Rotary Club of Faribault

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Meeting Responsibilities
Club Services
van Sluis, Peter
Staab-Absher, Erica
Sergeant At Arms
Connelly, David
Langerud, Tony

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Welcome - Join us at our weekly meeting!

Join us at Rotary!


Be the Inspiration!

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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In less than 16 months, the Faribault Rotary Club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on May 1, 2020.  This week’s historical highlight is from 1957.
Programs were given by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Thompson about their year as exchange teachers in Slough, England.
There was a presentation of a gift painting from the Wurtzburg Germany Rotary Club.
Club members visited the new activity building at the Braille School.
There was a tour of the newly restored Faribault House.
On December 11th there was 100% attendance for the weekly meeting.
Our club’s 37th president in 1956-57 was Dr. Edward J. Engberg.


     On Wednesday February 6th Faribault Rotary had the pleasure of hearing from Jason Hunt. author of "The Other Side". A book about moving from being a worker or employee to being a leader. Jason shared with us his story of how this book came about. He was a principal at the Owatonna Jr. High. This was his dream job, or so he thought. After about a year of things seeming pretty great, he realized (hiding in a portable class room alone one day) that he had not been a good leader, and the effects were starting to show. He took a good hard look at what he needed to change, and what he could have done differently.  
      He discussed with us these ideas for leaders: 1. Character Counts, 2. Build the confidence of others, 3. Connect before you lead, 4. Collaborate to be great, and 5. Increase capacity to increase influence.
Jason was able to take a severance from the school district which allowed him to care for his family, a wife and 4 children, and allowed him to focus on his training course, and get his business off the ground. There are a two ways Jason is working to make a difference. He is speaking to organizations, and he offers a Mastermind program, where he develops curriculum for companies and meets over the course of 6-8 90-minute meetings with management to teach and train leadership.
     A dozen or so Rotarians purchased his book. Critics review to follow! Thank you, Jason, to speaking to us - I am sure he inspired the room to be better leaders, and take the step to the other side if we are not there already. We hope to see you again soon!
In less than 16 months, the Faribault Rotary Club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on May 1, 2020.  This week’s historical highlight is from 1956.
Club dues were set at $30.
There was a program titled “The Prospects of Atomic Electric Plants in Minnesota.
The club was the guest of Shattuck School for lunch and the Crack Drill Squad.
John Lysen becomes District Governor.
The Club toured the new sewage disposal plant.
Our club’s 36th president in 1955-56 was Melvin H. Shreyer. He was still a member when Rod joined the club.
District 5960 Pin and Banner Contest
Announcing a new fun contest for Rotary 5960. It was found that we are finally running out of pins and banners for the district and this is an opportunity to make a change! If you are creative and ingenious, then this is for you.
The goal of the contest is to see if the current pin and banner artwork can be updated to fit with our Strategic Goals. (Remember….FUN!)

Three finalists will be chosen on March 15th by the Public Image Team.
The winning design chosen by the Public Image Team and will receive a $250 VISA card and the winner will be announced at the Conference of Clubs on April 12th in Rochester.

The decision to use the new design will be voted upon by the District Board of Directors.

All design entries are due March 15th via email to:

Mike Becker
District 5960 Governor 2018-2019


In less than 16 months, the Faribault Rotary Club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on May 1, 2020.  This week’s historical highlight is from 1955.
The club celebrated Rotary’s Golden Anniversary with a dinner at the Congregational Parish House and sponsored a concert by the St. Olaf Choir with 1200 in attendance at Faribault High School. The Daily News published a series of articles on the Golden Anniversary and KDHL broadcast “Rotary Golden Theatre” 9:15-9:30 am for 13 weeks.
Seven charter members of the club were still living.
Club members were guests of the Faribault Education Association at Lincoln school for regular school lunch.
Robert Bjorgum joined the club and was a member for 58 years - 1955-2013 when he passed away.
Our club’s 34th president in 1954-55 was Palmer Dragsten owner of KDHL Radio.  Palmer served our club from 1947-2006 when he passed away. His 59 years of membership are second only to the honorable Rod Mahler.
Our fearless leader, President Kramer has cancelled our weekly meeting on Wednesday because of the extremely cold weather. Please stay safe and stay warm. We will see you next week!

Presidential message

President 2018-19 Barry Rassin

Barry Rassin

President 2018-19

January 2019

Vocational service can be hard to define, but it is easy to describe: It is simply the point where our Rotary lives and our professional lives intersect. When we put our Rotary ideals to work through our work, that is vocational service.

