Elmbrook Rotary Club News

It’s time to celebrate our Rotary club, our members, and the good we do in our community and around the world.

Rotary unites more than 1.2 million people across the globe. Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

August is "Membership and New Club Development" month. There are many ways to join in the celebration, but here are a few activities to get started:

  • Say it loud, say it proud! Let everyone in your social network know that you are a proud member of Rotary.
  • Watch and share. Watch and share this short video entitled, "Top 5 Rotary Membership Myths Exposed."

  • We Are Rotary. Use the hashtag #WeAreRotary when you post to Facebook, tweet on Twitter, or add photos to your Instagram account to show how Rotary makes a positive impact in the world.

  • What does Rotary mean to you? Rotary members have pushed polio to the brink of eradication, delivered clean water to those in need, improved their local communities, provided scholarships to the next generation of peacemakers, and continued to do good in the world.

Check us out!

"Health Care in the U.S.: What are we investing and what are we getting in return?" was the focused topic for the guest speakers at Elmbrook Rotary on Friday, July 31.
Physicians for a National Health Program is a single issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. PNHP has more than 20,000 members and chapters across the United States.
PNHP member, Dr. Roland Brilla, and second-year medical student Simon Yadgir addressed the topic. 
The topic generated the most animated discussion at an ERC meeting in recent memory. In fact, the discussion continued way past the closing gavel and made its way into the ERC chat room in WhatsApp.
Do join Elmbrook Rotary Club any Friday morning for our meetings at 07:00 a.m. We are currently meeting virtually via Zoom and hope to initiate "hybrid" meetings (i.e., both in-person and virtual options) in September. Simply send a note to the club contact person on this web site for an invitation to join. You'll like what you see and experience!
On Friday, July 24, motivational speaker and author Roslyn Franken shared the amazing story of her parents, survivors of WW II, and her own personal story with Elmbrook Rotary.
Mr. Franken has authored her parents' story in a book entitled, Meant to Be, which will also be turned into a movie. In a follow-up message to ERC members, she writes the following: "If anyone would like a personally autographed copy of my book, Meant to Be, instead of ordering from Amazon, [you] can order it directly from my website at https://roslynfranken.com/buy-now.html. [You] just need to indicate in the PayPal checkout box the instructions how [you] want the book autographed and the exact name [you] would like me to sign it to. Thank you again for the wonderful opportunity to share my parents' story."
To hear her presentation, click here or on the graphic above. The video clip contains only her presentation and not the remainder of the club meeting.
Three former Rotary Youth Exchange students joined Elmbrook Rotary via Zoom on Friday, July 17, and provided an update of their lives and activities.
Joining the ERC weekly meeting were:
     Otto Mattila, from Finland, 2013-2014, Brookfield East H.S.
     Caroline (Carly) Hetzel, from Germany, 2011-2012, Brookfield East H.S.
     Giovanna (Gi) Rezende, from Brazil, 2016-2017, Brookfield East H.S.
     Fuka Sunagawa, from Japan, 2019-2020, Brookfield Central H.S.
To view/hear their greetings and updates, simply click here or on the photo above. The video file also contains the remainder of the July 17th meeting.
Elmbrook Rotary continues to conduct "virtual meetings" but is making plans for in-person (or "hybrid") meetings to begin soon. Stay tuned!

The recordings for each breakout session of the recently completed RI Virtual Convention can be accessed by clicking here or clicking on the image below.

Click the title of each breakout and you should be taken to the recording. If you are prompted to ‘sign up’ for the convention again, there should be a selection to check indicating that you have already signed up. In view of the current ERC survey concerning the format of our future meetings, especially recommended for viewing is "Using Virtual Tools To Engage Members" originally live streamed on Monday, June 22, at 08:00 a.m.

The RI Convention team is also in the process of transitioning the recordings to a digital asset management portal. The recordings will be accessible in that location after the end of July. Do take advantage of these resources.

