Join Our Conversations
Image ImageImageJoin Us on VimeoCheck Us Out On Pinterest

News from Around the District

Medina Sunrise Rotarians cheered on my friend and two-time "Grand Slam Home Run Hitter - CJ," and the Angels & Jodway Cardinals' Teams of Miracle League Baseball, Tuesday evening at the fully handicapped-accessible Sam Masi Park in Medina.

Medina is one of 240+ Miracle League Baseball organizations in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada serving over 200,000 children and young adults with disabilities.  By the second season in Medina, a new type of field was developed just for the Miracle League athletes, named Sam Masi Park and sponsored by GPD Group, Jodway Heating & Cooling, Medina Sunrise Rotary, the LIONS and numerous other generous donors.

Sam Masi Park has a custom-designed field and  a new Medina Sunrise Rotary broadcast booth. The special baseball field is equipped with a cushioned, rubberized surface to help prevent injuries and to facilitate the use of wheelchairs, walkers, and the special needs of the amazing Baseball Players who rush out to play on it each week.

Kenny Richardson -- Miracle League President, stated that the Miracle League believes, “Every Child Deserves a Chance to Play The Great American Pastime -- Baseball"!



Miracle League Baseball Players & Medina Sunrise Rotarians
CJ (Grand Slam Homerun Hitter, Angels Team) & "Homer" (Miracle League Baseball Mascot)
CJ & the Huntington Bank Ice Cream Treat Truck
July 9th the Akron Rotary Club kicked off the first meeting of the 2024-25 Rotary year.  2023-24 President Tom Knauer inducted Nathanael "Thane" Billow as 2024-25 President. Tom shared that Thane has been an integral part of the Club and under his leadership our Club will continue to be strong moving forward. Tom presented Thane's mother, Patty, with flowers and Thane with Roberts Rules - a lengthy book in very small print!
Tom said he is "looking forward to working alongside Thane and President Elect Katy Miller and the rest of the club membership in support of the community and Rotary International".
Thane is a 5th generation Rotarian, his great great uncle, George W. Billow served as the Akron Club President in 1916-17. Click here to view the Billow Rotary Dynasty article written when Thane first joined the club. His father, Chip Billow, a Tallmadge Club Rotarian, pinned Thane with the President's pin. 
Thane also swore in his Executive Committee and Board.
Here are comments that President Thane Billow shared after his induction:
As my first act as President, it is now my distinct honor to “pin” Tom as our Immediate Past President. Thomas Knauer, per the bylaws and constitution of this club, I will recognize your honorable and faithful service by pinning you with a banana. The phrase originated in the burlesque theater where the top comedian was given a banana. The act and joke were so widely known that the term was coined to refer to the headliner or the main attraction. In modern times, the phrase “top banana” refers to the most powerful or important person around. For example, if you are promoted to top banana at work, it means you are the boss. And in the case of Akron Rotary, if you are presented a Top Banana pin, it means that you have done an exceptional job leading the club forward and are extraordinarily well deserving of recognition and praise for all your good work. Tom – you indeed are the top banana. Congratulations and thank you!
Before proceeding with the actual pinning, Thane presented Tom with a few small gifts on behalf of our officers and board:
  1. At the last meeting of Tom’s presidency, he shared that during his Rotary year, our club members volunteered more than 860 hours of their time to service projects. 860 hours. That is quite impressive and is the equivalent of almost 28 days. Not to be outdone, did you know, that during his presidency, Tom personally spent more time - 861 hours to be exact - on the phone or responding to emails where he fielded complaints, got yelled at, and received feedback about just how poor of a job he was doing! Tom, after putting up with all of that, I think you deserve a drink. We would like to present you with a bottle of Beluga Gold Line Vodka and Beluga Transatlantic vodka. These Siberian vodkas are regarded as some of the finest vodkas in the world. You can taste test these and compare them for yourself. You definitely deserve a drink.
  2. Serving as the Rotary president is, I am told, a very time consuming position. You’ve made a number of sacrifices and had to skip many family functions so that you could attend club events, volunteer at service projects, and I am sure you took one or two late night calls as well that prevented you from spending time with Missy, Fran and Georgie. You see -Tom is a family man, he has an amazing wife and two great kids. Tom we would like to present you with a gift card to the Diamond Grille. We also know that your son George, even though he is in elementary school, has already developed a taste for fine dining, so we made sure to get an extra large gift card so that Georgie can order a king size filet mignon from the Diamond Grille. Dinner is on us.
  3. Your final gift. I don’t think you have any bad vices other than your addiction to eating pretzel rods late at night while watching Fox News. Now that you are done serving as president, you’ll have a lot more free time. So…I would like to introduce you to a new vice. We would like to present you with these imported cigars from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. In your Rotary retirement, perhaps you can develop a smoking habit and light up a celebratory cigar with all this new found free time that you will certainly have
Goals for 2024-2025 Rotary Year
I’d like to spend just a moment or two talking about our goals for the next year.
I’ll start by reminding all of you, and reminding myself, that we can’t really know where we are going until we know where we’ve been.
Tom and the previous board did a phenomenal job providing steady leadership. There was a renewed sense of calm, a renewed sense of purpose, and we reaffirmed our commitment to service.
Our Club, just like many other clubs, had been through so much change, turmoil and volatility during the pandemic. Rotary, for many in the United States, has been a bit of a roller coaster ride.
We met in person, then remote, then hybrid, then back in person. There was a time where our club couldn’t get together because it was imprudent and potentially unsafe for us to do so. We went through 3 different meeting venues in a very short period of time. We witnessed historic inflation in the cost of food and the cost to serve food. We had tremendous difficulty securing speakers. And this all had a negative impact on attendance and membership.
