Posted by Mark Hisey

The Rotary Club of Fort Wayne is back to

in-person meetings at Parkview Field!

Zoom meeting attendance continues as an option.

Please attend via the means that works best for you!


MONDAY MEETINGS at Parkview Field and via Zoom

12:00 - 1:00 PM MEETING
May 3, 2021
Paul Harris Award Presentations & Celebration
President Jeff Peat
  Zoom meeting link: 
INSPIRATION: Randy Roberts
ROTARY IS... Randy Roberts
House: Kathy Callen
AV: Jonathan Busarow
PROGRAM: Special Paul Harris Award Presentations & Milestone Celebrations
MENU: Soups and Salad, Chicken Teriyaki, Fried Rice, Steamed Broccoli, Cake
Programs coming up…. Remember to invite guests to hear our great programs!
May 10: RYE, Former Inbound Students Reflections on their experience
May 17: Jaki Schreier, The Jewish Federation, Education on the Holocaust
May 24: Brenda Gerber Vincent & Barry Schrock, Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
  • May 21: Community Service Award Nominations due
  • June 24: Annual Celebration Dinner at Parkview Field
  • September 14: Big Easy Feast, Parkview Field
  • Rotary International Virtual Convention - June 12-16, 2021, Taipei, Taiwan
  • The Peace Committee's Book Club is held on the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m.
  • If you attend club meetings on Zoom, don’t forget the support for service fee! Send a check to Rotary, PO Box 11141, Fort Wayne IN 46856 ($3 per week) or pay using paypal:
  • The Zoom Room is available for committee meetings.  Schedule with Jane.
  • To get to the Fort Wayne Rotary Club home page, use or
Spin Author - Lisa Long
     Attendance summary for April 26th:  42 + 14 guests at Parkview Field; 19 + 1 guest on Zoom
Moment of Inspiration -  Carol Fuller
On June 24 at Parkview Field, your Rotary Celebration Committee is inviting you to attend a dinner ushering out one president and welcoming in another one. We will say goodbye to President Jeff and his team and we will give a warm welcome to President Lynne Gilmore.
Every Rotary Club in every community has faced their own set of challenges this year. This worldwide pandemic has tested us all to our limits. President Jeff and his team have helped us make it almost to the end of a most difficult year. I find him and this a source of inspiration. A world-class guy who learned how to navigate this new normal, and we call that Zoom, I am inspired by how many committees forged ahead and thought of ways to execute several projects this year. I’m inspired by diverse programs that continue to present a wide spectrum of topics to educate and still engage our club. I’m inspired by our international service projects such as building hospitals and schools in some of the most remote areas of the world, including global grants that is making our club a leader in this area. I’m inspired by local commitment to service projects such as Go Baby Go!, Wellspring and Washington school. I’m inspired by our club’s membership committee who has challenged and is seeking out new members during these restricted and troubled times.
Please mark your calendar for June 24and join us for an evening full of celebration and inspiration.
Thank you all for what you do for our club and Rotary and let’s stay inspired.
Hope to see you then.
“Rotary is…Interact” – Lori Stinson, chair of the Interact Committee 
“So what is Interact? Interact is a combination of ‘international’ and ‘action,’ so Interact and its students 12-18 who are making a positive change in their schools. In fact, in the fall of 2015, our own Dick Conklin back there was talking with Liz Bryan at New Tech High School about this program. And she was super-excited about it and they actually had a committee of students that were doing things for the community and thought this would be a great framework for it. So in 2016, that fall we had our Interact Club at New Tech started. So we’ve been doing that for five years strong. And just two years ago we were able to get one over at Homestead as well. So we’re excited to have two high schools that are impacting Fort Wayne.
New Tech this year is a little bit challenged as far as the students are kind of split, going to school Monday and Tuesday but they're still doing some great things. I know they’re doing an event this weekend too. So Dee Hoffman is in charge of the Homestead group and we’re going to find how they’re impacting Fort Wayne.”
Dee Hoffman: “Interact started at Homestead two years ago and we have a presentation … but first I’m going to introduce you to again to the school counselor and she’s going to tell you a little bit about Interact at Homestead.”