ERC member Linda Wickstrom has discontinued her "Hat Challenge" for ERC's weekly Zoom meetings and has issued a new challenge for finding and using the best Zoom Virtual Background.
To make use of the Virtual Background function in Zoom, one must have a computer or mobile phone that supports this function. Read a full-length "Zoom Support" article that discusses the required settings and the applicable settings within Zoom itself.
In addition, there is a big difference between using the Virtual Background function with or without  a "green screen." And, one needs to scour the Internet to find the best still images and/or videos for incorporating into the Zoom meeting experience.
View the following YouTube videos for step-by-step instructions:
[If accessing via the weekly eBulletin,
[If accessing via the weekly eBulletin,
Rotary International also provides custom virtual background images for use on Zoom. Check out this YouTube video that explains how to find/download the images and how to install them within the Zoom software.
Happy hunting, learning, and experimenting! [If you need personal assistance, contact ERC member Larry Myers or ERC member Jackie Radomski.]
Holger Knaack, member of the Rotary Club of Herzogtum-Lauenburg-Möln, Germany, is Rotary International President for 2020-2021.
A Rotary member since 1992, Knaack has served Rotary as treasurer, director, moderator, member and chair of several committees, representative for the Council on Legislation, zone coordinator, training leader, and district governor. He is an endowment/major gifts adviser and was co-chair of the Host Organization Committee for the 2019 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg. Knaack and his wife, Susanne, are Major Donors to The Rotary Foundation and members of the Bequest Society.
Rotary Opens Opportunities is the theme chosen by President Knaack for 2020-2021. At the International Assembly in San Diego in January 2020, he had the following to say about his theme: "So as you can see, Rotary is not just a club that you join. It is an invitation to endless opportunities. It opens opportunities to serve in a project as big and historic as End Polio Now and also in a small community project, where you just plant a tree. And it opens opportunities for you to live a richer, more meaningful life, with friends around the world, based on our core valuesAs Rotarians, we are very blessed to take on leadership roles at this wonderful moment for our organization. Everything we do opens another opportunity for someone, somewhere. Therefore, the theme for our year is: Rotary Opens Opportunities."
  • Rotary Creates Opportunities is the Rotary International theme for this year. RI President Holger Knaack recently said: “Don’t be afraid of change; continue to use new tools and adapt to change.”
    I look forward to serving as President of the Elmbrook Rotary Club for the coming year. Our meetings will continue to be on Friday mornings at 7:00 a.m. via Zoom technology until it is appropriate to resume in-person meetings. Then, those meetings will likely be in a hybrid format with the option of attending via Zoom. Rotary International does not want members to feel compelled to attend any meeting or activities where they do not feel safe and comfortable. It will be our challenge to be open to opportunities to adapt to change while maintaining the traditions of fellowship and service that are the fabric of our club.
    To help guide us, a survey will go out soon to learn of each member’s comfort levels. I am confident that, as a club, we will embrace the challenges ahead in this uncertain period as we find new ways to continue our mission.
In its Zoom-enabled virtual meeting on Friday, June 26, Elmbrook Rotary Club & Foundation installed its 2020-2021 Officers and Directors.
The names and positions are listed in the following JPEG images.
In addition, the entire Zoom session was recorded. Click on either JPEG image to view the 50-minute ERC meeting.
The club's sincere gratitude is offered to outgoing President Mike Schmeling and his fellow Officers/Directors for their faithful service during a most challenging year! And, best wishes go to incoming President Tom Hochuli and his administration for this next Rotary Year, which begins on July 1.
The Elmbrook Rotary Club's "Straight Shooters" observed "June Is Rotary Fellowships Month" with an outing.
Harry Farchmin, the "Straight Shooters" coordinator, provides the following report:  "The Rotary Straight Shooters (our local fellowship group of International Shooting Sports Rotarians) enjoyed a Sporting Clays outing at the Waukesha Gun Club on June 18, 2020. We had 13 Rotarians and guests join together to enjoy shooting on wonderful summer evening. Our group included five new shooters who all did very well and enjoyed the outing. The Rotary Straight Shooters have regular outings on the third Thursday of every month.  Outings and registration information are posted on the Elm Brook Rotary Club and D-6270 Calendars."
Also, visit the RI Fellowships web page to learn more about the many opportunities for worldwide fellowships. Chances are that at least one group exists that will match your personal interests.
Ciara McHugh was the District 6270 Global Grant Scholar for 2018-2019. She is approaching her third year of a Ph.D. research program and has been instrumental in establishing a new Rotaract Club at her graduate school, Queen’s University Belfast. Following is her report.

