Rotary Club of Faribault

Meeting Responsibilities
Club Services
Daniels, Brian
Sergeant At Arms
Halverson, Kurt
Wickstrom, Jr., George
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Rotary Foundation Co- Chair
Rotary Foundation Co-chair
Youth Services Chair
Community Service
Strive Program
Public Relations Chair
Literacy Chair
Past President/Club Services
International Project
Youth Exchange Officer
Youth Protection Officer

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Rotary Serving Humanity

We meet Wednesdays at 12:15 PM
Inn at Shattuck- St. Mary's
1000 Shumway Ave.
Faribault, MN  55021
United States
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Vitals- Aware Services

On Wednesday June 6th we heard from Stan Alleyne on VITALS awareness services. VITALS is a brilliant idea that is taking off to help law enforcement identify children and adults who may have a disability that isn't easily identified if some sort of situation occurs.
An individual's caregiver can obtain a token for free and set up a profile for their loved one that is loaded to the cloud. Law enforcement all over the state and country are getting signed up. For $5.00 per month per officer, VITALS provide the officer with a message when they get within 80 feet of anyone who has a VITALS token on them. The profile they receive will give important information about the individual so there is no misunderstanding the individuals reaction to a possibly stressful situation.
VITALS is currently being used by individuals with Autism, Asperger's, Alzheimer's, Dementia, Epilepsy and other conditions.
Like all new startup companies VITALS is looking for financial support too. An initial investment of $10,000.00 minimum will get you in.
For information on the products and services you can text VITALS to 797979 or

Natalie gave her classification talk recently.  I asked her six follow up questions to help summarize her presentation for those of us who were present and for our club members who missed the meeting. If you have not had a chance to welcome her to our club, please do so.

  1. Your Family members, occupations (including you) or school level?” 
Natalie Ginter-Secraw is the director of Community Engagement and Development for Allina Health’s south region. Ben Secraw (Natalie’s husband) works in construction and is currently a builder with Erick Warner Construction in Faribault. Natalie’s son, Keaton Ginter, is 14 years old and currently attends Cannon River STEM School in Faribault. He will attend Faribault High School next fall.
  1. Your Hometown/School/College
Both Natalie and Ben’s hometown is Colfax, Wisconsin.  Natalie graduated from Colfax H.S. then attended the United States Military Academy Prep School at West Point for one year.  Natalie went on to receive her B.S. degree from North Dakota State University in Dietetics/Food and Nutrition and later pursued and received her M.S. degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato in Community Health/Health Science. Natalie has plans of pursuing an advanced degree in Healthcare Administration.
  1. Your previous occupations?
Prior to her position with Allina Health, Natalie worked with Rice County Public Health as a health educator (8 years).Natalie has vast experience in a variety of roles within the healthcare sector including registration and scheduling, medical records, dietary/nutrition, environmental services and administration.
  1. Any Hobbies?
Natalie and her family enjoy traveling to new states and destinations. She’ll be taking her son, niece and nephew to experience New York City for a week this summer. Natalie owns a vintage “canned ham” camper which Ben and her renovated and they also enjoy gardening and canning. They are members of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and can also be found attending several local youth sporting events to cheer on Keaton in golf, hockey, football and soccer.
  1. Rotary sponsor?
Kurt Halvorson
  1. Interesting fact about you or your life?
  • Natalie and her mother, Lydia, are members of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). They are confirmed descendants of a soldier who fought in the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783).
In less than 2 years the Faribault Rotary Club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on May 1, 2020.  This week’s historical highlight is from 1926.
Noon meetings were to be held at the Elks Club with the cost not to exceed 60 cents.
(Is Peter willing to match that price?)
The club sponsored a float in the 4th of July parade.
The club fielded a baseball team with Leo Shandorf as captain.
Our 6th club president was Dr. Edmund K. Clements.
In less than 2 years the Faribault Rotary Club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on May 1, 2020.  This week’s historical highlight is from 1924.
Rotary book shelf was installed in the public library.
We sponsored the Northfield Rotary Club.
There was a program that dealt with school problems.
There was a joint picnic with the clubs of Northfield, Owatonna and Faribault.
Our 5th president in 1925-26 was Dr. Edmund K. Clements.

Thank you Natalie and Carter!

