Baldwin Rotary Club impacting the county

BALDWIN — Members of the Baldwin Rotary Club enter 2017 with a sense of accomplishment from the previous year and continue to set outreaches for the future.

"Under the leadership of our new president Terri Vanias, the club has begun a program of revitalization, including renewing and extending our activities in the community, and making our meetings more interesting by inviting speakers and presenters," said Rotarian Leo Heska.

"We have a wide variety of presentations lined up ranging from the Lake County Road Commission, to health and nutrition topics, to social and networking opportunities," Heska continued. "So far we've enjoyed very interesting presentations from CARE, Inc. about the local womens shelter, the District Heath Department No. 10 about the benefits of a pro-breastfeeding policy to businesses and many others. We have a whole lineup of additional interesting presentations coming up for the next year, and the public is invited."

Rotarian Seth Wenger described some of the ways the Rotary club reached out locally in 2016. Fundraising for the the Jack Chase Veterans Fund, created to assist veterans in the county, was completed by reaching the $10,000 goal. The Rotary club also partnered with the Stroll for Health 5K and Fun Run with the Bread of Life Food Pantry, with $5,400 being raised.

The group sponsored several Baldwin High School students to attend the Rotary Life Leadership conference at the Kettenun Center in Tustin.

The Baldwin Rotary staffs and sponsors the Troutorama Youth Fishing Derby and also helps distribute gifts and volunteer during the Department of Health and Human Services Gifts for Kids program, to help make sure families with young children have presents at Christmas.

Club members participate in the Michigan Department of Transportation highway clean up twice a year on the stretch of M-37 from Baldwin to Houseman's foods.

The Baldwin Rotary Club will continue these endeavors, and possibly become a partner with the Sportsman Club for ORV events, according to Wenger.

"Rotary membership is open to any community members looking for weekly fellowship and an opportunity to give back to the community," Wenger said. "Prospective members, guests, or speakers interested in more information can contact me at (231) 745-4688."

Wenger said the Four Way Test is observed by members: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendship? Is it beneficial to all concerned?

"Decades ago, Rotary was seen as a 'rich' businessman's club," explained Heska. "That day is long gone. We have members from all walks of life, income levels and of course ages, races, genders, etc. Change does take time and effort in an organization with a 100-year history, but this history has its good parts, which we retain: like our commitments to helping out in our community and in the world, personal development, and fun.

"People don't need to sign up for full-blown Rotary International membership, though we encourage and invite people to, but you may join us as a 'friend of Rotary,' or even just stop in and visit with us from time to time," he said.

The Rotary club meets weekly each Tuesday at noon at the Pere Marquette Room at Pompeii's in Baldwin.