" Early in the year, a group came together with the intention of creating a Rotaract chapter in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We were from a variety of disciplines, a range of countries, and each were introduced to Rotary in different ways. After a number of late-night brainstorming sessions at QUB's [Queen’s University Belfast’s] cafe (pre-lockdown, of course), we allocated board positions and made plans to get a Queen's University Belfast Rotaract Club off the ground.

"Theo, a Belfast native and active Interactor, was chosen as president; Veja, who is from Slovakia, volunteered her experiences from her Scottish Rotaract days as Outreach chair; Anna, a Global Grant scholar from Wisconsin, became secretary; and I volunteered as treasurer.

"Over the last few months, we've had to adjust our approaches and strategies to adapt to pandemic conditions. But, with ongoing support from the Belfast Rotary Club, our bi-weekly Zoom calls are full of the same energy and enthusiasm as those first brainstorming sessions. I'm pleased to say that our members have kept busy: with social distanced volunteering at Age-NI, donating energy bars to frontline and hospital workers, engaging with local racial-justice organizations, and organizing an online charity quiz to raise money for local pandemic efforts.

"I'm honored to be a part of such an encouraging and engaged group of Rotaractors, and I look forward to expanding our outreach in the years to come."


Anna DeWitt (the 2019-2020 GG Scholar from RI District 6220) is from Appleton, WI, and is shown in the photo holding the Appleton Rotary Club banner (mirror image on their Zoom meeting). Ciara McHugh, for whom Elmbrook Rotary served as local Rotary liaison during her 2018-2019 GG Scholarship, is holding a Whitnall Park Rotary Club banner. Clearly, the RI Global Grant Scholarship program, the Interact clubs, and Rotary clubs throughout the world are having an impact in these days of COVID-19 (and beyond).

Interestingly, Ciara's Ph.D. research is focusing on "how to ameliorate strained relationships between police and minority communities, specifically through visual technologies, and the ways in which gender paradigms can help overcome barriers between the two groups."

Congratulations, Ciara, on your continued involvement in Rotary! Keep on keeping on!

Michael Gosman, President & Chief Executive Officer of Acts Housing, was the featured speaker at Elmbrook Rotary Club's "virtual meeting" (via Zoom) on Friday, June 12.
Acts Housing provides one-on-one and online, HUD-approved homebuyer and financial counseling for individuals and families to help them become ready to buy.

As a real estate brokerage, Acts represents families in the purchase of homes, for owner occupancy, in Milwaukee and Beloit. Acts then helps families plan and execute home rehabilitation, with a focus on reclaiming vacant foreclosures. Their affiliated nonprofit partner, Acts Lending, Inc., provides mortgage loans for rehabilitation projects.

Acts serves diverse families throughout Milwaukee and Beloit. Many families purchase formerly vacant, vandalized foreclosures. Usually, rehab costs are less than demolition, and new owners save hundreds on their monthly housing costs.

June is "Rotary Fellowships Month."
Elmbrook Rotary has quite a few members who participate in "Straight Shooters," the local gathering of the Rotary "Shooting sport" Fellowship. Other ERC members belong to the "Beer" Rotary Fellowship.
ERC member and Club Treasurer Mark Zalewsky writes the following about his involvement in two Rotary Fellowships:
"If you haven't seen it yet, this month's [June edition of The] Rotarian has a small piece on Rotary Fellowships [p. 60].   Fellowships can be a way to extend the Rotarian spirit beyond just the Club level to the World beyond - through common interests or professional affiliations. Many of the Fellowships organize events that coincide with the International and Regional conferences.  And, many events support Rotary causes while being fun in their own right.      
"I am a member of the Cycling Fellowship (Cycling2Serve) and the Surfing Fellowship (long story).  I've participated with over 200 Rotarians from all over the world - including RI Executive Secretary John Hewko and the RI staff - in the annual El Tour de Tucson and helped raise in excess of $7 million for End Polio Now.  And, before COVID derailed the RI convention, the Surfing Fellowship had planned to have 500 surfers "Hang Ten" at Waikiki. Also, through social media we can stay connected with each other's activities.  
"Take a look at the list of Rotary Fellowships - there is one for almost any interest.   And it just one more way Rotary opens doors to the World."

