Rotary Club of West Polk County
                       Noon Monday Meetings
Club Information

Welcome to our Club!

West Polk County

Service to our Community!

We meet In Person
Mondays at 12:00 PM
Toyota of Des Moines
1650 SE 37th Street
Grimes, IA 50111
United States of America
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, meetings might be held at alternative locations, dates, and times.
What's Going On
The 5th Annual Tour de Grimes will take place this year on August 29th, 2020.  Two rides will be offered.  A Fun Ride will be a 43 mile route with a scheduled halfway point pit stop at the new Kinship Brewing Co. location in Waukee.  The Family Ride will take place entirely within Grimes and will be a 4.3 mile route.  We'll do our best to make sure this is not only a fun, but a safe event that everyone can enjoy!
Sign up today on the FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE!
Rotarian Mark Watson knows baseball.  His entire family is has been involved in sports at many levels, including Major League Baseball (MLB)  Because of this, he has some tremendous connections with the type of people who have great stories to share; the types of stories that resonate with our Club members.
Most recently, the Rotary Club of West Polk County had the great honor of hearing from Pat Hoburg.  While it was a long road to get to where he is today, he said it was worth the wait and the hard work to become a Major League Baseball Umpire; a title he has held full time since February 2017.  While hearing from anyone in his position would be great, it is even better when it is a hometown story.  Pat is a graduate of Urbandale High School and Grand View University (where he played basketball). 
Pat shared how he was able to go from a local boy to where he is now.  In short, it wasn’t luck, but rather a case of having a dream, a well researched and informed plan, and (although he didn’t share this part) a great deal of talent.  In fact, at age 33, Pat is relatively young in his career, but is already considered one of the top ten performing home plate umpires in terms of accuracy in calling balls and strikes in the league. 
Pat was kind to share his opinions and answers to questions on a great variety of baseball topics.  However, he was also very excited to share information about an organization that he is involved with called “UMPS CARE Charities”.  UMPS CARE Charities was founded through the compassion of Major League Baseball (MLB) umpires. UMPS CARE provides financial, in-kind and emotional support for America’s youth and families in need.  A few of the things that Pat and the other involved umpires do through this charity include hospital visits to young children, supporting Foster Care Clubs, take kids to games, and financial assistance via a variety of fundraiser support and appearances. 
We would like to publicly thank Mr. Hoburg for presenting to our Club.  Thanks also to Mark Watson for extending the invitation.  If you would like to serve your community and also have the opportunity to hear from great speakers, consider becoming a member of the Rotary Club of West Polk County.
(Craig Patterson, Molly Patterson, Chuck Schoffner, Rotarian Mark Watson)
The August 12th meeting of the Rotary Club of Polk County was especially interesting because members were treated to two guest speakers.  Molly Patterson, an incoming Junior at Dallas Center-Grimes High School was on hand (accompanied by her proud father Craig Patterson) to share her experience at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA).  Molly attendance at RYLA was sponsored by the Rotary Club of West Polk County and, upon hearing of Molly’s experience, we are quite certain we chose a great representative.  Molly shared about the friends she made, the fun she had, and the leadership skills that she and other attendees were able to hone during the weeklong event.
Our second speaker, who was invited by Rotarian Mark Watson, was non other that noted sports writer Chuck Schoffner.  Chuck, who has covered sports in Iowa and around the world for more than 34 years, shared some of his most memorable encounters.  His career as a sports writer allowed him to interact with many memorable coaches and athletes.  From covering in state universities and colleges (including his alma mater Drake University) to rubbing elbows with world class athletes at no less than five Summer Olympic games, Chuck has seen a lot.  One of the memories he shared was when he was able to cover the 1992 Summer Olympics, which featured the “Dream Team”.  This was the first time the United States had allowed professional basketball players (non-amateurs) to represent them at the Olympics.
