Bujak Oliver join the Rochester Risers team!  Thanks to Joanne Rosener for recruiting Sylwia.  I charge each Riser to give her your friendship and help to educate her on the responsibilities and requirements of being a Rotarian as well as the many worthwhile programs and projects of Rotary.
Kate Boyer Membership Application
Jeff Warfield, Membership Team Lead, has received a membership application from Kate Boyer.  The application is being reviewed by the Board and once approved, will be sent to each Riser for review and action.  Be looking for Kate's application and supporting materials this coming week.  Thanks to Amy Donahue-Anshus for inviting Kate to join the Risers.  
Who do you think would enhance our club roster?  Why not reach out and invite them to an upcoming meeting?  Having prospective new members see our club in action is a great way to convince them to complete an application.
Riser Proud!!!
As Risers, we were very proud when. on Thursday, three of our members were showcased as either a presenter (last year's winners) or 2020 Mayor's Medal of Honor Winners!
Congratulations to this year's Risers winners:
April Sutor - Human Services (Presented by JoMarie Morris)
Elaine Case - Legacy Service Award
Other Risers associates and Rochester Rotarians recognized included:
Peg Winters - Community-wide Service
Audrey Betcher and Library Staff - Above and Beyond Award
Al DeBoer - Lifetime Service Commendation and Key to the City
Risers and Rotarians Rock!  Congratulations!
District 5960 Governor Ed Marek
There's a reason that last week's "Save the Date" graphic's because the District Governor has determined that he will visit each Rochester club individually rather delivering his annual address in a joint meeting.  District Governor Marek will deliver his Risers Club Zoom remarks during the regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 30.  Immediately following the club presentation, Ed would like to meet with as many members of the Risers Board and Club Support Team Leads as possible.  All members should make every effort to attend the club meeting and club leadership should plan to engage in a conversation with Ed from 8-9 a.m. the same morning.
Community Service Opportunities
It's been called to my attention that the Rotary-related volunteer hours Risers have submitted since July 1 are lagging significantly behind this same time last year.  Some of this is probably due to COVID-19 and the lack of face-to-face volunteer opportunities.  But I'm guessing that some of us have just failed to submit our service hours to Kim Keilholtz.  Remember that any hours related to Rotary count...STRIVE, District training, community service projects, raffle ticket sales, etc.  Joanne has indicated that she will submit the Meals on Wheels volunteer hours for all participants.
Please, whenever you complete Rotary-related service projects or activities above and beyond our regularly scheduled meetings, send your hours to Kim at kimdtm@msn.comThank you!
Although the officially sanctioned, and very successful, Risers Salvation Army bellringing is over, the organization has a dire need for volunteers.  
Janet Swanson, Risers Treasurer and Salvation Army Board member,  requested the following be shared in hopes that you might be able to assist.
I appreciate you being so willing to help us spread the word about our need for toy sorting/distributing volunteers.  Right now, what we need are people willing to help pack bags of presents for families.  Each volunteer will get a sheet listing the kids in each family, along with each kid's age, clothing and shoe sizes, and some things that child might be interested in getting for Christmas.  Then, volunteers are taking that information and using it to pack bags for each family.
Then, starting Wednesday of next week, we're looking for volunteers to help us actually distribute those bags via a contactless distribution from 8-11 am, 11 am-2 pm, or 2-5 pm.  Volunteers will help with directing traffic, greeting families from their vehicles, and helping run that family's bag out to their vehicle.  We start distributing on Wednesday, the 16th, and our last day of toy distribution is Saturday, the 19th.  Please instruct anyone interested to contact Major Lisa directly at:

Name that Riser Bellringer???

By now, you should have completed all raffle ticket sales, inputted names on the spreadsheet and sent the spreadsheet to both Kim and Dean at:
If you can’t do the spreadsheet input that’s fine too – just be sure to get the ticket stubs, legible handwritten sales log, and the money to Jolene or Dean NOW!  The ‘drawing’ is on Tuesday, December 15, so everything must be inputted by then.  Thank you to those who sold and bought tickets.  Good luck!
Attention Paul Harris 4X4 Group Members
Jason Wagner and others have created an impressive number of groups, four Risers in each, that have committed to donate $250/year for four years to the Rotary Foundation.  For those of you engaged in one of our club's 4X4 groups, now is the time to submit your $250 contribution to Jason, Treasurer Janet or directly to the Rotary Foundation.  If you make a direct gift to the Foundation, please let Jason know once the transaction's complete.  Thanks to those who have already made their annual 4X4 contribution.  Four-by-four members and others who might have questions about Foundation giving should contact Jason at

Strike Out a Success!

