Visit Our Club
We meet In Person
Tuesdays at 12:00 p.m.
Indian Creek Country Club
2401 Indian Creek Road
Marion, IA 52302
United States of America
Please R.S.V.P. to Cindy if you plan to join us for lunch.
Sarah Hermanson - Founder & CEO
Jul 23, 2024
One Above HR
Kenyon Murray, CEO
Aug 06, 2024
Murray Legacy Management
Craig Adamson, Founder & LPL Financial Advisor
Aug 27, 2024
True Wealth Stewardship
Community Events and Information

Welcome to Marion-East Cedar Rapids Rotary

Profile photo of Sarah HermansonSarah Hermanson
From Sarah's LinkedIn page.........
Motivated to influence, start conversations, and bring people together to create healthy workplaces. Strong technical expertise having focused on recruiting, talent management, emotional intelligence, team building, and HR business processes for over 27 years. Combining my gift of building authentic relationships, sharing ideas/perspectives, and helping companies achieve their goals by evaluating their recruiting practices, hiring needs, team culture, and internal processes.

Our tenured team has over 25 years of experience building human resource processes, successfully recruiting, managing talent, and building thriving cultures. Having worked with Eastern Iowa manufacturing, technology, and finance companies we are equipped to quickly understand and provide customized solutions. HR isn’t a one-size-fits-all all solution.  

We hope you can join us at noon on Tuesday at the Indian Creek Country Club, to hear what Sarah has to say!
Please RSVP to Cindy by 9:00 AM Monday.  Here is an email link.

Backpack to School 2024

Thank you for your interest in the Backpack to School program. Please review the available slots at and click on the Sign Up button to provide a backpack and supplies for Linn-Mar and Marion students. Once the supplies are purchased, please write the Student number on a piece of paper and place it in the front pocket of the backpack. Backpacks can be dropped off Marion Cares office on July 30th between 9 am and 6 pm. Our office is located at 1298 7th Ave in the lower level of the Carnegie building - you may enter on the East side. Thank you!

Profile photo of Jim AttyJewel & Jim Plumb Heart Center at Mercy
The Jewel & Jim Plumb Heart Center at Mercy, which opened in 2023, brings heart specialists and coordinated heart services all under one roof and within a single center, as Mercy continues to grow and develop the area’s leading heart program. The new facility is located at the corner of 9th St. and 8th Ave. SE – just across the street from the main hospital. Funding for the facility was made possible through a generous estate gift of from the late Jewel and Jim Plumb of Cedar Rapids.
Ben Blackstock who has been a long time member and Past President of the Marion-East Cedar Rapids Rotary Club passed away on June 6. He was 86 and still attended meetings when he was back in Cedar Rapids from his home in Scottsdale. He was an attorney and willing to provide advice to the Club. Family, friends and colleagues are invited to join Ben's family for his celebration of life to share memories and stories of Ben on Friday, August 16 at 5 pm at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, 410 3rd Ave. SE. You can RSVP by August 9 at (480) 748-7268 or email  Here is a link to his obituary at Cedar Memorial.
Cindy presented Zach Schmit with the Rotarian of the Year Award!
And Katie Powell the Rising Star Award!
Jayne DeCoste was awarded the Quiet Rotarian Award for her work behind the scenes.
Bob Butschi did not think this game was a laughing matter!
Is this Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon?
In classic Carnac the Magnificent style, incoming president Kyle Low cracked some funny jokes about Marion Rotary.
Kyle also shared his vision for the chapter moving forward and other talking points.
Under the IS IT FUN? category............
  • 1st Tuesday - Tell Me Something Good
  • 2nd Tuesday - Interview a Rotarian
  • 3rd Tuesday - Dad Jokes
  • 4th Tuesday - Small Fundraising Game
  • 5th Tuesday - TBD
On a more serious note, Kyle's goals for the upcoming Rotary year include:
  • Members +5
  • Average Attendance > 50%
  • 36 Guests
  • Host (3) Morning Mixers
  • 25 Pairs of Shoes (=$500) for Shoes for Kids
  • Create Rotary Slideshow with Upcoming Events
Congratulations for another great Rotary year everyone!
The Year End Celebration was held at the Indian Creek Country Club in Marion on June 26th from 5:30-7:30pm with catering by LJ's.
Cindy Shipley thanked board members and appointed volunteers.
Cindy passed the gavel on to Kyle Low to take charge of the club for the 2024-2025 Rotary year.
Kyle awarded Cindy a plaque with a gavel, along with a gift certificate to the Sanctuary Spa, thanking her for her leadership as President of the club in 2023/2024 and followed-up with comments looking forward to next Rotary year.
Again, thank you ALL for another wonderful Rotary year!
When the sirens sounds be reminded it is time for "Siren Wednesday on Thursday." Because July's first Thursday is on Independence Day, we will meet again on Thursday, August 8 at a place yet to be determined for "Siren Wednesday on Thursday" Enjoy your Summer.
Erik Miles
The Metro Rotary Clubs have come together to do a multi-year project with other organizations to revitalize the historic Shakespeare Garden at the Ellis Park entrance off Ellis Blvd. NW. Our own Tom Barnes with Barnes Manufacturing has been a key contributor to the garden by manufacturing and installing the entrance gate/sign to the garden to make the garden more visible to everyone. Stop by, relax, and enjoy the garden as the Cedar River flows by.
Brandee Gehl and Kristie Dixon, through the MISD Transition Alliance Program (TAP) and MISD Transition Center (MTC), help provide Marion High School special education students with access to services that will help them after high school.