Prior to 2020, meeting in person for lunch at the country club was a no brainer for our working man and working woman’s Rotary club. We didn’t even have to try hard to get numerous Rotarians to every meeting. However, in the remote digital world now, it is hard to get people out of the house and out into the community. We are lucky (and grateful) to get 30-35 members at a meeting these days.
As we continue to put time between ourselves and the recent pandemic, the dust has begun to settle, and we as a community and we as a club have learned to adapt in this new world. We are evolving, and we are changing, and we are now at a point where we are growing our membership. The excitement is back.
Tom did an excellent job making our club more inviting and more welcoming to all members. It doesn’t matter if you come to meetings once a week, once a month, or once a year…if you are a Rotarian, you matter to us, and we are grateful for your membership in our club. If you can’t make Tuesdays at noon, but you can make a few service projects here or there, great! You matter to our club. Or if you can only make the annual Chili Open, that too, is just fine. We are proud to have you as a member in our club. Thank you for supporting our camp.
Rotarians come in all shapes and sizes. Each of us have unique gifts. It doesn’t matter if you can only be a doer, a donor, or a door opener, you matter to our Club. If you are all three, then even better – you should serve on the board! Thank you for sharing your talents with our club and our community.
Being an Akron Rotarian is not a status symbol. We are not a social club or a country club. We are a service organization. We are here to work. Thanks to the profound leadership of President Tom Knauer, our Service Project Chair Cyndi Kane, and Rotary service heroes like David Hall, Sandy Naragon, Katy Miller and Darethann Krill, we have reaffirmed our commitment to service. We are going back to our roots. This bell up here that Tom is afraid to ring with the gavel has on it engraved the words “He who serves best, profits most.” During Tom’s year, our club was back in the black. We had a profitable year. My goal is to make this year an even more profitable year.
My goal for this year is to keep the train on the tracks. We will remain laser focused on service. The foundation of our club is strong. We are on the right path forward. Our membership is healthy. We are growing our numbers. And we are making Rotary fun, inviting and open to all.
My mom is here today, and as a college professor and retired attorney, she just loves studying history and she loves learning. She will tell you, just like she told me many times, that Calvin Coolidge was one of the most effective presidents we have ever had in the oval office. Why was he successful? He didn’t do anything. He didn’t force an agenda. He got out of the way, let the American people choose their own destiny, and the country prospered because of it. With regards to my Rotary presidency, I am going to try to be Calvin Coolidge. I am going to get out of the way and let our Rotarians do what they do best – serve! I am going to do my best at serving you, our membership, and I will strive to do so with grace and humility.
The only “changes”, will be some minor housekeeping and administrative updates to a few of our committees. We are also going to try to do a monthly breakfast. Pardon me, as I know this is very exciting.
Mainly, we are getting our house in order. We are going back and reinstalling some of the discipline and structure we had in place prior to the pandemic period. This will enhance and aid three of our committees specifically.
  1. Chili Open – we are going to appoint Chairs for the chili open, and will have a formal committee with designated committee chairs. We will have our new club members serve on the chili open committee. We will follow our roadmap and stick to our schedule, we will make sure everything goes to plan. Work begins in August, and the chili open is only 6 months away.
  2. Rotary Youth Exchange – we are taking a brief pause to make sure we have our house in order by securing enough host families. We will maintain the relationship we have with Stow-Munroe Falls High School, and explore new relationships with other area high schools that could be prove to be fruitful. Jacinto Nunez and his committee will make sure we are in a position to deliver exceptional experience for all inbound exchange students
  3. Programming Committee – Gerry Kiefer has done a phenomenal job as our Programming Committee chair. Gerry has been an army of one, and while she has done an amazing job, it has also been a lot of work. Typically, from district to district or club to club, that job is the hardest one anyone can have. We have created a formal committee to get our current, past, and future presidents involved with securing speakers. This will lighten the load on Gerry. This will also expand our combined network of speakers, and will also help us attract a larger, newer, and more diverse audience at our meetings.
Finally, Final Fridays -the only other “change” or initiative that will be new for this year is to host a monthly alternate social meeting at a different time and venue. This is something that RI and our District leaders have recommended we look in to.  Final Fridays” as we are calling it, will be held on the final Friday of every month. It will be a 7:30am breakfast meeting at Portage Country Club, our old stomping grounds. The cost is $20 per person, so the same cost as a normal meeting, we be getting together, fostering connections, and enjoying friendships.
This “Final Friday” meeting will allow us to accommodate and connect with those club members who perhaps cannot make a meeting Tuesdays at 12pm, like our good friends John Margida and Pat O’Neill. Proud Rotarians, but also successful small business owners, and running a small business is a lot of work. Shame on you for working hard!
And while I am excited for Final Fridays, I must also clarify that we do indeed remain committed to Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church and to Tangier catering. Our club is blessed to be here, and we will continue to meet every week at 12pm on Tuesdays. But, we will also offer a “bonus” meeting once per month so that we can reconnect with some of those members who we may have lost touch with.
