Rotary Happenings
 
The Rotary Club of Edmond is planning a new St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser after finding success with a similar event last Fall.
 
Rotarians will be serving up a delicious meal and providing an opportunity to buy drinks at a discount on March 17 at Frenzy Brewing Co., 15 S. Broadway in
Edmond.
 
The club took advantage of the establishment’s Oktoberfest celebration by working shifts all day.
 
The St. Patrick’s day fundraiser will occur at the downtown location between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.
A Rotary Club of Edmond member is seeing great response to his efforts to outfit Langston University athletes for success.
 
 
Langston’s basketball coach, Chris Wright and Rotarian Hunter Cottle recognized the need for student athletes to wear business suits to make the best impression
during job recruitment events and interviews. Hunter began a personal mission last Spring to collect used suits for players well over six feet tall. Since then, he has received more than 35 suits, and several shirts and dress pants.
 
“The suits filled the back seat of my truck from top to bottom with these clothes,” Cottle said.
 
Cottle found it amazing that others are writing checks to Langston to contribute to a suit fund for new suits—an ultimate goal for his campaign. He’s hoping he
can raise enough money to buy four to eight suits each year.
 
Cottle is grateful for the donations but says he still needs suits for athletes over six feet five inches tall.
 
“I am very thankful for the outpouring of donations,” Cottle said.
 
If you would like to donate suits or buy new ones, contact Cottle by email at rotarysuits4langston@gmail.comClick here to see the news story.
Rotary Club of Edmond Member Finds Way to Outfit Student Athletes for Success
Rotarian Begins Drive to Suit Up Athletes in Professional Attire
 
It was springtime on Langston University’s campus, and it was busy. After a historical basketball season that ended with a 31-3 record and 20-2 in the conference last year, the Lions won the Conference Championship for the first time and went to the NAIA Sweet 16. The campus was electric as students prepared for finals and seniors focused on the
post-college job search.
 
Despite the athletic success, the basketball team’s coach, Chris Wright, expressed concern about his players to his longtime friend, Hunter Cottle, a member of Rotary Club of Edmond. Wright’s senior players were at a disadvantage. “One of the things he was concerned about was that these kids were showing up to the job fair without professional attire,”
Cottle said.
 
There were scholarships for food and other needs, but some players could not afford clothing for job interviews.
 
“We were just talking. I asked, what are these guys wearing? He said they wear what they can. It’s usually not up to par with what I would wear into the office every day,” Cottle said.
 
Wright said a lot of his players are first-generation college students, like he was. He understands their predicament.
 
“There’s a lot of things I wasn’t exposed to that I didn’t have. I think a lot of our guys are in the same boat,” Wright said.
 
Cottle said he left that day and thought, well, I’m six-foot-two. I’m not six-foot-seven by any means, but I’ve got some friends, let me ask around.”
 
That was Cottle’s first step in his new journey to create an act of kindness encouraged by Rotary Club of Edmond’s emphasis on members performing random acts of kindness in the community.
 
Cottle, a financial advisor for Edward Jones, approached his friends at every opportunity. Eight months later, a vacant office space at his business held 15 suits.
 
Coach Wright asked Hunter to deliver the suits to the locker room while the players were there.
 
“I was beyond honored. Really my goal is that eventually, we are buying these kids new suits so they leave college with something they can take out into the work force.”
 
The suits will be available for athletes at the end of the spring semester this year. Any suits not used will be moved to the university’s career closet for all students.
 
“I saw a need, and I wouldn’t want to be in that position. And that’s where, as a Rotarian, I think that’s part of our job to go out and help people be better and help better them by giving them a fishing pole to go catch the food. If we’re not giving them fishing poles to go catch the food, we are really putting them at a disadvantage.”
 
Cottle’s end goal for this year is to find suits that fit the seniors. Eventually, he would like to find the means to purchase new suits.
 
“If we can get them for the whole team, that would be great. I think if we could pay for four to eight suits each year, that’s four to eight people who are going in confident and prepared. We’ve got to get them in front of the right people to get the job,” he said.
 
For now, Cottle is seeing how things work out with the first round of his effort but is dreaming for the future.
 
“If I could get people to get on board and provide more capital, I’d be willing to push this thing to where we can better these kids’ lives.”
 
That attitude is just one reason Wright thinks Cottle’s impact on the basketball program is “off the charts.”
 
“We talk a lot in our program about being unselfish. Hunter really embodies that quality. I know our guys really appreciate him. I think it’s a great example to them and really to everyone in how to help other people. I’m extremely grateful for his friendship,” he said.
 
If you would like to donate suits or buy new ones, contact Cottle by email at rotarysuits4langston@gmail.com.
 
