Rotary Club of West Polk County
                       Noon Monday Meetings
Posted by Brian Buethe on Jul 15, 2019
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
Iowa International Center Provides a Passport to Prosperity Brian Buethe 2019-07-15 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Jan 07, 2019
(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.
Tax Update with Rob Poterucha, CPA Brian Buethe 2019-01-07 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Nov 19, 2018

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!



Changing the World One Rotary Gift at a Time Brian Buethe 2018-11-19 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Jul 13, 2018
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.    
Assisting Students to the Next Level Brian Buethe 2018-07-13 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Jul 09, 2018
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”).

A Time of Transition Brian Buethe 2018-07-09 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Jul 17, 2017
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
Passing the Gavel Brian Buethe 2017-07-17 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Jun 12, 2017
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
Rotary Supports Freedom for Youth Brian Buethe 2017-06-12 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on May 08, 2017
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. 
City Voices Des Moines Founder Presents to WPC Rotary Brian Buethe 2017-05-08 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Mar 06, 2017
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
Rotary Club of WPC Tours Goodwill Industries Brian Buethe 2017-03-06 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Feb 13, 2017
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  
Everybody Deserves to Play Brian Buethe 2017-02-13 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Feb 06, 2017


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.

Freedom for Youth's Kassmeier Oversees 300+ Volunteers Brian Buethe 2017-02-06 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Jan 23, 2017
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.)
WPC Rotarians Enjoy Service Opportunity at Freedom for Youth Brian Buethe 2017-01-23 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Jan 02, 2017
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.
Waukee School to Work Program a Model Initiative Brian Buethe 2017-01-02 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Oct 31, 2016
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.
Stephen Quirk of YESS Shares the Realities of YESS Brian Buethe 2016-10-31 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Oct 03, 2016
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
Rotarians Learn of Urbandale Miracle League Field Plans & Progress Brian Buethe 2016-10-03 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Sep 26, 2016
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.  
Drake Women's Basketball Coach Jennie Baranczyk Addresses Rotarians Brian Buethe 2016-09-26 05:00:00Z 0
Tour de Grimes; 1st Annual Mayor's Bike Ride Scheduled for Sept. 17th Brian Buethe 2016-08-03 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 23, 2016
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!
Rotary Club of West Polk County Hosts Leadership Transition Dinner at Wildwood Hills Ranch 2016-06-23 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Apr 11, 2016
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    
Wildwood Hills Ranch; Transforming Lives & Strengthening Communities Brian Buethe 2016-04-11 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Mar 27, 2016


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
American Diabetes Association Addresses West Polk County Rotarians Brian Buethe 2016-03-27 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Feb 15, 2016
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!
Eckles Shares Information and Opportunites Available at Blank Park Zoo Brian Buethe 2016-02-15 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Feb 01, 2016
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.
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Brian Buethe 2016-02-01 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Dec 21, 2015
Kyle Davy, VP of Ticket Sales for the Iowa Energy was the guest presenter at the regular meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County on Monday, December 21st.  Kyle was invited by Sergeant of Arms and Rotarian Luke Vogel (CustomOne CFO & Controllers) to talk about the upcoming Polio Plus Night at the Iowa Energy.
Pictured (left) is Luke Vogel with Kyle Davy.
The Iowa Energy is an American professional basketball team based in Des Moines, Iowa. It is an affiliate of the Memphis Grizzlies. They play in the Eastern Conference in the NBA Development League (NBA D-League), a minor league basketball organization owned and run by the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Polio Plus Night is a cooperative fundraising event between the Iowa Energy and Des Moines Area Rotary Clubs.  Rotary Club members are challenged to purchase tickets to the game at $16 a piece, half of which will be used toward polio eradication efforts (primarily vaccinations in third world countries).  We are so very close to eradicating this awful disease from our planet, so that future generations do not have fear its devastating effects.
The 8th annual Rotary Polio Plus night at the Iowa Energy will be on Saturday, February 6, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena.   As in past years, the tickets will be $16 each with the Iowa Energy donating $8 per ticket back to the club for Polio Eradication.  The Iowa Energy will be playing the Canton Charge with game time set for 7 p.m.
Mr. Davy shared a tremendous amount of information about the special event, but even more so about the current state of the Iowa Energy…there is a lot to get excited about with this team!   Here’s a synopsis about a few items that were shared…
The Iowa Energy has the most talent this year that they have ever had, due in large part to a restructuring of many of the teams in the D-League.   There are 19 teams in the league this year, the newest of which is the Toronto 905.  They plan to add at least three new teams in 2016, affiliates of Chicago, Brooklyn and Charlotte.
Davy believes that within a few years, there will be 30 D-League teams, to match the number of current NBA teams.  The talent level will also continue to increase as the league grows and players are able to see a clear path to the NBA along with the potential with increase salaries.  
The Rotary Club of West Polk County would like to thank Kyle Davy for his time and knowledge.  We would also like to encourage any and all to support the Iowa Energy, especially on Polio Plus Night.  Together we can and will win the fight against Polio.
Polio Plus Night at Iowa Energy…and More Brian Buethe 2015-12-21 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Dec 14, 2015
Dr. Jim Blessman was a guest presenter at the regular meeting of the West Polk County Rotary Club on December 14th at the invitation of Rotarian Hannah Inman (KDC Built Home Builders).
Dr. Blessman is no stranger to Rotary.  In fact, he himself is a Rotarian and he has partnered with Rotary International in order to assist some of poorer communities in South Africa gain access to clean drinking water for students and staff at their local schools.  
Pictured: Hannah Inman, Dr. Jim Blessman, Sara Aiken
Blessman Ministries was formed in August 2001 by Dr. Jim and Beth Blessman, Blessman Ministries is a non-profit organization that aims to spread the Good Word to the people of Africa through Christian mission trips.  In fact, another Rotary trip is scheduled to take place in January 2016 to the area they are currently working in and you can be a part of it.  If interested, contact the Lee Holmes of the Waukee Rotary Club.
Dr. Blessman share many stories that helped meeting attendees better understand the needs of the communities that he and his ministry are serving.  There is extreme poverty, so they focus on basic needs that can help a generation of children have a better education, better health, and hopefully a better future.  How do they accomplish this?  They are guided by the good Lord and helped by many people along the way.
Pictured  (L to R): Rotarian Hannah Inman, Dr. Jim Blessman, Sara Aiken.
The focus of the ministry has included several things to date, such as helping to get wells dug so that people can have access to clean, safe drinking water, as opposed to drinking from feces polluted ponds and streams.  They have provided shoes and clothing so that people can be cleaner and can build a community sense of pride.  They have helped to form community coalitions in order to get local buy in for how to solve identified problems.