If your company is interested in partnering with TAP and/or MISD, next steps include:

  • They will work directly with you to figure out what work tasks align well with work experiences.
  • They match your business needs with the strengths/interests of their students.
  • They train their students outside of your business.
  • After PRACTICING the job, the student is able to PERFORM the task on site.

How does this benefit you and your business?

  • Free-up other employees
  • Boost business climate and public image
  • Tax credits and deductions


Profile photo of Carol Meier
From LinkedIn....
"Being on top of trends and new marketing ideas is a stellar way to make an impact! I have always loved listening to customers challenges regarding their marketing needs and budgets and the fact they trust me to find the best fit to tell their story. This is exactly where I need to be, sharing Promotional Products * Print * Direct Mail * Signs * Web* Design. I pride myself on being a proactive Sales Consultant considering myself to be value added, otherwise what the heck would you need me for? If I am not working and researching products, I am hanging with my kids, family, and friends or binge watching Netflix. Telling a customer’s story through branding and marketing is an unbelievable job."
"Second Story Promotions began in September of 2004 in a second story office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Confident that promotional products deliver results, we are growing our business by supplying quality products, competitive pricing, on-time delivery and personal customer service. Our caring sales representatives want to help you find the products that meet your needs, and our talented graphic artists work closely with each representative to create custom designs that will help you make your best impression."
Mary Seely
Mary Seely - Eastern Iowa Director of Variety - The Children's Charity was our speaker on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

Variety - the Children's Charity of Iowa is dedicated to improving the lives of children who are underprivileged, at-risk, critically ill, and living with special needs throughout the state. Since the inception of the Telethon in 1975, Variety has raised more than $140 million to support the children of Iowa.

Variety is making a better future for our community by connecting people who care to programs that enable children to reach their full potential. Variety helps create opportunities for children to fully share in the experiences of life.


Variety provides funding to nonprofit children’s organizations for tangible items such as building expansions and renovations, equipment, programming needs, and more. We also provide Variety Vans for children's nonprofits to transport the children in their care to doctor's appointments, therapy sessions, and special group outings. Our mobility program provides bikes, helmets, and locks to children who have never enjoyed their own bike, and specialized bikes and other mobility equipment for children living with special needs. All children should have the opportunity to experience a playground, which is why Variety is working with Iowa communities to provide all-inclusive playgrounds for children with and without special needs to play and foster friendships. Variety partners with Iowa hospitals to help critically ill children and their families by providing comfort, care, and fulfilling immediate needs. The Fund is designed to help alleviate the stress and financial burden a family faces while their child is hospitalized.


Variety - the Children’s Charity is a multi-faceted organization with one simple mission: To help improve the lives of children who are at-risk, underprivileged, critically ill, or living with special needs throughout Iowa.

Variety Iowa is part of Variety - the Children’s Charity International, a partnership of more than 44 Variety chapters, each helping local children and families in 13 countries around the world. Together the Variety chapters positively impact more than 100,000 individual children through direct programs, and many more through grants to children’s organizations, each year.