Our inaugural Final Friday meeting will be 7:30am Friday July 26th at Portage CC. In August, it's Friday the 30th, which is the day before I get married, and in September, it's Friday Sept. 27th. Bring your friends. Would love to have you there.
In an effort to be transparent, I have disclosed the master plan with you all. Thank you for coming today. Thank you to our board and officers for serving. It’s going to be a great year. Thank you all!
Welcome to the year of The Magic of Rotary!  Rotary is stressing continuity of mission - I found it interesting that you can put the last three years' themes in order in a single sentence with just a minor change or two - "Imagine Creating Hope in the World with The Magic of Rotary".
As we enter the new Rotary year, I wanted to share my key priority for the coming year - membership growth.  From membership flows our service and Foundation giving.  Membership powers all we do.  Each new member brings fresh perspectives and energy. By welcoming diverse voices into our Rotary family, we aim to strengthen our ability to address local and global challenges effectively.  To attract and retain new members, we must actively and intentionally welcome and value people with a heart for service and the ideals of Rotary.  We also need to put them to work - surveys and discussions with newer members show that they want more opportunities to serve our communities.  Find new opportunities to serve by partnering with local organizations such as United Way and other charitable agencies.  We lose as many Rotarians as we gain each year, and the vast majority are Rotarians with less than three years of membership.  Not only should Each One Bring One - Each One should also Keep One. Engage our new members in service that interests them - use the information provided by the new member survey to identify their passions.  If someone seems disengaged, make it your personal responsibility to try to re-engage them. 
We have some upcoming fun events.  Buy tickets now for the End Polio Now game with the Guardians.  This is a wonderful event where you can enjoy a great game of baseball, good food, chances at great raffle baskets and fellowship with Rotarians across northern Ohio.  Also, watch for updates in the near future for our Pints and Pours to End Polio.  We will start in late August and will go through to World Polio Day on October 24.  
Rotary International designates July as Maternal and Child Health Month, focusing on initiatives that promote the well-being of mothers and children worldwide. This observance underscores Rotary's commitment to addressing significant health challenges faced by women and children, particularly in underserved communities.
By prioritizing maternal and child health, Rotary is working to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates, combat diseases affecting children, and promote overall family well-being. Projects range from establishing medical clinics and mobile health units to supporting immunization campaigns and maternal education workshops.
Rotary's Maternal and Child Health Month serves as a reminder of the organization's humanitarian mission to make a positive impact on the lives of mothers and children globally. Through collaborative efforts and ongoing initiatives, Rotary continues to contribute towards creating healthier futures for families, fostering resilience, and promoting sustainable development in communities worldwide.
I hope each of you has a wonderful summer! I look forward to seeing you at the End Polio Now game and at the Pints and Pours events convenient for you. 
Thanks for all you do!
Dale Smith
District Governor 2024/2025
Rotary International District 6630
Rotary Club of Mentor
The Magic of Rotary
Rotarians of 6630, 
It is with immense appreciation and gratitude that I write to you for the final time as your District Governor.
I couldn't have asked for a better experience serving this past year. Working alongside the best in the Rotary " business " so to speak, I watched, learned from, and celebrated your clubs and their successes in achieving goals, serving communities, and most of all having fun! 
I am filled with immense pride and gratitude for the collective achievements we have accomplished together and I can't wait to see what you do next.
Our theme this year, "Create Hope in the World," has been more than just a slogan; it has been a guiding principle, a call to action, and a beacon of light after some very challenging times over the last few years. 
This past week we held our Banner Exchange when we transfer the DG banner from Akron to Mentor, when the leadership of the District ceremoniously passes to the new DG.
It was a wonderful evening of recognizing our committed volunteers and their clubs for their dedication to outstanding leadership and service. I will be contacting those who could not attend to bring out their awards at one of their meetings soon if there wasn't someone in attendance from their club who accepted on their behalf. 
I want to share some of my speech with you from the evening's festivities:
"...Hope is not merely a passive wish; it is an active endeavor. Throughout this year, our district has embodied this truth by undertaking numerous projects that have brought tangible changes to our communities and around the world.
I challenged clubs to look at programs and projects that would focus on three areas: women and girls empowerment, environment, and mental health. 6630 did not disappoint. From meeting presentations to cluster projects, clubs answered the call. Through these projects and others, we have strengthened our partnerships with local organizations, businesses, and other Rotary clubs. Together, we have amplified our impact, proving that when we collaborate, our ability to create hope multiplies.
As we look forward to the coming year, let us carry forward the spirit of hope that has defined our journey. Let us continue to inspire, to serve, and to bring light to the darkest corners of the world. Each one of us has the power to create hope, not just within our communities, but globally.
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude. To our dedicated Rotarians, our partners, and our communities, thank you for your unwavering support and commitment. Your passion and dedication have been the driving force behind our success.
In closing, let us remember that hope is a gift we give not just to others, but to ourselves. By creating hope in the world, we enrich our own lives with purpose, meaning, and joy. As we embark on a new Rotary year, let us continue to be the hope we wish to see in the world.