When I returned to the Bahamas after many years working in health care administration abroad, I realized that my country badly needed a modern health care facility. The resources we had at the time were out of date and inadequate, and people who were unable to travel abroad for care often did not receive the care they needed. Without the experience I had gained in the United States, I could have done nothing to change the status quo. But since I did have that experience, I was in a unique position to have an impact. I knew I could turn my professional path to good and make a career out of improving Bahamian health care.

As Rotary became part of my journey, I discovered that the words of Paul Harris that became the basis of Rotary — that shared effort knows no limitations — were also true for my vocation. I could not bring modern health care to the Bahamas alone. But through partnership, both with the doctors who eventually became my partners in Doctors Hospital and with all the dedicated staff members who worked in the hospital over the years, we could change everything. My goal became a shared goal — and then it became reality.

Rotary emphasizes the dignity of every vocation and the worth of every calling. Remember that the four founding members included no doctors or peacemakers — just an attorney, a mining engineer, a coal dealer, and a printer. From the beginning, the diversity of those vocations gave Rotary a special strength. And that diversity is reflected in our classification system, which aims to ensure that each club represents the full range of businesses and professions that serve each community.

Paul Harris put it this way: "Each Rotarian is the connecting link between the idealism of Rotary and his trade or profession." It was true when he said it and should be equally true now. We only spend an hour or two a week at our Rotary meetings, but most of us spend most of our waking time at work. Through Rotary, those hours are also an opportunity for service: a chance to Be the Inspiration to those we work with, those who work for us, and the communities we serve.

Foster Care/ Adoption

     On Wednesday January 23rd we had the pleasure of hearing from Katie Anderson from Rice County foster care. Katie explained the process people go through to be able to foster a child in Rice County. There are a couple of different types of foster care positions you can apply for. There is respite care - this is short term, maybe you are taking a child or children for a weekend so another set of foster parents could take a break, or for some other short-term situation. The second is long term care - you have the child or children for a longer period of time. The end result in this scenario is usually reunification or adoption. who can be a foster parent? Almost anyone. It takes a clean back ground study, age 21 or older and space in your home.  Licensing takes 3-4 months and starts with a perspective foster parent asking questions and being informed.
     There is a background study done on anyone 13 or older in your home, and finger prints taken for anyone 16 years of age or older. There are 3-4 home visits conducted, one typically from the fire marshal, these visits are to get to know the foster family better. There are forms, and training you must attend, not too many Katie says, just a couple. And last is the home study conducted by the court. They court will sign off on you.
     After all that you wonder "when?" Katie tells us it could be tomorrow or a year and a half down the road. You never really know. Rice county tries very hard to keep siblings together and there is a large need for teens to have a home with foster care.
     After Katie wrapped up her part of the presentation we heard from our good friend, fellow Rotarian Pastor Jared Mathews. Jared and his wife Emily are foster parents for Rice County.
 Pastor Jared gave his own presentation from the foster parent point of view. He covered 4 lesson every foster parent should know. 1. it’s not about you. 2. A parent is a parent is a parent, this is a role or function, not a blood relation. 3. Life stories are important everyone has one, but they are not a foster parent’s story to share. 4. There is always trauma, a child being removed from their home is traumatic to them regardless of what people outside of the situation think.
      He also covered two misconceptions about foster parenting. 1. I have to be a "super parent" and 2. I have to know everything there is to know about parenting. Neither of these ideas are true, anyone who is a "parent" is learning on the fly. One final topic Pastor Jared covered with us, Stereo types of foster children. "bad kids" -they are not bad kids, they are processing a very difficult situation. "Defiant" - they are not defiant, they have a different set of life skills, or they don't have them at all yet. "Ungrateful" - they are not ungrateful; their experience of love is different or difficult. Pastor Jared finished with this "Foster care is not for the faint of heart, it is for the full of heart."
     Thank you, Katie and Pastor Jared, for the information and powerful message you both provided.
In less than 17 months, the Faribault Rotary Club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on May 1, 2020.  This week’s historical highlight is from 1954.
Our founding president, Frank W. McKellip passed away in early May. He had served our club for 34 years.
The service clubs of Faribault were entertained as guests of Nutting Trucking and Caster Co. on the occasion of opening their new office building.
Our club sponsored the Cannon Falls Club. The charter presentation was on October 27th.
NBA all-star and Minneapolis Lakers George Mikan was a speaker for one club meeting.
There was a program titled “New Telephone Horizons” the new technology that will bring more changes in our way of life.
Our club’s 34th president in 1953-54 was Guerdon Allen who was still a member in 1970 so Rod knew him.