Because he was from Iowa, it was often assumed that he was the go-to guy for coverage of women’s basketball and wrestling.  While he didn’t consider himself an expert in either of those sports when he began, he admitted that he became one over the course of time.  In fact, in 2009, Chuck was awarded the Mel Greenberg Media Award from the Women’s College Basketball Coaches Association.  Chuck shared a number of stories about well-known athlete from across Iowa and kindly fielded questions from a very interested group of attendees.
You can learn more about Chuck Schoffner’s remarkable career by visiting his website at    We would like to publicly thank both Molly and Chuck for spending some time with the Rotary Club of West Polk County and sharing your experiences.
It’s hard to turn on the news nowadays without some mention of immigration.  Often, the coverage is focused on many of the negative aspects and challenges that our country faces.  However, there is no denying that, but for a select few, we are a nation of immigrants.  Immigrants have and likely always will play an important part in our continued progression of our nation. Catherine Tran
Catherine Tran, Director of Development for the Iowa International Center was the guest speaker at a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County.  The organization she serves has been around a long time.  Originally formed as the Iowa Council for International Understanding, the Iowa International Center, its many volunteers, leadership, and staff still believe that the Center should be dedicated to international understanding between Iowans and the rest of the world.
Ms. Tran explained how their organization is assisting immigrants who have settled in Iowa become acclimated and successful to, what is to them, a foreign place.  One of the largest barriers to success is the often language barriers.  Immigrants come to the United States from all over the world.  Last year, the Center had immigrants from 25 different countries represented in their various programs.  So, one of the greatest services they offer is that of interpretation and/or translation between the immigrants and others (i.e. employers, government personnel, landlords, etc.).  They also organize English courses to help immigrants learn basic English.
The Center also hosts groups of international visitors through a partnership with the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).  The Iowa International Center serves as a facilitator during the visitor's stay in Des Moines, coordinating professional meetings with delegate's Iowa colleagues, visits to educational institutions, business tours, speaking engagements, job shadows, and hospitality dinners. These meetings have provided the starting point for many of the lasting personal and institutional ties between Iowa and other countries around the globe.
The Rotary Club of West Polk County would like to publicly thank Catherine Tran for presenting to our organization and sharing the good work that the Iowa International Center is doing to serve immigrants to central Iowa and our community through the services and education that they provide.  Learn more about their organization by visiting their website at
(Jason Kernt, Rotary Club President (L) pictured with Rob Poterucha, CPA (R))
Rob Poterucha was the guest speaker at the January 7th lunch meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County.  Rob is a Supervisor in the Business Advisory and Tax Services Department at McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith, P.C.  He primarily specializes in compliance and consulting services for corporations, closely-held businesses and individuals with an emphasis in multi-state taxation.  His employer has been around since 1946 and is the largest locally owned CPA firm in Central Iowa. 
While there are regularly changes in tax laws that individuals and businesses need to be aware, the tax reform that took place at the federal level in 2018 (Tax Cuts & Jobs Act | Adopted December 22, 2017) was more significant than usual.  That is why Rob’s summary of the many changes that will impact businesses with their upcoming tax filings was especially relevant and timely. 
Meeting attendees learned about ”5 Ways Tax Reform Will Affect Your Business (And You)”.  Specific discussed items included reduced tax rates, depreciation, pass-through taxation, individual taxation, and Iowa tax considerations. 
The Rotary Club of West Polk County would like to thank Rob for his very interesting and informative presentation.