  • Leinenkugel Golf Invitational - August 12, 2024
  • Stag - September 18, 2024
  • Two Days of Compassion (Radiothon) - December 12 & 13



For the 2nd year in a row the Waffle Breakfast was held at Indian Creek Country Club.  On Saturday, April 29, we hosted the community, provided hospitality and support, and Dad's Waffles provided the waffles. This all-hands-on deck project had fantastic participation from our Club members, and we experienced a great turnout from the community.  Here are some pictures:
Our speaker this week was Heather Croskrey, Director of Development for Trees Forever
Heather is originally from O’Fallon, Illinois, but has called Iowa home since 2000. She has earned Master's degrees from Southern Illinois University and the University of Iowa studying cultural and organizational communication and conversation analysis. Prior to joining Trees Forever, Heather spent over eight years in development for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Her career, spanning over 20 years, has included work with enrollment management, air service development, and marketing. Heather loves new adventures to keep learning, growing, and meeting new people. She spends her down time being an active mom to two teenagers, two grown children, and two grandchildren.

February 23, 2024

The Linn County Board of Supervisors has awarded $80,000 in grants from the Linn County Board of Supervisors Witwer Trust Fund to 19 nonprofit organizations whose work benefits Linn County residents, including $1,000 to the Marion-East Cedar Rapids Rotary Club for Shoes for Kids. The recipients were selected through an annual competitive grant process that began in November. The Board of Supervisors received more than $500,000 in grant requests with $80,000 in available funds. 

The Witwer Trust was established by Weaver Witwer, a prominent Cedar Rapids grocer and landowner who died in 1979. Mr. Witwer owned and operated a food processing plant, a number of local farms, and what became known as the Me Too grocery stores. 

The Witwer Trust grant cycle begins Nov. 1 of each year. For more information about the Witwer Trust grant program, visit  

Thanks to the Marion Sun for this story.

Profile photo of Matt Linn
From LinkedIn..........
Eternal Fan® understands that FANS are essential to sports. Without the FANS we would have empty venues, and the sporting world would cease to exist. Fans love their teams, players and venues to great lengths. The love of sports binds FANS together and makes us who we are. Even beyond the team itself, Fans have a deep emotional connection with the venue, where they have enjoyed the achievements of their team.

Eternal Fan helps ensure that every fan has the chance to be remembered at a place that has provided them such cherished, happy memories. What if a loyal, lifelong fan can have the opportunity to continue with the team and friends beyond their lifetime? What if they could be eternally part of a special fan area? This is much more than a name on a wall. Rather this is a complete memorial experience, where families and friends gather to share memories and build on the tradition for generations to come. Eternal Fan® is the building of a true legacy that touches the hearts of the most passionate fans and creates a unique opportunity to celebrate the FAN.

Eternal Fan advises and consults with venues and teams to create this memorial experience, primarily by advising on how venues and teams can take advantage of self-storage facilities for keepsakes and other memorials items for fans. Eternal Fan is the unseen partner that works with the sports brand to provide fans this experience and the brand with a substantial revenue stream for years to come. Eternal Fan brings a suite of services which can be customized for a unique fan experience with every sports brand and venue. Each one is a blank canvas to be custom tailored for the team and venue. The pricing, design and revenue opportunities are determined by the team or venue with our consulting and industry experience.

From the Cedar Rapids Gazette.........

 If you’re putting in a swimming pool in your backyard, why not make it like a resort?

That’s the motivation behind the work that Rick Whiteaker does with Agile Aquatic, a Cedar Rapids-based business owned by his wife, Amy Belice.

The custom pool company helps homeowners create healthy, safe swimming pools that can become an outdoor oasis.

“It's just like another area of your home, like your living room or your kitchen, and you can design those kinds of elements in an outdoor space,” said Whiteaker, the company’s “relationship manager.”

Whiteaker grew up working in a family pool business and then spent time in the construction industry. With his new venture, he combines his decades of experience and knowledge with the latest technologies for private pools.

Agile Aquatic offers pool consultation, design and construction services in Eastern and central Iowa.