On Wednesday January 16 we had the pleasure of hearing from Sam Daly, owner Northfield Kennels and founder of Believet.
Believet is an organization that trains service dogs for veterans. Sam has been a trainer for 30 years and in his career has been a military contractor to train bomb dogs. During his time with the military he did two (2) seven-month tours in Afghanistan to be with the dogs to continue their training. Sam could see the need for support and service for our veterans. Service men and women returning home with PTSD, invisible wounds, that need to tended to. Believet trains highly skilled dogs to do many, many different tasks for their owners. Dogs do not cure PTSD, they reduce the symptoms for their owners and the dogs effects allow veterans to feel like they can get their lives back.
Training a service dog is a 2-year commitment, and Sam and his volunteers can place 6 or 7 dogs a year. It costs approximately $28,000.00 for a service dog trained by, and there is a wait list, and dogs are free of charge to our Veterans. Currently a study is being conducted by Perdue University, service dogs are not a covered therapy for PTSD at this time. 
Believet is accredited by Assistance Dogs International and has been through the three-year accreditation process. To learn more about Believet or to support them go to
Sam is a Rotarian in Northfield and longtime friend our Faribault Rotarian John Fossum. Thank you for joining us Sam - and thank you for what you do for our Veterans.
In less than 17 months, the Faribault Rotary Club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on May 1, 2020.  This week’s historical highlight is from 1953.
On March 9th, Guerdon Allen was chosen as the next club president earlier than normal as directed by Rotary International.
There was a program on baby adoptions that stated that only one couple in ten may be lucky enough to adopt a child in this country.
Nuba Pletcher presented a program on the Japan problem after WWII requiring the US to help rebuild the country after all the destruction.
There was a program and demonstration on the “Art of pistol shooting” presented by State and National Champion- Joe Helling.
There was a combined service meeting at the Elks club. Meal charge was $1.
There was a joint meeting with the Lions Club. Minnesota House Majority leader, Roy Dunn, was the speaker.
A slide picture program was presented on Wurzburg, Germany. The people of Faribault had sent tons of clothing and supplies to aid the war-torn city.
Our club’s 33rd president in 1952-53 was Aaron Lenmark who was still a member in 1970 so Rod knew him.

Midterm Conference

David Metta Piper NelsonT

David Metta and Piper Nelson, students at South Central College, attend the Rotary District 5960 mid-term meeting along with other Faribault Rotarians. Metta and Nelson recently started a Rotaract Club for young adults to serve the community. (Photo courtesy of Richard Huston)

In less than 17 months, the Faribault Rotary Club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on May 1, 2020.  This week’s historical highlight is from 1952.
During this year, numerous programs were talks by Rotarian Nuba Pletcher.
There were joint meetings in March and Thanksgiving with the Faribault Lions Club. The late November meeting took place during a blizzard. The speaker was snowbound in Zumbrota so the program was provided by Rotarian Foley.
Faribault High School presented the 13th annual Christmas concert.
Our club’s 32nd president in 1951-52 was Reginald L. Kramer who was still a club member at our 50-year anniversary in 1970. (So, Rod knew him!)
*Frank McKellip our first President was also a member of the Elk’s Club. (Peter)

Rotary Climate Change Initiative

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On Wednesday January 2nd our club heard from Northfield Rotarian Bruce Morlan on the Challenge of Climate Change. Bruce first explained to us why he is qualified to explain the climate crisis to us, and boy oh boy is he qualified. Bruce is a Retired United States Air Force Officer, a mathematician, a chief scientist, and an Instructor at the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he covered mathematics, analysis, war gaming, and statistics. He is a retired mathematician/statistician where he worked for Mayo on cancer clinical trials and data mining. In his free time now he is a Planning Commissioner (x2), Republican, and an activist. He is more than qualified to tell us about the global warming crisis, and what we can do to make a difference. Rotarians can't do what they do around the world if we don't change climate control. Bruce encourages anyone with questions to reach out to him, and Rotary District 5960 is calling for Rotarians to join in the efforts.
Bruce thank you for your message, and your passion for climate control. We hope to see you again very soon!


Welcome Erica!

Erica 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?” 
    1. Husband- Matt Absher
    2. Kalea and Marina Absher – 3 year old and 9 month old
    3. Bachelors Degree in Social Work and Spanish with a minor in Women’s Studies
    4. Massage School
    5. 2 Year Certification in Spiritual Direction
    6. 20 years of working in the field to end violence against women at the local, state and national level- the past 10 years as the Director of HOPE Center
  2. Your Hometown/School/College
    1. Faribault Proud- Jefferson Elementary, Middle School and Faribault Senior High School
    2. University of Wisconsin- River Falls
  3. Your Previous occupations?
           Massage Therapist at Studio 14
          SCCADVASA – South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
  1. Any Hobbies?
    1. Reading, Writing, Photography, crafts and jewelry making, outdoor activities, spending time with family and friends
  2. Rotary sponsor?
    1. Dr. Huston
  3. Interesting fact about you or your life?
          I have lived in 4 states.