Bill Tobin, Rotary Relations Manager and ShelterBox Ambassador for ShelterBoxUSA, provided an update briefing to Elmbrook Rotary Club (ERC) on Friday, May 29. You can view his entire slide show briefing by clicking here. As a result of his briefing, ERC member Doug Jacobson began a donation challenge that has produced more than $2,000 for ShelterBox USA.

Right now, more than 88 million people around the world have been made homeless by natural disaster and conflict. ShelterBox is working to change this. View this video that traces 20 years of ShelterBox impact.

[If unable to view the embedded media, access
By providing emergency shelter and tools for families robbed of their homes by disaster, Shelter Box is transforming despair into hope. ShelterBox teams work with disaster-hit families  around the world, offering emergency shelter and other essential items to support them in rebuilding their lives.

Every disaster is different and so is every community; so ShelterBox spends time with those affected to make sure they can offer the right support at the right time to help them recover.

See the following resources for learning more about, and following, the efforts of ShelterBox:

An RI District 6270 member has been awarded with Rotary International's "Service Above Self" award! Nancy Rhodes of the West Allis Rotary Club is the honored recipient.
Rotary’s highest honor recognizes Rotarians who demonstrate Rotary’s motto, Service Above Self, by volunteering their time and talents to help others. The award is internationally competitive and is granted to no more than 150 Rotarians worldwide, and no more than one from each district, each year.

Nancy Rhodes is a DYNAMO! She is a strong, determined, compassionate, tireless, & effective leader, in & out of Rotary. Since joining Rotary in 1988 -just one year after the Supreme Court ruled Rotary clubs may not exclude women based on gender- Nancy has held leadership positions at all levels of Rotary - from Club to International.  Her husband, Don Drecktrah, is also a Rotarian.
Nancy personifies what the Service Above Self award is all about. She is extremely dedicated to Rotary, and particularly to The Rotary Foundation, where she works diligently to identify prospective donors. As one member/donor put it, “She may be little, but Nancy can pick you up and shake you until every last nickel falls out of your pockets. And… she does it with a smile.”  

She is generous with her time, talents, & knowledge; her calendar is always full of Rotary meetings, events, & projects. Nancy never expects from others what she herself does not give, often many times over. What many aren’t aware of is her accomplishments behind the scenes:  advocating & promoting support of people, ideas, & projects; quietly inspiring others to give money for causes; identifying people’s talents/capabilities & getting them involved in areas where they can make an impact. It is work with many hours of organizing, directing & being on one’s feet, the results of which many take for granted.

Nancy was one of the first women to join a Rotary club. After decades of service at the local, district, zone, and international levels, she is now duly recognized. Congratulations, Nancy!

On Friday, May 22, ERC member and TRF (The Rotary Foundation) rep for the club, Tom Curl, provided a motivational report to Elmbrook Rotary Club that encouraged support of TRF.
Usually, when "Foundation" is mentioned, ERC members think of the Elmbrook Rotary Club Foundation, which annually provides approximately $70,000 to charitable organizations both nationally and internationally.  Click here or on the image below to read about the ERC Foundation work during the 2018-2019 Rotary Year.
However, Tom's emphasis was on The Rotary Foundation globally and how to donate. A handful of other ERC members provided testimonies of how they have made commitments to TRF through personal wills, family estate trusts, IRA distributions, and outright gifts. Emphasis was also given to the "Million Dollar Journey" of RI District 6270. Joining the meeting was Nancy Rhodes, a Past District Governor of District 6270 and current Endowment/Major Gifts Advisor for Zone 29.
ERC members who shared their stories nearly unanimously made mention of ERC's own international efforts at the Common Hope school in Guatemala and credited that involvement as an incentive for their own commitments to The Rotary Foundation.