Lyla Dean is sponsoring the Homestead Interact Club. Students from the club presented the history of the club and some of its projects - 
Leaders of the Homestead Interact Club offered an inspiring and detailed account of their many service projects since the club’s founding.  President Jazzmyne Swenson explained the club’s early projects included:  
  • Aid for Hurricane Dorian victims in the Bahamas: “I couldn’t believe we raised $800 in our first project! I was just blown away,” Jazzmyne exclaimed.
  • Purple Pinkie Day: The clubs raised $120–and a lot of awareness about Rotary’s quest to “End Polio Now”--by painting the pinkie fingernail purple of each student who contributed to the effort. The Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation’s two-to-one match grew the club’s contribution to $360.
Other Interactors Rebecca Lucky, vice president, and members Christine Abeysekera and Veronica Beifus, emphasized that the COVID-19 
pandemic did not dampen their zeal. for service. During the past year, Homestead Interactors completed these projects:  
  • Made blankets for Indiana Foster Care, which are given to children as they enter foster care.
  • Organized shelves and did yard cleanup at the local Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.  
  • Made tissue flowers for Creative Women of the World’s display windows.  
Congratulations Homestead Interactors! Your high standards and dedication to service provide an inspiring example of Service Above Self and “doing good in the world.” 
And, a huge THANK YOU to Dee Hoffman for her leadership and support of the Homestead Interact Club!
President Jeff said the group will be receiving a check from Rotary to help them as they leave for college soon.
Student Rotarian of the Month
Jasney Combs, a senior at South Side High School, spoke about her experiences. She’s happy to have transferred in her sophomore year from Homestead to South Side High School where “you can tell the staff and students really love each other.” It’s much more of a family atmosphere, and she enjoys the more diverse population. Several students volunteer in the community through school groups.
She’s been involved in volleyball, basketball, track, French Honor Society and National Honor Society.  She’s treasurer for her school’s National Honor Society and received an Academic All-State Honor Mention in basketball. She’s also a volunteer for Windsong Pictures and Always 100 Basketball. Jasney plans to go to Ball State in the honors program, majoring in pre-med, and then to medical school to become an oncologist.
Rotary Proud
“I’m Rotary proud because I want to be a member of an organization that makes a significant difference in our community, country and the  world. I became a Rotarian.”
       -Dick Conklin, retired, joined Rotary in 1985
“I am Rotary proud because our club is able to make a global impact even though we are located in Fort Wayne. Rotary also enables me to make an impact locally through the local service committee, the Big Easy Feast committee, whether it’s a service project or collaborating with a local nonprofit to make a financial impact, Rotary is opening doors.”
-Dave Dyer, Tonn and Blank Construction, joined Rotary in 2019
The PR Committee of the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne welcomes (and longs for!) your "Rotary Proud" statements. Please take a moment to think why you are “Rotary Proud.” Then write or record your statement of 40 words or fewer. (Please limit videos to 60 seconds.)  Send your statements and videos to:  
If you’re not sure how to make a video, or don’t have the technological savvy, we’d be happy to help!! Mike Weber and Nichole Thomas will stick around after the Rotary meeting on Monday, May 3, and will be ready to video record your statements. Just stay after the meeting and we’ll handle the rest! Well, you’ll still have to know why you’re Rotary proud and have to say it on camera, but we’ll do the recording, editing and submitting for you!
If you’re not attending meetings in-person yet, stay tuned! We’ll have a Zoom video option coming soon.
Thank you so much!

In service,
Nichole Thomas
PR Committee, Rotary Club of Fort Wayne 
Annual Rotary Celebration Dinner

The 2021 Annual Rotary Celebration Dinner will be held Thursday, June 24, 2021 at Parkview Field.  Lynne says this will be a date in history you will not want to miss! 