Chris Knapp and his wife Vernette were on hand at the regular meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County on November 19th.  Chris is a Past Governor of District 6000 and is now serving as the District Foundation Rotary Chair. 




The message that was being shared was very information and inspiring, as it outlined all of the good that is being done via the Rotary Foundation, both here at home and around the world.  The Rotary Foundation has six prominent areas of focus:


  • Promoting Peace

  • Fighting Disease

  • Providing Clean Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

  • Saving Mothers & Children

  • Supporting Education

  • Growing Local Economies


The bullet points don’t do the message justice, so you can learn more about the details of these initiatives by visiting


The stories that Chairman Knapp shared are especially relevant given the fact that we are this week celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States.  Most Americans are blessed, financially and otherwise, in comparison to many around the world.  This is something that is not lost on Rotarians, who both preach and practice “Service Above Self”.


The Rotary Club of West Polk County would like to simultaneously thank Chris Knapp for his presentation and also encourage the people in Polk and Dallas County to consider getting involved with a local Rotary Club.  But be forewarned, should you join, you’ll have to balance being awesome and humble at the same time.

Happy Thanksgiving!



One of the biggest milestones in life, for those fortunate enough to achieve it, is graduation from high school.  But for most students in the Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District, more education follows the graduation ceremony.  Many continue their formal education, whether it be a four-year institution, community college, trade school, apprenticeships, etc. in order to begin and advance their careers.  It is no secret that the “next level” can be challenging from a financial standpoint.
To learn more about one thing that is happening in the Dallas Center-Grimes area, a special guest presenter was invited to share the story of relatively new organization that is trying to ease the burden of continuing education a bit.  Mitzi Chizek, President of the Dallas Center-Grimes Education Foundation addressed the members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County at a recent meeting.  Mitzi is not new to this game.  She is retired from a long career in education, including decades of service in a number of capacities working in the DC-G School District.  When she retired, she held the title of Assistant Superintendent.  The has a reputation for caring, which is why it was no surprise that she has stayed involved.
The Foundation was formed in large part due to a planned donation from the Burnett Family Trust, which has been supporting graduating seniors of DC-G via scholarships for many years.  There was a desire to divest the fund, so the local school district needed a mechanism which could accept the donation and positively and efficiently administer the donation in accordance with the family’s wishes.  In steps the creation of the DC-G Education Foundation.  While the donation got the ball rolling, the vision for the Foundation is greater.
In the coming years, they hope to manage the funds in a responsible manner, but also promote awareness of the funds existence, raise additional capital, promote educational activities for students, support teachers in classrooms, and encourage the development of more locally sourced scholarships from families and the business community. 
They are off to a great start in their first few years.  Just this year (2018), the Foundation awarded over $110,000 in scholarship assistance.  They host a couple major events during the year, including an planned formal dinner, which is planned to take place in November.
How can you support the Foundation?  There are many ways, including, becoming a Committee Participant, donating time, participating in the special events, help promote awareness, develop and fund an annual named scholarship, individual donations, etc.  There is no argument that the work of the Dallas Center-Grimes Education Foundation is important.  In fact, it is quite literally an investment in the future of our society.
Thank you to Mitzi Chizek for a very informative and interesting presentation.    
At their first regular meeting in July, the Rotarians of West Polk County gathered at Toyota of Des Moines in Grimes.  After traditional welcomes and introductions, the first order of business was a ceremonial transition.  For the past year, Ben Chamber (Middendorf Insurance Associates, Inc.) has been the President of the club.  The Rotary year runs from July through June, so Chambers (pictured R) “passed the gavel” to incoming 2018/19 President Jason Kerndt (VisionBank) (pictured L).

Much was accomplished during the past year, including financial support and/or service projects for the Dallas Center-Grimes school district, the Grimes Food Pantry, Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS), Freedom for Youth, Hope Ministries, and many more.  The Club prides itself on its service work and its vision, which is not only local, but regional and in some instances international in scope (via the good work of Rotary International).

The good work of the Rotary Club of West Polk County, a growing club, will continue under the new leadership.  According to Kerndt, “We intend to continue to grow the membership of the Club so that we can not only match the initiatives of the past but build upon them to do much greater things in the future.  We are nearing our fundraising goal to advance a planned veterans monument in what will be the new Heritage at Grimes town center park area.”

The Club raises funds through member donations and one major event annually; the Grimes Mayor’s Bike Ride (aka. “Tour de Grimes”).