On Wednesday May 30 we had the pleasure of hearing from two of our newer Rotarians. Natalie Ginter - Secraw, and Carter Klinger.
Natalie Ginter - Secraw was born in Lubbock Texas, and shortly after moved to Colfax Wisconsin where she grew up. She loved sports, especially basketball. Her love of the game influenced much of her life. She discovered basketball in 4th grade, there was no girls’ basketball team at the time in Colfax Wisconsin so she asked some other girls from school if they would like to play at the YMCA on the weekend, and they said sure. After that a team formed, a pretty great team, playing mostly boys teams in the area, and winning.
In 2013 the Minnesota Lynx presented her with a Woman of the year award!   Super exciting!!
Natalie is the Director of Community Health and Engagement for Allina in Northfield, Faribault and Owatonna. Besides her "day job" she volunteers her time with multiple organizations and is the biggest fan of her son Keaton. She is there cheering him on during whatever sport he is playing. Natalie is married to Ben Secraw, and they live in Faribault.
Carter Klinger works for KOWZ/KRUE radio as an Account Executive in marketing and advertising. He is currently our youngest Faribault Rotarian at age 21. Carter lives in Waseca and comes from a competitive sports family. He was a wrestler, but his talent and passion were for baseball.
As an adult he loves golf and gets out on the course regularly, 3-4 times a week, even when he says he is at home working on projects, he is probably on the course!! He owns a boat, so you may find him on the water during the weekends.
After graduating high school (6 months early) he thought it made sense to purchase his own home as he had already been living on his own since he was a Junior in High school. He purchased his first home at age 19. He has two dogs that he loves more than anything.
This past year he was fortunate enough to travel. He visited California, New York, and the Dominican Republic. His trip to the Dominican was a trip he earned through work. You must be doing well Carter! We are excited to have you!!

The following video of the Rotary Club tree planting at Jefferson and the Dick Huston farm was featured in the June 2018 Conservation News from the Rice Soil and Water Conservation District E-newsletter. Please click on the link below to see the You Tube video.
In less than 2 years the Faribault Rotary Club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on May 1, 2020.  This week’s historical highlight is from 1924.
A boy’s picnic was held at Roberds Lake with 290 boys in attendance.
A committee was appointed to study the possibility of having Scott’s mill site set aside as a park.
The club puts up the community Christmas tree.
Our 5th president in 1924-25 was C. Dana McGrew.
In less than 2 years the Faribault Rotary Club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on May 1, 2020.  This week’s historical highlight is from 1923.
The decision was made to publish the weekly Faribotarian bulletin for a six-month trial period.
The first Farmer’s picnic was held.
The club voted approval of purchase of fairgrounds space for a playground.
Our 4th president in 1923-24 was Nuba M. Pletcher who remained a member until 1965. 
In 2 years the Faribault Rotary Club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on May 1, 2020.  This week’s historical highlight is from 1921.
In 1922, the first annual banquet was held in February. 
Meetings were held bi-weekly during the summer months. 
A committee was formed to help the Chamber of Commerce prepare City Planning and Zoning ordinances. 
We sponsored the Owatonna Rotary Club.
Our third Club President in 1922-23 was Anthony M. Bion.
In 2 years the Faribault Rotary Club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on May 1, 2020.  This week's historical highlight is from 1921.
The first annual picnic was held at Cedar Lake.  Twenty-one new members were added during the second year.  A turkey raffle was held with the number 13 as the lucky number. Our 2nd president was Fred U. Davis.
In 2 years the Faribault Rotary Club will celebrate its 100 year anniversary on May 1, 2020.  Each week the bulletin is published until that day, I will include a brief historical highlight from a year in our history of fellowship and Service above Self starting in 1920.
     The Faribault Rotary Club was established 98 years ago today on May 1, 1920 as Rotary's 596th club with 22 charter members and by the end of the first year membership had reached a total of 35.   
E.B. Johnson, representing the district governor of the International Rotary Clubs, and three other members of the Minneapolis Rotary Club met with our charter members.  The first President of the Faribault Rotary Club was Frank W. McKellip.
Meetings were held on the first and third Monday of each month and on the evening of the fourth Monday.

Thank you, Sujin!