55 Rookies!
71 with a Base Hit!
106 Home Runs!
$62,586 Raised!!!
With Bill & Melinda Gates Match = $187,758

Way to go District 5960 Rotarians!

Human Trafficking...A Learning Opportunity

The Harmful Effects of Pornography

January 9, 2021 – 9 am-Noon – Via Zoom

Learn about the addictive nature of pornography and how it is a contributing factor to sexual violence and has a strong connection to human trafficking. Its usage has increased due to COVID-19. Hear scientific and research-based information on what pornography is and its effects on the viewer and society as a whole. This program is appropriate for youth and adults.

Presented by Neil Dennison, Violence Prevention Specialist/Volunteer Coordinator for Victim Services, with a panel of local professional experts, including Detective Dan Johnson with Olmsted County Law Enforcement and Andrea White, Safe Harbor Regional Navigator.


(Note:  You must register at least 2 days in advance to receive Zoom Link.)


For event information, contact Sister Marlys at 507-529-3524

For registration information, contact Jessica at 507-280-2195

Getting to Know Rotary International

What are the benefits of being a Rotarian?

Becoming a Rotary member connects you with a diverse group of professionals who share your drive to give back. Through regular meetings and events, you’ll:

  • Discuss your community’s needs and develop creative ways to meet them
  • Connect with other leaders who are changing the world
  • Expand your leadership and professional skills
  • Catch up with good friends and meet new ones

Other benefits of membership include:

Rotary Global Rewards, our member benefits program, which offers discounts on products and services. It’s Rotary’s way of helping our members spend less so they can do more.

The Rotary International Convention is our biggest event of the year. Rotary members from more than 130 countries meet at the convention each year to celebrate our successes and make plans for the future.

Rotary Fellowships give members the chance to join a group of people who share similar interests, hobbies, or vocations. Some groups use their fellowship to make a positive difference.

Rotarian Action Groups unite Rotary members, family members, program participants and alumni who share their expertise in particular fields by collaborating with clubs and districts on projects.

It's Not All Bad News!

It's Not All Bad News:  10 Good Things to Come Out of 2020

[The following was taken from an article of the same name in the latest Minnesota Sheriffs' Association newsletter.]

While 2020 has been a most challenging year, and COVID-19 has flipped the script on normal, it's not all bad.  In not particular order, consider these 10 Good Things to come out of 2020.

Good Hygiene Habits - We are all benefitting from a renewed emphasis on the importance of proper and frequent hand washing and germ mitigation.

Community Spirit - Despite the fact that many people are shut away in their homes, many communities have never been closer.

Appreciation for Essential Workers - Supermarket cashiers, stackers and delivery drivers are not generally thought of as heroes.  But COVID-19 has highlighted the essential roles played by key workers we depend on.

Drive-in Movies are Making a Comeback and Drive-in Concerts were Born - Many of us remember the good old days at the drive-in.  Now a new generation is getting the opportunity to take in a movie or even a live performance from the comfort and safety of their automobile.  You can even go to drive-in church now.

Restaurants are Sharing Their Secret Recipes - From McDonalds Egg McMuffin to IKEA meatballs, Panera Bread pastries to a Disney Dole Whip, a number of formerly best-kept recipe secrets have been shared by their sources, so we can enjoy their staples in the comfort and safety of our homes.

Animal Adoptions are Up - Shelters across the country are seeing an increase in pet adoption applicants.  Animals in need are finding forever homes.

Corporations are Stepping Up - Major companies such as 3M and Apple pooled resources or shifted production to make millions of personal protection equipment items.  Ford, GM, Tesla and other automobile manufacturers were able to make ventilators and other medical devices.  Distilleries around the country, large and small, have used their resources to produce badly needed hand sanitizer.

Virtual Access to Culture and Nature - You can visit the Met in New York, take in Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum or the Louvre in Paris, virtually tour national parks and zoos, and even go on an expedition to Mars, all without leaving home.

Board Games, Puzzles and Books - The board game, jigsaw puzzle and book industries are all reporting increased sales.  A new generation is discovering the old family and household standards as more people are enjoying family time - unplugged.

More Community and More Caring - Stories abound of communities coming together, serving one another and rallying to meet needs among society's most vulnerable.  (Think Rochester's Together and the City and County Caring Funds)

Office Attire Changes - Sweatpants, t-shirts and pajamas...need we say more?

African Region Declared Polio Free

It our pleasure to announce to you that the African region has just been certified wild poliovirus-free.

Rotary members have played an invaluable role in the effort to rid the African region of wild polio. We should be proud of all the hard work that we’ve done to eliminate the wild poliovirus throughout Africa and in nearly every country in the world. 