Thank you to all our volunteers!

Volunteers are the difference between an empty kettle and one that raises about $30 per hour – enough to provide a family with two bags of groceries, or shelter an individual for a night. Every volunteer makes a difference!

Welcome Daisey!

 Daisey 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?” 
Come from a family of 7, married for 18 years, currently the Director of Operations for HealthFinders Collaborative, Inc.
  1. Your Hometown/School/College
Born in Texas but raised in Faribault MN.
  1. Your Previous occupations?
Manager for adult foster care group homes, Spanish interpreter for Rice County Social services and retail management.
  1. Any Hobbies?
Very involved with our local church and ministry (NuevVida en Cristo International). A volunteer coordinator for our church and volunteer several days a week.
  1. Rotary sponsor? Dick Huston
  1. Interesting fact about you or your life? I have 2 English bulldogs.

Welcome Tim!

Tim 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?”
- Tim Murray, City Administrator for City of Faribault, graduated from University of Minnesota in 1990 with a degree in Civil Engineering
- Sue Ceplecha-Novak (Fiancé), Program Technician at Farm Service Agency in Faribault
- Nick Murray (age 26), attended University of St. Thomas for Electrical Engineering, married in October 2018 to Jennifer Wettschreck, US Air Force (Active Duty), stationed in Omaha, NE
- Kyle Novak (age 23), St. Johns graduate with a degree in Environmental Sciences in May 2018, works at Faribault Foods
- Jake Murray (age 22), UM-Duluth graduate with a degree in Civil Engineering in December 2018, Air Force ROTC, will be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and enter active duty, stationed at Misawa Air Base, Japan in January 2019
- Kelsey Novak (age 20), currently a sophomore at Creighton University in Omaha, pre-med track
  1. Your Hometown/School/College
- Hometown is Black River Falls, Wisconsin, graduated from B.R. Falls High School in 1980
- Graduated from University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 1990 (the 10-year plan—break in the middle for 5 years in the Army)
  1. Your Previous occupations?
- City Engineer for Faribault
- Consulting Engineer for Bonestroo (now Stantec) and Bolton & Menk
- US Army (active duty), Intelligence Analyst, stationed for a year in Monterey, CA and three years in southern Germany (just about as nice of assignments as you can get in the military)
  1. Any Hobbies?
- Fishing- Golfing- Reading- Traveling
- Yard work- Watching the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Wild, and old Western Movies
  1. Rotary sponsor?
- Andy Bohlen
  1. Interesting fact about you or your life?
- Working for Bonestroo (now Stantec), my first full time engineering job out of college, I worked on swimming pool, ice arena, and parks design
  1. Anything else you can think of?        
- I’m guessing this is the question for some words of wisdom—best I can offer is work hard, play harder, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
The Faribault Rotary Club has placed a second "Little Free Library" at Our Savior's Lutheran Church to provide greater variety and meet a growing usage.  The "Little Free Library" program was begun by Rotarian Todd Bol of Hudson, WI in 2009.  He made the first one out of an old door in the shape of a school house to honor his mother who had been a school teacher. He put it in his front yard with his mother's books.  Since then 75,000 Little Libraries have been placed in all 50 states and 88 countries.  Improving basic education and literacy is one of Rotary International's area of focus.  Todd Bol died on October 18th from cancer at the age of 62.

Image result for red cross blood

This year's Rotary Red Cross Blood Drive was a great success. Thank you to our volunteers- 
Chuck, Troy, Dick, Kymn, Sarah, Erica, Peter, Brian, President Keith, Brenda, and Laura.