High Fives!

Rotarian Lisa Waterman on Zoom congratulated Rotarian Holli Seabury on her Cable Foundation Award for service to the Rotary International Foundation that was announced during the District Conference. The Fort Wayne club had also nominated Holli for the Jack and Kay Kissinger Award established by the Elkhart Rotary Club. Holli is district-governor-nominee-elect and will serve District 6540 in 2024-25. Rotarian Dick Conklin sent her flowers.

Jim Cress has two grandsons who’ve had birthdays in the past week, ages 11 and 9. Campbell, the third-grader was selected by his school to join the math bowl, one of three third-graders with fourth- and fifth-graders. Their team won the city bowl and all the math questions were high school level.
Rotarian Rick Zolman was lauded for his work at the district level as chair of the New and Innovative Club Committee. Despite COVID-19 he’s helped get six clubs in different phases of creation, but all are active, Tim Gibson said. The furthest along is Huntertown.
 Ron VerLee gave a high-five to his wife, Lorelei, who in a week would be headed for Lebanon to work with Syrian refugees. She will be working with a Lebanese nonprofit called Together For the Family on behalf of the Syrian refugees. They will be doing food distribution because of the current food crisis. She will also be doing product development and business training with women who have been trained in sewing skills. TFF has invited her to give her business training to their leaders.
      You're Invited - Utopian Community Grocery
      Lynne Gilmore said the Club has been invited to the soft opening of the new Utopian Community Grocery in southeast Fort Wayne. The event will have restricted attendance in three time slots May 15. Contact Lynne if you want to go to see if there’s still room.
      Polio Plus: Gates Foundation Match at Risk
      Following a recent report that donations to the Polio Plus program were $5 million below the $50 million that we need to raise to qualify for the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation match of $100M, we are encouraging all Rotarians to donate $50 to Polio Plus.  See President Jeff Peat or Mark Westerhausen for more information.  Thank you to those who have supported the cause.
      Pass Along the Praise!
      President Jeff sent out an email with the nomination form for a non-Rotarian who has done significant work in the community. Every year we select four. We need the nominations by May 21 and will be awarding them June 21.
      Barbara Baekgaard
      The Bradley Hotel

       Barbara Baekgaard thinks of herself not as a numbers person but a creative one. Baekgaard, who co-founded Vera Bradley with friend Pat Miller in 1982, is a 50% investor in The Bradley, downtown Fort Wayne's first boutique hotel that's set to open in mid-July.

      "She's not just an influencer," Irene Walters said in her introduction before Baekgaard spoke to the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne on April 26, "she's a game changer."

      Baekgaard has been on the board since the beginning of Vera Bradley, the company named for her late mother. The brand, headquartered in Fort Wayne, makes women’s handbags, luggage and travel items, fashion and home accessories, and gifts. It also has a role in the newly opened goodMRKT in Jefferson Pointe, with the store's vendors dedicated to social causes including the environment or saving girls from sex trafficking.

      The duo served as co-presidents until 2010, when Miller was named national spokesperson for the company and Baekgaard took on the role of chief creative officer. In 2017, the company named Baekgaard chief optimist. Miller took a leave of absence from the company in 2005 and 2006 while she served as the first Secretary of Commerce for the State of Indiana retired from the company’s board of directors on Aug. 30, 2019.

      "I've wanted a really nice boutique hotel in Fort Wayne for at least the last 30 years," Baekgaard said. "Two of my daughters got married, and I thought, where am I going to put the guests."

      True, Fort Wayne has a number of hotels, but Baekgaard wanted to go beyond the starkness of the usual hotel rooms.

      Having grown up in Miami Beach, Florida, "surrounded by hotels," she was friends with the daughters of managers of the luxurious Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Eden Roc and Kenilworth hotels. "I was in and out of very, very nice hotels before the word 'boutique hotel' ever came into being."