The Presidency of the Rotary Club of West Polk County was officially passed from 2016/17 President Mark Watson (RTL Equipment, Inc.) to 2017/18 President Ben Chamber (Middendorf Insurance Associates, Inc.) at the regular meeting, held on July 17th, 2017 at Toyota of Des Moines

Mark's leadership was tremendous and we thank him for his investment of time and expertise.  We look forward, and have every reason to believe, that the Club will continue to improve under Ben's direction.  #ServiceAboveSelf
The members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County had the awesome opportunity to serve some of the kids attending programming at Freedom for Youth in Des Moines.  We served around 40 children and the menu included fresh fruit, walking tacos, and orange Tang.  It was a fantastic opportunity to have a great time while also doing something good for a very worthy organization.
You can learn more about freedom for youth by visiting their website at
Mary Anne Sims was the guest speaker at the regular meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County.   Mary Anne is the Executive Director at City Voices, a non-profit organization she founded to serve a need in Des Moines. 
The organization provides voice lessons, free of charge, to secondary students who have talent and interest but no financial means to study privately.  Moreso in the Des Moines Public Schools than some of the suburbs, kids to not have as much access to these types of services, which puts them at a disadvantage when they do have the opportunity to compete.
The organization is growing fast.  It was founded by Sims in 2013.  She came up with the idea while taking classes at The Ohio State University, when one of her class assignments was to create a non-profit that would “do some good”.  As a longtime vocal music instructor at Des Moines Roosevelt High School, she had some inspiration and insight into this particular need in the community.
Mary Anne was joined by a former student whom she had the opportunity to mentor.  Napoleon Douglas was a former student of hers, whom she immediately recognized as being very talented.  With some assistance and hard work, Napoleon earned a scholarship to attend Drake University, where he earned a degree in theater. 
The members of West Polk County Rotary were treated to a great performance from Sims and Douglas.  We would like to thank them for presenting at the meeting and encourage all to support the wonderful cause of City Voices in the future.  Learn more about the organization by visiting their website at
Thank you to Rotarian Michael K. Thibodeau, Attorney at Simpson, Jensen, Abels, Fischer & Bouslog, P.C. for inviting Mary Anne Sims to present. 
The members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County had the great fortune to tour an amazing, relatively new, facility in Johnston, Iowa, which now serves at the headquarters for Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa.
The space was formerly operated as American Furniture, which closed in 2015.  The space has been completely remodeled and now serves as corporate offices, a training center, a donation center, a product sorting facility, and a commercial outlet store for Goodwill. 
We would like to thank Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa for allowing us to visit this wonderful facility and for the wonderful service you provide to our region.  Learn more about this organization by visiting their website at
Melissa Clarke-Wharff is the Founder and President of Courage League Sports, which is located in Urbandale, Iowa.  The organization is an adaptive recreational facility for kids and adults with special needs.  Their motto is a simple one… “Everybody Deserves to Play”.   Who can argue with that?  But for the people Courage League Sports serves, it isn’t always that easy. 
Due to physical, cognitive, and sometimes emotional challenges, the clientele of Courage League Sports doesn’t always fit into the traditional norms that society provides for involvement in physical activity.  Therefore, they offer a wide range of adaptive fitness, music/motion, and sports programs.  The ability to participate in the activities they provide offers physical benefits, but emotional benefits too. 
Courage League Sports has seen tremendous growth since they began in 2012.  They’ve done so, like many successful businesses and organizations, with a lot of hard work.  But Melissa would quickly point out that they have also been successful due to a tremendous amount of volunteer support and some wonderful strategic partnerships.  Courage Leagues Sports has worked with local schools, Special Olympics of Iowa, and Miracle League, just to name a few. 
While they have seen much progress, they know that there is still more that needs to be done; people who remain under served in the community.  They are always looking for more good volunteers to assist their cause and even have some internship opportunities available for qualified individuals in the coming year.
The Rotary Club of West Polk County is grateful to Melissa for attending our meeting and sharing the latest information on her organization.  She was invited by Rotarian Mike Bonnett of R&R Realty (pictured above).  If you would like to learn more about Courage League Sports, please visit their website at  


