Club Information

The Rotary Club of Chicago O'Hare Welcomes You


Our Rotary Club Chartered January 8, 1973

We meet Thursdays at 12:00 PM
The Great Escape 847-671-7171
9540 Irving Park Road
Schiller Park, IL  60176
United States
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Joseph Baar Topinka, author of
Just Judy showed a video and talked about his mother Judy Barr Topinka in his book.

Although originally a journalist, Topinka served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1981 to 1985 and in the Illinois Senate from 1985 to 1995. She was elected to three terms as Illinois State Treasurer, serving from 1995 to 2007. She was the first woman to become state treasurer, the first to be elected to three consecutive terms, and the first Republican to hold the post in more than 32 years. During her last term as treasurer, she was the only Republican to hold statewide elected office in Illinois. In 2002, she was elected chair of the Illinois Republican Party, holding that office until 2005.

Cindy Gonzalez is the Anti-Trafficking Outreach Specialist with The Salvation Army.  Her presentation covered human trafficking .  Their STOP-IT program is dedicated to combating human trafficking through trauma-informed strategies around prevention, identification and response.
Club Members Larry Fritz, Sylvia Jewgieniew, Frank Holthouse, Melissa Bukovatz, and Mike Sullivan were part of the dedication of the Rotary bike racks for the students at the East and West Leyden High Schools.  Presented to Dr.  Nick Polyak, High School Staff, and our Rotary Interact Club with School Interact sponsors Dana Thomas and Jen Black-Foltin.   After the dedication, Dr.  Nick Polyak gave everyone a tour of the Leyden West addition project.  A new wing that is purpose-built to enhance the instructional experiences for students.  See   Bonus: There was cake.    Special thanks to Frank Holthouse for a great job of organizing the event.
Club members David Woodcock, Sylvia Jewgieniew, Jack Moran, Mike Sullivan, and Melissa Bukovatz working with Leyden Township Staff on the spring planting at the Fleck Park in Melrose Park.  The flower bed has a sign “Provided by the Rotary Club fo Chicago O’Hare.”

 Chief Operating Officer Bob Miller of Sweet Beginnings, LLC, explained how they have beekeepers to manage the hives placed at various locations around Chicago.  They make the beelove® family of products — an all natural line of raw honey and honey-infused body care products.  They manage the hives and extract honey from urban apiaries in the heart of the North Lawndale community in Chicago. Sweet Beginnings also manages an apiary at O’Hare.    The natural, high quality products are produced by men and women returning from incarceration. At Sweet Beginnings, these talented men and women develop a stable work history, learn marketable skills and gain the confidence they need to re-enter the workforce.


Our Rotary Club members worked their annual booth at the Schiller Park Auto Show selling popcorn to raise money to eradicate polio.  Every dollar collected is matched double by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
We had the pleasure of hosting the Rotary District 6450 Governor Pedro Cevallos-Candau (on the left with Club President Mike Sullivan). Pedro was both insightful and congenial as always. The club membership turnout was excellent and The Great Escape lunch was great too.
Diane Carroll, Executive Director of My Joyful Heart headquartered in Mokena gave us an update on the growth of their organization which now sponsors 900 disadvantaged children on the south side of Chicagoland.  Our club sponsors 2 children.  Each sponsored child receives 6 gifts during the course of the year and much needed back to school donations.  My Joyful Heart is our club's sanctioned charity.  They do wonderful things for children and best of all, give hope to these children for their future.
Congratulations to our new team for 2018-2019 Rotary Year.  New President Mike Sullivan is installed by Past President Pat Ranttila.  Mike and all board members took the Rotary oath for the coming year.  We know it will be another fantastic year of Rotary work and fellowship.
Our speaker today was Larry Bartoszek and his topic was
The Space Elevator From Science Fiction to Engineering.

Larry Bartoszek has a dual degree in Mechanical Engineering and Physics from the University of Illinois and is an Illinois Licensed Professional Engineer. Larry is the author of several papers on the climber design for space elevators and has spoken at many space conferences.  His presentation was mind-boggling!


