Archive for the ‘Rotary Gatherings’ Category

Rotary Gathering 8/17/16

Kirk had the program today.  He has been at his place of business in downtown St. Croix Falls since 2008, Marlene and Kirk2the same year he joined Rotary with help from a wonderful friend, Rebecca. Kirk serves in everything he does, not only by being a loving husband and awesome father, but most recently joining the Voluntary Fire Department. He brought Marlene Gargulak, District Governor 2015-2016.  He has been her right-hand man on many endeavors including Rotary Club Radio.

Marlene gave a very moving message including her experience as District Governor by serving 64 Rotary Clubs and 5 Rotaract Clubs.  She first joined to be a part of eradicating polio but stayed for the many benefits of Rotary that revolve around Service Above Self.  Specifically, benefits of Rotary include:

  • Opportunity to serve
  • Enhance your business through networking and great reputation
  • Make great friends
  • Enhance you own leadership skills and build confidence
  • Travel and meet amazing people whose motivation is to be of service to others
  • Make meaningful changes in our own community and the world
  • Accepted no matter what your faith/religion
  • Experience pride in your community
  • Partner with other organizations to make great things happen on large levels

She is right!  We all got in to Rotary to serve but have gained more than we could’ve imagined.  Thanks Marlene for your words of inspiration and love.

In other news…

Our venue will be changing from Dalles House to St. Croix Regional Medical Center (SCRMC), Riverbend Room, located on the north side of the building in the Education Center located on the Lower Level.  This will begin for our September 7 meeting.  We met at SCRMC and the food was great, it was nice to be able to serve yourself, and many Rotarians were able to walk there. Parking was a bit of a challenge due to SCRMC throwing a huge party for one of our own–Dr. Arne Lagus–for practicing medicine there for 50 years!

Last call for car raffle tickets and the money – get them it in Warren today.  Also our exchange students are soon to arrive.  Sophia from Argentina will be arriving on Wednesday (8:58 AM if you’d like to join the welcoming crew) and will be attending SCF High School.  Isabel from Germany will most likely be arriving on August 27; she will be attending Osceola High School.

Rotary Gathering 6/29/16

Malysha and TaeWonGood-Bye to Tae-Won and Welcome Home to Malysha!  Today we celebrated our time with Tae-Won by sharing special memories of him and his stay in America.  He will go home a changed man.  Malysha shared a wonderful presentation with us about her experience in Taiwan.  Her topics included the culture, the families she had, language, housing, school, ballroom dancing, religion, her experience teaching children, site seeing, and how she got to meet a real prince.  The three main things she learned were: 1) take advantage of every day, 2) try new things, and 3) it’s okay to get lost and not understand some things.  She was very grateful to our Rotary club for sponsoring this life-changing experience that will be with her for the rest of her life.  We are sad to see Tae-Won go, but very happy that both students succeeded in their adventure of making this world a little smaller by getting to know a very different culture and make friends around the planet.  Thank you to both of them for sharing a piece of themselves with the Rotary family.

A video will be available soon that explains Malysha’s experience, so watch for that.

Rotary Gathering 6/22/16

It was a beautiful day to share a smile with one another.  Ken Rost had the program.  He is a newer member of Rotary and was thankful that we accepted his request for membership as he heard great things about our club from Crystal Ball Farms and our donations to them for their Kid’s Day.  Ken lives just south of Shafer in Minnesota, and his business is in SCF where the old Tin Man building stood.  You can check it out at

He shared with us “The Basics of Spraying” including who, what, when, where, why and how!  The best part was the spraying technology using GPS to not spray where you’ve already sprayed.

Remember to mark your calendars for the Changing of the Guard Party and Luau Honoring New Members on July 19 at 6 PM at the Johnson residence.  Bring a dish to pass and enjoy each other’s company with fun and sun.

Rotary Gathering 6/15/16

Kim and Bastian

Bastian Sommer & Kim Dudek

Thank you to all who helped at Wannigan Days!  And a big Thank You to Woody McBride who coordinates the entire Wannigan Days celebration.  Many people have mentioned how spectacular the Fire Work were, WOW and POW!

Warren gave a mini history lesson on our wonderful past exchange students (inbound and outbound).  One of them, from 2007-2008, was Kim Dudek who is staying with Terry and spoke about what the experience meant to her and what she is doing now.  She also brought her boyfriend, Bastian Sommer, who was her beau when she was an exchange student!

It was wonderful for the entire club to connect with Kim again, and we are so grateful that she came to visit us.  She will travel another two weeks throughout the USA and return back to Germany in early July.  Best wishes to her and Bastian!

Save the date for the Changing of the Guards party — July 19 — at Cheryl Johnson’s house.