“We work hands-on and collaboratively with general contractors and industry experts both locally and from out of state to bring a pool project to completion,” Whiteaker said. “We take time to get the design and engineering done properly.”


On April 30th, our Club hosted students, parents, and Marion City and school district officials to recognize students who have worked to create a safe and drug free school environment at Linn-Mar, Marion Independent, and St. Joseph schools. Marion-East Cedar Rapids Rotary has represented the community in honoring some very accomplished and busy students for 32 years. Pictured is the 2024 class honored.
Profile photo of Philip Wasta
From LinkedIn...........
Phil is an energetic business leader with 30 years experience leading and managing a locally owned small business with impact on and responsibility for all aspects of the business performance. Subsequently, he became leader of Cedar Rapids' second Self-Sustaining Municipal Improvement District. Additionally, he has built relationships broadly within the community through volunteer involvement on local boards, commissions and committees, focusing on improving the community and the quality of life for all residents. Phil is known for employing collaboration and team building to develop and implement effective solutions, building consensus to deliver desired outcomes, and facilitating the connection of effective resources and networks.
The MedQuarter Regional Medical District is a Self-Supporting Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) representing 55 square blocks of downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa dedicated to the improvement and promotion of the medical providers and businesses within the District.  As Executive Director, Phil is responsible for all aspects of implementation of the Medical SSMID Commission's strategies and initiatives including marketing, economic development, infrastructure improvement, etc.
Phil provided us with a MedQuarter update and shared future MedQuarter plans.  We learned that the 4 Guiding Principles of MedQuarter include:
  • Deliver a Superior Visitor Experience
  • Improve the Quality of MedQuarter Healthcare Opportunities
  • Actively Promote Economic Development
  • Contribute to the Growth of Cedar Rapids
uptown street
Community Playmaker, a media platform designed to provide news, features, and trends that highlight American communities and civic leaders, names the city of Marion, Iowa as their Community of the Year for 2023. The city of 41,864 residents beat out nearly 100 small, midsize, and large communities that entered the nationwide contest to earn this honor.

The Community of the Year Award is a celebration of cities and the visionary leaders that spark progress. It’s about innovative programs and initiatives that drive economic development, promote community engagement, provide places for residents to work and play, support public safety, amplify the arts and culture, and build open, inclusive, high-quality environments for all citizens.

Communities from around the country submitted entries for the Community of the Year Award. The size of communities ranged from towns with a little more than 1,000 residents to some of America’s largest and most well-known cities, and everything in between.

A panel of experts reviewed each entry with several criteria in mind, including the scope of the “quality-of-life” projects that were launched and the impact of each project, among other items. While we received many tremendous and inspiring entries, one stood above the rest.

“Marion is a great example of what can happen when a community, both its leaders and citizens, cast a vision for a tremendous quality of life for everyone. And the power is not just in the vision, it’s also in the determination Marion leaders showed driving these projects through to completion,” said Ashley Whittaker, editor-in-chief of Community Playmaker. “Through initiatives as diverse as their partnership to build a state-of-the-art YMCA to converting unused alleyways into accessible arts and entertainment space, we are inspired by the work they’ve done and continue to do.”

In 2007, city and business leaders in Marion embarked on a bold path toward enhancing their city. It started with polling residents for their thoughts on how to make Marion a better place. Their responses and conversations in community brainstorming sessions helped civic leaders develop a list of projects that met the needs of the community.

Once ideas were further refined, funding and partnerships were sought for a variety of projects that shape Marion today. These include:

  • A new 75,000-square-foot recreation facility in partnership with the YMCA
  • Uptown Artway- an unused, dumpster-filled back alleyway that was converted into a concert and art venue
  • A state-of-the-art library, which includes a recording studio, teen area, art studio, demonstration kitchen, quilting machine, and 3D printer.

“It is a great honor for our city to be named, ‘Community of the Year,’” said Marion Mayor Nick AbouAssaly. “We are grateful for the recognition as it places Marion on a national stage and endorses our focus on serving residents and giving them the best opportunities for an unequaled quality of life. Marion’s success is hard-earned by an energized team that works together and engages the entire community in moving the city forward.”

Check out our January edition of Community Playmaker to learn more about Marion’s incredible story. 

Club Executives & Directors
Rotary Foundation
Immediate Past President