On Wednesday May 23, 2018 we heard from our Rotary Exchange student Sujin, on her Rotary Exchange year in review. She arrived in the US on August 12, 2017 from Korea, and promptly celebrated her 17th birthday on August 22nd. She noted that after middle school in Korea they don't celebrate birthdays the way we do, so that was fun for her. She has had the opportunity to stay with two host families while she is here. That was Beardsley's and Bothun's. Sujin shared pictures of her activities with her families that included Deer hunting, goose hunting, ice fishing, a 5K, water skiing - or trying to water ski, canoeing, and prom.
 She celebrated Halloween, Christmas and Easter with her families too. She was able to take in a performance of the Grinch who stole Christmas and enjoyed that very much. She loved the Christmas lights, and hopes to do a little more decorating once she is home for the holiday.
She enjoyed the food here, and some of her favorites included Shrimp Taco's from the Depot and Enchiladas from El Tequila.
She was able to take a spring break trip to Florida to see her twin sister who is also on exchange. While there they visited Disney, where she had a fun time, but waited a lot for food that looked pretty, but didn't taste super good.
Sujin made the most of her time here, she participated in the orchestra and had may performances. She was not encouraged by her instructors in Korea to participate in an exchange program but is very glad she did. When she returns home, she will tell them what an amazing time she had in the United States. Sujin hopes to come back and visit and has chosen September as the ideal month. August was just too hot, and she said she will be out of here by the time the snow comes!
Sujin, you have been a delight to get to know over the past year. Faribault Rotary was very fortunate to have you with us, we wish you all the best in your future plans both professionally and personally. Please keep in touch!!
Congratulations on a very eventful and successful exchange year!

Ian H.S. Riseley

President 2017-18

Ian H.S. Riseley - Rotary International President-elect 2016-17

May 2018

Rotary is a massive, and massively complex, organization. As this issue of The Rotarian goes to press, we have 1.2 million members in 35,633 clubs in nearly every country of the world. Hundreds of thousands of participants are involved in Rotary programs such as Rotaract, Interact, Youth Exchange, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Rotary Community Corps, Rotary Peace Centers, and a host of local and Foundation-supported projects and programs at the national, district, and local levels. The name of Rotary is attached to countless projects every year, from blood banks to food banks, school sanitation to polio eradication. One hundred thirteen years after the first Rotary club was founded, Rotary service reaches literally around the globe.

What that service looks like on a daily and weekly basis can vary enormously by region, country, and club. Each club has its own history, priorities, and identity. It follows that the identity of Rotarians, and the purpose each Rotarian sees in his or her service, similarly has a great deal of variation. There's nothing wrong with that, as Rotary is by design a decentralized organization, intended to enable each Rotarian and each Rotary club to serve in the ways that suit them best.

Yet the diversity that makes us so strong can also pose challenges to our identity as an organization. It is no surprise that many people who have heard of Rotary still have little idea of what Rotary does, how we are organized, or why we exist at all. Even within Rotary, many members have an incomplete understanding of our larger organization, our goals, or the scope and breadth of our programs. These challenges have significant implications, not only for our ability to serve most effectively, but also for the public image that is so essential to our ability to build our membership, partnerships, and service.

Several years ago, Rotary launched a serious effort across the organization to address these issues, developing tools to strengthen our visual and brand identity. Today, we are using those tools to develop our People of Action public image campaign, which showcases the ability that Rotary grants each of us to make a difference in our communities and beyond. Last June, your Rotary International Board of Directors voted to adopt a new vision statement, reflecting our identity and the single purpose that unites the diversity of our work.

Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

Wherever we live, whatever language we speak, whatever work our clubs are involved in, our vision is the same. We all see a world that could be better and that we can help to make better. We are here because Rotary gives us the opportunity to build the world we want to see – to unite and take action through Rotary: Making a Difference.

Thank you Dr. Huston!

Last Tuesday students from Jefferson planted trees at Dick Huston's farm. This school field trip was a great learning experience for the kids and a nice follow up to the tree planting at Jefferson Elementary the week before. This is helping achieve the Rotary Club’s goal of supporting the International Rotary challenge of planting 1.2 million trees this year, one for every Rotary member worldwide.
There were 93 third graders, Principal Yessica Louis, four teachers, custodian Tim and Todd Sesker who were involved.   Rice County Soil and Water donated the trees and tubex.  Stan Boe at Faribault Garden donated the fertilizer and Mike Ford at Farm and Home gave us a deal on the stakes.  In addition Teresa DeMars from Soil and Water provided a lot of help.  Dick's neighbor Mike Cashin helped to pre-dig the holes for the 60 trees planted at his farm.
Rotary continues to "Make a Difference!"