Thank you and let us go forth and continue to "Create Hope in the World", just this coming year we’re also going to add a little magic…"
Best wishes to incoming District Governor Dale Smith, from the Rotary Club of Mentor. The theme for the next year is the Magic of Rotary. Rotary International President Elect Stephanie Urchick asks clubs to become simply irresistible this year. You can do this by participating in meaningful work, offering a positive work environment, leading with supportive management, building a leadership of trust, and providing growth opportunities. To read more, visit.
All the best to each of you in the year ahead. Let's stay connected.
In Rotary Service,
Julie Brandle,  District Governor 6630
The Westlake-Bay Village Rotary Club recently held its annual President Induction Ceremony, bidding farewell to outgoing President Bob Maver and welcoming Andrew Mangels as the new president for 2024-2025.
The ceremony honored Maver's dedicated service over the past year, highlighting his initiatives and accomplishments that strengthened the club's impact in the community.
As Mangels assumed the presidency, he outlined his vision for the upcoming year, emphasizing continued commitment to Rotary's core values and new goals to expand the club's reach.
Medina Sunrise Rotary Club held its annual Change of Gavel Ceremony, honoring outgoing president Kerry Gregoire and  incoming president Dr. Bob Hlasko, at Medina County Park District's Carolyn Ludwig Mugrage Park, located on Windfall Road. The ceremony was officiated by Rotary 6630 District (2023 - 2024) Governor Julie Brandle.
"Mugrage Park was established when Richard and Beverly Mugrage generously entered into an agreement to donate their 100 acre property to the park district," stated Nate Eppink, Director of the Medina County Parks District.  The park includes two parking lots, a one-mile paved multi-purpose trail, a one-mile gravel trail, a three-acre fishing pond, an accessible fishing pier, a picnic shelter, picnic tables, a dog park, and an inclusive playground. The inclusive playground is for children of all abilities to safely access and enjoy.  There are double-sized ramps for wheelchair users and a poured-in-place rubber safety surface that protects children from falls and also provides easy wheelchair access throughout the playground. We are grateful to the Friends of Medina County Parks, Inc., Medina Sunrise Rotary, as well as many individuals and organizations which raised over $250,000 to fund this playground.
"Committed to making a difference in the lives of children in our community and beyond,
through our time, talents and treasure."
-Medina Sunrise Rotary
On June 26, 18 Burton Middlefield Rotarians, 9 spouses, and approx. 20 invited guests enjoyed a fantastic evening at the "Glass Asylum" party center in Chagrin Falls. They were entertained by music from the Rockability music group who did their usual great job.
Tasty Mexican food was supplied by Coyote's Restaurant in Bainbridge along with good bar service for the thirsty. The Glass Asylum is themed on their glass-blowing artwork which they teach and supply for sale. The many glass pieces displayed throughout the facility give it a colorful, artsy and lively decor.
The program was kicked off by a speech by incoming District Governor Dale Smith. Club Secretary Bob Johnson then inducted Larry Fox as our 2024/2025 club president who received his president’s pin. Larry then pinned outgoing President Mike Valentino with his past president's pin and thanked him for his dedicated past two years. Larry gave a brief speech about his plans for our upcoming year. This was followed by induction of the new Board of Directors by Bob Johnson and the presentation of awards from Larry to Mike of the traditional wooden gavel marking a past-president.
Mike presented an "Upcoming Rotary Star" award to Andrew Pleso for his work as membership chair and chairing the Jeep Invasion as a new Rotarian and the "Rotarian of the Year" award to went Bev Goodridge for stepping up and filling the club treasurer position and other above-and-beyond work that she has done over the past year.
An exciting double "Heads-and Tails" (the first round had no winner) went to Bob and Cindy Johnson with the prize being a beautiful large glass bowl in the traditional Rotary colors of blue and gold.
A big thanks to Larry and Sue Fox for providing this wonderful, exciting and out-of-the-box event. They spent a lot of time and effort to provide us with a very enjoyable evening and start us on a new and productive BMR Rotary year.
Board of Directors (l-r)
Larry Fox, Jeff Pascoe, Bob Varga, Mike Guyer, Beverly Goodridge, Matt Rambo and Mike Valentino
The Jefferson Rotary Club hosted their 8th annual Father's Day Dash 5k and Free Kids 1/4 Mile Run on Sunday June 16th. This was one of their biggest turnouts yet with over 130 registered runners! 
Runners and walkers took to the lovely streets of Jefferson on a beautiful Sunday morning. There was a course change and runners were able to experience the Jefferson Historic Depot along the 5k route. The course also featured a peek at some of historic homes and churches in town as well as the Ashtabula County Courthouse with the beautiful fountain. 
All participants received a commemorative mug or T-shirt plus a voucher for a free cup of our Famous Ham and Bean Soup during the Covered Bridge Festival.
It was another fun and successful event for the Jefferson Rotary Club thanks to an increase in participants and all of the wonderful local sponsors and community members.
The Platinum Sponsors this year Loudermilk Montrose Power Sports and Jefferson Dental Group were featured on the Kids Dash T shirts!
Gold Sponsors this year were Clorice Dlugos McDowell Homes Real Estate, Jefferson Milling Co, Heritage Mini Storage and Victory Toyota of Ashtabula County.
The Silver Sponsors were Jefferson Mini Storage, and the Licate's Jefferson Diner.
The Bronze sponsors this year were Bissell Maple Farm, Ken Forging, Barb Schaab County Recorder,  The Refindary Vintage Market, Lake Erie Crematory,  Jefferson License Bureau, Chip Ashcraft  of Altmyer Trailer Sales, Julie Stainfield at Mad Hatter Adventures , The Lantern Beverage, King Luminaire,  JR Hofstetters Jewelry, The Burkholders, and Jane Timonere Law Office.
Special Thanks goes to Jefferson AutoZone for the car wash bucket to raffle. Northeastern Communication for the use of walkie talkies, Metal Massage for the water and snacks, Stasny Road Racing for the professional timing, Jefferson Police Department for keeping us safe and all of Rotarians volunteering, donating and helping things run smoothly!
5k Runners Ready!