Rotary Gathering 6/1/16

Tae-Won!  What a lovely speech our exchange student from South Korea gave today!  He highlighted his TaeWonachievements including developing language skills, improving relationship building and achieving 1st at State for his Solo Ensemble.  Great job Tae-Won!

Tae-Won also shared with us his gratitude to our Rotary Club, especially the Rotarians who have hosted him–Cermin, Mielke and Murtaugh families.  He also helped us understand what we could do to improve our program for future students.

His plan for the future is to attend University in Singapore, studying International Business.  Then he would like to return to the USA to get his Master’s Degree.  In the very near future he will be taking a trip out east with all the other Rotary exchange students, returning at the end of June for a short time before he takes his long trip back home.

Thank you Tae-Won for showing our club your wonderful sense of humor, your fantastic smile, and you awesome personality!  It has been great to get to know you and hopefully you will come back to visit our club when you return to the USA.


Rotary Gathering 5/25/16

Even with the rain… it was a beautiful day to gather together.  We paid tribute to all those who have served in the military, including several of our Rotary members.  Thank you!

Warren White was our program today.  He shared the mission and information about the Water Tower Food Shelf in St. Croix Falls.  It was started up in 1990 with the vision of one of our own Rotary members at the time, Don Doane.  Now it feeds anywhere from 450 to 600 people per month!  Great job.SOM Jessica Bjerke

Jessica Bjerke, Osceola Senior and May Student of the Month, is the Rotary Ethics Essay contest winner with her paper on “Ethics in Healthcare.”  Congratulations Jessica on your Rotary scholarship!  Jessica is pictured on the right with Gary LaMirande, our Rotary Club’s Vocational Chair.  Thanks to Gary for coordinating this.

Frances KerberSome sad news is that Fran Kerber has decided to retire from the club.  She is such an inspiration to all of us with her wisdom and wit.  Personally, I love her philosophy on life: “All life is a gift from God, embrace it.”  Fran welcomes visitors so please don’t be shy.  We will miss seeing you every Wednesday Fran, but you will remain in our hearts as a valued Rotarian friend always (and you are welcome to visit us any time!).

Other announcements included information on the upcoming Wannigan Days events.  Please sign up to help.  Drink tickets are available for purchase.  Deadline is June 3.  Thanks Rebecca for being the contact and donating all the printing for these!

Car Raffle tickets were passed out and ready to sell.  If you’d like to buy out your share just talk to Warren and he has some deals for you, otherwise… get selling.

I’ll leave you with a little quote, “Positive thoughts generate positive feelings and attract positive life experiences.”

Rotary Gathering 5/18/16

We were tapping our feet to the awesome Guysotopes–a quartette singing acappella ‘Atom Bomb’ with two Quartet Smilejuniors from SCF High (Matthew LaMirande & Dusty Langeberg) and two seniors (Joseph Ward & Jeremy Cermin)–picture in order to the right.  They are a very talented group of young men who brought smiles to all of our faces today–we are truly grateful.

Eric Solland was in charge of the program today, he is the owner of Indian Head Glass, a very important member of our SCF/TF heifer-logocommunity.  He brought with him five guest speakers, Beth Friedrichsen and Peg Medcraft (Osceola school staff), and three OHS seniors: Brittany Newman, Macie Steffen and Mickey Gearin.  The young ladies shared with us thier experience in April attending Heifer International whose mission is to make strong alliances that makes sustainable changes for those in poverty situations.  It is an amazing organization that gave these ladies and aboutOHS Heifer Intnl 40 other students from OHS an experience of a life-time.  The students actually lived the experience of poverty and we heard their testament that it was very eye-opening and has changed the way they think.  Please visit the website ( to find out more about this international sustainability organization in over 30 countries that is changing lives one community at a time through showing people how to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity.  Thank you ladies!

A few announcements… Car raffle tickets are soon to arrive, and sign up to help during Wannigan Days, June 10-12, 2016.

Rotary Gathering 5/4/16

Wow!  What a great gathering we had with our friends from B.A.C.A.!  Duck, Jersey and Bull (pictured in BACAthat order) spoke to us about Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.).  They belong to the New Richmond club and shared stories about how they have helped children across the country and in our communities deal with and persevere after being abused.  B.A.C.A.’s mission is focused purely on helping abused children.  Check out their full mission statement at along with how it works and the different levels of help they provide.

It is an amazing service that they offer to children for free; they are a non profit organization which started 20 years ago.  They are in all 50 states and in 16 countries, soon to be in 23 countries by the end of this year.  There are 7 chapters in Wisconsin, 1 in Minnesota with another 1 forming currently.  With 1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys being sexually abused by the time they are 18, it’s no wonder what a different B.A.C.A. can make to fight this horrible treatment of children in our communities.