This was featured on Fox News.  Click here to watch.
 
Rotary Club of Edmond’s Hunter Cottle and his daughter, Finley, take in a men’s basketball game at Langston University. Cottle began a drive to collect men’s suits so players could attend employment recruiting events in professional attire.
There’s a benefit to becoming older each year and the Edmond community is the beneficiary.

Rotary Club of Edmond is in its second year of a unique birthday club that raises funds for its foundation to support community efforts and projects. The birthday club has raised thousands of dollars and the effort is now a more consistent source of income for the organization.
 
“We did it several years ago,” said Natalie Bonney, the board member who oversees Edmond Rotary Club Foundation Inc. “We thought a birthday club was a good way to recognize its participants on the Rotary Club of Edmond’s birthday in March.”
 
So, in 2022, members revived the effort and began collecting a dollar for every year of a person’s age. Since then, the foundation has collected more than $3,300 from participants. 31 members were recognized on the club’s birthday this year.
 
“It has had a good response. We wanted it to be kind of a fun thing and show appreciation,” Bonney said.
 
Bonney said some people even round up their contributions for more of an impact.
 
The club’s birthday is March 28. Rotary Club of Edmond was chartered in 1938. During this year’s celebration, participants were recognized with specially made cookies.
 
Rotary Club of Edmond also enjoyed its annual tradition of ringing bells for The Salvation Army. 
 
About 35 members took shifts at both of the city’s Walmarts on I-35 and Danforth and Kelly on December 13. 
 
It was a full day of fulfilling the club’s motto of “Serve Above Self” and helped raise hundreds of dollars in donations. Members rang bells from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 
Rotary Club of Edmond president, Chris Berry rings a bell for The Salvation Army’s annual kettle drive at the I-35 Walmart in Edmond on December 13.
 
Rotary Club of Edmond member, Whitney Randall rings a bell for The Salvation Army’s annual kettle drive at the Danforth and Kelly Walmart in Edmond on December 13.
 
Rotary Club of Edmond member, Tom Rosser rings a bell for The Salvation Army’s annual kettle drive at the Danforth and Kelly Walmart in Edmond on December 13.
 
Rotary Club of Edmond members, Kathy Reeser and Randy Taylor ring bells for The Salvation Army’s annual kettle drive at the I-35 Walmart in Edmond on December 13.
EDMOND, Okla – Rotary Club of Edmond continued a busy Autumn season of service by volunteering at the city’s premier biking event Cycle 66, having fun with trick-or-treaters at Edmond’s community trunk-or-treat event and serving hot chocolate at Deck the Downtown.
 
3 members participated by dressing up, decorating their booth with a festive theme, and handed out yummy treats to a huge crowd at the annual Trunk or Treat event at Mitch Park. 
The event took place on Saturday, October 28 at the Multi Activity Center in Mitch Park. 
 
“It was estimated that thousands of people in and around the Edmond community came out to the event. We handed out several buckets of candy and had great community engagement. It was a great opportunity for Rotary to help bring smiles and holiday entertainment to so many families.”
 
Besides enjoying decorated booths and candy, children played games, and had lots of food truck options at the free event. 
 
 
Members of Rotary Club of Edmond decorated booths and handed out candy at Mitch Park’s annual Trunk or Treat event. The event was held Saturday, Oct. 28.
 
The City of Edmond became a bicycle enthusiast’s perfect place to hit the Mother Road on Sunday, November 5, 2023. More than 700 cyclists from 12 states enjoyed top-notch touring and racing, and experienced a place known for its active community full of local merchants waiting to share in the fun and adventure. 
 
Rotary Club of Edmond members volunteered at the 3rd Annual Cycle 66 SAG wagon along historic Route 66 which provided food, drink and other assistance to cyclists in need. One club member brought boys from The Genesis Project, a local residential treatment center for abused boys, to volunteer. The event helped the boys learn to return the favor of support to a community that cares for them throughout the year.
 
Jennifer Thornton, Rotarian, Cycle 66 Board Chair and Edmond Tourism Director, said the event was a success. "This is one of the best events in Edmond.  We’re riding for a purpose and gearing up for the Route 66 Centennial in 2026.” 
 
The Cycle 66 urban/rural bicycling tour began and ended in downtown Edmond, featuring four distinct routes and a criterium race. All registration fees were donated to three charities: Oklahoma Route 66 Association, Bike Club and the Velo Cycling Club.  
 
A group of people in purple shirtsDescription automatically generated
Boys from The Genesis Project residential treatment center hand out Cycle 66 patches to participants of the event’s criterium race. By volunteering, they learned to give back to a community that gives to them. The event was held Nov. 5 in downtown Edmond.
 