Canadian General Consul Paul Conners

     On Wednesday May 9th Faribault Rotary has the pleasure of hearing from Paul Connors Canadian Counsel General from the Canadian Embassy. Paul spoke about two main topics and then answered a few questions from Rotarians. He spoke first about Security and defense, and second about Economic relationships, specifically the NAFTA free trade agreement.
     Paul had very positive things to say on all fronts, especially when it came to trade. He commended on the fact that Canada and the United States have the largest two-way trade relationship in the world. We have a very balanced trade according to him. He is confident the NAFTA negotiations are going well, the negotiators working on this meet very regularly and have the "easy stuff" figured out.
     They are re-writing the agreement as they go and some of the chapters are completely finished already. It was a delight to have Paul and Mike Flaherty international business developer join us!

Dick and Troy planting a tree with Jefferson student, Omar Hajii-Mohamed.

Boy plants tree

When Rotary International‘s incoming president challenged each of its members worldwide to plant a tree this year, Faribault’s Rotaryfound some eager helpers to achieve the goal.

On Monday, longtime Faribault Rotary Club member Dick Huston rallied Jefferson Elementary School’s third-graders, getting them to help him plant 93 trees, one for every third-grader in the school.

Environmental degradation and global climate change are serious threats to everyone, said Rotary International President Ian H.S. Riseley. “They are having a disproportionate impact on those who are most vulnerable, those to whom Rotary has the greatest responsibility. Yet environmental issues rarely register on the Rotary agenda,” he said.

“It is my hope that the result of that effort will be far greater than the environmental benefit that those 1.2 million new trees will bring,” Riseley said. “I believe the greater result will be a Rotary that recognizes our responsibility not only to the people on our planet, but to the planet itself.”

Besides helping achieve the Rotary Club’s goal, Huston saw the tree planting as an educational opportunity for the students to learn more about the environment. Huston said his three pillars are “education, conservation and collaboration,” all of which were accounted for in the tree-planting exercise.

Families of some third-graders agreed to take trees home and plant them there, others opted to have their trees planted at the school. The rest of the trees will be taken to Huston’s farm, where they will be planted during a special field trip for third-graders later this school year.

“I’m really excited,” said Huston before presenting to the students Monday morning. “The kids are so enthusiastic and ready to go.”

Huston and Rice County Sheriff and Rotary Club President Troy Dunn represented the Rotary Monday, but Faribault teachers led the educational portion. In a slideshow presentation, teachers asked students “What are trees good for anyway?” showing them information from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website.

The students also learned about northern red oak, quaking aspen, red maple and honey locust trees, the four types that will be planted by the students this year.

“It’s so great to have the school district and the Rotary come together,” said Huston of the event. “In a nutshell, it’s just fun.”

Watching them grow

Dunn, a Jefferson Elementary alumnus, proudly talked to the kids about his own tree-planting experience.

“When I was in fourth grade, I planted six trees at my house and now they’re taller than the school,” he said, describing to the kids how their efforts Monday will pay off years down the road.

“Hopefully, next year, you can plant even more and you can watch the trees grow every year,” Dunn added.

With trees donated by the Rice County Soil and Water Conservation District, fertilizer from the Faribault Garden Club and tree stakes donated by Faribo Farm and Home, the effort is truly a local one that the students will benefit from for years.

What Huston hopes is that those students will see their efforts come to fruition when they graduate.

After each tree is planted, the students will tag their tree to take ownership of it, said Huston.

“Hopefully, they can take some graduation pictures with them when they are done,” Huston said.


Reach Reporter Gunnar Olson at 507-333-3128 or follow him on Twitter @fdnGunnar.

©Copyright 2018 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.


We're gonna win Twins... We're gonna score......

     On Wednesday May 2, 2018, our speaker was Author Bob Showers. Bob is an avid Minnesota sports fan, his newest book The Twins at the Dome chronicles the years the Minnesota Twins baseball team played at the Metro Dome.
He previously has written The Twins at the Met, and Minnesota North Stars: history and memories with Lou Nanne.
Bob retold some of the stories from his new book. He explained his style of interviewing for the book was designed to bring up memories, and just let the players, coaches, and everyone he interviewed go back in time and simply tell their stories.
While all the stories are tied together by the love of baseball, they are stories of friendship, respect, and a little competition.
Bob is the owner of his own publishing company, Bob Showers Books LLC and resides in Bloomington Minnesota. A portion of all the proceeds from his book are donated to The Twins Community Fund - a charity supporting youth and families.
Thank you Bob for sharing such amazing stories about our Minnesota Twins!