Faribault Rotary Club President Keith Kramer, left, welcomed new members Mary Reese and Dr. Narren Brown. They are pictured here with sponsor Dick Huston, right. Reese is an account executive for KOWZ radio in the Faribault and Owatonna area, and Brown is associate vice president of research and institutional effectiveness at South Central College. 
Twas a few weeks before Christmas, when all through downtown,
Not a Rotarian was stirring, no one to be found;
The invites were made by Donn Johnson with care,
In hopes that everyone would soon be there;
The Rotarians were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of Christmas concerts danced in their heads;
They knew in a moment the time had drawn near,
To sign-up with Donn and tell him no fear;
For we will be coming, even bringing a guest;
Looking forward to lunch and the choir's singing best;
More rapid than eagles the Faribault Rotarians came,
And Donn whistled and shouted and called them by name:
Now, Twitchell! Now, Rojas! Now, Leland and Sanchez!
On, Secraw! On, Jackson! On, Hjellming and Wilson!
To the seat of your cars! To the end of the street!
Now dash away! Dash away! And soon we will meet!
Then we heard Donn exclaim, as he walked out of sight;
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"
All Rotarians, their families, and guests are invited to the 79th annual Faribault Rotary Christmas Concert to be held on Wednesday December 19th (11:45 am- 1:15 pm) at Our Savior's Lutheran Church. The joyful sounds of the holiday season will be brought to us by the Faribault High School Choir. Our host for over 30 years, Donn Johnson asks that you use the online sign up via email if you will be coming and bringing one or more guests.  The cost of the meal is $11 unless you are on the meal plan.

Youth Exchange

These past few weeks/ last month have been very busy as I have been trying to get more involved with things and become a part of the German community as well as spend a significant amount of time doing things with my host family, friends, school, sports, and the list goes on. 
Things have been really exciting in these parts!
I have been here in Paderborn for almost 3 months now, and things have been pretty much nonstop. Language learning has taken a lot of my time and I recently began a language course at a local language school which I hope will help me speed up the complicated learning process. Attending the local high school has also brought about a whole new set of adventures. Making friends is still an evolving process, but I like to remember that all good things take time. I have also made numerous friends through Rotary and it's really incredible to get to meet so many new people with such different life experiences and stories. 
 Rotary took the exchange students on an amazing tour of Germany, stopping in cities such as Hamburg, Dresden, Munich, Berlin, and numerous others. This was a great opportunity to not only see Germany but also to get closer with the other exchange students. We visited the Berlin Wall, the Hamburg Fish Market, the Sempar Opera in Dresden, and even went to Oktoberfest in Munich. I have attached some photos  (click on the link below) of this trip including a photo of the sunrise over the port in Hamburg as we walked back from the fish market at 6am, a castle in Potsdam, and a photo of the view off the balcony at Schloss Neuschwanstein. 
Overall things are very good. At the end of November, I will travel to Iserlohn to another Rotary weekend with the inbounds/exchange students. We will go ice skating, visit the Weinachtsmarkt (Christmas Market), and do other local "wintery" activities.
Until then!

Faribault Daily News (reprinted with permission)

George Wickstrom

George Wickstrom attended the Faribault Rotary Club’s monthly meeting Nov. 14, not knowing he’d walk away with Rotarian of the Year honors.

“I didn’t realize it was going to happen,” said Wickstrom. “I didn’t think it would ever happen.”

Fellow Rotarians nominated Wickstrom for the award, then the past five Rotarians of the Year and Faribault Rotary President Keith Kramer selected Wickstrom as the winner among other nominees.


In his acceptance speech, Wickstrom read two poems he can recite by memory — “The Man in the Glass” by Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr. and “The Touch of the Master’s Hand” by Myra Brooks Welch.

Five of Wickstrom’s adult children, one daughter-in-law, and several friends surprised Wickstrom with their presence at the meeting.

Wickstrom became a Faribault Rotarian July 19, 1974. At the time, he didn’t know much about the club. But in his 44 years of membership, Wickstrom has come to consider Rotary “an outstanding organization.”

Through Rotary, Wickstrom reads to fourth-graders at Jefferson Elementary through the Rotary Readers program. He also helps with Meals on Wheels and helps tidy Cedar Lake for the Rotary Camp held there. When Rotary exchange students come to town, he enjoys taking them to different places. During Rotary meetings, he collects hospitality and often delivers speeches on topics of interest. Wickstrom is particularly passionate about improving the economy and protecting the environment.

In addition to being an active Rotarian, Wickstrom serves on the HOPE Center Board, exercises daily, reads, and volunteers at the Salvation Army.

“I like to be busy, said Wickstrom, 88. “I don’t like to waste time.”

Wickstrom also devotes much of his time to The Virtues Project-Faribault. When he worked in a financial practice with Cindy Diessner, who he calls the nucleus of the project, Wickstrom latched on to the program that recognizes the best in others. He carries with him a pack of Virtues Reflection Cards and retrieves two in particular that relate to his life code — unity and detachment.

“Without unity, nothing gets done,” said Wickstrom.

According to a description on the Virtues Reflection card, through unity “we see our commonality without evaluating our differences.” Detachment, he reads, is “experiencing our feelings without allowing them to control us.”