 Dave Neary gave our members a terrific overview of what Habitat for Humanity does.   They work in partnership with individuals, corporate partners and faith based organizations to build up our communities. Habitat welcomes volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and also serves people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion.



Paul Reiman is the Head of Rewards and HR Operations for Commvault, a global provider of data management software and related solutions. In his role he oversees the global vision and execution of the organization's compensation, benefit, mobility, HR systems, and HR analytics programs.  In his presentation he diagnosed the underlying causes of the gender pay gap and explained what makes it.
Our Club competed in the Chicago Consortium Chili Cook-Off Fundraiser  from which the funds raised will be donated to the Teen Living Center, a youth homeless shelter, in Chicago. The money will be used to update their kitchen and matched by District 6450 in our Food Insecurity Initiative.


  Rotary Club of Chicago O’Hare members Pat Ranttila, Jack Ranttila and Mike Sullivan with partners from the Chicago Coalition Of Rotary Clubs, and other volunteers worked at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.   Our group repackaged near 5,000 lbs of sweet potatoes for distribution to the community.  
Dana Thomas and Jen Foltin-Black, advisors of Leyden Interact Clubs, and six students 
gave an Interact update and spoke about their RYLA experiences.
Dr Casey Holtschneider's (left in photo) presentation critically examined the traditional approach to services for youth in situations of homelessness. Directly informed by the life experiences of young people, it calls for a shift in both our understanding of the issue as well as the current strategies being implemented to address it.  Patricia Vargas Rivas  (right in photo) is the Executive Director of Puente  de Solidaridad (Solidarity Bridge) of Cochabamba, Bolivia.   She gave an update and thanked the Rotary Clubs who helped in making the Laparoscopic Tower a reality for a public hospital in Cochabamba.  
We would like to thank our alternate speaker, Bernhard Groth, a member of the Rotary Club of Chicago and guest of Francoise Pierre.  He shared his passion for bringing HIPPOs to Haiti to help people carry water.  A HIPPO is a 24 gallon water roller that allows a user to roll their water supply from the source to the home, instead of carrying a container.   It has had some success in Africa, but the  terrain in Haiti is different.  Bernhard described the careful observations that are being made to start the process of bringing the HIPPOs project to Haiti.

 Rotary member Kay Whitlock, PE, D.WRE and Vice President at Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. (CBBEL) received the French Wetmore Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Illinois Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Management (IAFSM). According to IAFSM, the award recognizes longtime floodplain managers whose "contributions have made a noticeable impact on floodplain and stormwater management efforts in the State of Illinois."  Our club is proud to call Kay an active member of our club.

The Leyden Inspirational Eagle Award Dinner and Ceremony sponsored by the Rotary Club of Chicago O'Hare was held at East Leyden High School on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 6:00 PM in the Nardini Library. Students from Leyden High Schools, their families invited, and a school mentor spoke about the student's growth and success though unimaginable challenges. We thank Frank Holthouse who has been working this year to make this an evening to remember for not only the students and parents, but also for our club.

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Board Meeting 11 AM
Oct 18, 2018
No speaker today
Walter J Johnson
Oct 25, 2018
Project C.U.R.E. Chicago
Dr David L Spencer
Nov 01, 2018
When you should consider spine surgery
Shaun Pesce
Nov 08, 2018
What is Illinois Secure Choice?
Board Meeting 11 AM
Nov 15, 2018
No speaker scheduled
Amy Kaczmarek
Nov 29, 2018
SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES, one of our previously sanctioned charities
No Meeting Today
Dec 06, 2018
Holiday Party Tonight
Member Felix Matlock
Dec 13, 2018
Mercy Housing Update
Board Meeting 11 AM
Dec 20, 2018
No speaker scheduled
Eldon Tracy
Jan 10, 2019
Bi-Annual Food Packing
Rona Raffey
Jan 24, 2019
Update YMCA Camp Duncan
Dr Nick Polyak -Supt of Leyden High Schools
Jan 31, 2019
Update on new Co. Lab Program
Terry Abrahamsom
Apr 11, 2019
Belly of the Blues
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