Megan Kassmeier, Volunteer and Resource Manager at Freedom for Youth Ministries in Des Moines, Iowa shared a story.  The story was of how one man's vision has turned into a growing non-profit initiative to help children in their community.   That man was Mark Nelson, the founder and CEO of the organization.  He had the opportunity to help a young lady in need and did.  The girl was in a tough spot in life; drugs, homelessness, unemployed, etc.   Mark showed her compassion and gave her a hand up...and it worked.  That young lady is now a woman who has a job and a family and a relationship with Christ.  Mark thought, if it worked with one person, why not help more.  And thus the idea for Freedom for Youth Ministries was born. 


The organization was officially founded in 2003.  Now, 14 years later is has multiple locations and is about to open the largest coffee shop in the Des Moines metro.  This new facility will employ youth from the surrounding area, teaching them important skills so that they can be more prepared to enter the workforce later in life. 


Kassmeier shared that what started out as one man with a dream has now grown into an organization that, chooses not to incur debt, but due to the generosity of those in the community, and the hard work of around 340 volunteers remains successful.  Learn more about Freedom for Youth at their website:


The meeting was Chaired by Ben Chamber (Middendorf Insurance) and our speaker was invited by Dave Applegate (Fellowship of Christian Athletes).   We would like to publicly thank Megan for her time and presentation.

