Home Page Stories
     Dr. joan e. kole brings past RI experiences to her latest role as one of our newest members.  During her tenure as a previous member, she was our club’s Youth Exchange Officer; chaired the Service Above Self Committee (mentored by Charles Holzworth); and she may also have served on a Nominating Committee.  She presented a program in conjunction with Elaine Harrington (some of you may remember Elaine) on distance learning (thank you David Byrnes) and did complete her doctoral degree work (2005 - 2009) and was awarded her Ph.D. from Union Institute & University.
     A theatre actor/director, Dr. kole has acted/directed in more than 100 shows in a variety of theatre settings:  equity, professional, community and educational.  Regionally, her theatre credits include work at the former NAT and community theatres in DeKalb, Belvidere, Pecatonica, and Freeport.  Byron Civic Theatre has yet to discover her talents!  Currently she is Juror #10 in [usual] Suspects production of Twelve Angry Men which runs for 4 weekends in February.
     Dr. kole is not new to community service.  She chaired the Littleton Public Library Board while residing in Littleton, and was a member of the Town and Scroll, a group of community residents and members of Arapahoe Community College where she served as a speech professor and theatre director.  She was successful in getting the college theatre named after Houston Waring, a local newspaper editor and one of the Littleton residents whom she deeply admired.  Nationally, she chaired the Workshops, Leadership Development, and Adjudication Review Committees for the American Association of Community Theatre as well as presenting workshops on diversity at national theatre festivals.  Additionally, she represented community theatre throughout the state as a member of the Illinois Theatre Association board of directors. 
     She is the founder and artistic director of AgeQuake Theatre, the only theatre company in northwestern IL devoted strictly to those 55 and older. Other theatre work focused on other special populations:  DD adults and those with low vision.  She is looking for ways to get other “special populations” on stage in order to change the face of theatre.
     Now: a 27-year resident of Rockford.  In our community she once again served as a trustee on the RPL board of directors (appointed my former Mayor Box) and led the move to “modernizing the library for its customers, not its patrons.”  Other organizations to which she has contributed her time, talent, and penchant for fairness include Womanspace, Transform Rockford, Rockford Network of Professional Women, and the Main Street Players of Boone County (past president). You name a college in our area that offers Speech 101, and she has been an adjunct instructor for that course.  Currently she is the Holy Family Family-2-Family team lead.  Last August she was appointed to the RPS 205 Education Committee.
     RI provided her with the opportunity to become acquainted with some of Rockford’s finest, and they always made her feel welcome and their equal.  Ask her about some of those exchanges when you see her.
     In the future?  Getting involved with Rotary Academy?  Nominating Committee?  Rockford Reads?  High school scholarships? 
     She loves wearing jewelry – the real stuff – and high heels!  And laughter and fun play major roles in her life.  She is married to Carl for more than 35 years (she picked him up in a grocery store in Littleton CO) and shares their home with 4 dogs:  two standard poodles and two Parson’s Jack Russell Terriers.
The Club welcomed a new member at the December 21st meeting.  Her name is Brandy Lavender and was sponsored by Linda Gerber with the classification of Account Executive.  Brandy is the second new member who found us through the Internet.  Brandy is an Account Executive for Gallagher Benefit Services and is a consultant for employer sponsored health and welfare plans.  Previously, Brandy was the Office Manager for the locally founded Employers' Coalition on Health, and as an Accounts Receivable clerk for Cincinnati Tool Steel, both in Rockford.
     She graduated from Belvidere High School and attended Rockford University.  She is married to Bryant Benavides and they have two children, Michael age 10 and Stephanie age 8.  She enjoys reading novels based on historical events and people.  She loves music and comedy but mostly enjoys spending time with her family and providing her children with new and exciting experiences like Medieval Times, Legoland, and Six Flags.
     The Club welcomed a new member at the November 16th meeting.  His name is Haddon Anderson and he was sponsored by Linda Gerber with the classification of Executive Director.  Haddon has been the Executive Director for Stateline Youth for Christ since September of 2016.  Prior to that he was the assistant varsity boys basketball coach at Rockford Lutheran High School.  He was a career coach/work-study coordinator at the Lydia Urban Academy in Rockford.  From September of 2012 to August of 2016, he was the Youth Pastor at Stonebridge Church.  From 2012 to 2014, he was a featured columnist for the Bleacher Report and was an NBA writer, specializing in coverage of the Chicago Bulls.
     Haddon graduated from Rockford Lutheran High School in 2006.  He earned a BS in Sociology from Cedarville University in 2010 where he played basketball and served as a resident assistant.  He went on to obtain a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Moody Theological Seminary in 2014.
     Haddon is married to Julie and they have a foster son Richard, age 9; Adelyn, age 4; and Cameron, 6 months.  He enjoys family, sports (particularly basketball and reading.  He serves on the I.D. Pennock Branch Advisory Council of the YMCA.  He has traveled to Scotland and would love to go to China.  He really enjoys trying local restaurants, particularly pizza places.
     We would encourage our members to make an effort to introduce yourself to Haddon and welcome him to Rockford Rotary

 

Crusader Community Health announced the recipients of the annual Spirit of Caring Awards at its 45th Anniversary Evening of Caring event, Friday, October 20, 2017 at Giovanni’s. The event, attended by 500+ supporters, recognized 45 years of caring at Crusader Community Health.
 