      The Faribault Rotary Club has inducted two new members.  Sarah Rojas is the Community Outreach Manager at Milestone Senior Living and was sponsored by Dr. Lisa Humfiled-Wilson.  Ken Johnson is a Workforce Development Representative for the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development and was sponsored by Dr. Dick Huston. 
      Both new Rotarians pledged to live by the four way test and put service before self.  Pictured left to right are Dr. Dick Huston, Ken Johnson,  Dr. Lisa Humfeld-Wilson, Sarah Rojas and club president Troy Dunn.

Congratulations Carter!

The Faribault Rotary Club has inducted Carter Klinger to join others in putting Service above Self.  Carter in an Account Executive for KRUE/KOWZ  radio.  Pictured are his sponsor Bart Jackson, Carter and Rotary president Troy Dunn.

Welcome David!

Profile Image
David gave his classification talk recently.  I asked him seven follow up questions to help summarize his presentation for those of us who were present and for our club members who missed the meeting. If you have not had a chance to welcome him to our club, please do so.
Your Family members, occupations (including you) or school level?”
David Andrew (34yrs old) Director of Events at Shattuck-Mary’s - AAS graduate from SWSU
Willow James (2yrs old) unemployed
Your Hometown/School/College
Born in Austin MN, grew-up and graduated from OHS in Owatonna, AAS - Business from SWSU (finished online)
Your Previous occupations?
Paperboy, Schwan’s route driver, bartender, f&b manager, ad developer/writer, restaurateur.
Any Hobbies?
Cooking, fermentable foods, golf, chess, walking/hiking, Curling
Rotary sponsor? Dick Huston
Interesting fact about you or your life?
I've been hit by 3 cars while walking (never injured). All at stop signs while in crosswalk. Since I have been ticketed for jaywalking, walking outside of a crosswalk with no traffic around. To say the less, I watch were I walk and what’s around me.
Anything else you can think of?       
I journal daily, I hope to put together a book of the people I've encountered and their experiences expressed to me of some sort, someday. An expression of human life and the ventures it talks on so to speak.
 Club President,Troy Dunn and the honorable Rod Mahler with his award and District Governor, Kyle Haugen
The Faribault Rotary Club was established 98 years ago on May 1, 1920 as Rotary's 596th club with 22 charter members and by the end of the first-year membership had reached a total of 35. Those early founders of our club established a tradition of record keeping that has now been passed on to me in the form of 6 boxes of records dating back to the first days of our club. My research into Rod’s time in our club revealed the following:
On March 5th, Rod Mahler has been a member for 60 of the 98 years our club has existed. He joined our club on March 5, 1958 at the age of 24. 
On that day Al Burkhartzmeyer did his classification talk.
Rod’s classification talk was on June 7th and his review in the bulletin the next week was as follows:
‘Rod Mahler need not take the back seat when it comes to public speaking. I wonder did the box have a ‘Green Door’ on it?  You did a fine job, and we all enjoyed your classification talk very much”
Rod missed 2 weeks in August of that first year with the mumps and then had 10 years of perfect attendance. I estimate that he has attended over 2700 meetings with over 90% attendance and over 3000 total Rotary events of which he would be happy to discuss any one of them with you.
Notable program speakers his first year were
  • U of M Hockey coach, John Mariucci
  • Congressman and future Governor Al Quie
  • Captain EM Morgan US Navy Pacific Fleet Naval Defenses
  • Mayor P. Kenneth Peterson- about the new Freeway coming
Rod’s 60 years so far give him the longest membership in our club history.
Other notable long-time members
- Palmer Dragsten 1948- 2006 / 58 years
- Al Burkhartzmeyer 1957-2012 / 55 years
- Tom Gerbig 1969- present / 49 years
- George Wickstrom 1974- present / 44 years
- Nuba Pletcher 1921-1965 /44 years (2nd picture)
-Dr. Donald Chathum 1921-1963 /42 years
Rod has those connections back to the first year of our club when the original 35 first year members were added during 1920-21. Nuba Pletcher and Dr. Donald Chathum who joined that first year were still members for 5-7 years after Rod joined in 1958.
When I joined 25 years ago, Rod was one of the first Rotarians to welcome me to the club fleecing me during fellowship just to be sure that I felt welcome.  He has always been welcoming and encouraging to new members over the years and is a true example of a Rotarian who puts service above self.
 He has served this club and Faribault continuously during his 60-year membership even most recently with the donation of our new American flag and sponsoring the membership of our new chamber President, Nort Johnson.
Thank you, Rod for your continued inspiration and  service to our club!