Kids Dash - Runners on Their Mark!
Jefferson Rotary Volunteers
Berea Rotary’s annual Scholarship Awards Dinner was June 25 in BW’s Colony Café. Six scholarship recipients and their families attended the dinner and one Zoomed in. The dinner was catered by BW Food Service. In-person students received their scholarship checks. The others will be sent checks by mail. Many thanks to Marc West for setting this up.
Our scholarship students are, from the left, Clara Olexa, Mikala Minerd, Anthony Comer II, Emma Carver, Jordyn Maddox and Griffin Boyer.
Mikala Minerd, Class of 2020: Mikala graduated from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in May with a degree in education. This fall, she will begin teaching kindergarten at Bethany Christian Academy in Parma. She is a former RYLA camper.
Theresa Candow, Class of 2021: Theresa zoomed in from Western Carolina University where she is spending the summer. Theresa is majoring in health management with an emphasis on EMT/paramedic training. She was an honor graduate of Polaris Career Center in the EMT program. This summer, she is working as a lifeguard.
Anthony J. Comer II, Class of 2021: Anthony will be a senior at John Carroll University this fall, majoring in exercise science. He recovered from a brain tumor several years ago and credited long sessions in physical therapy with helping him to resume his studies. His aim is to help others recover from trauma and illness as well. This summer, he is interning at St. Ignatius High School as a strength and conditioning coach.
Emma Carver, Class of 2022: Emma is studying communications at Bowling Green State University. She plans to enter public relations when she graduates. She was elected president of Alpha Zeta Delta sorority and is an active member of the Student Public Relations Society of America. She attended a leadership conference in North Carolina where she said she “learned a lot about myself.”
Griffen Boyer, Class of 2023: Griffen is studying education at Baldwin Wallace University, concentrating on grades 6-12 education. This past year, he spent 15 hours in a classroom in the Parma School District and said he “enjoyed interacting with the students.” He ran track and cross country at Berea-Midpark High School and is continuing to train this summer for the steeplechase race, which involves hurdles and a 2-mile run.
Jordyn Maddox, Class of 2024: Jordyn will study business at Ashland University. She has been accepted into Ashland’s Honors Program.  Jordyn was our RYLA camper in 2023. She was the head football and basketball cheerleader at Berea-Midpark High School and hopes to continue with cheering at Ashland.
Clara Olexa, Class of 2024: Clara will study accounting at Bowling Green State University this fall. She was a baking and pastry arts student at Polaris Career Center.
Students who were unable to attend the scholarship dinner
Bridgett Bartlett, Class of 2022: Bridgett is majoring in Early Childhood Education/Deaf Education at Penn West Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. She sent us a synopsis of her year.
“I had a great year. I was a tour guide and was able to become an aide in autistic support classrooms for local schools, which was an amazing experience. I also took as many opportunities to try new things throughout the semester. I helped at a children’s tent during the eclipse. I went skydiving and I was able to connect more with the Edinboro community.”
Lance Lease, Class of 2024: Lance has a summer job painting houses and was unable to attend the dinner. He will study engineering at Cleveland State University this fall.