B.A.C.A. gives the children a vest, teddy bear full of hugs, blanket and a biker nick name.  They go to court with the children and support them from start to finish, usually celebrating with a victory ride including ice cream after the court case is finalized.  100% of any money given to B.A.C.A. goes to the gifts, events and support for the children.  The volunteers often pay out of their pocket gas mileage to support these children.

The story I liked best is that they give the child a phone if needed so the child can call them when scared and they will come to their house and surround it with a stake out all night if needed.  We have angels amongst us and they ride motorcycles!  Thank you to B.A.C.A. and their members for give our society and incredible gift – themselves.  You can find out more about the “Keepers of the Children” at or 1-866-71-ABUSE.

Rotary Gathering 4/20/16

We had a great meeting on Wednesday.  Rich was responsible for the program today and shared a little about his lovely family; he is a husband of 25 years and a very proud father of his children.  Rich has a passion for being a mentor for children in Polk County, and Kinship has been the vehicle for many years for him to do just that.  He is on the Kinship Board and was proud to introduce Lisa Thanig from Kinship as our speaker for the day.

Kinship HeaderKinship is celebrating 35 years of changing lives (both for children and their mentors).  Kinship of Polk County works to improve the quality of a child’s life by establishing a relationship with a caring volunteer, for the purpose of promoting stability, support, friendship and community.  In the average year, Kinship matches about 317 children with adult volunteers who give their time and heart.  These relationships sometime last well beyond the childhood years and is very rewarding for the mentors.  Here are a few ways you can help Kinship:

  1. Become a volunteer (mentors can be individuals, couples or families)
  2. Serve on the Kinship Board
  3. Donate to them on giveBIG SCV on April 26 (
  4. Participate in the annual Luau in August

For more information or to sign up just call 715-405-3900 or email  The website is also very helpful and can be found at

Other announcements from the gathering included:

  • Community Service Day (Rotary + SCF School Collaboration) May 6
  • Falls Sampler (Chamber Event) May 6
  • Student of the Month Essay Contest this week
  • Rotary District Conference May 12-13
  • SCF/TF Rotary Board Meeting April 27
  • Thank you to all those who completed the membership survey, results information and discussion coming soon

The difference between the difficult and the impossible is that the impossible takes a little longer time.” ~ Lady Aberdeen

Rotary Gathering 4/13/16

Wow!  What a fantastic group we had today!  We had 12 guests today; Strive Students8 STRIVE students (pictured with Mike), two job shadowing students, and Mike Wilson, SCF School Counselor, who has been key in helping the STRIVE program come to life.  Thank you Mike!  Thank you also to Steve Mc. and Kirk A. sharing with our guests what Rotary is and why they are passionate about being a Rotarian themselves.

givescvLet the giving begin!  “giveBIG St. Croix Valley” is now through Tuesday, April 26.  This will help shape our community’s future.  With giveBIG St. Croix Valley you can support the nonprofit of your choice throughout Amery, Osceola and St. Croix Falls.  There are four ways to donate: Online at, in person at drop off sites, by phone 715-294-5727 or by mail, to nonprofits.  Like and share on facebook:

Join a discussion with the St. Croix Valley Connections!  Message from Kirk:

On Thursday, April 14th, the St. Croix Valley Connections networking group will be having our “OPEN HOUSE!”  If you own a business, or have a service or a product you’d like to promote in the St. Croix Valley, we want you to be our special guest!  This is not a sales meeting and there is nothing to buy! We actually want to share our best referrals with you for your business!  Beginning at 8 AM, we will have a hot breakfast and 90 minutes of business networking, education, and fun! Bring 30-40 business cards to pass out, your best elevator pitch about your business, and an expectation to connect a roomful of awesome people! We meet at the Osceola Community Church in their community room.  Please RSVP to let me know you’re coming by calling: 612-598-5758 or email  Find more information about us at:

Our program was introduced by our wonderful new member, Tom Meister.  He shared who he ended up in SCF and why he is proud to be a Rotarian.  Germaine Ross, new Osceola Chamber of Commerce growosceolaDirector, presented a wonderful program elaborating on the work she and others are doing for the Pollinator Project, specifically Grow Osceola (  Their mission is: 1. Improve collaboration among municipal, business, organizational, volunteer and residential sectors so everyone works toward common goals.  2. Plan and implement projects that promote a thriving, vibrant and caring town with well cared-for parks, green spaces, seasonal plantings, and a clean environment. 3. Help spread the message: “Osceola is a great place to live, work, play, and visit.”  4. Enjoy having fun, true community spirit and civic pride that results when everyone pitches in to make visible improvements.

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The Rotary Club of St. Croix Falls meets every Wednesday at 12:00 PM in the Riverbend Conference Center at the St. Croix Regional Medical Center.
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