“In this society, we’ve got to find ways to get along with people,” said Wickstrom.

If there’s one thing Wickstrom has learned, it’s that asking questions creates more unity than making statements. Where statements present opportunities to disagree, he said, “you can’t argue with a question.”

Faribault Rotarian Dick Houston, who’s known Wickstrom for at least three decades, describes his friend as extremely bright and quick-witted.

“He’s got a memory for history that’s incredible,” said Houston. “He knows it all by heart.”

Whether it’s American history or his own family history, when Wickstrom remembers stories if the message sticks with him. In particular, he recalls the profound impact a teacher made on his aunt, who in turn inspired her students when she became a teacher herself.

“You never know what’s going to happen as a result of being kind to someone,” said Wickstrom.


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

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



to our good friend and former member, Dan Hedge and his new wife, Darlyne who were married last Saturday!

Service above Self

Reprinted with permission from the Faribault Daily News
A Rotaract club sponsored and advised by the Faribault Rotary is taking shape. Pictured from left: SCC Assistant Coordinator Nicole Hamilton, Rotaract Treasurer David Mesta, Rotaract President Piper Nelson, Rotaract Cabinet member Cammi Nordmeyer and Faribault Rotarian Kenneth Johnson. (Misty Schwab/Faribault Daily News)

Positive experiences with Rotary clubs have inspired three South Central College students to start their own campus subgroup — a Rotaract.

The program invites individuals between 18 and 30 to develop ways to solve pressing local and global issues. In so doing, members cultivate leadership skills and foster relationships both within and outside the club.

Faribault Rotarian Kenneth Johnson looked for a liaison to start a Rotaract at South Central College when SCC student Piper Nelson stepped up. Johnson visited with Nicole Hamilton, SCC assistant coordinator, and the club fell into place from there.

Nelson studied abroad in Germany through Rotary Youth Exchange— another rotary subgroup. Her ears perked when she heard the word “rotaract,” associating it with the program that made a strong impression on her.

“Before, I had no idea what Rotary was,” said Nelson. “But I talked to someone who had gone [to Germany] the year before and learned more about [Rotary Exchange]. It’s helped me grow as a person.”

Nelson spread the word about Rotaract to SCC students David Mesta and Cammi Nordmeyer, who both expressed interest in joining the club. Mesta serves as treasurer of the group while Nordmeyer is a cabinet member.

Mesta is already a member of STRIVE (Students Taking Renewed Interest in the Value of Education), another Rotary subgroup, and listened to speakers from the Faribault Rotary as part of that program.

When Nordmeyer was in high school, Rotary sponsored a concert and gave scholarships to students. She also attended a camp through Rotary. Recognizing the club’s strong community involvement, Nordmeyer said she likes the idea of Rotaract having “youth cater to youth.”

The Faribault Rotary sponsors and advises the local Rotaract, an otherwise independent group. Rotaract clubs dictate their own projects, manage their own funds, and find their own ways to tackle pressing issues in their communities and the greater world. Compared to Rotary clubs, Johnson said Rotaracts “plan less and implement more” and “work on what they want to without the red tape.”

“They have their finger on the pulse of things we’re oblivious to,” said Johnson of the young adult age group. “We [Rotarians] always have a renewed commitment after meeting with students.”

Hamilton said Rotaract already fulfills the SCC’s requirement for all student organizations to conduct community service projects at least once per year. Once the Rotaract officially starts meeting, Hamilton’s duties include making sure students do everything necessary for funding and handle activities fees properly.

As the next steps in the process, Rotaract members will develop a constitution, recruit more members and reach out to the community to gather ideas for potential service projects.

Nelson said a handful of students already plan to join Rotaract, and she plans to get the word out further by word of mouth and on social media.

SCC student organizations typically hold meetings twice a month, and Rotaract is likely to follow the same trend. Young professionals in the community are welcome to attend these meetings on the SCC campus, but only SCC students can vote and make decisions. If young professionals in the community outside SCC want to form their own Rotaract club, Johnson advises those interested to call Dick Huston at 507-384-2482.


The Warm Our Community event was well received. At the beginning everyone came in to a waiting area from the cold forming lines to wait for personal shoppers to help in the orderly distribution of the outerwear.  Thank you to all the Rotarians and other volunteers who made this a successful event!
A ceremony will be held on Veterans Day to remember the 100th anniversary of the Armistice at 11 am at the Rice County Veterans Memorial in front of the Courthouse.  This year, the Rice County Vets are saluting members of the Sept. 30, 2018 honor flight to Washington D.C. as honored veterans. this includes Rotarian Roger Koopmans (Army) S2 (intelligence) and former Rotarian and past president Dr. Roy Anderson (Army) chief ambulance driver in the 3rd Medical Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Division. 
We are thank you both for your service to our country and to Rotary.