DG Brandle presentation remarks:

When it was time to consider candidates for the THE MICHAEL J. JOHNS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, which reads:

"With sincere appreciation for demonstrating to all Rotarians in District 6630 the highest leadership qualities of humility, integrity, empathy, and friendship, and for your unwavering support of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation. We are honored to follow your example and to call you friend."

There was only one candidate, one person,  who stood out to me. This person has been my one of my go- to people since my days as District Conference chair, so for almost a decade…I’ve been asking them the question – "so what do you think about this?"

...Need to know how to say something in “Rotary’s special language, you ask this person

...Need to know the background of an event or moment in Rotary history, you ask this person

...You need to know the protocol for an event, speech, toast, YOU ASK THIS PERSON

You see, to me she was always more than the rules person, she’s been a guiding hand, a listening ear, and an encouraging force of nature. 

There isn't anything she doesn’t know about Rotary, and with GRACE she is willing to share it with us all. I think that makes her so endearing…her grace. She doesn’t say “I already sent that to you” or “don’t you remember I already told you that”… she just answers, she just helps, she just well…she’s Beverly. 

When we lost our dear friend PRID Mike Johns, Sr this year, she again served, Mike, his family and us all. Helping Mike tell his stories, carry out his final Rotary wishes, and comfort us.

Thank you, PDG Beverly Ghent-Skrzynski, for being there for Mike and me this year and many years before that….oh and she ALWAYS asks about Stetson and that’s the most endearing quality of all.


DG Brandle presentation remarks:
When I hear of someone being selected as a club’s Rotarian of the Year, I always think of them being someone who is out there, someone forward facing, in the public eye.
But the person I selected as this year’s award recipient, this year anyway, was more behind the scenes. 
They have been a Rotarian for 30 years and 2 months and in that time have had plenty of years in forward facing positions. They have served their club in a variety of capacities from volunteer to committee member, to club president.
They are a staunch supporter of the Rotary Foundation as a Paul Harris Fellow +6 and a member of the Paul Harris Society.
They have served their District on committees, board officer roles, and as District Governor, but most notably serving this district and this district governor as Vice Governor. That’s where the more behind the scenes roles come in.
But there are other roles this person tirelessly serves, in the areas of youth protection and legal counsel for our district. One might think his responsibilities for Rotary would be minimal. Our district has kept him busy this year and we are grateful for his commitment to designing and leading policy to keep our district Rotarians and youth protected. We have also kept him busy consistently looking out for the best interest of our district and the welfare of our clubs.
I have been so grateful for his wise counsel, his level headedness, and his friendship this year. When I asked him to serve as my Vice Governor, there were a few things I was looking for… 1.) I needed someone a whole heck of a lot smarter than me who thought completely differently than I do. 2.) I wanted someone who would tell me how it is, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and with 30 + years as a lawyer he knew how to do that – I was sure of it!  And lastly 3.) I knew we needed someone who loved Rotary, its ideals, its members, and its good work and would do what was best for all of us.
Selecting him for Rotarian of the Year though comes more so for all of his efforts in district youth protection over these last few years and leading a committee of dedicated individuals in one of the most thankless tasks.
I’ll insert a plug here...if your club and its members have not completed the necessary work for youth protection, please reach out as soon as possible to get this completed.
Because as much as it is thankless, it is difficult, detailed work. He was definitely the person for the job.
The person I have selected as this year’s Rotarian of the Year is Past District Governor, and my Vice Governor, John Reyes. 
It was an amazing honor to be afforded the opportunity to represent District 6630 in Singapore this past May at the Rotary International Convention. It was my third Convention having attended Houston in 2022 and Melbourne, Australia in 2023. International Conventions are so inspiring.  Speakers, workshops, and visiting with Rotarians and learning how they meet the needs of their communities in more than 220 countries and geographic areas around the world. You come away with a better understanding of how globally significant Rotary is and what service above self looks like from Akron to Nigeria to India and everywhere in between.
With next year's convention in Calgary,  Canada, its a great deal closer to home, hopefully you can attend!
Hope to see you there!
In Rotary Service, 
Julie Brandle,  District Governor 6630

June is designated Rotary Fellowships Month to recognize the importance of international fellowship and goodwill among Rotarians with similar recreational and vocational interests, promote increased participation in fellowships, and increase understanding of this program.

“Fellowship is wonderful; it illuminates life’s pathway, spreads good cheer, and is worth high price.” Rotary Founder, Paul Harris
What are the benefits for Rotarians in joining the Rotary Fellowships?
Fellowship provides opportunities for Rotarians to make lasting friendships outside their own Club, District or country. Fellowships contribute to the advancement of world understanding and peace. Also, Fellowships serve as an incentive for attracting new members to Rotary and retaining our existing members. Indeed, Rotary Fellowship, together with the Rotarian Action Groups, serve as an effective tool in promoting membership development and should be actively promoted in our Districts.
There are many Fellowships that would be of interest to our members, and they are detailed on
PDG Julie West finds great fun in the Birding Fellowship. Besides connecting with Rotarians around the world on this shared interest, she meets the day after the end of each International Convention she attends to go for a local bird watching hike. Maybe you too can find a Fellowship of interest to you!
In a vibrant display of community engagement, the Stow-Munroe Falls Rotary Club hosted a Membership Drive Event on February 29th, 2024, at the esteemed VFW  Post #4738. Led by Membership Committee Chair, Brad Ruth, and his dedicated team comprising Todd Hearty, Scott Miller, Maria Ferrara, and Leslee Salhany, the event proved to be a resounding success, attracting approximately 45 enthusiastic attendees.