Dr. Jeffrey Reed was the featured speaker at Elmbrook Rotary Club's "virtual meeting" on Friday, May 15. Jeff is a Past District Governor of RI District 6270 and has made numerous trips to India in support of club projects and polio immunization efforts in that country. He provided an excellent overview of Polio Eradication efforts in India as well as examples of "Indian Rotary Clubs' Commitment to Service Above Self."

Prior to his current role as Dean of the School of Business at Marian University in Fond du Lac, Dr. Reed served as Director of the Management Program, Director of the Honors Program, Interim Director of Institutional Research, Faculty Senate President, and Co-Executive Director of the Center for Spirituality and Leadership. He received the Underkofler Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching, and he was a visiting professor at Harlaxton College in 2006.

Elmbrook Rotary Club "virtual meetings" continued on Friday, May 8, at 7:00 a.m. (via Zoom) with special guests from Serenity Inns:  Ellen Blathers and Virginia Zignego.
Serenity Inns works with men who are the fringes of society – men who are estranged from friends and family, homeless, recently released from prison, addicted to drugs or alcohol – and engages them in a structured, long-term rehab program, which includes housing for alumni.  Serenity Inns recently was awarded “Best in Milwaukee” by the Shepherd Express in the Alcohol & Drug Rehab Center category. Ellen Blathers is the co-founder and Executive Director of Serenity Inns. Ms. Blathers received a Black Excellence Award from the Milwaukee Times in 2019; she was also runner-up for the Nonprofit Executive of the Year Award in 2017. Virginia Zignego is the Director of Development & Administration.
After two unsuccessful Friday morning connections with Dr. Jane Baker Koons in India, several members of Elmbrook Rotary Club were able to effect and record a Zoom video conference with her.
Dr. Jane Baker Koons has been an Educational Consultant to Schools in India since 2007. She was instrumental in an Elmbrook Rotary Club TRF Global Grant several years ago.
View her 29-minute update by clicking here or on the image below.
You can access more information about Dr. Koons and her work by clicking here.
The Rotary Foundation spends charitable contributions on multiple programs - from the eradication of polio, to scholarships, vocational training teams, Rotary Peace Centers, and humanitarian projects. The funds are used for programs and projects Rotarians feel passionate about. With a four-star rating by Charity Navigator for ten years in a row and over 1.2 million Rotarians overseeing the funds at a grassroots level, you have all the confidence in the world that your funds through Rotary are in amazing hands doing amazing work here and abroad.
You can read stories and see the details
of The Rotary Foundation’s financials
in the most recent Annual Report on rotary.org
The Rotary Foundation (TRF) has received the highest rating - four stars - from Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of charities in the U.S. More Rotarians, and others, see the wonderful results of our projects and scholarships worldwide, and they are using TRF as their “Charity of Choice” in their annual giving and their estate plans. 
So, in cooperation with District 6220 to our North, District 6270 has decided to have a little fun and, together, we have set out on a Million Dollar Journey.  The goal for our two districts together is to find and recognize NEW Major gifts to the Foundation.
It is now possible for members of Elmbrook Rotary Club (ERC) to make online payments and donations both to ERC and to the Elmbrook Rotary Foundation (ERF).
Two separate commercial merchant accounts have been activated which intend to keep transactions separated between ERC and ERF.
To make payments to ERC, simply follow the link provided in one's individual club account (and quarterly statements). A surcharge of 5% is billed to one's club account when utilizing a credit card or debit card.
To make donations or payments to ERF, simply click the "Donate" or "Donate Now" button that can be found on multiple pages on the ERC web site. Or, one can click the URL link that will be provided in ERF invoices to club members. Please ensure that donations or payments intended for the ERF account are not made to the ERC account. The opposite is also true. And, please remember that not all payments to the Foundation [a 501(c)(3) entity] are tax-deductible. IRS rules and policies must be followed.
Finally, one can always use the old-fashioned (and least expensive) way of payment/donation with an individual check or bank check via "Bill Pay" at one's bank.
Members of the 2019 Guatemala Vision Team stand in front of the house they built in February along with the Ventura family who will be living there!
Our Meeting Location
Whether you're a visiting Rotarian or someone interested in finding out what Rotary's all about, please feel free to join us on Friday Mornings. You'll receive a hearty welcome - plus a whole lot more! Our meetings are held at The Western Racquet Club in Elm Grove.