Today, however, they are working to build toilets at area schools, which will create a safer, friendlier environment, and could even save lives.  How can a toilet save a life; in more ways than one.  Some schools have old pit style toilets that first of all have become very unsanitary, which can lead to the spread of sickness and disease.  Some more pointed examples included stories of young children falling through the dilapidated floors of old toilet facilities and drowning.  This is a terrible story that unfortunately is true, and really highlights the need for action.
As a result, Blessman Ministries is working with donors to raise funds that will be matched by the South African government , which will allow for new toilet facilities called Enviro Loo to be installed.  Enviro Loo toilet systems provide a safe, practical, necessary solution to a problem no child should have to face.  The initial goal is to get 645 toilets built and in service in the next year or two. 
With the continued work of Blessman Ministries and the support of generous and caring people, these problems can be solved.  God willing the conditions will improve with time and the future will continue to improve for these good people. 
Thank you to Dr. Blessman and Sara Aiken (also with Blessman Ministries) for sharing your story with members of the West Polk County Rotary.  To learn more about Blessman Ministries, please visit their website HERE.
Dr. Jim Blessman Shares the Blessman Ministries Story Brian Buethe 2015-12-14 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Dec 07, 2015
Members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County had the unique privilege of touring the Des Moines Community Playhouse for their regular meeting on December 7th, 2015.  The meeting was organized by Rotarian Gene Gabus (Gabus Automotive Group) and the meeting was held in an area of the facility that was just recently added thanks to a grant from The Gabus Foundation.
The Des Moines Community Playhouse was first established in 1919 at their original location in downtown Des Moines.  They moved to their current site in 1952.  The building was originally constructed in 1934 and was the previous home to a movie theatre.  
The Des Moines Community Playhouse is one of the largest and oldest community theaters in the United States.  In a nation with so many community theatres, this is something we can all be very proud to have in our community.
Following a kind welcome and an informative presentation by Executive Director John Viars and Managing Director/Director of Development Rod McCullough meeting attendees were given a tour of the facility.  The tour included the Main Stage Theatre, which included a viewing of a custom made car for the production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; two lower level rehearsal areas/classroom, and the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre.  
The Rotarians of the West Polk County Club would like to publicly thank and applaud the staff, volunteers, actors, actresses, members and supporters of this spectacular community asset.  Pictures from this spectacular meeting can be found on the Club’s Facebook page at
Learn more about the Des Moines Community Playhouse by visiting their website HERE.
Rotarians Tour Des Moines Community Playhouse Brian Buethe 2015-12-07 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Nov 30, 2015
It should come as no surprise that the Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District is growing.  After all, it is located in one of the fastest growing area in Iowa.  With growth, there are both opportunities and challenges; both of which must be addressed in order to guarantee that students receive the best education possible.  
Rotarian Scott Gustafson (GIT Insurance) invited Superintendent Scott Grimes of the DC-G School District to come and address the current state of the local school district, as well as what is in store for the future.  The presentation was informative and enlightening.  Projects in a growing district come often.  Just this year, the school completed the construction of a new transportation facility that houses the bus fleet at a new location just southwest of the Dallas Center – Grimes High School complex.  
A new elementary school is slated for construction in the new Heritage at Grimes development, adjacent to NE Beaverbrooke Boulevard in northern Grimes.   This project will be built in 2016 and is anticipated to open in Fall 2017.  It is also anticipated that an additional four rooms will be added to the existing Dallas Center Elementary School concurrently.  
Superintendent Grimes explained that unlike some business models, the school district must always adapt their systems to ensure that all of their products (the students) are being served effectively.  The District’s stated mission is “Empowering All Students to Take Charge of Their Future”.    
The School Board contracts with a consulting firm out of the Kansas City area to help them accurately predict future enrollment numbers, so that they may have the best possible information available when making important, often expensive decision.
Grimes’ presentation instilled a sense of confidence among meeting attendees as to the quality and direction of the school district.  
Learn more about the Dallas Center – Grimes Community School District by visiting their website HERE.
Superintendent Grimes Discusses Tremendous Growth, Opportunities and Challenges at DC-G Schools Brian Buethe 2015-11-30 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Nov 23, 2015
The members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County had the honor and privilege of serving a group of youngsters a good meal, prior to their evening lesson on Monday, November 24th.  There was more than enough good food (burgers, hot dogs, fruit, drinks, chips, and a variety of desserts. 
Thank you to all of the members who donated items and or helped with the service.  Thank you especially to our many friends at Freedom for Youth Ministries.  Keep up the wonderful work that you do; every day on behalf of those wonderful children and the community!
We wish everyone a safe and fantastic Thanksgiving week/weekend.
West Polk County Rotarians Provide Thanksgiving Week Meal at Freedom for Youth Brian Buethe 2015-11-23 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Nov 16, 2015
(Pictured Above:  Rotarians Chriss Morrill of COUNTRY Financial® & Lee Holmes)
Rotarian Lee Holmes was in attendance at the regular meeting of the West Polk County Rotarians on November 16th, 2015.  Lee was invited by Sergeant of Arms Chris Morrill to share information about his past experience in leading a Rotary Service Trip to South Africa.
The primary mission of the trip was to explore a new well project at a local school that did not have access to clean water.  This effort was conducted under the direction of Blessman Ministries.  Blessman Ministries is a Christian ministry organization known for volunteer work and short-term mission trips to Africa.  Jim Blessman, President and co-founder of Blessman Industries was also in attendance at the meeting.
Rotarians are very active in South Africa, a country that has tremendous need as it tries to evolve as it continues to deal with industrial strife in the years after becoming a full democracy.  While things continue to improve, the country still deals with large pockets of extreme poverty and a lack of everyday amenities often taken for granted in the western world (i.e. potable water, toilet facilities, etc.). 
Holmes has led one group of Rotarians on a service mission to South Africa, and plans to return in January 2016.  In addition to well projects, Rotarians have also helped to construct greenhouses that allow for year around production of vegetables, they have conducted eye clinics, shoe fittings, and have their eye on additional projects in the future.
A few of these planned projects include the construction of new toilet facilities at schools and orphanages.  It costs approximately $15,000 to build a block of four toilet facilities, which are both sanitary and sustainable. 
The members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County would like to publicly thank Lee Holmes and his friends (Jim Blessman & Sarah Akin) from the Waukee Rotary Club for attending and presenting at this meeting.  To learn more about Blessman Ministries and your opportunity to attend a service trip to South Africa please visit
Holmes Shares Information about Rotary District 6000 South Africa Service Trip Brian Buethe 2015-11-16 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Nov 09, 2015
Pictured Above:  Guest Speaker Ronna Herzberg (Travel & Transport) & Rotarian Larry Lyon (Mr. Fix It)
Ronna Herzberg of Travel & Transport, with a local office located in Urbandale, was the speaker at the November 9th meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County.  Seargent of Arms Larry Lyon invited Herzberg to speak about the company and the services they offer.
Ronna shared with attendees information about the many destinations that Travel & Transport has helped their clients visit over the years.  The company serves both the private and the corporate client and is well versed in helping people seek out and discover great experiences.  These destinations can be half way around the world, or a unique destination closer to home.
Ironically, at the time of her presentation, Travel & Transport had a group from Grimes, via the local Chamber of Commerce visiting Ireland.  Upon their return, the participants were proud to report that indeed, Travel & Transport had helped them have a wonderful experience on the Emerald Isle.
The Rotary Club of West Polk County would like to thank Ronna Herzberg for sharing her story with our membership. 
Have a Travel Bucket List? Travel & Transport Can Help Brian Buethe 2015-11-09 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Nov 02, 2015
The Honorable Jake Highfill addressed the members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County at their regular meeting on Monday, November 2nd, 2015.  Highfill is the Iowa State Representative from the 39th District, an area that encompasses Johnston, Grimes, and a portion of Urbandale. A Republican, he has served in the Iowa House of Representatives since 2013. Representative Highfill was full of energy and gave a lively presentation to those in attendance.

Representative Highfill recounted how he was the youngest individual to have ever been elected to the Iowa State House of Representatives, and shared with the group how he first became enamored and engaged in politics while attending the University of Iowa.  After sharing his background, he noted that although there are some very well publicized issues where it is not the case, generally Republicans and Democrats find common ground on the vast majority of the issues they undertake in the Iowa House.

Once the floor was opened to questions, Rotarians wasted no time in asking Representative Highfill to share his thoughts on a number of topics including school funding and mental health issues in Iowa.
Representative Highfill closed by indicating that things continue to change in the Iowa House.  One example he shared was how the average age of those currently serving is about 20 years younger than it was just six years ago.  This should allow for a good balance of experience and new ideas for legislators to consider in the coming years.

The Rotary Club of West Polk County would like to publicly thank Representative Highfill for presenting to our organization.  We would also like to thank Rotarian Jason Kerndt (VisionBank) for extending the invitation.
(Pictured Above: Jason Kerndts (left) of Vision Bank and Representative Jake Highfill (right).)
Representative Jake Highfill Talks Iowa Issues Brian Buethe 2015-11-02 06:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Oct 26, 2015
Mark Nelson, the Executive Director for Freedom for Youth Ministries was the guest speaker at the October 26th regular meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County.  Freedom for Youth Ministries is no stranger to West Polk County Rotarians.  In fact, it is an organization that we have actively supported, almost since the inception of the club.  However, Mark was able to bring the members up to speed on some new developments that their organization is undertaking in order to improve the services that they are able to offer the youth they engage.
Freedom for You Ministries is now in their twelfth year in operation.  When they began, they served only a few young adults, age 18-22, but now the organization serves around 200 children and young adults every week.  Mark indicated that not only is their organization growing, but he feels they are getting better at what they do.  They’ve learned that people usually value things they’ve earned, more than things that are just given to them.
One major initiative they are undertaking includes the construction of a new coffee shop.  While they have been roasting and selling coffee beans for awhile, they have recently acquired a neighboring property that used to be a car wash.  They are converting the building to allow more space for coffee shop operations , which will allow them to employ more people, and in doing so teach more life skills.  The new facility will also boast assembly areas, teaching areas, and a drive through for those folks in a rush. 
Furthermore, in the past year, thanks to a donation from Wells Fargo, they have launched Freedom Construction Services.  Participants are fixing up a repossessed home in need of repair.  After it is completed, they intend to sell the home and buy another project home, so that they can teach students skills that could be used in a future career potentially. 
Overall, the organization not only growing, but improving.  They have a strong desire to not only serve inner city area, but rural areas in need as well.  Already, satellite locations have been established in communities here in central Iowa, and more areas will be served in the future.
We would like to thank Mark for speaking to the Rotary Club of West Polk County.  We look forward to continuing our support and engagement with Freedom for Youth Ministries for many years to come.
Pictured Above:  Dee Kading (Charles Gabus Ford) and Mark Nelson (Freedom for Youth Ministries).
An Update from Mark Nelson About Freedom for Youth Ministries Brian Buethe 2015-10-26 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Oct 19, 2015
In 2002, Operation Warm was founded to counter one of the most unfathomable hardships of childhood poverty; the lack of adequate winter clothing.  By necessity, families struggling to survive prioritize food, heat, and rent above winter clothing resulting in frequent absenteeism from school.  This translates not only to forgone learning but also missed opportunities for socialization, play, and balanced nutrition provided through the Federal Free and Reduced Meal Program. School attendance is as important as warmth because through education, upcoming generations will become productive, hopeful, and enterprising.
Working with our partners at the district level, the Rotary Club of West Polk County was able to raise funds enough to secure nearly sixty coats through Operation Warm and donate them to the Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District.
It is our sincere hope that these coats will indeed help someone or ease the burden on a local family who can use a hand as we enter the cooler seasons of the year.  Thank you to all who donated funds to make this donation possible and to our friends at the DC-G School District for their help in identifying and distributing the coats. 
Pictured from left to right; Dallas Center-Grimes North Ridge Elementary Principal April Heitland, Rotary Club of West Polk County President Jeff Holladay (U.S. Bank Home Mortgage), Rachael Owens (Sweet to Eat Bakery), Mike Bonnett (R&R Realty Group), Jason Kerndt (VisionBank).
Rotary Club of West Polk County Donates Coats to DC-G School District Brian Buethe 2015-10-19 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Oct 19, 2015
Ever want to operate a crane?  Thanks to the generosity of fellow Rotarian and CFO of RTL Equipment, Inc., Mark Watson, the members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County had the opportunity.   RTL Equipment, Inc. sells, rents, and services cranes, forklifts, excavators, crushers and more from their two primary locations (Grimes and Cedar Rapids, Iowa). 

Mark gave attending members a tour of the facility, answered questions about the company, and even allowed willing participants to operate a large crane and a backhoe/loader unit.  The hospitality went even further with the offering of a wonderful cookout including burgers, brats, sides and drinks. 