This progress is the result of a decades-long effort across the 47 countries of the African region. It has involved millions of health workers traveling by foot, boat, bike and bus, innovative strategies to vaccinate children amid conflict and insecurity, and a huge disease surveillance network to test cases of paralysis and check sewage for the virus. 

Over the last two decades, countless Rotary members in countries across the African region and around the world have worked together to raise funds, immunize children, advocate with local and national leaders, and raise awareness about the importance of vaccination, enabling the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to effectively respond to and stop polio outbreaks. 

This milestone is an incredible public health achievement for Rotary members, the African region, and our GPEI partners, and a huge step forward on the road to global polio eradication. But we still have important work to do in order to eradicate wild polio in the last two endemic countries.

We have faced many challenges in our journey to eradicate polio. But we’ve made remarkable progress, and the polio infrastructure that Rotarians helped build will serve as a lasting legacy that will continue to help protect vulnerable children against other diseases for decades to come.

We are calling on you today to recommit yourselves to ending polio. We need each and every one of you to help finish this fight and continue raising $50 million each year for PolioPlus. The eradication of wild polio in the African region shows us that polio eradication is achievable, and shows how our hard work, partnerships and financial commitment continue to propel us forward, even during a global pandemic.

Thank you for your continued efforts, for achieving a wild polio-free African region, and for remaining committed to fulfilling our promise of a polio-free world.

Holger Knaack, President                                                     K.R. Ravindran, Chair
Rotary International                                                           The Rotary Foundation

Rotary International President Holger Knaack and Nigeria National PolioPlus Chair Dr. Tunji Funsho congratulate Rotarians on eradicating wild polio in the African Region. Watch here.

Rochester Rotary Risers Recognized at District Event
On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, Rotarians from District 5960, which covers south east and east metro Minnesota and western Wisconsin, met virtually for the 2019-20 District Awards Happy Hour.  Clubs were recognized for their efforts in various categories and based on the size of the club – Large, Medium Plus, Medium, or Small – as part of the District’s Awards Program.
The Rochester Rotary Risers Club was responsible for submitting examples of their efforts against a checklist for up to six categories – Club Service, Community Service, International Service, Public Image, Vocational Service, and Youth Service. The submissions were then judged by Rotarians from Clubs in a different size category to keep the voting objective. The Rotary Club of Rochester Rotary Risers was in the Medium Plus size club category.   
After the tabulating, the club received several awards for its efforts, including the District Governor's Citation, 3rd place in Club Service, 1st place in Vocational Service, and 3rd place in Community Service! The Club has been focusing on Vocational Service through vocational talks, Rotation Days, vocational programs, a vocational workshop, and recognition of a community member with a Paul Harris Award for being a Rotarian at heart. The Club has also been involved with and sponsored community programs like the Jeremiah Program, that helps families move from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time, and Cradle to Career, that focuses community resources on programs that make a difference in the lives of children and young adults in reaching education goals and eventually employment.
About Rotary and District 5960
Rotary’s vision is “Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change, in our community, across the globe, and in ourselves.” We do this through a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Our mission is to advance world peace and understanding, good will and peace through improved health, the support of education and alleviation of poverty. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Within District 5960, which includes much of south east and east metro Minnesota in addition to 6 counties in western Wisconsin, there are 63 clubs focused on humanitarian service. Locally, the Rotary Club of Rochester Rotary Risers members provides both hands on skills and financial support for sustainable projects to improve our community. Our work improves lives at both the local and international levels including our continuing work toward a polio-free world. For more information, visit ( or
The Awards Happy Hour reception was recorded and can be viewed here:
Club Information
Rochester Risers
Service Above Self
We meet Tuesdays at 7:00 AM
Hilton Garden Inn
225 S. Broadway
Rochester, MN  55904
United States
DistrictSiteIcon District Site
VenueMap Venue Map
Meeting Responsibilities
Greeter 1
Neumann, Mike
Program Coordinator
Supalla, Don
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
McKinsey Goodenberger
December 8
Sylwia Bujak Oliver
December 19
Janet Swanson
December 31
Join Date
Joel McNeil
December 17, 2019
1 year
Elaine Case
December 18, 2012
8 years
Executives & Directors
President Elect
Community Service Team Lead
Vocational Service Team Lead
Club Service Team Lead
International Service Team Lead
Rotary Foundation Team Lead
Past President
Fundraising Team Lead
Human Trafficking Officer
Rotary Classic Event Liaison
Youth Service Team Lead
Literacy Team Lead
Social Team Lead
President Elect Nominee
Membership Team Lead
Public Image Team Lead
Club Administrator
Russell Hampton
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