ImageWHEN: Elmbrook Rotary Club is a breakfast club that meets every Friday from 7:00-8:00 AM
WHERE:  Western Racquet Club in Elm Grove, WI. 1800 Highland Road
COST: $16 Breakfast
Venue Map          District Site           How to Join
About Elmbrook Rotary
Elmbrook Rotary Club was founded by 26 Brookfield and Elm Grove, Wisconsin, USA business leaders to promote fellowship as a foundation for community service, ethical ideals and the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace. Elmbrook Rotary Club is also proud to sponsor The Brookfield East High School Interact Club, a service oriented group of high school students. Our mailing address is: Elmbrook Rotary, P.O. Box 1014, Brookfield WI 53008-1014.
ERC Peace Initiative
Elmbrook Rotary Club has embarked upon a "Peace Building Project."
Announced and previewed on Friday, October 18, the project will stretch over multiple years as the club and its membership engage in peace building in Milwaukee.
View the embedded video from the Rotary Action Group for Peace. If not viewable, follow the URL linked to "Rotary: Peace Is . . ."
For a detailed look at ERC's peace initiative, view the PDF entitled "ERC Peace Building Project." Above all, stay tuned and become involved as the project unfolds.
2019 Business Person of the Year Award

The Elmbrook Rotary Club announced on October 25 that its 2019 Business Person of the Year award recipient is Jamie O’Donoghue, owner of O’Donoghue’s Irish Pub in Elm Grove. The Rotary Award honors a strong local leader who has entrepreneurial skills and strategic vision.

Jamie O'Donoghue (center) is presented with the Elmbrook Rotary Club's 2019 Business Person of the Year Award from Selection Committee member Tom Michalski, Elm Grove Village Board Trustee, (L), and Ralph Gould, Award Program Chair and Elmbrook Rotarian (R)

“Jamie joins an impressive group of past Business Person of the Year award recipients:  Mark Mirsberger, CEO of Dana Investment Advisors, in 2018; and Lisabeth Passalis-Bain, Publisher of the Elm Grove News-Independent, in 2017,” said Award Program Chair Ralph Gould. “This annual award helps the Elmbrook Rotary Club recognize a successful business owner/operator in Brookfield or Elm Grove who demonstrates community responsibility.”

O’Donoghue has shown service-mindedness and significant community involvement through local sponsorships by O’Donoghue’s Irish Pub of the annual Elm Grove Memorial Day celebration with proceeds benefiting the American Legion’s Post 449, the Elm Grove Village Farmer’s Market, Elm Grove Oktoberfest, Children’s Hospital Toys for Christmas program, Irish Fest, Elm Grove Citizens’ Police Academy, Humane Animal Welfare Society (HAWS), and several area golf outings.

A committee of Elmbrook Rotarians and local government officials selected the award recipient.

Rotary 2020-2021 Theme
ERC Calendar
August 2020
Rotary Four-Way Test
Of the things we think, say or do:
  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Service Above Self
- Learn more about our guiding principles
Rotary's Four Way Test

Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Service Above Self

- See more at: http://portal.clubrunner.ca/5700/#sthash.YgEI863i.dpuf

Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Service Above Self

- See more at: http://portal.clubrunner.ca/5700/#sthash.YgEI863i.dpuf

Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Service Above Self

- See more at: http://portal.clubrunner.ca/5700/#sthash.YgEI863i.dpuf
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Duane McAllister
Aug 07, 2020
Grace Landing Project and St. Colleta
Bill Selzer / Ralph Gould
Aug 14, 2020
Elmbrook Rotary’s 2020 Business Person of the Year Award
Katie Sparks
Aug 21, 2020
Kathy's House Update
Avi Mylrea
Aug 28, 2020
Common Hope Update
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Club Officers
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Director (Past President)
Public Image Chair
The Rotary Foundation
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