Welcome Natalie!

The Faribault Rotary Club inducted Natalie Secraw as a new member.  Natalie is the Director of Community Engagement and Development for Allina Health.  As a Rotarian Natalie has pledged to put service above self as she joins nearly seventy other members who do just that in our community.  Pictured are President Troy Dunn, Natalie and her sponsor Kurt Halverson.

Welcome Nort!

Nort gave his classification talk recently.  I asked him seven follow up questions to help summarize his presentation for those of us who were present and for our club members who missed the meeting. If you have not had a chance to welcome him to our club, please do so.
  1. Your Family members, occupations (including you) or school level?” 
  • Nort Johnson – Faribault Chamber
  • Shelly Bakeberg – ABC Bus Business Office
  • Elizabeth Johnson – Urologist
  • Andrew Johnson – Searcher of Meaning
  • Peter Johnson – Construction
  • Katie Johnson – Surgical Technician
  1. Your Hometown/School/College
  • Faribault
  • Faribault High School
  • Worthington Junior College
  • Mankato State University
  1. Your Previous occupations?
  • Black Hills & Badlands Association - CEO
  • Lyon County Economic Development – Director
  • Schwan Food Company - Management
  • Printing/Publishing/Marketing Management
  • City Councilman
  1. Any Hobbies?
  • Home renovations
  • Fishing, golf, hunting motorcycles, darts,
  1. Rotary sponsor?
  • Rod Mahler
  1. Interesting fact about you or your life?
  • Most Blessed Man in the History of the Planet
  1. Anything else you can think of?        
  • “Love your neighbors, all of them, not just the ones you like.”

The need to read!

Little libraries like the one outside the home of Judy Carver at 28 State Ave., across the street from the Allina Clinic, have attracted readers since July 2016. Richard Huston, who adopted the idea of the Faribault Rotary Club’s international outreach program, said he’s please with the circulation the libraries maintain. Carver is the librarian at Lincoln Elementary. When she saw that Rotary was placing the Little Libraries she wanted to become involved and maintain this one. Pictured putting a book in the library is Judy Carver’s granddaughter, Evie Isaacson. (Daily News file photo)Little Library

They look like birdhouses, or maybe mailboxes, but the blue and yellow structures scattered throughout town are actually little libraries the Faribault Rotary Club installed over a year ago. The 2016 international outreach project has served the local community and promoted literacy ever since.

“Literacy was one of the big efforts of our president (Richard Huston) a couple years ago,” said Dick Cook, chair of Faribault Rotary’s International Services Committee. “We took [the little libraries] on because of the demographic in Faribault and the diversity at the schools.”

I’m really big on education, and I think that if you learn to read you can accomplish anything,” said Huston.

Cook and Huston both built the little libraries, which they distributed throughout the community in 2016. Cook said eight or nine of them are now installed outside schools, churches, businesses and private residences throughout Faribault. However, Cook said not all little libraries in town are part of the Faribault Rotary program; some homeowners set them up before the Rotary Club adopted the project.

Seeing little libraries set up in the Twin Cities inspired Huston’s idea to adopt the program in Faribault as the Rotary International’s outreach program in 2016.

“I went to the Twin Cities and photographed eight to 10 I saw there, and they weren’t all the same, so I created my own ideas and dimensions based on what I saw,” said Houston.

Little libraries painted yellow and blue signify their connection with the Rotary, but Huston said he’s painted flowers and other decorations on the house-like boxes. Maggie Chen, an exchange student from Taiwan who Huston and his wife hosted at the time of the project’s conception, painted the one outside Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.

The installation of the little library outside Our Savior’s Church kicked off the Faribault Rotary’s project in July 2016. Cook said that installation inspired a couple requests from Faribault residents to monitor little libraries on their own properties. The Rotary approved those requests after evaluating the suggested locations.

Any resident with a little library installed on his or her property is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the library, and volunteers monitor little libraries outside churches, schools and businesses. However, Cook said patrons generally follow the concept of taking a book and leaving another without much guidance.