Starting a new tradition, the City of Edmond hosted a Deck the Downtown and Festival Marketplace on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. Many people showed up to see the lighting of the Christmas tree and enjoy hot chocolate, s’mores, crafts, photos with Mr. & Mrs. Clause and more. Six Rotarians served over 650 cups of hot chocolate to those in attendance.
Rotarians serve hot chocolate at Deck the Downtown on Tuesday, November 14.
 
The energizing sounds of an oompah band and spontaneous dancing were highlights of our fundraising effort at Edmond’s Frenzy Brewing but to get a real taste of the event, you needed some brats, sauerkraut, potato salad and two types of pretzels!
 
The Rotary Club of Edmond joined the fun on Saturday, October 14 to add flavor to the brewery’s Oktoberfest celebration and make some money for club projects.
 
By purchasing a blue Rotary cup, patrons could get a 16-ounce beer for the regular 12-ounce price at the bar. Guests had the option of buying a traditional German meal, thanks to the extensive prep work of our own Mike Sanders and fellow Rotarians who took shifts to serve the delicious menu all day.
 
 
 
EVERYONE WINS AT THE MIRACLE LEAGUE 
Members of The Rotary Club of Edmond volunteer to be “buddies” for the baseball program – only to find they may benefit the most.
 
EDMOND, Okla – It’s a warm night in September and the boys (and girls) of summer are taking the field at Mitch Park in Edmond. It’s the Cubs versus the Red Sox and the stands are full of cheering fans – mainly parents and friends who’ve watched these teams play time and time again. 
 
There are runs, strikes, and outs like any typical game, but no matter the outcome, when the game is over, there’s always a win for both sides. It’s the Miracle League of Edmond. Everyone is a winner every time. 
 
Sheryl Evans and Dana Helton watch the Red Sox like they did 15 years ago, when their sons, Tyler, 22, and Matthew, 23, took the field for The Miracle League the first time. They can’t say enough how they appreciate the program and the opportunities it presents people with disabilities. 
 
“It’s getting to be outdoors, being around friends and being able to play a sport like a typical kid,” Evans said. 
 
The Miracle League is a baseball program for people with disabilities of all kinds partnering with The YMCA of Greater Oklahoma. Teams play on a custom, adaptive field instead of on grass, no one keeps score, and everyone bats twice in the two-inning game. But what everyone considers a highlight of play is that every player has a buddy alongside during the games. 
 
On this night, it’s the Rotary Club of Edmond on the field for a double header. Their roles are pretty simple. With gloves ready to help snag and stop balls, buddies help keep the play alive while encouraging players and protecting them from injury. 
 
“This is a real joy to watch these guys and girls let loose and have fun. The crowd is in the game and the moments we get to experience with the players are priceless,” said Anita Linet, one of the Rotary buddies. 
 
Mike Korenblit, who coaches the Cardinals South team which played in the second game of the evening echoed the sentiment. His son Josh, 37, is a longtime player who loves meeting new buddies. 
 
“All he does is talk about it as he plays in left field,” Korenblit said. “The reason our players like buddies playing with them is that they are showing them they can have fun like everyone else. What’s incredible is what the buddies get out of it.” 
 
Any Rotarian buddy will tell you that’s true. It’s more than serving the community and living up to the club motto, “Service Above Self.” Somehow, it turns out club members seem to benefit the most. 
 
“If people could see these kids for one 24-hour period, it would make the world a better place. Because these kids, no matter who they are, make people around them feel special,” Korenblit said. 
 
Everyone wins and miracles are always in play. 
 
Members of The Miracle League’s Cardinals South team celebrate a victory at Edmond’s Mitch Park. Every team wins every time in the YMCA baseball program for people with disabilities.
 
The Rotary Club of Edmond members pose after a night of being volunteer baseball “buddies” for The Miracle League of Edmond. For two decades, the YMCA program has supported people with disabilities.
Pictured L to R: JD Younger, Jennifer Thornton, Mayor Darrell Davis, Chris Berry, Ashley Crall
 
Rotary Club of Edmond was excited to welcome key members of the Cycle 66 committee to learn more about this upcoming race. We are excited to watch this event grow and support our local community.
EDMOND, Okla – When temperatures started reaching the one hundred degree mark this summer, the new playground at Scissortail Elementary School in Edmond laid bare to the scorching elements. There was no shade and no place to sit until new metal picnic tables arrived. Plans were to nurture a new educational garden but the only way to water it was for students to use their own water bottles. Relief has now arrived – thanks to a grant funded by Rotary District 5750 and monies provided by Edmond Rotary Club and Foundation.
 