The Faribault Rotary Club has welcomed Chad Hjellming as a member.  Chad is the Publisher of the Faribault Daily News.  Pictured is Rotary President Keith Kramer (left), Chad and his sponsor Dr. Dick Huston.​​​​​​​

The following news story from reporter Misty Schwab appeared in the Faribault Daily News today and is reprinted here with permission.
Faribault High School performing arts students started their academic year preparing for the 53th annual Rotary Scholarship Concert — an event that supports their music endeavors while entertaining an audience.
This year’s Rotary Scholarship Concert is 7 p.m. Saturday in Nomeland Gym.
The funds received for ticket sales go into the Rotary Youth Services Program, which is a large pool of money the Faribault Rotary Club donates to youth service clubs they sponsor. The funds benefit children in elementary school as well as students entering college, whether the activity is related to music, athletics, art or general scholarships.
The Faribault Rotary Club began awarding scholarships to performing art students at FHS over 50 years ago. Last spring, the Faribault Rotary Club gave six $200 scholarships and one $400 scholarship to selected students.
“The directors at the high school decide who the recipients are,” said Jonah Heinen, FHS choir director. “They pay for private lessons, attend summer camps, and also pay for new and personal instruments. The main objective is to contribute to their art-making. We’ve given [scholarships] to students in our programs who might need a little financial assistance to get started on lessons, and we’ve also given them to younger students like sophomores and juniors as they grow.”
Music directors must approve of the way their students intend to use their scholarship money before a Rotarian writes the check.
Choir students Samuel Temple and Naya Anter received the scholarship in last spring, as did band students Hunter Williamette and Abby Stroup. Madison Klecker and Crystal Martinez, violinists in the FHS Philharmonic Orchestra, also received scholarships. Ishmael Macias, the one Faribault High School representative at the All-State Choir Camp this year, earned the only $400 scholarship for his involvement in more than one music elective.
“I already used [my scholarship],” said Williamette, holding up a new trumpet.
Williamette, a junior, said band has connected him with other people. Whether he’s playing in the high school band or the community band, he values the social aspect of music.
Stroup, who plays the clarinet in the FHS wind ensemble as well as the community band, used her scholarship to pay for private lessons.
“Band is my favorite class, and Timmer is my favorite teacher,” said Stroup, a senior. “I want to teach in general and hopefully continue with music after high school.”
Joe Timmer, FHS band director, began preparing the wind ensemble in September for the concert. All three pieces are dances of European origin –“Consuelo Ciscar,” “Albanian Dance,” and “Courtly Airs and Dances.”
Michael Sloane, who began directing the FHS Philharmonic Orchestra this fall, also follows the dance theme with a Mozart opera called “Lucio Silla” and a Halloween selection titled “Waltz of the Wicked.”
While none of the scholarship students perform as individuals during the Rotary Scholarship Concert, whatever skills they’ve acquired with their award money is expected to benefit their performance in a group.
“Anytime you can improve one way or another how you perform and then bring that back to the group you are a part of, it has to be a positive,” said Faribault Rotarian Donn Johnson. “That’s what we’re trying to provide with these scholarships.”
Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-744-2551. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty.
©Copyright 2018 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

Volunteers needed!

After the recent storms swept through the area, our Rotary Camp on Cedar Lake had several large trees and branches fall over the entry road, on the building and the path leading to the lake. This Saturday, we need volunteers to help with the clean-up.  A sign-up sheet will be passed around at our meeting tomorrow.  We need chainsaws, handsaws, branch snips, rakes, and possibly a small tractor. Please contact Dave Beranek with any questions. 


The Faribault Rotary club honored three members as Paul Harris Fellows.  This recognition is given when a member has donated $1000 to the Paul Harris Foundation.  The monies are used in multiple ways around the world to improve peoples lives.   The International Rotary organization took on the challenge of eliminating polio world wide by vaccinating all children under five.  In 1988 there were 350,000 cases of polio in over 200 countries.  Last year there were 22 cases in two countries.  Pictured left to right are president Keith Kramer, Paul Harris recipients Todd Sesker, Troy Dunn and Dick Huston, Foundation co-chair Brent Peroutka and Rotary District Governor Mike Becker.