      Her late second husband, Peer, was from Denmark, and the couple traveled throughout Europe, with Baekgaard falling in love with the boutique hotels there, especially Kit Kemp's Firmdale hotels. "All her hotels ... they all (have a) homey, warm, wonderful presence, wonderful atmosphere, like having someone in your home."

      It's what she wants people the company recruits to feel. 

      "We would recruit someone, and we would have the best of everything; we would have the best people, our Vera Bradley offices are beautiful. Our clubs are beautiful. Our restaurants are wonderful. Everything was great. And then we left them at a basic hotel. And I kept thinking the last thing in their minds should be, 'And wow. You've got to come join me and stay in the hotel.'"


      Baekgaard knows her limitations. She said she proved she can't manage a hotel when Vera Bradley created an inn in Seaside, Florida, and while she loved building and decorating, she lost her foothold once it opened. The company sold it. 

      She ended up finding a partner on Bradley in Provenance Hotels of Portland, Oregon. It understood "our culture here. ... We didn't want to be a New York hotel. We wanted to be a warm, friendly Midwest hotel where when people left Fort Wayne they would feel like this was the final bow on the package."

      The 124-room, 9-suite Bradley — again named for her mother, though she originally dreamed of Fox on Main, her mother's maiden name combined with the location, but she couldn't secure the name — won't scream Vera Bradley's iconic patterns but will be filled with color and patterns. The company and others in the community are also investors. 

      But Bradley suits her with the B, because she's been Barbara Bradley Byrne Baekgaard. "I'll never remarry because there just aren't any men my age with the last name of B on the end," she said to laughter. 

      One of the restaurants begins with a B. Birdie's, the rooftop restaurant atop the Bradley hotel at Harrison and Main streets, is based on Baekgaard's nickname. Her oldest grandson, then 2, had three grandmothers, and when he spotted all the birds in Baekgaard's home decor, he began calling her Grandma Birdie.

      The main-floor restaurant, Arbor, comes from Fort Wayne being a city of trees. Rivers had been used enough. 

      The kitchens will be managed by Ring on Hook, the team behind the RH restaurant in New York's Meatpacking District that Baekgaard would always want to go during the visit. It's also handling the coffee bar at goodMRKT.

      Baekgaard had a role in the design of the uniforms for Birdie's and the Arbor. 

      "It's going to be great," she said. "I promise you guys."

      Monday's meeting was recorded, and can be accessed at any time with the following link and passcode:

      Access Passcode: !skv3a+$
      The Peace Committee Book Club 
      Book:  Strength to Love - a collection of sermons by Martin Luther King
      Date:   May 4 - Tuesday
      Time:  7 PM.   
      How:  The Rotary Zoom - as usual!  
      Zoom Link: (the Rotary link)
      Chapters 13-15
      13 - The Answer to a Perplexing Question

      14 - Paul's Letter to American Christians

      15 - Pilgrimage to Nonviolence
      Feel free to join any time.  The chapters are stand alone so you do not have to read the whole book.
      Please RSVP to Dee Hoffman at