Huston monitors the little library at Our Savior’s Church, where he attends services. He tends to add children’s books to the selection while others give away books for adults. If possible, he tries to collect books pertaining to the season. On the rare occasion when the little library needs more books, he informs the congregation of the need.

“There’s a pretty good turnover,” said Huston. “People are not only taking books, but putting books in there. I see quite a bit of variety.”

Jefferson and Lincoln Elementary Schools have taken on little libraries. Cook and Huston both noted ones located outside Congregational Church, kitty-corner from the former Divine Mercy Church building, and at the State Avenue home of Lincoln Elementary librarian Judy Carver.

“If people want them, I would certainly make sure we got it done,” said Huston. “I would build it or someone else would build it.”

After a couple years in the works, Huston said the little libraries still attract patrons and maintain circulation.

“It’s pretty interesting and gratifying to see people are using them to the extent they are,” said Huston.


Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-744-2551. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty.

©Copyright 2017 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.


78th Annual Rotary Christmas Concert

The Faribault High School choir under the direction of Jonah Heinen treated Rotarians and their guests to an excellent Christmas concert again this year. Thank you to Donn Johnson for another great job as our host!
Buddy Bench

In order to place eight Buddy Benches at Faribault’s seven elementary schools, the Faribault Rotary worked to raise $10,000. But now that the benches are in place, the real work of educating teachers and students has begun.

The eight benches were installed across the Faribault area from Lincoln Elementary to Nerstrand Elementary in October in an effort to encourage inclusiveness among area kids. Two benches were installed at Jefferson Elementary, which has two playgrounds.

The idea of a Buddy Bench is to provide kids a visible place to sit at their playground if they are feeling alone, sad or left out while other students are at play. The goal of the bench is to attract those kids to the bench and to who’s sitting there so they can include that child.

While the aim of the bench seems simple, the Rotary members who embarked on the mission to put Buddy Benches at each school are working to make sure the benches aren’t just benches.

“Number one, it’s not just a bench,” said Jake Cook, the former Rotary president who made Buddy Benches his presidential project. “It’s to help students engage other students that aren’t feeling involved that day or are having a bad day.”

While he has not seen the benches in action yet, Cook said his children, who attend Nerstrand Elementary, have seen it work, and included kids who are sitting on the bench and taken a seat there themselves during a bad day.

“It’s great to see the finished project and hear stories from teachers and staff and my own children who have used them,” Cook said. “From my understanding, the benches are doing what I’d hoped they’d accomplish.”

The work continues

Last year, when the Buddy Bench project was being concocted, Cook teamed up with Kelly Velander, another Rotary member, who he credits with actually bringing the idea to Faribault after seeing a news report about them working in other communities.

Each year, the Rotary Club president devotes their term to a project like a downtown mural or the Security State Bank clock restoration. Last year, Cook took on Buddy Benches, raising the $10,000 and working with each of the elementary schools to implement them.

Up until the benches were unveiled in October, Cook and Velander took their efforts inside each of the seven schools, working with educators and the students themselves to maximize the effect of the benches on playgrounds.

“We actually had a meeting with staff members from each of the schools,” Cook said. “We wanted to maintain continuity among staff members, so we provided them with PowerPoints and materials developed by Kelly Velander.”

After those meetings, which took place in the first few weeks of the school year, Cook and Velander then asked the teachers to find time to talk with their students about how the Buddy Bench works.

After the conversations took place, Velander said the education appears “seamless,” among the faculty, staff and students across Faribault.

“Staff are saying that students are out there using it and students are dropping everything to go help students on the bench,” Velander said.

One of the educators who participated in the training was Jim Huberty, a behavior interventionist at Jefferson Elementary School. Huberty has noticed students using the benches at Jefferson and appreciated the training he received, pointing specifically to a video emphasizing the importance of using the bench to build longterm relationships.

Most important to Huberty, however, is the impact the benches could have within the walls of Jefferson Elementary.

“The need to fit in and that need to have social interaction is huge and I’m sure that it does transfer over into the academics,” he said. “If a kid is emotionally ready to be with a group of people, they are more ready to learn.”

In the training, teachers and students are taught that the bench should not be a place to sit and socialize, but rather, to promote socialization on the playground. Also, Cook emphasized that a student seated on the bench should play with the first person that offers, and not pick and choose the friends that ask them to play.