Aquatic Center

Tuesday was an important day for the Faribault Family Aquatic Center.
Members of the Faribault Rotary Club gathered to initiate the center’s next move in helping those in wheelchairs access the pool. The Faribault Rotary Club donated a special type of wheelchair so that disabled children can also enjoy the pool and summer fun.
     “I am excited that the wheelchair will allow more people to experience the fun of the Aquatic Center who were not previously able to participate,” Faribault Rotary President Keith Kramer said in an email.
Rotarian Barton Jackson, also in an email, said that he proposed this idea at a board meeting last fall. The board approved of the idea, and a month later the funding was also approved.
As of now, there doesn’t seem to be any plans to update the pool to accommodate wheelchairs, though it doesn’t seem to be necessary. The pool has a zero-depth entry in which the water gets gradually deeper as a person walks in. Pools without this type of entry have a ramp that allows handicapped swimmers to enter in a similar way.
     This new change will come as a blessing to people who live with various disabilities.
Jackson, whose son is disabled, noted the difficulty for families like his in going to places that aren’t handicap accessible, which can make it impossible for disabled youngsters to get the same experience as others. This new pool wheelchair will allow disabled children to have the same or similar experience as those who are able-bodied in enjoying a common childhood pastime.
Additionally, Jackson said that there are limited options for children with disabilities to have fun like other kids, and that having this opportunity makes life a bit easier for children and parents.
     Kramer noted that the organization’s motto is Service Above Self, and that Rotary focuses on many community projects such as Red Cross Blood Drive and other charities.
“I hope people will be encouraged by our service above self-way of life and know there are people who care and want to see Faribault and surrounding communities thrive,” Kramer said.
“Rotary does a lot of service projects in the community and this is another one of those that we saw need for handicapped children to enjoy some of the amenities that other children can enjoy, so the club voted to buy a handicapped (pool) wheelchair so that those children who can’t get into the water have an opportunity to do so,” Rotarian Richard Huston said.
Rotary International began in 1905 with Paul Harris and has continued to grow in members and charity work. Much of their charity has focused on polio, which since the Rotary’s start in 1985, polio has declined by 99%.
     The Rotary Club is meant for many ages. People who are 18+ are encouraged to join. If someone would like to find more about the Rotarian program, members meet every Wednesday at 12:15 at The Inn at Shattuck-St. Mary’s for a lunch. Kramer encourages people to join.
“Someone should join because we have great people, a great purpose, and we also have fun along the way!” Kramer said.
This year, the Rotary Club’s theme is “Be the Inspiration,” chosen by International President Barry Rassin. The “Be the Inspiration” theme combined with Kramer’s words of encouragement that people join if they want to make a difference in a meaningful way, all in all, sounds like the perfect head start in bringing more recognition and access to everyone.
Reprinted with permission from the Daily News.
Reach Reporter Clare Bender at 507-333-3128 or follow her on Twitter @FDNclare.
© Copyright 2018 APG of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

Our History!

     As our guests for the installation of Keith, we welcomed the following former Rotary Past Presidents who were introduced by our 60 year member and past president Rod Mahler. 
Pictured from left to right are:
Dr. Roy Anderson our 54th president 1973-74.
          Classification- Optometry
Darlene Meillier our 83rd president 2002-03.
          Classification- Mortgage Lending
Jim Nielson our 70th president 1989-90.
          Classification- Director of Court Services
Rod Mahler our 53rd president 1972-73
          Classification- Hardware- Retail and later- Realtor
Pastor Gordon Orde our 79th president 1998-99.
           Classification- Religion- United Methodist
Wade Karli our 78th president 1997-98
          Classification- Academy for the Blind
Reverend Rick Ormsby our 89th president 2008-09.
          Classification-  Religion- Pastor


New Rotary presThe Faribault Rotary Club has installed Keith Kramer as it's 99th president for the 2018-19 year.  Keith is the Chief Operating Officer are Harry Brown's auto dealership.  Pictured here are Keith and his wife Amy and three children Carsen 11, Madelyn 9, and Allison 7.
Also in attendance were Keith's mother in law Cindy and his employer Mike Brown of Harry Brown's Family Automotive.
In the upcoming year, Keith highlighted some of his goals for our club. He is looking at some service projects that get our families involved, maybe doing some service at the Community Cathedral Café, or cleaning up a trail, and being more involved with the Elks ice fishing contest. His goal is 10 new members this year. Our meetings are going to include a short 2-3-minute video about other Rotary projects that are happening around the world, and on days when we don't have a video we will play the fun game "two truths and a lie" it will help us to continue to get to know each other better!
The Rotary theme for the year is “Be the Inspiration”, thank you Keith for leading us this year and being an inspiration - and showing us how we can make a difference through Rotary.

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.

 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!

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.

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.

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