The event, marked by an atmosphere of camaraderie, featured an array of festivities including food catered by Pancho & Leftys, music, cornhole, and beverages, ensuring a delightful experience for all who attended. Attendees were not only treated to a jovial atmosphere but also received an insightful Welcome to Rotary presentation. This presentation, created by Maria Ferrara, delved into the rich history of Rotary, benefits of membership, and showcased exemplary works of the organization in fostering community development, service, and fellowship.

The success of the event was not left to chance but was the culmination of meticulous planning and strategic outreach efforts. The organizers left no stone unturned in spreading the word about the event, leveraging Rotarian referrals, personal engagement, and social media platforms to reach out to prospective members.
Reflecting on the event's success, Membership Committee Chair Brad Ruth expressed his gratitude, stating, "We are thrilled with the turnout and the enthusiasm shown by all who attended. This event was a testament to the strength of our community and the enduring appeal of Rotary's values and mission." 
Indeed, the fruits of their labor were evident as between 5 to 10 new member applications have already poured in, signaling a promising influx of fresh perspectives and energy into the Stow-Munroe Falls Rotary Club.

The organizers extend their heartfelt appreciation to all committee members, Rotarians, and staff of VFW Post #4738 whose unwavering support and dedication contributed to the event's triumph. Their collective efforts have not only bolstered the ranks of the club but have also reinforced its commitment to service and fellowship within the community.

As the Stow-Munroe Falls Rotary Club looks ahead, buoyed by the success of this Membership Drive Event, it remains steadfast in its mission to make a tangible difference in the lives of others, one member at a time. The group now turns its sights to the next major event, the annual golf outing!

With a spirit of optimism and purpose, the Stow-Munroe Falls Rotary Club marches forward, guided by its enduring motto, "Service Above Self."

"Hello Everyone!"

We are Rotary Youth Exchange Students from northern Ohio Districts 6600 and 6630. Since August of last year, we have been involved with intensive language and cultural training courses as we prepare to study abroad for an exciting school year as Rotary Outbound Scholarship Students. We are honored to have been accepted as Rotary youth ambassadors and presented with our official scholarship blue blazers at the Rotary District Conference of Clubs:

OWEN BASS (Garfield HS), from Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary, will be going to INDIA.
ABIGAIL SZYNDLER (Maumee HS), from Hillcrest Sunrise Rotary, will be going to CHILE.
MEADOW MARUNA-PLICKERT (Grand Valley HS), from Jefferson Rotary, will be going to POLAND.
ASMIT MEHTA (Oberlin HS), from Westlake-Bay Village Rotary, will be going to TAIWAN.
LUKE SMILLIE (Bay Village HS), from Westlake-Bay Village Rotary, will be going to THAILAND.
KAMDEN STOLLSTEIMER (Tinora HS), from Westlake-Bay Village, will be going to HUNGARY.

We were fortunate enough to attend many Rotary club’s weekly meetings and community service projects, and witness first hand the true purpose of this world-wide service organization, “Service Above Self.” Everyone with whom we have come in contact, in the preparation of this exchange, has been very helpful and truly made the process fun and intriguing. They have been supportive of the decision to study abroad and have done everything needed to make the idea come true. We are very grateful for all the support we have received from our parents, and everyone else who has made this dream a reality.

For more information on Rotary Youth Exchange, please contact your local Rotary club or visit our website:

PHOTO (L to R):
Owen Bass, Abigail Szyndler, Meadow Maruna-Plickert, Asmit Mehta, Luke Smillie, Kamden Stollsteimer