“I am proud that we have this in Faribault and I think we have had great support from the community on getting it going,” she said. “Being accepted by peers is a huge issue for students, so I’m hoping that this creates an empathetic group of people growing up in Faribault.”

Reach Reporter Gunnar Olson at 507-333-3128 or follow him on Twitter @fdnGunnar.

Congratulations Dick Huston!

Dr. Dick Huston has been awarded the 2017 Rotarian of the Year.   Dick joined Rotary Club in 2011 and quickly became a very active member of the club.
Here are just a few of the things that he has accomplished:
*             He is a Past President of Faribault Rotary and current Membership Chair
*             Worked on the Little Libraries project including building some and finding homes throughout the community
*             Involvement in International Projects including a trip to Sierra Leone
*             Involved with the Rotary Exchange program as a host as well as assisting with the host family interviews
*             Participated in the Friendship Exchange and hosted a Friendship Exchange with Rotarians from Taiwan.
*             Paul Harris Society member which means he makes contributions annually to the Rotary Foundation
*             Headed the Rotary Mural project and assisted with the Security Clock project
*             When traveling around the states and world, he attends Rotary meetings
*             In the community, he is active with the South Central College foundation and board, as well as BBBS of Southern MN and the Riverbend Nature Center
*             He promotes and practices conservation of our natural resources
*             Tireless recruiter of new members
*             He occasionally wears a top notch tie!
Dick Huston is an exemplary Rotarian who lives every day by the Rotary Motto "Service above

Great Fun at the Rotary Camp!


The kids loved the pony rides!


Having fun outside!


Even the big kids had fun.! Right Lisa?


Enjoying fellowship and a great meal!

Tery Hurst

Tery Hurst from the Rotary Club Jimboomba, Queensland, Australia was here visiting our Faribault Rotary club last Wednesday.  His club is currently hosting our exchange student, Annika and was previously named "The best small club in Rotary (worldwide) in 2012 . We had a little fun with him. He is pictured here with President Troy Dunn (Sheriff) and Police Chief Andy Bohlen.
Passport map

Students reflect on cultures, insights from studying abroad

     Three students who went abroad during high school for different lengths of time, at different times in the year and for different reasons.       Some studied for an entire school year, others visited for just a month, but through their adventures, they agreed that they missed some parts of home, but also made unforgettable memories and friendships.
Run through Northstar Youth Exchange, students 15 to 19 can participate in an exchange. The Faribault Rotary Club is accepting applications for interested students through Oct. 7. If interested, contact Lisa Humfeld-Wilson at 507-330-0108 to learn more. Applications can be submitted through
From the salty Mediterranean Sea to Southeast Asia, these three Faribault students shared their experiences of living and learning a long way from Faribault.
Teresa Wilder – Poland
Wilder is currently a sophomore at University of St. Thomas. She studied abroad in 2015/2016, her senior year in High School, on the Baltic Coast of Poland in a city called Sopot.
What did you study?
I mostly studied Polish. I attended a Polish school. When I arrived, I didn’t know much, so I couldn’t keep up with the subjects, so I went to Polish lessons. While everyone else was studying geography, I was studying Polish. The first word I learned was “squared” which I picked up from math class.
What was the highlight of your trip?
I loved my host family. I stayed with the same family for nine months, which is unusual. They were a couple in their early 60s and they were the sweetest couple ever. They had a daughter on exchange that year, so they understood what I was going through. They taught me a lot of Polish as well because the dad did not speak any English.
What will you miss most about Poland?
I miss the language a lot. I fell in love with it because it’s very, very complicated, but it always follows the rules. If you know the rules, you know the language, unlike English where if you know the rules you don’t know anything.
What did you miss most about home while you were gone?
My siblings. I’m very close with them, so I had some issues with home sickness early on. It was rough for me the first month, but I made a really close friend and she loved speaking English with me.
What was your biggest takeaway from the experience?
I definitely learned that you should try everything … within reason of course. Even things that scare you. Worst comes to worst, you won’t like it, but you might learn something new or have a blast.
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June 2018
Upcoming Events
Dr. Brian Bunkers
Jun 20, 2018
The State of Healthcare
Troy Dunn and Keith Kramer
Jun 27, 2018
Installation of Keith Kramer - 99th President
No Meeting
Jul 04, 2018
George Wickstrom
Jul 11, 2018
History Lesson
Ed Marek
Jul 18, 2018
Fast for Hope