Thank you to Mark Watson and the entire RTL Equipment, Inc. team for their hospitality and for allowing us to learn more about a great local company.
RTL Equipment, Inc. Hosts Rotary Club of West Polk County Brian Buethe 2015-10-19 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Oct 12, 2015

At the invitation of Rotarian Rachael Owens, of Sweet to Eat Bakery & Cake Shop in Ankeny, Jacob Johnson attended the regular meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County on October 12th, 2015.  Jacob shared with the members the inspirational story about the life of Sean Nielsen (affectionately dubbed “Seaner) by his friends); the namesake of the Sean Nielsen Foundation.

Jacob described a little bit about Sean’s life; which by most standards was very tough at times.  Within six hours Sean had to have heart surgery.  This scenario played out again at six months, 13 months, and age four.  Then, when he was five, it was discovered that Sean had a brain tumor. 

All of these issues had a tremendous impact on his body, as you might expect, and as a result, he was a little bit different than the other kids.  While children are the future, sometimes they can be a bit ruthless.  It’s just the way it is.  Unfortunately for Sean, the fact that he was different, sometimes resulted in him being the victim of bullying, name calling, and even physical abuse at the hands of his peers; the types of things that would leave most people jaded and angry.  But Sean was not most people.

Despite all of this abuse and being dealt a pretty terrible deck of cards in the game of life, he stayed positive and often stated “God’s got this.”  He had an amazing trust in a higher power, that despite his difficult circumstance, that someone else is in control and will help him get through it.  The good news is that Sean came through these difficult times thanks to his faith and support from his family and his church.  In fact, as more people got to know Sean, the more they began to appreciate him. 

He attended Valley High School in West Des Moines, where he was ultimately named “The King of Hearts” by his peers, an amazing honor.  He was an athlete who participated in the Special Olympics.  After high school he helped out at Simpson College, where he was well received.  He also worked at Target in Urbandale, where he was an appreciated asset in the audio/visual department. 

Sean passed away a couple years ago, but his legacy lived on in the establishment of the Sean Nielsen Foundation.  The foundation helps people get access to Special Needs Camp, they offer assistance to those seeking to gain independence in the community, they have started a buddy program (SMILE), and they help families plan for future needs.  The Foundation is relatively young and they are still learning new ways to assist.

If you would like to know more about the Sean Nielsen Foundation, please visit their website HERE.  The members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County were glad to learn more about this remarkable organization.  We are grateful to Jacob Johnson for sharing Sean’s story with us.  It is our hope that we can all live with an attitude and a faith exemplified by Sean.
God’s Got This; A Theme to Live By Brian Buethe 2015-10-12 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Oct 05, 2015
Chief John Quinn of the Waukee Police Department was the guest speaker at the October 5th, 2015 meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County.  As one of the fastest growing communities in Iowa, properly growing a local police department is a real challenge.  One thing is certain, if you want a good chance of getting something accomplished, challenge John Quinn to get it done.
Chief Quinn is not the first in his family to choose a career in law enforcement.  His father was in the F.B.I. and inspired his son to follow in his footsteps.  John intended to do just that; work for the F.B.I.  However, at the time his career was beginning, the F.B.I. was in a retraction mode and so it didn’t look promising. 
A star quarterback at Dowling Catholic, he went on to play at Iowa State University.  After his college career, he tried out for the Denver Broncos, who like what they saw, but wanted John to play on the practice squad, something that Quinn indicated “didn’t sound like too much fun”.  So, leaving football behind, John returned to central Iowa where he took a job for a short time as an auditor at Bankers Trust in Des Moines. 
About a year later, in 1983, John saw an opportunity to practice his craft in a law enforcement setting.  He went to work for the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigations, better known as the D.C.I. as a Special Agent.  After nearly a 30 year career with D.C.I, Special Agent John Quinn had been promoted to the position of Director and oversaw the organization which had around 250 employees and a $30 million annual budget.
In early 2014, Quinn was seeking something different and was hired by the City of Waukee to head up the growing community’s police department.  Although the job is different in many ways, Quinn indicated that it is “the most rewarding job he’s ever had.”  Why so?  Because he now has the opportunity to really engage and get to know the community and the people he serves.  This is a role he cherishes and enjoys the challenge of building a culture that in community friendly, passionate, and professional within the Department.  Learn more about the Waukee Police Department on their website HERE.
Quinn ended his presentation telling the story of a very bad man he encountered during his time at D.C.I.  That bad man was none other than “Bad” Ron Gruber” who they believed had murdered several people, including a young woman in Dallas County, Iowa.  Gruber was one of the first men that Quinn had been charged with interrogating and, so summarize, it didn’t go well. 
Gruber suggested that he was insulted that they would send someone so unqualified to interrogate a man with such a reputation as his.  Quinn took that as a challenge and then, 12 years later, after years of training, improving, and perfecting his craft and himself, stood triumphantly at the back of a courtroom where “Bad” Ron Gruber was sentenced for that very murder. 
The members are grateful to Chief Quinn for attending and presenting at the Rotary Club of West Polk County.   Thank's also to Rotarian Dustyn Curran of Ryan Companies, US for inviting Chief Quinn to present.
A Legacy of Law Enforcement Leading Waukee PD Brian Buethe 2015-10-05 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Sep 28, 2015
There are many wonderful things in central Iowa.  We have good schools.  The local economy has been growing, drawing more people to the region.  Within the past year, the TODAY Show even proclaimed Des Moines as “America’s Wealthiest City”.   Overall, things are splendid.
However, despite our local accolades, there are those who don’t share in the wealth.  There are people who have faced awesome life challenges, who may not have had the support of a loving family or the encouragement of friends who cared when time got tough.  There are those who have, for whatever the reason, been left behind.  It is for these people that Joppa Outreach exists.
The Rotary Club of West Polk County was joined, at the invitation of Rotarian Larry Lyon (Mr. Fix It), by Ovie Palmer.  Mr. Palmer is a retired investment specialist and had been with RBC Dain Raucher for many years.  He currently volunteers his time with Joppa Outreach.  Joppa Outreach works to helps to find employment for homeless individuals and help them become independent.
During his presentation, Mr. Palmer posed the question “What if you were homeless?”  It’s a good questions, one that we all should ponder, because then we might better understand the plight of those without a home in our own community.  Because of his volunteer work, Mr. Palmer has had many experiences, and knows the stories of some of those homeless folks he has had the occasion to meet.  He shared the financial challenges people often encounter that result in homelessness, or keep them from a better life.  He also shared how it is not hopeless and how Joppa Outreach is providing resources that help people return to a more independent lifestyle.
The Rotary Club of West Polk County would like to publicly thank Ovie Palmer for addressing our organization.  Keep up the good work sir!
Learn more about Joppa Outreach on their website, which can be found HERE.
Joppa Outreach…Doing Good & Helping the Poor Brian Buethe 2015-09-28 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Sep 21, 2015
Members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County had the pleasure of hosting Rotary District 6000 Governor Loring Miller and his wife Phyllis as presenting guests at September 21st meeting, held at Toyota of Des Moines in Grimes, Iowa.  The Miller’s were also joined by Tom Downs, District 5 Assistant District Governor.
Pictured Above:  (L to R) District Governor Loring Miller, West Polk County Rotary Club President Jeff Holladay (U.S. Bank Home Mortgage), and Area 5 Assistant Governor Tom Downs.
The Governor’s visit allowed the members to share some of the accomplishments of the past year, both in service to the local community, as well as fundraising in support of larger regional, national, and international initiatives and projects. 
Governor Loring shared informed club members of additional opportunities to make a difference, but all in all seemed very supportinve of the accomplishments of what is a relatively young organization. 
The members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County would like to thank Rotary District 6000 Governor Loring Miller, his wife Phyllis, and AG Tom Downs (Rotary Club of East Polk County) for visiting our meeting.
District Governor Loring Visits West Polk County Rotarians Brian Buethe 2015-09-21 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Sep 14, 2015
Rotarian Jennifer Gordon and Jane Schorer Meisner of AIB Colleg of Business
American Institute of Business (AIB) was founded in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1921.  The institution, now known as the AIB College of Business, will officially close its doors on June 30th, 2016.  While this will be a sad day for many who have attended, worked for, or otherwise supported the college over the years, the fine history of this institution should not be lost.  Jane Schorer Meisner (pictured right) has been the Director of Public Relations at the college for the past four years.  She was on hand at the regular meeting (September 14th, 2015) of the Rotary Club of West Polk County, at the invitation of Seargent of Arms and Rotarian Jennifer Gordon (pictured left) to share some of the highlights of the school’s history.

The first President of AIB College of Business was Everett O. Fenton; a position he held until his retirement in 1957.  Originally established as a for profit entity, the college reorganized as a non-profit in 1941.   Keith Fenton assumed the role of President in 1957 and served in that capacity until 1998.  During his tenure, the college grew substantially adding different courses of study, majors, acquired property and built new facilities.  One of the renowned degrees offered at the college was in the field of Court Reporting and Captioning Center, a program that was dropped in recent years due to lack of interest from incoming students.

While the college had a very successful women’s basketball program in its early years, athletics had been absent for decades, before they began to establish new programs in 2007.  Between 2007 and last year, the college instituted eleven new competitive teams including golf, basketball, volleyball, soccer, bowling, baseball and softball.  The programs were seeing some success, but have since been disbanded in lieu of the pending closure of the college.  Nevertheless, some people will always hold fond memories of the fighting AIB Eagles and their mascot “E.O.” named in honor of President E.O. Fenton.

