Rotary Club of Sycamore, Illinois
We meet In Person
Wednesdays at 11:45 AM
St. Mary's Parish Activity Center
312 Waterman Street
Sycamore, IL 60178
United States of America
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President Elect
President Nominee
Immediate Past President
Club Foundation Chair
Polio Chair
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Sycamore Rotary News
DeKalb County Community Gardens (DCCG) was founded in 2012 by DeKalb teacher Dan Kenney to address food insecurity and has grown into a multi-program agency that also promotes healthy eating lifestyles and provides job training in agriculture for adults with special needs.  Executive Director Heather Edwards and Associate Director Karson Paris provided an update at this week’s Rotary meeting.  DCCG distributes locally grown produce to area food pantries, shelters, low-income housing units, and community meal programs.  Their main office is at a warehouse on Northern Illinois University property at Bethany and Sycamore Roads. 
There are several major programs and locations for DCCG.
  • Walnut Grove Vocational Farm near Kirkland – A site for securing fresh produce as well as plants for personal use.  This is also the training site to prepare adults with special needs for jobs in agriculture.  Retail sales at the site begin April 27th and an open house is scheduled for May 6th.
  • Grow Mobile Outreach – Specially equipped trucks make fresh produce and other healthy food options available to urban and rural food deserts throughout the county.  DCCG conducts 12-14 events per month.
  • Community Gardens – Rental plots for growing produce are available in the DeKalb, Sycamore, and Genoa areas for those who don’t have their own yards or have only limited space for a garden.  DCCG has multiple other plots available for volunteers to manage producing produce that goes to food pantries and community meal programs.
  • Box of Hope – A box of locally grown vegetables delivered to individuals or families during the 20-week growing season.
  • Genoa Food Hub – Opened in 2020, it offers traditional food pantry services but also provides educational classes on healthy food preparation and has a pay-as-you-are-able meal program.
Edwards said DCCG is making plans for a DeKalb Food Hub which would be in the Annie Glidden North Road area.  She also noted the organization is always looking for additional volunteers and donations to supplement their grants from community partners.  Their website is
Deputy Sheriff Sean Conlon of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office visited the club this week to share information about the Citizen's Academy and other aspects of his department's work.
The Sheriff's Office has hosted its Citizen's Academy for a number of years, with Deputy Conlon serving as its current coordinator. Interested citizens can apply for participation starting in October (look for posts on the department's Facebook page), with 10 Thursday gatherings taking place from January to March (when "graduation ceremonies" are held). To participate in the free program, individuals must be 21 or older and residents of DeKalb County. Academy cohorts are typically limited to no more than 35 participants, but the Sheriff's Office does maintain a waiting list for those interested.
The Citizen's Academy involves different topics or activities each week to better understand the work of the Sheriff's Department, such as:
  • Presentation by Sheriff Andy Sullivan
  • Explanation of the department's auxiliary members
  • Tour of the DeKalb County Courthouse
  • Tour of the DeKalb County Jail (built in 2018)
  • Review of roadway crash data and procedures
  • Review of DUI enforcement
  • Tour of the communications division
  • Mock traffic stops
The Sheriff's Office currently has 16 staff members, but also has several individuals completing their training. Fully staffed, the department would have 20 employees, including detectives as well as deputies assigned to the courthouse. As patience is a valuable skill for a deputy, many deputies previously worked in the jail where their patience was tested regularly by inmates wishing to argue. Deputies also partner with mental health professionals who often work with local police departments as well.
Honoring veterans with an all-expense paid trip to the nation’s capital is what “Honor Flights” is all about explained Chicago Director Doug Meffley when speaking to Sycamore Rotarians.  Meffley said that beyond a trip, “we change lives” by helping with healing and closure from their military service.  “Honor Flights” began its Chicago operation in 2008 (the organization was started in Ohio in 2005).  Since then, there have been 106 flights serving 9,995 veterans according to Meffley.  He said there first flight in June of 2008 was for 60 World War II veterans, included 45 guardian assistants,  involved 3 busses, and cost $35,000.  He compared this with their most recent trip involving 113 veterans, 158 guardians, 6 busses, and a cost of $140,000.  “Honor Flights” now services veterans through the Viet Nam War period. Meffley shared some personal stories of veterans.  It showed the impact of his organization on a member of the Tuskegee Airmen from World War II, a Korean War veteran who had earned a purple heart, and a Viet Nam war veteran who earned two purple hearts and who got reconnected with a high school friend who thought the veteran had died in the war. 
Beyond doing the “Honor Flights,” Meffley said their group does various awareness projects.  Their Operation Education program seeks to bring veteran connections, education, and inspiration to school students.  Their outreach has extended to 108 elementary schools, 50 middle schools, and 45 high schools.  Mission Never Forget sends out birthday cards to veterans.  They do Veteran Homes contacts which includes yard signs at the care facilities.  Meffley said they even do a podcast.
Meffley said hundreds of volunteers are involved in an “Honor Flight”.  On flight day the veterans and volunteers gather at Midway Airport in the early morning hours wearing various colored t-shirts identifying them as a participant or helper.  Even after a full-day of activities the veterans get a surprise mail-call on their trip home that was coordinated in advance with family or fiends of veterans.  “Honor Flights” is totally supported by donations.  Their website,, has information on how to donate and/or recommend a participant.
Rotary Reader Program
South Prairie Elementary School, 820 Borden Avenue, Sycamore
Thursdays, 2:00 - 2:20 PM (please arrive at 1:50 PM to pick out your books)
March 23 - Jeff Jacobson, Appraiser
April 6 - Julie Sgarlata, Substitute Teacher
April 13 - Stephen Hansen, NIU/Business Manager
April 20 - Michael DeVito, Insurance Agent
April 27 - Bob Brown, Retired Wireless CEO
As with Happy Dollars and fines, 50/50 raffle proceeds have long been earmarked for the scholarship fund for Sycamore High School seniors. In an effort to "spread the wealth" and support more causes, the members of your Rotary Board have determined that 50/50 raffle proceeds collected each month will benefit a different cause.
For the month of March, 50/50 raffle proceeds will help support DeKalb County Community Gardens to empower residents to choose healthy and sustainable foods through community education. The Board has committed that the total amount given to this cause will be no less than $250.
Thank you for your support of this important cause...and best of luck with the raffle!
The Rotary Club of Sycamore is committed to supporting many great causes. Following are the causes we have support since July 2022:
  • $372.50 to Sycamore District 427 for School Supplies (50/50 raffle cause for August)
  • $300.00 to Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County (50/50 raffle cause for September)
  • $465.50 to Safe Passage (50/50 raffle cause for October)
  • $1,350.00 for Polio Plus (funds raised through Chicken Salad Tasting with Suter Company)
  • $2,761.00 for Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County’s 2022 Home Build (w/ Dist. 6420 Matching Grant)
  • $400.00 to Usborne Books (during District conference) to provide reading materials to Ukrainian refugees attending two schools in Chicago's Ukrainian Village
  • $896.00 for Adopt-a-Family
  • $1,000.00 to Coats for Kids
  • $1,000.00 to Feed My Starving Children/Make a Difference DKC
  • $352.50 to Spartan Food Pantry (50/50 raffle cause for November)
  • $1,000.00 to Sycamore Public Library to fulfill District 6420 Governor's "Nothing Reads Like a Book" initiative
  • $292.50 to Sycamore Food Pantry (50/50 raffle cause for December)
  • $500.00 to Pay-It-Forward House (50/50 raffle cause for January)
  • $400.00 to Navajo Water Project (50/50 raffle cause for February)