A handful of members had the opportunity to serve a meal to about 35 children at Freedom for Youth on January 23rd, 2017.  Freedom for Youth is an organization that the club has been involved with for years and enjoys the opportunity to provide service when called upon.  Learn more about Freedom for Youth at their website, which can be found HERE.
(Rotarians Pictured Above, L to R:  Brian Buethe, Kevin Smith, Jeff Holladay, Luke Vogel and Ben Chambers.)
Mindi Heitland of the Waukee, Iowa Community School District was on hand at the regular meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County.  She is one of two coordinators that oversees the Waukee High School's "School to Work" program.  The program, originally established in 1997, provides for opportunities for students to intern a local businesses in a variety of fields.  The program is so popular, that only about half of the students who apply are placed. 
The program intends to give students first hand experience in a career field in which they have an interest.  They are then able to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and transferable skills.  Furthermore, the program often helps them build self confidence during and after their participation. 
We would like to publicly thank Mindi for presentation to the meeting attendees and wish her and the students she serves the best in the continued administration of a wonderful program.  If you would like to learn more about the Waukee School to Work program we encourage you to visit a page dedicated to that initiative, which can be found HERE.
Pictured above:  Stephen Quirk and David Applegate.
Stephen Quirk, Chief Executive Officer of Youth Emergency Services & Shelter was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of West Polk County on Monday, October 31st.  He was a guest of Rotarian David Applegate.
The Rotary Club of West Polk County has had a relationship with YESS for several years.  Mr. Quirk has presented to the membership on several occasions.  Although everyone wishes that the report was all positive, the fact of the matter is that YESS knows otherwise.  Stephen shared some of the problems they see on a day to day basis and they aren't pretty.  They deal with children, newborns to seventeen years of age, who have experienced physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, drug use, emotional abuse and all other kinds of trauma.  Often times, these children are the victims of members of their own families.
The organization was started in 1973 and since that time, the community has grown.  While many of these problems are not new to central Iowa, because the region is growing, the number of kids impacted is also growing.  Much information was shared.  It was an enlightening presentation, educational, and to be honest, a bit depressing.  Rotarians are in the business of making our communities better.  We strive to identify and tackle problems.  For that reason, we will keep our eye on the ball and continue our relationship with YESS.  Through service, we will do our part to have a positive impact on an organization that helps so many children in dire need of assistance.
We would like to publicly thank Stephen Quirk, his staff, the many volunteers, and those who give generously to ensure that YESS can continue their important work.
The Rotary Club of West Polk County was joined by guest speakers Roger Curnow and Jan Herke (City of Urbandale), who shared the vision of the planned Urbandale Miracle League Field and all-inclusive playground.  This field, is currently under construction at Northview Park in Urbandale.
Around 22,000 kids in the area are considered eligible to use the Miracle Field, which is why having multiple locations in the metro is desired.  Miracle League fields already exist in downtown Des Moines and in Ankeny.  Volunteers have been working diligently on this project for nearly three years and some of the fruits of their labor can be seen today, as the field is under construction.  That being said, they still have about a $500,000 shortfall in funding, which is necessary to complete the project in its entirety.  While this is not technically a City project, both the City of Urbandale and the Polk County Board of Supervisors has donated $75,000 each to the project to date.
In addition to funds, it was indicated that there are many opportunities for people to volunteer their time once the project is completed.  They can be "volunteer buddys" for the kids who use the facility.  The goal is to raise the remaining funds and finish the project in the next couple of years.
The Rotary Club of West Polk County would like to thank both Roger and Jan for their enlightening presentation.  Learn more about the project, sign up to volunteer, or make a donation by visiting
The Rotary of West Polk County had the great pleasure of having the Head Coach for Drake Women's Basketball, Jennie Baranczyk, address them and their guests on Monday, September 26th, 2016.  Coach Baranczyk is only the sixth person to hold the title and has been in the position since April 2012.
Coach Baranczyk is proud of what she, the assistant coaches, and the players have accomplished during her time at the University.  She gave a number of examples of early challenges she faced as a new head coach, but she knew early on that she wanted the team to be good at three things: up tempo style, communication, and rebounding.  As of last year, the team was ninth in the nation in scoring and 15th in the nation in rebounding.  And while they have obviously had success, Coach Baranczyk knows that they must continue to strive for more.  She acknowledges that her job is to make players exceed expectations.
Success on the basketball court is an obvious goal, but to truly build a great program, the Drake culture calls for much more than that.  They want to not only talk the talk and walk the walk as it relates to basketball but in all areas of life including classes and in the Des Moines community.  Therefore, to play basketball at Drake, recruits have to have (in addition to talent) three things.  They have to first love the game of basketball.  They have to love to compete.  And finally, they have to love Drake and all that it stands for. 
The presentation wrapped up with questions from the audience, all of which were graciously answered by Coach Baranczyk.  It was an informative and engaging presentation, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance.
David Applegate served as Sergeant of Arms, President Mark Watson presided, and there were many guest attendees at the meeting.  A moment of silence was held for one of the founding members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County, Gene Gabus, who passed away after a battle with cancer the prior week.  
A handful of members, along with their spouses, gathered at Wildwood Hills Ranch of Iowa (rural St. Charles) to celebrate another wonderful year of camaraderie and accomplishments for the Rotary Club of West Polk County.  The dinner marked a passing of the torch as 2015/16 President Jeff Holladay's (U.S. Bank) tenure comes to an end and 2016/17 President Mark Watson (RTL Equipment) will assume the reigns. 
By all accounts the evening was relaxing and fun.  We would like to publicly thank Al Lorenzen, CEO at Wildwood Hills Ranch, not only for hosting this important event, but for all of the work that he and his staff do on a regular basis.   Wildwood Hills Ranch exists to transform lives and strengthen communities by providing healing, hope, and God’s unconditional love to children and youth at risk.   This is a mission that the Rotary Club of West Polk County can and does support wholeheartedly. 
Thank you to all of the members who made this past year great.  We look forward to the year to come!
The Rotary Club of West Polk County had the pleasure of hearing an informative and emotional presentation about another wonderful central Iowa organization.  DeLayne Hebert presented on the subject of Wildwood Hills Ranch of Iowa; a 400 acre non-profit facility, set in the scenic hills of Madison County, just south of Des Moines.
Established in 2001, the facility exists to transform lives and strengthen communities by providing healing, hope, and God’s unconditional love to children and at-risk youth.  At one point in her life, DeLayne was one of those “at risk” youth.  She was steered to the ranch and it has been a life changing experience for her, which is why now, although she is just about to be a college graduate, she feels compelled to give back by volunteering and helping to spread the wonderful story.
The facility, while wonderful today, has many future plans for improvement.  In fact, they have a three phase plan to add additional improvements such as the addition of a short term residential program, development of long term residential facilities for high risk children and teens, as well as many facility additions and enhancements.
The Rotary Club of West Polk County is grateful for Ms. Hebert’s presentation, we are fans of the mission and work of the ranch, and we encourage you to learn more about this tremendous organization by visiting their website at    