AIB College of Business, over its 95+ year history has offered much to its many students, faculty, and surrounding communities.  The Rotary Club of West Polk County would like to offer our sincere best wishes to the students, faculty, alumni, and staff of AIB College of Business (past and present) as the forthcoming transition looms.  We would also like to thank Jane Schorer Meisner for sharing the remarkable history of the college with our group.
AIB College of Business; An Impressive History Brian Buethe 2015-09-14 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Aug 31, 2015
Chris Nelson is a Rotarian (West Des Moines), an engineer (Shive-Hattery), but at the August 31st meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County...Chris Nelson was an "Adventurer".  For it was at this meeting, per the invitation of Rotarian Tom Bosch (Shive-Hattery) that Chris shared information on his experiences of kayaking across the state of Iowa, down the Missouri River, and in many states around the country.
More than a story of Chris' adventures, is was a primer for how more people with an interest, may be able to get involved.  If you've never been in a kayak, Chris suggested that you first rent one or borrow one from a friend.  If you are inclined to buy a kayak, you can always get them new, but don't forget that there might be some good used ones available too.  Getting some training is highly recommended, because kayaking can be unnecessarily dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.   In addition to a kayak, you're going to need some additional gear as well.  Examples shared included a paddle, life jacket, a flotation seat, and potentially a license (if your kayak is large enough to require one).  You have to be alert for such things as debris in the water that could impact your ability to maneuver in the water safely.
Chris shared some of his favorite kayaking locations in central Iowa including Lizard Creek (north of Fort Dodge), the Boone River, the Raccoon River, the Middle Raccoon River, and Walnut Creek (in te Des Moines metro).  Depending of the type of water you are kayaking, a different type of kayak may be needed.  For example, many streams in Iowa only require a recreational type kayak.  However, if you're inclined to try some white water destinations, a shorter kayak would suit you better because it is easier to make strategic moves (i.e. rolls).  
A few of the events that Chris has participated in over the years include a 70 mile sprint on the Missouri River.  The MR340 Race, which takes place in Missouri in the Missouri River was a difficult one to complete.  He stated that 1/3 of the entries never finish the race.  Long events bring additional concerns such as thread of dehydration, sunburns, barge traffic, etc.    One of the longest events Chris participate in was the MR365 which started around Sioux City and ended near Kansas City.  
The Rotary Club of West Polk County would like to publicly thank Chris Nelson for his presentation.  Perhaps he has created a few kayaking disciples by sharing his intriguing story.  
The Adventure of Kayaking - Rotary Style Brian Buethe 2015-08-31 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Jul 27, 2015
Dan Seemuth, the CEO of Bearance Financial, is part of the Contributors Breakfast Club (CBC).  The group is comprised of successful business leaders in the community who decided that they wanted to do a little more in the way of giving back to their community.  The group formed in 1987 and by 2003 they decided to establish a foundation to help them make a positive impact in the area.  This foundation has grown their endowment to nearly a half million dollars and has been responsible for nearly $250,000 in contributions to local charities and non-profit organizations since its inception.
One of the organizations the group supports is Wildwood Hills Ranch.  The ranch is a 400 acres facility that sets in the hills of Madison County.  The mission of the ranch is to provide life-changing opportunities and camp programs to at-risk and disadvantaged children. Kids from across the state are offered hope and love while being challenged to grow into leaders and people of integrity who contribute to the communities in which they live.   It is a wonderful facility with an even greater mission, of which you can learn more about at  
Seemuth explained that one of the CBC's major fundraisers is held in cooperation and support of the Wildwood Hills Ranch.  The name of this event is the Wild Boar Challenge, which is an off road obstacle course designed to push participants through a series of challenges that will test both their speed and agility as they navigate through the course.  This year they're going to add a fun run to the offering in order to allow more people to be engaged.  The event is scheduled to take place on September 26th, 9:30 a.m. at the Wildwood Hills Ranch just outside St. Charles, Iowa.
The members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County Iowa encourage you to consider participating, sponsoring, or perhaps volunteering at this very worthwhile event.  All of the funds from this challenge, or any of the CBC fundraising events stay right here in Central Iowa.  Thank you to Dan Seemuth and our fellow Rotarian Kevin Smith, for sharing information about the breakfast club and the Wild Boar Challenge with our members.
Seemuth Shares Why He and His Breakfast Group Support the Wild Board Challenge Brian Buethe 2015-07-27 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Jul 20, 2015
Tom Henricksen is a Development Services Manager at Zirous, an established Oracle Platinum Partner that works closely with clients to tailor innovative solutions for their business problems through Oracle's Core Technology implementations.  Sounds complicated...probably is.  But that isn't what Tom spoke to members of the Rotary Club of West Polk County during his presentation at their regular meeting.  You see, Tom is also an IT Career Coach and a published author.  He has studied peoples careers and has some insight on how making a few educated decisions early in life can help make for a more profitable and fulfilling life over the course of a career.
Henricksen recently had published his latest book; "Cracking the Career Code" (available on Amazon HERE).  The book is geared toward young men and women who will be graduating, or have recently graduated from high school.  It would probably be a good read for their parents as well.  In fact, subtitles the book "The Guide to Understanding Your Options After High School"...which sounds like something many folks might have appreciated twenty years prior.  The book focuses on three "P's" that will help people make a career choice, with less chance of having massive debt without an identified career path after college.  The three P words that Henricksen focuses on are: Passion, Perform, and Profit.  
He suggests that if these three things, which are described at length in the book, are seriously considered when making education and career choices, it will enhance your chances having a challenging and satisfying career.  In short, this information can help you Crack your Career Code!
The West Polk County Rotarians thank Tom for his presentation and hope that his new book is not only a good seller, but that it will also help a few people achieve their career goals.
Tom Henricksen Shares Insight on How to Make Career Choices Brian Buethe 2015-07-20 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Jun 08, 2015
The voice of Drake Men's Basketball addressed the Rotary Club of West Polk County at their regular meeting, June 8th, 2015.  Mr. Cotlar shared his extensive and interesting career path and a few lessons that he learned along the way.  But his primary message was one that all Rotarians can embrace, something we strive to do; "Get Better Every Day".
How do we get better every day?  A lot of it hinges on attitude, but it also requires us to know what we can and cannot control.  Toughness and persistence are important attributes as well.  You see, Larry has had lifelong interest and personal and professional engagement in two areas; sports and radio.  Many of the things that he has learned, and that he has seen great coaches teach in sports, also apply to everyday life.  Just like a coach want the athlete to focus on improving their game every day; so to should we attempt to improve ourselves every day.  By adopting this mantra, there are few limits to what we can achieve.
The Rotary Club of West Polk County would like to thank Larry Cotlar for addressing our group.  We would also like to thank Rotarian Luke Vogel of CustomOne CFO & Controllers for inviting Mr. Cotler to present.  Watch for a new book by Larry Cotler to be released in the coming months and a new sports talk radio show in the works.  
Larry Cotlar's Message? Get Better Every Day Brian Buethe 2015-06-08 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Jun 04, 2015
Local sports talk radio host Larry Cotlar is scheduled to be the guest speaker at the upcoming (June 8th) regular meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County.  The Club meets Mondays, 12 p.m., at Toyota of Des Moines in Grimes, Iowa.  Current and prospective Rotarians are invited to join us for what will surely be an interesting presentation.
Larry Cotlar has been involved in sports media since 1974.  In 2007, he was named the Iowa Sportscaster of the Year and was inducted into the media wing of the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame.  Cotlar has been involved in sports talk radio on both the national and local stages.  He hosted national shows in Las Vegas and Chicago and local shows in St. Louis and Des Moines, IA.
Cotlar has been the voice of the Drake men’s basketball team since 2005 and has been involved in Iowa Barnstormer radio and television broadcasts since 2008.
We look forward to hearing from Larry and thank Rotarian Luke Vogel of CustomOne CFO & Controllers for inviting him to present.
Local Sports Talk Radio Host Larry Cotlar to Address Rotarians Brian Buethe 2015-06-04 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on May 04, 2015
Many college students think of tropical destinations, beaches, and parties when they considering Spring Break Plans.  However, a group of students from Drake University had other things in mind when they decided to head for Haiti, instead of South Beach.
David Applegate, a member of the West Polk County Rotary Club, along with his wife have been helping to organize mission trips to Haiti for the better part of a decade.  This year, he approached a number of Drake enrolled students to participate.  More than students, they were student athletes, so in order to participate schedules had to be arranged and special permissions granted by coaches.  Nevertheless, things came together and a group traveled to the poorest country in the western hemisphere to do what they could to lend a hand.
Applegate shared a plethora of information about the island to start the presentation.  Did you know that following the earthquake in Haiti a few years ago, over 80 percent of the population was considered below the poverty line?  Or how about, one in five babies born in Haiti will die?  Things are much different in Haiti than in the United States, the wealthiest country in the world.  But that doesn't mean the people have given up.
John Bloss plays football for the Drake Bulldogs; Cassi Aert is on the track team.  Both of them participated in the mission trip to Haiti and were on hand at the Rotary meeting to discuss their thought, observations, and experiences while participating.  John spoke of a young man who was very interested in improving his already admirable English speaking skills.  You see, in Haiti, they speak kind of a French Creole dialect.  Unexpectedly, he quickly realized that the relationships that they made with the people of Haiti were more important than the work they did.  
Cassi shared an amazing story about how, after working on a project one day her hands were very dirty, even sticky from varnish.  Some young girls invited her into their house and as an act of kindness used some of their last soap and their clean drinking water to wash her hands for her.  The water they used wasn't easy to come by because the families had to retrieve it from its source about 1/2 mile away and then carry it to their house.  Cassi said the thing that impacted her most was just how genuine the love of the Haitian people was.  They are not able to buy things to show their appreciation, so they do things, little things to express their gratitude.  She said it was the happiest experience of her life.
Thank you to John, Cassi, and David for an awe inspiring presentation.  
Drake Students Athletes Share Story of Spring Break Mission Trip to Haiti Brian Buethe 2015-05-04 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Apr 12, 2015
YESS CEO Steven Quirk
Members of the West Polk County Rotary Club had a unique opportunity this week; a field trip of sorts.  The organization has been aware and engaged with the Youth Emergency Services Shelter (YESS) for some time.  Some members continue to actively volunteer with the organization from time to time.  That it why members were excited at the opportunity to host their meeting at the recently expanded YESS facility.
YESS is a private nonprofit organization serving children and their families in Central Iowa. The agency opened in 1973 as a drop-in center for runaway teens and has grown into a well-established, highly-regarded, accredited agency designed to keep children safe. YESS is a safety net of services, providing healing and hope in times of crisis. 
The YESS facility just completed a 19,000 square foot, $4.2 million facility expansion.  YESS Chief Executive Officer Brian Quirk greeted Rotarians at the event and then described how the new facilities will positively impact their ability to provide service to the community.  The expansion, which includes additional housing, an art studio, a music studio, a training room and a library, will allow YESS to serve approximately 100 more children.
To learn more about YESS, their mission, what they do, and how they do it, visit their website at  The West Polk County Rotary Club members are grateful to Steven Quirk, for the tour, and all those who support this organization for their time, effort, donations, etc.  It is a phenomenal organization that needs our continued support in order to continue their good work.
West Polk County Rotarians Tour New YESS Facility in Downtown Des Moines Brian Buethe 2015-04-13 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Mar 29, 2015
Mike Havlik is the Program Director for Environmental Education with the Y-Camp ( in Boone, Iowa.  The West Polk County Rotary Club (Grimes, Iowa) was fortunate to hear his presentation at their regular meeting on March 30th, 2015. 
Mike has been associated with the Y-Camp since 1997.  As you might expect, after 18 years, he has seen, heard, and learned a lot.  However, one thing is certain.  His passion for the outdoors is stronger than ever.  After hearing his presentation, the same can be said for all Rotarians in attendance.
Mike, along with his co-presenter (the Y-Camp barred owl), explained the beauty of the picturesque 400 acre forest in the Des Moines River valley, which has been describe by some as  “the closest place to Heaven on earth”.  Located outside Boone, Iowa, the Y-Camp has been creating life-long memories for over 90 years.
The West Polk County Rotary Club would like to publicly thank Mike Havlik for his presentation.  Thanks to him for helping us better appreciate the world in which we all live.
Mike was invited by Rotarian Kevin Smith.
Y-Camp's Mike Havlic Helps Rotarians Better Appreciate their World Brian Buethe 2015-03-30 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Mar 22, 2015
West Polk County Rotarian Eric Wessels spends much of his time as a Project Navigator at SBA Architects.  It is his profession.  But like many Rotarians, in addition to being a professional, he is also an engaged citizen.  This is the reason he decided to run for office as a Dallas County Soil & Water Conservation District Commissioner.  The Soil & Water Conservation District helps to monitor, maintain, or improve agricultural and urban soil and water throughout Dallas County. It is also in his role as a Commissioner that he made the acquaintance of Jennifer Welch, CESPC.  Jennifer is an Urban Conservationist with Polk Soil & Water Conservation District and had the opportunity to present to their sister organization in Dallas County some time back.
Ms. Welch, also a graduate of the Iowa Soybean Association Ag-Urban Institute, was subsequently invited by Rotarian Wessels to present to the West Polk County Rotary Club at their regular meeting on Monday, March 23rd, 2015.  Rotarians in attendance were able to learn about many of the initiatives that are being taken by local governments to help protect two of our most valuable natural resources; soil and water.  Some examples were of requirements or suggestions that local governments can implement when working on development projects (i.e. roads, subdivisions, etc.).  Examples included the use of native landscaping, soil quality restoration strategies, the use of permeable pavement, constructing bioretention cells, requiring buffer strips, amongst others.  
But Rotarians were also made aware of smaller scale projects that can be done by everyday ordinary citizens to help protect our soil and water resources.  Things such as not allowing chemicals to get into storm sewers, avoiding the use of too much fertilizer, picking up your pet's waste, fixing oil and antifreeze leaks on your vehicle, or implementing the use of rain barrels to catch and recycle rainwater from the roof of your home.