The Crusader Community Health Foundation initiated the Spirit of Caring awards in 1992 to honor special individuals and organizations in our community who have demonstrated outstanding efforts in caring for others. A special Spirit-of-the-Future Award honors persons 40 years and younger for their caring efforts was added in 2014. This year, eleven individuals and fourteen organizations were nominated for the awards.

Ruth was recognized as a committed and dedicated volunteer who has taken on leadership roles and helped foster the success for many organizations in Rockford. She has been actively involved in seven boards, many as board president, over the past 30+ years. Because of her decades of service and leadership to these organizations, she helped establish projects, programs and relationships that make our community a better place to live. 
 

Linda Niemiec, Vice President Development, Crusader Community Health, received the Danny K. Davis Achievement Award, one of the Illinois Primary Health Care Association’s Awards of Excellence, at an award ceremony on October 20th.

The award was presented to Ms. Niemiec for her 27 years of outstanding service to Crusader’s mission. She developed the Crusaders Health Foundation into the area’s premier non-profit foundation.  Gordon Eggers, Crusader President & CEO, noted that, “Through her tremendous work ethic, grantsmanship and philanthropic efforts has raised many millions in donations that have built and renovated clinics that now total eight locations in northern Illinois.

Linda Niemiec, a certified fund raising executive, has been the Vice President of Development at Crusader Community Health since 1989. She is a member of the Crusader executive management team and is responsible, along with the Crusader Community Health Foundation Board of Directors, for planning, organizing and managing all fundraising programs for gifts, grants, planned giving and pledges from individuals, corporations and foundations to benefit the needs of Crusader Community Health.

Crusader Community Health is a community based, not-for-profit, Illinois Corporation, whose mission is to serve the Rock River Valley area with quality, primary health care for people in need. During the past year more than 54,000 individual patients were served at one of eight Crusader Community Health locations.

National Night Out is observed annually throughout the United States on the first Tuesday in August. It is a community police awareness-raising event held on the same night in communities throughout the United States; and this year 10 Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Rockford were there to man the two Bounce Houses.

This year's event was held in Dahlquist Park.  The Rockford Police Department (RPD), in partnership with the Neighborhood Network of Rockford, host the event with activities, food and informational displays. The Rockford Police Department had many large vehicles for the kids to see, K-9 and Martial Arts demonstrations and even a van for art.  Many community organizations had tables to hand out information about programs for families and students.  In addition, the kids could sit in a race car, enter raffles, get give-aways and even have their face painted. 

The Rockford Rotarians had a great time talking with parents as they watched the children run between the two houses to slide, climb, toss a basket ball, and bounce on and around obstacles.  One heroic Rotarian even had to perform a rescue by climbing up the slide to retrieve a very scared little girl.

It was a great night and all the volunteers agreed they wanted to be part of year's event.

To see photos of the night click on the link:  PhotoAlbums/2017-national-night-out

On July 11th, Rockford Public Schools Board of Education presented Rockford Rotarian Bob Presman, ROCKFORD READS Committee Chair, with a Certificate of Recognition for his work with ROCKFORD READS.  In the 2016-17 school year, 170 community volunteers worked one-on-one with second grade students throughout the RPS 205 system.  
 
ROCKFORD READS is a community volunteer reading program initiated by Rockford Rotary in 2001 to enhance the literacy development of second grade students in the Rockford Public Schools.  The volunteer and student read aloud to one another increasing the student's reading and language skills.  Since the programs inception over 3,000 students have benefited from working with ROCKFORD READS community volunteers.
 
To learn more about ROCKFORD READS or to become a ROCKFORD READS community volunteer visit the ROCKFORD READS page on the Rockford Rotary website.
PDG Robert (Bob) Newlon (Oregon Rotary Club) and IPDG Jim Nelson (Rockford Club) just returned from Costa Rica where they assisted local rotarians and community members to install UDDT (urine diversion degradable toilet).  The Rockford Rotary club, as well as several other clubs in District 6420, contributed to the cost of the supplies.  Bob and Jim paid their travel expenses and/or were hosted by fellow Rotarians and community members during the project.  These toilets were installed where there are no facilities or where old facilities have been abandoned. The toilets will divert human waste away from water supplies, supply fertilizer for gardens and crops and, most importantly, provide women and girls needed safety and privacy at night. 
 
Club Information

Welcome to the Rotary Club of Rockford

Rockford

Service above Self

We meet Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Memorial Hall
211 N. Main St.
Rockford, IL  61101
United States
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January 4, 2018
Stark, Jennifer
 
January 11, 2018
Valdez, Rudy
 
January 18, 2018
VonDriska, Paul
 
January 25, 2018
kole, joan
 
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January 2018
Canfield, Bob
 
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Donnelly, Mike
 
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Johnson, Linda
 
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Jim Norris
Jan 18, 2018
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Kevin Thomas
Feb 01, 2018
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