At the March 28th, 2016 meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County, Dr. June Johnson and Daphne Dickens of the American Diabetes Association educated those in attendance about their organization and the disease they want to see eliminated.

Information was shared that suggests statistically, Type I and Type II Diabetes is a growing issue in our nation and our state.  Rising obesity rates fuel the issue and there is misinformation about how to deal with the growing problem.  The American Diabetes Association addresses the issue in many ways.  Two that stood out include their efforts in advocacy and education.  Through these efforts they hope to inform policy makers so that efforts made at the government level are effective.  They also hope to better educate the general public, the healthcare industry, and other impacted by the disease in order to increase awareness.  These efforts, along with support for ongoing research and development, can help mitigate the onset and impact of diabetes in the future.

Thre are several ways to get involved in the efforts here locally.  One of the well known fundraising/awareness events the local chapter organizes in the annual Tour de Cure, which is a bike ride that raises funds to assist in the cause.  In addition to the Tour de Cure, they are also organizing Brewery Bike Rides, activities that are popular and fun, but still raise awareness and much needed funds for the cause.

The Rotary Club of West Polk Count thank Dr. Johnson and Ms. Dickens for their informative presentation.  Learn more about their work at
Rotarian Jennifer Gordon Served as the Sergeant of Arms at the regular meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County on Monday, February 15.  Jennifer was also charged with inviting a guest speaker for the meeting; a task she met with flying colors.  Jennifer invited Chris Eckles, Volunteer Manager at Blank Park Zoo.  (Chris Eckles and Jennifer Gordon are pictures above/left to right.
Chris shared a lot of information about Blank Park Zoo with those in attendance, including updates on planned improvement projects to the facility.  First, it is important to point out that Blank Park Zoo is the only accredited zoo in Iowa.  This is important, because this accreditation ensures that the animals that they accept are of high quality, because they are often a significant investment.  It also is an indicator of the quality environment that must be maintained at the facility in order to reach an accreditation.  Blank Park Zoo is recognized for being a very well run facility.
Blank Park Zoo is a private non-profit organization.  They had over 424,000 visitors in 2015; people who had the access to around 1,000 varieties of animals, birds, fish, reptiles, etc.   This year, the zoo will begin construction of what they are calling the Africa Barn, which will house the very popular giraffe population.  
Volunteer opportunities are many at the zoo and, in fact, they rely heavily on volunteer support and donations for their many activities and initiatives to tak place.  You can learn more about the many activities put together by Blank Park Zoo and even learn how to get involved by visiting their website at    Thank you to Chris Eckles for sharing her time and helping to educate the members of Rotary about the many great things happening at Blank Park Zoo!
Melanie Brown, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was the guest speaker at the February 1st, 2016 meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County, which was held at Toyota of Des Moines.  Melanie was invited to present by Rotarian and President of the Rotary Club of West Polk County, Jeff Holladay (U.S. Bank Home Mortgage).
We would like to publicly thank Melanie for taking time to come and present to our organization.  Learn more about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by visiting their website at
Pictured above is Jeff Holladay and Melanie Brown.
October 2020
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Upcoming Events