It was a very informative and interesting presentation that was relevant to everyone in the room, as well as every Rotarian in general.  
Soil & Water Conservation; It's Important to Everyone Brian Buethe 2015-03-23 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Feb 22, 2015
The West Polk County Rotarians had the honor of hearing from Charlie Becker at their regular meeting, which was held at Toyota of Des Moines in Grimes, Iowa.   Mr. Becker is the Executive Director of Camp Courageous; a year-round camp for individuals of all ages with disabilities.  The organization is located in Monticello, Iowa.  

Camp Courageous was founded in 1972 when forty acres of land was donated for the sole purpose of establishing a camp for the disabled.  Since that time, the organization has grown and now annually serves thousands of individuals with disabilities ranging in age from 1 to 105.  Camp Courageous was built and continues to operate on donations, without government assistance, without formal sponsorship, and without paid fund-raisers. What this means is that everything that is given to the camp goes directly to benefit the campers.  

Learn more about Camp Courageous by visiting their website at
Exec. Dir. Charlie Becker Shares the Inspirational Story of Camp Courageous Brian Buethe 2015-02-23 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Feb 04, 2015
Restoring Hope International (RHI) Executive Director Jean Gross attended and presented at the February 2nd regular meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County. 
Restoring Hope International is a Christian non-profit organization whose aim is to meet the physical and spiritual needs of poverty stricken children around the world.  Founded in 2008, RHI has established Restoring Hope Village in Welkom, South Africa.
Welkom, South African was described as a city that has many things in common with the Des Moines metropolitan area.  The population base is roughly the same, as is the geographical area that it occupies (i.e. square miles).  However, Gross pointed out that while there are areas of growth, which include very recognizable retail shopping opportunities, there are also large areas comprised of shanty type living arrangements, limited job opportunity, and substantial poverty.  For many, it is a tough place to grow up.
Through the establishment of Restoring Hope Village, RHI offers a few children greater opportunity than they would have without their assistance.   The need is great and RSI seeks the assistance of people right here at home to support their work; donations are readily accepted. 
To learn more about Restoring Hope International or Restoring Hope Village in Welkom, South Africa visit the organizations website at
RHI Shares Their Message of Hope With West Polk County Rotarians Brian Buethe 2015-02-05 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Jan 11, 2015
The members of Rotary Club of West Polk County had the opportunity to learn about another wonderful organization serving the the youth of our region.  Jodie Warth (Chief Executive Officer) and Cailin Stockdale (Director of Marketing & Communication) for the Boys & Gils Clubs of Central Iowa gave a very vibrant presentation about what their organization does on a day to day basis and explained why they are worthy of support from the community they serve.
Pictured from left to right:  Jodie Warth, Thomas Bosch, and Cailin Stockdale.
They have a very simple formula for success: "Take the young people who need us most and provide them with an outcome-driven Club experience to achieve our three priority outcomes of Academic Success, Good Character & Citizenship, and Healthy Lifestyles".  They work very closely with local schools to identify children who may need their assistance, they provide a number of programs to assist kids improve themselves physically, emotionally, and academically, and they then track the results of their efforts.
The organization is aware that juvenile crime escalates from 3-7 p.m.  The most glaring reason for this escalation is that 15.1 million kids are left unsupervised around our country during this time period.  So they provide before and after school programming, which allows them to engage kids who may otherwise not have anywhere to go, or anything productive to do during those times.  They also know that there are issues with diet.  Specifically noted was that some kids don't have access to enough food.  When kids are hungry, they cannot be expected to focus or perform well in a school setting.  So what does the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa do?  They feed them.  A simple act that by itself has proven to have dramatic positive results for many kids.
Finally, they track academic success.  Typically, the population that the Club works with would have issues with academics; and many of them would not graduate high-school.  But over 90% of Club alumni reported they earned a high school diploma or equivalent, which is nothing more than a remarkable success.
If you would like to learn more, become a volunteer, or make a gift in support of the work the the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa are doing, please visit  Thank you to Rotarian Thomas Bosch (pictured center) for organizing this terrific presentation.
Boys & Girls Clubs Believe Every Child can be GREAT! Brian Buethe 2015-01-12 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Dec 29, 2014
The Rotary Club of West Polk County held their final regular meeting on Monday, December 29th at Toyota of Des Moines, in Grimes, Iowa.  For the final meeting, a member, Bruce Schmiedlin (CPA), shared his knowledge about a pressing need faced by the Boy Scouts of America.
What is that pressing need?  You may know that Boy Scouts work to earn Merit Badges, badges that signify accomplishments that young men have made in learning new skills.  However, in order to earn the badges, the Scouts need Merit Badge Counselors.  Counselors help them to learn their new skill set and then sign off on their accomplishments.  While there are many willing students, there are several Merit Badge subjects for which there are no qualified counselors.  Therefore, it limits the number of badges a Scout could realistically earn.
The Club thanks Bruce for his presentation and encourages anyone who might be interested to consider becoming a Merit Badge Counselor for the Boy Scouts of America.  More information about this unique opportunity can be found at
Becoming a Merit Badge Counselor for BSA Brian Buethe 2014-12-30 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Dec 15, 2014
The Rotary Club of West Polk County, while still a young club, has already established a great tradition.  Every year, the members choose a Christmas Service Project; usually its something that will help the community, or a worthy organization within the community.  This year, the Club decided to raise funds and gather donations of food for the local Grimes Food Pantry.
Like other area food shelters and pantries, the Grimes Food Pantry is seeing an increased need in the community.  Unfortunately, there are times when they cannot meet the demand.  By taking on this project, local Rotarians were hoping not only to help the food pantry in the short term, but also to raise awareness that indeed there are people right here in Grimes that need this service.  Furthermore, we want people to know that the need is year around and that any help is appreciated.
The Rotary Club of West Polk County raised over $450 and also donated needed food and supplies.  If you might be able to lend additional assistance, we encourage you to visit  There is event a link on the website to donate directly, from your computer or your phone. 
We hope that our small token of generosity will make someone's Christmas a little better this year and that others will recognize and take advantage of this great opportunity to provide a service to their community. 
Christmas Service Project 2014: Help the Grimes Food Pantry Brian Buethe 2014-12-16 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Dec 10, 2014