      This Date in History
      On this date in 1865 – John Wilkes Booth was killed by Union soldiers who took 12 days to finally track him down after President Lincoln’s assassination.
      On this date in 1986 – The world’s worst nuclear power plant accident occurred at Chernobyl in the Soviet Union, about 65 miles north of Kyiv in Ukraine. It seems there was a group of engineers who wanted to do an experiment in reactor No. 4. While they understood the experiment they were doing, they really didn’t understand nuclear reactors. Thirty-two people died that day at the plant and over 5,000 Soviet citizens eventually died of cancer or radiation. And the amount of what was released into the atmosphere far exceeded what was released from the atomic bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
      And, on this date in 1986 – Maria Shriver, then co-anchor of CBS “Morning News” and a member of one of the most prominent Democratic political families in the country married Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican who came to the US in 1968 as a bodybuilder and four-time Mr. Universe.
      This Date in Sports History
      On this date in 1941 – The Chicago Cubs was the first Major League team to install an organ in their ballpark, Wrigley Field.
      On this date in 2012 – The Colts selected Andrew Luck with the first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, followed by Washington, now called the Football Team, selecting the Baylor quarterback, Robert Griffin III.
      This Date in Rock History
      On this date in 1955 – Frank Sinatra released the album, “In the Wee Small Hours.” It was filled with songs inspired by his failed relationship with his second wife, Ava Gardner.
      On this date in 1969 – The first hit by the Canadian group Guess Who entered the Billboard Top 40. “These Eyes” climbed to No. 6 and was followed by 12 more hits over the next five years.
      On this date in 1975 – B.J. Thomas had a song that reached No. 1 in the charts, and it also set a record for the No. 1 song with the longest title, “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.”
      Top 100 Movie Quote
      From the movie She Done Him Wrong (1933), 
      “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime.” 
      (though Mae West’s character actually says, “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me?”)
      Save the date for important events!
      • Rotary International Virtual Convention – June 12-16, 2021, Taipei, Taiwan
      • BOARD:  May 25, 8:00 a.m. 
      Make It a Great Week!  Stay Safe!
      2020-2021 Membership at a Glance:  129 Active and 10 Honorary
          Erin McCarthy, , Proposed by John Hoffman
          Paige Wilkins, Executive Director of Healthier Moms and Babies, proposed by Holli Seabury  
         Nichole Hacha-Thomas, Director of Communications, Public Relations and Community Outreach, Better Business Bureau, Sponsored by Steve Smith
         Cathy Yen, Director of Operations, Beat the Streets Chicago, Transfer from Lake Forest IL Rotary Club, Sponsored by Irene Walters
         Justin Clupper, Executive Director, CTN (Community Transportation Network), Proposed by Stephanie Veit
         Kenyon Russell Sivels, Corps Officer with the Salvation Army, Transfer--Mason IA Rotarian, proposed by Faye Williams-Robbins
         Mike Dahm, Senior Broker/Advisor, Bradley Co, Proposed by Bill Harris (Former member of Anthony Wayne Club)
         Tom Salzer, President, Bona Vita Architecture, Former member of FW Rotary
         Chris Wesner, Vice President, Customer Engagement, Shambaugh & Son, Proposed by Tim Shambaugh
         John Saboski, Payroll & Benefits Manager, Micropulse Inc, Proposed by David Dyer
          Susan Baier, Executive Director, Allen County Public Library, Transfer from Paducah KY Rotary
          Dr. Mark Daniel, Superintendent, FWCS
         American Red Cross: Olivia Luther, Lead Member, Executive Director; Zachary Bernath, Biomedical Services Account Manager,
                 Valerie Magana, Regional Philanthropy Manager (former member of the club)
         Entheos Audiology Cooperative: Suha Abbas, Lead Member, Administrative Assistant; Nora Stewart, CEO
         Parkview Health: Mark Hisey, lead member; Mark Gillespie, Director of Patient Services; Robert Harmon,
         Director of Mirro Center;  Sarah GiaQuinta, VP of Community Health
         Hugh Baldus, a member since 1966
         Hamilton Hunter, a member since 1958
         Dick Sievers, a member since 2002
         Dave Kaverman (Relocation to Asheville NC)
         Judy Fehlhaber (Work conflicts)
         Jacquie Mann (Personal Reasons)
         Dave Bennett (Work conflicts)
         Dr. Wendy Robinson (Retirement) 
         Dave Lorenz (Furloughed)
         Christian Wolff (Personal Reasons)
         Martin Perkins
         Julie Zollinger (Job change)
         Dan Gabbard (Job change and Relocation to Chicago)
         Maurice Pearl (Job change and relocation)
         Bill Gabbard (Health Reasons)
         Rick Maples (Retirement)
         Fort Wayne Newspapers Corporate Membership: Scott Sanford, John Christensen, Sherry Skufca (Business reasons)  
         Parry Leavell, Star Financial Corporate Member (Business conflicts)