Our 3rd annual Kids Free Fishing Tournament was a huge success. We had 110 kids outside fishing with their families enjoying nature.
We provided a hot dog lunch and gave away a kids kayak. We had a blast on a beautiful day at Beaumont Scout Reservation.
Thank you to all the Rotarians, BSA Troop 41 of Jefferson, OH for your help, the Ashtabula Fire fighters Association Safety House, FirstEnergy Corp. Green Team for stocking the pond and for the worm donation!
The most fish caught was 11 this year!
Rotary Districts 6630, 6650 and 6600 Fundraiser with the Cleveland Guardians, 2 August 2024
Dr. Albert J. Tien, Chagrin Valley Rotary Club, District 6630 Polio Plus Chair
Did you know that 12.5 million children are totally unvaccinated? The wild strain of polio WPV1 still exists in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Outbreaks of the weakened strain of polio cVDPV1 and cVDVP2 are presently occurring in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and in northwestern Nigeria? Cross border spread has re-infected countries such as Angola, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone? A new strain of cVDPV2 has emerged from the OPV2 vaccine in South Sudan although that vaccine had never been used in this country?
The reservoirs of the wild strain and the spread of the weakened virus are due in part to “Zero Dose Children”. These are children which have never been vaccinated against any communicable diseases.  The causes include living in conflict zones, remote villages and dense low-income urban areas.  
Since 1979, Rotary members have advocated for government support, volunteered, helped build a global network of clinics and health professionals to store, distribute and vaccinate zero dose children and at risk individuals. Together with our partners, over 3 billion children have been vaccinated against polio in 122 Countries and geographic regions. Rotary members have contributed more than US $2.6 Billion to polio eradication efforts worldwide.
In the USA, the last wild strain was eliminated in 1979; however, in 2022, an unvaccinated man in Rockland county, New York was infected by a weaken strain.  The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization (March 2024) agree that “antivaxxers” and “Zero Dose Children” pose a continued risk of international spread of polio virus and still remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
So how can enjoying America’s favorite pass time help eliminate polio and other preventable communicable diseases?  First, just by purchasing tickets to the August 2nd Cleveland Guardians vs. Baltimore Orioles Game. Tickets can be purchase from the District website. Tickets must be obtained by July 16th. Second, purchase raffle tickets. Grand Prize: First pitch at a future Guardians Game; Second Prize: 2 field box tickets for a future game; Third Prize: Autographed Baseball. Third, bid on silent auction baskets. Individuals, local clubs, clusters are encouraged to donate baskets. All proceeds from the raffle tickets and the silent auction as well as a portion of the ticket price will be donated to Rotary International End Polio Now Campaign for our winning homerun against Polio!!
For details, contact       Stew Buchanan: (330) 607-1442  e-mail:
                                                Al Tien: (610) 810-8433  e-mail:
The District 6630 Youth Protection Committee has been working to assist Club Youth Protection Officers in their efforts to assist club planning and execution of safe youth related activities. The District Website already contains detailed video presentations, as well as power point downloads of the September 18, 2021 youth protection training seminar. The actual policy and procedures manual is also contained on the District website.
In an endeavor to assist in using the policies and procedures manual a subcommittee of the District Youth Protection Committee has created the Best Practices for Organizing Events Involving Children & Youth (click here) for your review, study and use.
I would like to thank Beverly Ghent-Skrzynski and her subcommittee for their efforts in preparing this document.
On a different topic, District Youth Protection Officer Carrie Malotte and her team of Assistant District Youth Protection Officers have been working diligently to implement the District’s Youth Volunteer Management System, including the Youth Protection Course which is part of the system. If your club is one of the dozen or so clubs who have not responded to District Youth Protection Officers attempted contacts please do so (Carrie can be reached at
John L. Reyes
Rotary International District 6630 Youth Protection Committee Chair
Club Events Calendar
July 2024
2024-2025 District Leadership


The collective leadership and expertise of our 1.2 million members helps us tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, locally and globally. We are united by common values and vision for the future as we sharpen our focus with targeted specific causes that will reach communities most in need.

We have identified specific causes to target to maximize our local and global impact. At the same time, we understand that each community has its own unique needs and concerns.
 and other resources, we help clubs focus their service efforts in the following areas.


Today, 42 million people are displaced by armed conflict or persecution. Through our partnerships with several leading universities, Rotary Peace Fellows develop the skills to strengthen peace efforts, train local leaders to prevent and mediate conflict, and support long-term peace building in areas affected by conflict. We provide up to 100 peace fellowships per year at Rotary Peace Centers.


More than 100 million people are pushed into poverty each year because of medical costs. We aim to improve and expand access to low-cost and free health care in underdeveloped areas. Our members educate and mobilize communities to help prevent the spread of major diseases such as polio, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. Many of our projects ensure that medical training facilities are located where the workforce lives.


More than 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation facilities. At least 3,000 children die each day from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water. Our projects give communities the ability to develop and maintain sustainable water and sanitation systems and support studies related to water and sanitation.


At least 7 million children under the age of five die each year due to malnutrition, poor health care, and inadequate sanitation. To help reduce this rate, we provide immunizations and antibiotics to babies, improve access to essential medical services, and support trained health care providers for mothers and their children. Our projects ensure sustainability by empowering the local community to take ownership of health care training programs.


Sixty-seven million children worldwide have no access to education and more than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. Our goal is to strengthen the capacity of communities to support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education, and increase adult literacy.


Nearly 1.4 billion employed people live on less than $1.25 a day. We carry out service projects that enhance economic and community development and develop opportunities for decent and productive work for young and old. We also help strengthen local entrepreneurs and community leaders, particularly women, in impoverished communities.


Providing our members more ways to bring about positive change in the world.

Community Minded People Like You and Me
If you like talking and tweeting about issues that matter
in both your local community and communities abroad,
come and see how you can join the conversation at Rotary
and do something to make a real 
difference in the lives of others.