With the help of many partners, Rotary Clubs around the world are working diligently toward the goal of eradicating Polio from this world.  That noble mission is what has brought local Rotarians and the Iowa Energy together to raise funds to assist this goal.  At the December 8th, 2014 meeting of the Rotary Club of  West Polk County, Ed Arnold (Northwest Rotary Club) and Kyle Davy (Iowa Energy) were on hand to talk about an important upcoming event.
On Saturday, February 7th, 2015 the Annual Rotary Polio Plus Night With the Iowa Energy will take place at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.  Local Rotarians will be selling discounted tickets for $16 each.  Of that price, half will be donated back directly for the cause of Polio eradication.  Through past events, enough money has been raised for the administration of over 100,000 vaccinations worldwide!
So please, contact one of your local Rotarians and buy a few tickets to this event.  Help us stamp out Polio for good!  Lean more about this wonderful event at
A special thank you goes out to Mr. Arnold and Mr. Davy for a very informative presentation about Polio eradication efforts and about the Iowa Energy (an affiliate of the Memphis Grizzlies NBA franchise).  Their generosity and knowledge is greatly appreciated.  Go Energy!
Partners Against Polio; The Iowa Energy and Rotary Club Brian Buethe 2014-12-11 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Nov 30, 2014

The members of the West Polk County Rotary Club had a wonderful opportunity at the regular meeting, which was held on Monday, December 1st.  Instead of meeting at their usual location (Toyota of Des Moines), the club held their meeting on Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa.  More specifically, they met at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum.  The museum is a testament to the participation of generations of Iowa citizens in the many wars and military conflicts that our nation has been engaged.  The museum honors the heroic service of all Iowa veterans. 
Learn more about this fantastic display, which is open to the public, by visiting their website at
Iowa Gold Star Military Museum Hosts Rotarians Brian Buethe 2014-12-01 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Nov 23, 2014
Ron Schmulach had a very simple request for the men of the West Polk County Rotary Club at their regular meeting, which was held at Toyota of Des Moines in Grimes.   Consider volunteering through the Read to Lead program and possibly change a life for the better.  
Ron is himself a volunteer with the program, which is geared toward increasing graduation rates in the Des Moines Public School system.  The program works to find suitable male volunteers because many kids don't have a male role model that provides positive attention, guidance, and encouragement to follow their dreams.  The task is simple; commit to reading with a student for 30 minutes, once a week, during the school year.
Don't have time?  The weekly commitment can be shared with up to two other volunteers if your schedule will not allow you to make it every week.
Why is it important?  According to cited studies, a child's reading level at grade 4 is the biggest determining factor of that person's reading level as an adult.  It is a critical time in a child's life that will impact their ability to succeed for the rest of their life.   If you can't read as an adult, the likelihood of you having financial success is greatly diminished, and the likelihood that you will spend time in prison is greatly enhanced.
How can you help?  Visit and click on the "Sign up to Read Here" link. The site will give you all the details you need to help a young student have a better shot at being a productive citizen of our community.
The West Polk County Rotarians thank Ron for his presentation and look forward to seeing the Read to Lead program succeed in their mission.
Wanted: A Few Good Men Brian Buethe 2014-11-24 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Nov 20, 2014
Members of West Polk County Rotary Club had the privilege of preparing and serving a meal to approximately 70 children and staff at Freedom for Youth Ministries on Monday, November 17th. 
Ten members of the club assisted in preparing and serving the meal consisting of scalloped potatoes and ham, green beans, apples, oranges, cookies and drinks.   The reviews were positive and the children seemed full and happy at the end of the event.
Freedom for Youth Ministries, founded in Des Moines in 2003, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit on a mission to reach Iowa's lost and hurting youth with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They exist through the support of individuals, churches, and organizations.  The West Polk County Rotary Club is proud to be one of those supporting organization.
If you would like to know more about the programming or the organization in general, visit Freedom for Youth Ministries website at
West Polk County Rotarians Serve Meal at Freedom for Youth Ministries Brian Buethe 2014-11-21 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Nov 12, 2014

The West Polk County Rotary Club had a great opportunity to benefit some of the students in the Dallas Center-Grimes (DC-G) Community School District this week.  Led by President Dee Kading (Charles Gabus Ford), members of the Club successfully raised funds and purchased more than 40 winter coats for area students, who otherwise might not have access to nice new coats to keep them warm during the impending winter season.  
Consider becoming a member of the West Polk County Rotary Club and help to do even more important things for the community.  (Pictured from Left to Right: Michael Bonnett, Dee Kading, Mark Watson, and Larry Lyon.)
West Polk County Rotary Donates Coats to Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District Brian Buethe 2014-11-13 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Nov 09, 2014
The West Polk County Rotary Club had the honor of hearing from Laura Holmes of "Amanda the Panda" at our November 10th, 2014 regular meeting.  Laura shared a new video the organization had produced that clearly showed how the organization benefits those they aim to serve.
The stated mission of Amanda the Panda is "to restore grieving children and families back into the mainstream of their lives through innovative services that provide hope and healing.  Their services include Camp Amanda, a weekend retreat and day camp, which offers youth and adults a chance to connect with others who are grieving, celebrate the memory of their loved one, and remember that it's okay to have fun.  They also offer support groups, fun days, school visits, and holiday support to families in need.
Laura Holmes of Amanda The Panda Presents to West Polk County Rotarians Brian Buethe 2014-11-10 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by John M. Bouslog & Jeffrey K. Hatfield on Oct 30, 2014
The only playground on the Principal Riverwalk is scheduled to be opened by Des Moines City officials on Friday, November 7 at 1:00 P.M.  The Rotary Riverwalk Park is a $500,000 fishing themed park paid for through the efforts of ten local Rotary Clubs (Des Moines AM, Des Moines, Northwest Des Moines, West Polk County, Waukee, West Des Moines, Johnston, East Polk County, Indianola and Adel).  The unique design of the park (65 foot long fishing pole arching towards the river with a 12 foot wide bobber at the end, rubberized play surface and LED night time lighting) will provide a special play area for thousands of children for years to come.
“After nearly a decade of working on this project, we are proud to make this contribution to the City of Des Moines” said John Smith, President of the Rotary Club of Des Moines AM.  “It truly exemplifies what Rotarians stand for: Service Above Self.”
The Rotary Riverwalk Park will be the ninth focal point of the Principal Riverwalk since the project was commenced.  Each addition has helped strengthen the heart of Des Moines, unite the east and west sides of downtown, and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation.
“This exciting, one-of-a-kind park is consistent with our vision for Des Moines and central Iowa,” said Councilwoman Christine Hensley.  “The generosity of these Rotarians is greatly appreciated.”
Ribbon cutting for the park is scheduled for 1:00 P.M., Friday, November 7 at the park site which is just north of the Women of Achievement Bridge on the west side of the Des Moines River.  It is open to the public.
Graham Construction served as the general contractor on the project.  RDG Planning and Design was the architect.
Rotary International has 1.2 million members in 34,000 clubs worldwide.
Rotary Riverwalk Park to Open John M. Bouslog & Jeffrey K. Hatfield 2014-10-31 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 19, 2014

This year, members of the West Polk County Rotary participated in a District wide initiative that raised funds to help kids in our community stay warm and healthy.  The goal of the program was to raise enough money to purchase 4,000 coats, thereby allowing area children to attend school, stay warm, and feel better about themselves in the process.  

We were proud to announce that, due to the generosity of Rotarians across the district, we were able to raise enough to purchase at least 8,790 coats.  Some of these coats will be distributed to our local school districts, which will make the determination as to who specifically receives the coats. 

This is just another great example of how your local Rotary Club is providing “Service to Our Community!”
District 6000 Keep Kids Warm Initiative a Success! Brian Buethe 2014-10-20 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Oct 12, 2014


Karen Thompson, Executive Director for ASK (Access for Special Kids) Resource Center presented at the October 13th meeting of West Polk County Rotary Club.

Thompson explained that ASK (Access for Special Kids) Resource Center is a parent training, information, and advocacy center for families of children with special needs across the state of Iowa.   She also pointed out that ASK is a family-driven 503(c) non-profit organization.  The organization's stated vision is to provide access, empowerment and acceptance for all.  They are working on achieving their vision through a variety of programs such as:

  • Parent Training and Information Center (PTI)
  • ​Family to Family Iowa (F2F)
  • Families of Iowa Network for Disabilities (FIND)
  • ​Transition Iowa
  • Walk the Talk Iowa

All of these programs/projects serve specific needs within the community that ASK serves on a day to day basis.  You can learn more about ASK Resource Center and the work they do by visiting their website at  

ASK Resource Center Executive Director Presents to West Polk County Rotarians Brian Buethe 2014-10-13 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Sep 07, 2014

West Polk County Rotarians were fortunate to hear from Becky Beach, President of the Puppy Jake Foundation on Monday, September 8th at their regular meeting.  Puppy Jake Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of American veterans with disabilities.  Their goal is to provide well-bred professionally trained and socialized service dos to members of the Armed Forces who need assistance in their lives back home.

Becky Beach explained how their organization achieves these goals in the interest of deserving American heroes.  Through a well though out and executed plan, they grow and train the dogs from puppies until they are high-functioning, forever companions.  They do this at no cost to the family with the help of many generous sponsors and donors.

Becky Beach

Puppy Jake Foundation President Presents to West Polk County Rotary Brian Buethe 2014-09-08 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Aug 24, 2014

Melissa Clarke-Warfe of Courage League Sports was on hand to speak at the August 25th meeting of the Rotary Club of West Polk County.  Courage League Sports is a recreational adaptive sports facility specifically designed for children not able to go “full speed” due to disability, illness, or emotional challenges.  They are located in Urbandale, Iowa.

Melissa Clarke Wharff.Courage Leage Sports.August 2014

We would like to thank Melissa for her presentation about this wonderful organization.  We would also like to thank Rotarian Mike Bonnett for inviting her to speak at the meeting.  

If you have an interest in learning more about your community and then finding ways to have a positive impact, please consider becoming a Rotarian.  Contact any of our members to learn more about the organization.  We actively strive to build goodwill and better friendships!

Courage League Sports Presents to West Polk County Rotary Brian Buethe 2014-08-25 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Brian Buethe on Aug 17, 2014

This week we had two spectacular guest speakers at our meeting.  Keenan Moran is an incoming Senior at Dallas Center-Grimes High School this year.  He was the West Polk County Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA) scholarship recipient this past summer.  Keenen shared information about how valuable an experience attending RYLA was for him and thanked the group for giving him the opportunity to participate.  He was obviously a great representative of our club and our community.

We also heard from Hannah Inman of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. They have created an app called "Iowa By Trail", which has loads of features listing all the trails in Iowa! It is available for free for the iPhone and coming soon for Android! Check it out!!

Hannah Inman.August 2014 Speaker

Local RYLA & Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation Representatives Speak to WPC Rotary Brian Buethe 2014-08-18 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Nov 25, 2012

Yesterday a bunch of us from West Polk Rotary Club went to Hope Ministries in Des Moines and served food and drinks to the homeless. I can tell you for me personally it was a great and moving experience that I enjoyed very much. The people we were able to meet and the way they treated us with respect and graciousness was to be admired. My heart goes out to those that are less fortunate than some of us.

What we learned from there fabulous staff was that it is a program that doesn't enable the homeless, but rather gives them a path to help them not be homeless anymore. Every tenant has a chore they do everyday. It is a program that the can stay for 60 days free than after that they will start charging them 5 dollars a day to stay there. As long as they follow the rules stay sober and off of drugs. They also have a recovery program to help them stay off of drugs and alcohol. As they said there addiction is usually just masking the underlying problem that they have no self worth. This program helps build them up.

Thank you everyone for participating and thank you Hope Ministries for allowing us to help out.

11/26/2012 Feeding the Needy Jerry Lande 2012-11-26 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Oct 28, 2012

Arch Allison the store manager of Walmart in Grimes came and spoke to us about his store, and Walmart and Sam's Club and what they do locally and nationally to help the communities that they are in. It was refreshing to see such a large company take an active part in each community and help the hungry and many other charitable events.

It was nice to hear how each Walmart is a little different depending on their community and how they us local vendors whenever possible. Arch thank you for coming and enlightening us on your store.

October 29th meeting Jerry Lande 2012-10-29 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Oct 07, 2012
Michelle from Life Serve Blood Center spoke to us today. She informed us of how many people are served by Life Serve Blood Center and what there main purpose is. Than we played a spirited game of Deal or No Deal with the facts that we learned from her. Naturally the best team came out on top. (that's right it was my team).
Thank you Michelle and please if you have time go donate blood, the life you save might be someone close to you.
October 8th Meeting Jerry Lande 2012-10-08 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Sep 30, 2012
Terry and Peggy Geieger the president of District 6000 joined us and spoke to us about the future of District 6000. It was great to see passion and the desire to help others not only in our community but worldwide. He did gives us great ideas and direction that we can do in our club. It was an honor to have them join us.
October 1st Meeting Jerry Lande 2012-10-01 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Sep 09, 2012
Rini Spoke to us about Montessori Children House here in Des Moines. It was very interesting to see the model for their school and how that compares to the public school system. It sounds like they have a very good system in place to educate children from 18 months up to 7 years old. We learned that the whole environment at the school is based around the childrens desire to learn, in play, in social interaction, and in structured settings. They let the children be free to be themselves. They also believe in self discipline. Each child will learn to discipline themselves. Sounds familiar to what our Rotary motto's are doesn't it.
Rini thank you for the great topic I look forward to working with you within our Rotary Club!
September 10th meeting Jerry Lande 2012-09-10 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Aug 26, 2012
Charlie Kiesling spoke to us today about Amanda the Panda Family Grief Center. She told us that 1 in 7 students will have a close relative, class mate or loved one die before they graduate from high school. She told us how Amanda the Panda grief counseling helps the kids, and the grownups handle that difficult time.
We should be proud to know that here in Des Moines Iowa we have one of the best Family Grief Centers in the country. My heart goes out to Charlie and everyone that helps at the Grief Center. I do not know how I would handle that but rest assured that Charlie is handeling it with grace and dignity.
If you would like to learn more about Amanda the Panda, or help volunteer for them you can reach them at 515-223-4847.
Thank you for speaking to us today Charlie.
August 27th Meeting Jerry Lande 2012-08-27 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Aug 19, 2012
We had our Charter dinner last night at Nicks Bar & Grill. It was fantastic! Thank you all that participated. The Club would like to thank all the Rotarians from different clubs for visiting. It was great to see all the support that we have from everyone!
 We had speeches from past, future, and current district 6000 presidents. And we had a speaker from the Rotary foundation. It was all great information. Gene Gabus, our sponsor, spoke to us and challenged us to bring in more members and to become Paul Harris members. It was great to hear from everyone and thank you to those who attended. For those who missed out, I would like you to know that we have great support from fellow Rotarian's who would like us to succeed and grow. I look forward to working not only with our members on future projects, but also with members from other Rotary groups to make a difference in our community and the world.
August 20th Charter Night Jerry Lande 2012-08-20 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Aug 12, 2012
Today we had Craig Butterfield speak to us about the changes in the work enviroment. He told us that we have up to 4 generations and 15 cultures working together. He also told us how each different generation acts and communicates. He said the number 1 problem is communication between the generations. How the y generation would prefer to text than talk. The lesson here is we need more human interaction so we can judge emotions and don't misinterpret each other. Come everyone lets work on talking more and texting less.
Thanks Craig for the very informing talk that you gave today.
August 13th Meeting Jerry Lande 2012-08-13 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Aug 05, 2012
We had our 2nd "networking" meeting today. We discussed Rotary business and we had a lively Sergeant in Arms trivia about the olympics. ( We raised $26 way to go! )We did discuss some business opportunities that some of our members were involved in and what went on in our lives for the past week. It was nice to see the comraderie between fellow members. I look forward to seeing everyone next week.
August 6th meeting Jerry Lande 2012-08-06 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Jul 22, 2012
Today we had our first "networking" meeting. We discussed a range of topics from our business to the olympics. We also went over our Clubrunner website and facebook page. Thank you all that participated it was nice to get to know one another better.
July 30th meeting Jerry Lande 2012-07-23 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Jul 22, 2012
Jay Babel spoke to us about Toastmasters International. They are a club that meets weekly that have diffeent speach contest given to their members. It is designed to help individuals with public speaking. It was nice to hear from Jay about this and how it has helped him with his business.
July 23rd speaker Jerry Lande 2012-07-23 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Jul 08, 2012
Todd Jacobus spoke to us about his experience in the National Guard and his deployment in Iraq. I was deeply moved by the enthusiasm he had not only toward the National Guard but also all the young men and ladies in all the armed forces.
I believe we will be in very capable hands when it is the next generations turn to step up and do there part. I commend Todd for his service to this country and thank him for an exceptional talk.

Before Todd spoke we did try our luck putting for dollars. I think we all enjoyed that very much. I also think we are not ready for the PGA either. Thanks Kevin Smith for beiing our Sargent. I look forward to doing that and other fun things again.

A reminder that next week we will be having our Social at the Car Club in Clive and will not have our scheduled meeting. I look forward to seeing everyone there.
July 9th meeting Jerry Lande 2012-07-09 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Jul 01, 2012
Today we discussed the future of our program and the direction that we would like it to go. I was very encouraged by everyone's participation! We did say that we want to continue to be involved with Rebuilding Together and also Freedom for Youth organizations. I look forward to working with both of those fine organizations to continue to improve our community and the individuals in our community.

We also discussed the nature of our meeting and how we would like to have a traditional Rotary meeting twice a month where we have speakers and possibly singing ect. Than we would have a less formal meeting where we would break into smaller groups and find out more about our fellow Rotarians and network. And we will have a social event once a month which will count as our meeting to meet an a predetermined destination at 5:30 in the evening for an hour or longer. This event is for recruiting, meeting our family members and generally having a good time.

We will have a Sergeant in Arms every meeting so please bring a few dollars with you. We will have Raffles and maybe trivia and other fun stuff to raise money for a Scholarship program that we would love to set up. ( It should not cost you more than two dollars a week at most )

I personally am really excited about the passion and energy our club has. I can't wait to show everyone what we can do.
July 2nd Meeting Jerry Lande 2012-07-02 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Jun 28, 2012


The board has approved Kim Bruns to join our Rotary group. If there is no objection from our members she will be officially a Rotary Member in 5 Days. Please let me know if there are any objections if not I am looking forward to having her as a member.

Jerry Lande 

New Club Member Jerry Lande 2012-06-29 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Jun 24, 2012
Gene Gabus spoke to us today About Rotary International and District 6000. Since we no longer are a Provisional Rotary Club and are now a Rotary Club we need to set new goals.
One of our goals should be to add 25 new members to our Club. Nationally Rotary loses 10%-15% of there members per year. They are supplemented by new members, but as you can see by these numbers it is essential that we add new members in order to grow our Club and be more effective in our community.
Rotary currently has 1.2 million members worldwide, and is in over 200 countries. Some of there major projects are: Eradicating Polio,(started in 1985 and has raised over $850,000,000) Rotary Scholar,( $25,000 Scholarship that is more prestigious than the Road Scholar).District 6000 has 4-5 Scholarships per year that are given out locally. Youth Exchange Programs,(true foreign exchange programs where one student is exchanged for another) One of our main projects is Rebuilding Together. Kim Hanson has done an outstanding job gettng us projects to help our fellow community members rebuild there homes for those that are in need.
Rotary's main funding comes from the Paul Harris foundation. You can become a Paul Harris Fellow by donating $1000 to the foundation. I think we can achieve 100% Paul Harris Fellows in our Club over time.
One of the rules of Rotary International is 50% attendance in your club. I and I am required to take attendence and report it to the District President twice a year. Rotary does allow makeups for missed Meetings, you can attend another Rotary Club or make it up online through Rotary Internationals website.
Thank you Gene for the talk today now it is up to us to make this club a success. I know as a group we can do great things for this community and I am looking forward to working with all of you on achieving this.
June 25th Speaker Jerry Lande 2012-06-25 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Jun 10, 2012
Eric Welch spoke to us about his business Vines to Wines. Eric enlightened us on different wines for different foods and why. He told us about the process of making wines and how he got started. I truly enjoyed his visit and look forward to visiting his place of business. If you would like more information or to schedule a visit you can go to I am sure that he would love to hear from you!
June 11th speaker Jerry Lande 2012-06-11 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Jun 03, 2012
Linda Clausen spoke to us today. She is from HCI Care Services. The are formally known as Hospice Central Iowa. She enlightened us about the new Gift shop that they opened at 3330 100th Street in Urbandale. Some members already donated to this gift shop. They are looking for Furniture ( please no ripped, stained or smoke-permeated items), Women's clothing Antiques and collectibles, men's clothing juniors and young men's clothing, women's accessories, housewares, home decor items, books audio tapes music cd's and dvd videos.
Please donate if you can! She said that they are also looking for volunteers to help at the gift shop if you have time.

HCI has had over 1500 patients last year and they serve central and western Iowa. So anything you can do to help them will be helping right here in our community.

Thanks Linda for coming and speaking to us today, I know we all really enjoyed it.
June 4th Speaker Jerry Lande 2012-06-04 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on May 13, 2012
Kent Bily spoke to us about his business of emergency damage restoration. He works for Prorestore DKI right in Grimes. He spoke to us about a project that they did in Ames when the storm went through. It is very nice to meet our neighbors in our area and hope that they can join us for Rotary.

Just a reminder of our social every 3rd Tuesday of the month at Fatboyz Grill & Saloon in Grimes. Hope to see everyone there.
05/14/2012 Speaker Jerry Lande 2012-05-14 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Apr 29, 2012
We had Matt and Angie Weis spoke to us about adoption and foster care. They shared there trials and tribulations of having 5 children of different ages and backgrounds. It was very encouraging to see a young couple have the courage and strength to help the children in our community.
They gave us a great idea on how we can help the foster care program for the state of Iowa. Donate tubs or suitcases or even backpacks so the children have something to put their clothes in. Also told us if we helped out with YESS it supports foster care as well.
I for one was very moved on how the children gave back to their family. There are many rewards in life that does not involve money. Thank you Matt and Angie for that inspirational talk that you gave us!
04/30/12 Speaker Jerry Lande 2012-04-30 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Apr 15, 2012
Angie Plager spoke to us about the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Iowa. Angie is a member of the Spinal Cord Injury Association and she told us of what her organization does for the people in Iowa. She told us of different outings her clients go on to get them out of the house.
Angie let us know how we could help either financially or volunteer support. I was moved by her courage and determination to help fellow spinal cord injury members.
Please take the time to visit there website at Get involved and lets show Angie our support.
04/16/12 Speaker Jerry Lande 2012-04-16 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Apr 08, 2012
Mark Willis from Character Counts spoke to us today. He talked about Character in the work place and ethics in the work place.
We did a exercise within our group that helped us to learn more about each one of us. One of Marks quotes we " You don't have to be sick to get better." I love that quote.
Thank you Mark for speaking with us. You helped show us how we can be a better group and have a better community.
04/09/2012 Speaker Jerry Lande 2012-04-09 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Apr 01, 2012
We had a very inspirational talk from Dr. Rick Rhinehart today. He spoke to us about a trip to Mt. Everest he was a part of. He told us about cancer survivors that were able to hike up Mt. Everest and he really let us know that the human spirit is strong.
He emphasized that everyone of us and everyone in the group he was on had there own journey through life. It is not up to anyone but us to know what that journey is.
Thank you Dr. Rhinehart your talk with us today was terrific!
April 02, 2012 Jerry Lande 2012-04-02 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jerry Lande on Mar 25, 2012
Jon Bachman from WHO-TV was our guest speaker at Rotary and he gave as very interesting stories of his career. It was amazing to hear from him and the people that he was fortunate to interview. From 3 different presidents to George Burns and even Jack Nicklaus.
 He then went on to tell us about what he fears most in the future with the news. Budget cuts hurt everyone but it was interesting to see how it can effect how the people will get there information for the news when there is less reporters out there.
Jon will be retiring in November after the election and I know that he will be missed by his loyal viewers.
On a side note Rachael Owens catered our meeting and it was fantastic food! Thank you Rachael!
March 26th Speaker Jerry Lande 2012-03-26 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Lorinda Peters

Read, Set, Rock!

Rock In Prevention teaches children health and wellness, personal and social skills, drug awareness, mentoring, character, education, anti-bullying, anger management, problem solving, and increases parental involvement to help children live to their fullest potential.

We were inspired and entertained Monday as we learned about Rock in Prevention from its founder Pat McManus.   Rock has served more than 1.3 million children and families with empirically-based research and best practices.  These include in-school workshops from elementary through high school that fun and interactive.

If you missed the meeting and would like to learn more check out their website –

Join us next week as we learn more about Rotary and District 6000 from our District Governor, Terry Geiger.

September 24th Meeting - Rock In Prevention Lorinda Peters 0
Posted by Jerry Lande
Beth Ryberg spoke to us today about disability Rights Iowa. It is a organization in Iowa dedicated to the rights of disabled people. They do investigations on companies and Nursing homes to make sure that disabled people are getting the rights that they deserved. I know that most of you know that this issue hits pretty close to home for this individual. Thank you Beth on informing us of this organization so that we may all keep a watchful eye out to make sure that no one is being discriminated upon,

On a defferent note I wanted to inform you that one of our members was honored today. Jeff Holliday was an individual nominee at the United Way Recognition luncheon. Way to walk the talk Service before Self. Congrats Jeff you make us all proud.

Remember we need members so get out and Recuit!
04/23/2012 meeting and other news Jerry Lande 0
Posted by Lorinda Roth
Jan Herke, Urbandale Parks and Recreation spoke to our group on Monday.  She shared the master plan for the new Walnut Creek Regional Park.  The park will have an abundance of trails, playgrounds and shelter.  She also told us about the many areas of programming they support that go beyond traditional sporting activities for children.  If you are looking to honor a loved one with a donation to one of Urbandale's parks, they have numerous ways to help you make that happen including those to the Charles Gabus Memorial Tree Park and Garden by the Urbandale Library. 
March 19th - Urbandale Parks & Recreation Lorinda Roth 0
Posted by Lorinda Roth

We've had a great month of enlightening programs.

Carl Voss talked with us about the Des Moines Bicycle Collective.  The Collective recognizes, encourages, and facilitates the use of bicycles as a viable mode of transportation and recreation in the State of Iowa Their motto: changing Des Moines two wheels at a time. 

Next Nicole Shumate, Executive Director, Paws & Effect.  A nonprofit organization based in Des Moines, Iowa that raises, trains and places high-quality, well-socialized service dogs. Paws & Effect is focused on two types of service dogs. The first type of service dog will have a mobility skill set; the second type of service dog will work to offset the debilitating effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in veterans. 

Operation First Response was represented by their Director, P.J. Green.  Operation First Response supports our nation's Wounded Warriors and their families.  Services are provided from the onset of injury, throughout their recover and in their journey from military life into the civilian world.  

Cindy Spann, Outreach Director of Link Associates rounded out the month.  Link Associates provides people with intellectual disabilities opportunities to achieve their personal goals.  Cindy told us about the many programs at Link -  residential services, day/vocational services, transportation, case management, respite and leisure.

We encourage you to come visit.  Visitors are most welcome at all meetings.  

We've had a terrific month! Lorinda Roth 0
August 29, 2011 Bras for the Cause Lorinda Roth 0
Posted by Lorinda Roth

Kim Stewart, Director of Operations, Des Moines YMCA spoke to us about the newly opened Supportive Housing Campus.

The new YMCA Supportive Housing Campus is conveniently located in downtown Des Moines.  The campus offer 140 individual efficiency residential units as well as a variety of support services.  In addition to the furnished units, there are classrooms, counseling suites, a library, a small workout room, laundry facilities and a dining area.


According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the most effective way to end homelessness is an approach called Housing First. This approach provides homeless people with stable, permanent housing as quickly as possible supplemented by support services as needed.  YMCA Supportive Housing Campus has adopted the Housing First Approach as a solution.



August 1, 2011 - YMCA Supportive Housing Campus Lorinda Roth 0