“Here sat a beautiful, new school but the places to take a break and learn needed shelter from the sun, additional seating and water for the garden. Autumn was fast approaching. We knew it would still be very hot at the beginning of the school year. We needed to take action,” said Chris Berry, president of Rotary Club of Edmond.
 
The situation became even clearer when Rotary volunteers were helping with seeds and supplies for the garden. They determined that carting water in bottles was not an efficient option. Looking around, they could only imagine kids and educational staff having to sit on the hot ground, or not use the playground area at all because of no shelter from the heat.
 
“We spoke with the school principal who pointed out the obvious and we decided a solution would be to pursue a Rotary grant,” said Beth Case, past president, who spurred the effort.
 
The grant and local club funds provide about seven-thousand dollars for grounds improvements, including umbrellas for outdoor picnic tables, two benches, a portable irrigation system for the garden, two water stations, and a special “Buddy Bench.” The Buddy Bench is a place for students to sit if they don’t have anyone to play with. When a child sits there, other students are encouraged to be his or her buddy to promote a sense of belonging, a core value of the school, which emphasizes building connections where all are welcomed, accepted and safe.
 
The community project also aligned with Rotary’s motto, “Service Above Self” and a recent club campaign to do acts of kindness. 
 
Scissortail Elementary opened in the Fall of 2022 and serves children through the fifth grade. It houses administration, a media center, cafeteria and a beautiful gym. This year when students arrived to school, they found a much more comfortable playground that matched the efforts made on the inside. And instead of the water bottles, garden caregivers are now able to use a portable water tank on wheels to provide moisture.
 
The improvements were also planned for the benefit of the school’s neighbors, embracing the school’s creed of welcoming others to their community.
 
Rotary Club of Edmond president, Chris Berry and a student check out the new metal bench at Edmond’s Scissortail Elementary School. The bench provides much needed seating on the school’s grounds and the portable irrigation system allows for more efficient watering of an educational garden.
 
Leaders of Edmond Rotary club and principal of Scissortail Elementary School show off new seating and irrigation systems that provide water for a new campus garden and seating for a once-barren space. Pictured, l to r, Beth Case, Past President, Edmond Rotary Club; Jamila Crawford, Principal, Scissortail Elementary School; Chris Berry, President, Rotary Club of Edmond.
 
Edmond’s Scissortail Elementary School principal, Jamia Crawford and Rotary Club of Edmond’s president, Chris Berry, show off a new Buddy Bench on the school’s playground. The Buddy Bench is a place for students to sit if they don’t have anyone to play with. When a child sits there, other students are encouraged to be his or her buddy to promote a sense of belonging
 
Edmond’s Scissortail Elementary principal, Jamila Crawford and Rotary Club of Edmond’s president, Chris Berry work with a student to show off a new bench for seating on the school’s updated playground.
This group recently played in the Ministries of Jesus golf tournament. Creating HOPE in our community by supporting another local non-profit.
 
Pictured Left to Right: Chris Goodwin, James Boggs, JD Younger, Mike Sanders
Each year, Rotarians around the world get excited about the new year’s Rotary theme. In January, Rotary International president, R. Gordon R. McInally, revealed his theme for 2024: “Create Hope in the World.” When club materials were unveiled for presidents-elect in March, Rotary Club of Edmond’s president-elect, Chris Berry, couldn’t wait to
get to work.
 
First, Berry modified the theme for Edmond: “Hope! Creating Hope in Our Community.” Then, he immediately embarked on making hope a priority for his tenure. He’d seen his community change during the COVID-19 pandemic and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
 
“COVID was definitely one of those knock-out punches that hit everybody. We’ve seen a lot of people bounce back from it
and they’re still bouncing back from the impact of it,” Berry said.
 
As district executive director at YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, he saw the pandemic’s impact first-hand.
 
“For me, I think where I’ve seen the biggest impact is going to be on kids. They lost so much by not being able to go to school, to see their friends or participate in activities. And what we’re seeing now, not that we’re completely back to normal, but we’re starting to see some normalcy. Hopefully, we can overcome some of the negative we’ve seen over the last few years.”
 
Berry can’t put an exact finger on COVID’s effects, but he notices a difference in youth who attend the Y.
 
“It just seems like the kids are different during the last three to four years than I’d seen previously— not in a good or bad way—it’s just you see some of the impact that’s taking place in their lives. I don’t know if they don’t have hope, but I think whatever we can do to create and add more hope in their lives, to me, is something that doesn’t put a limit on the future,” he said.
 
The pandemic also had an impact on club participation in the community and the level of giving by members. So, Berry looked at the club’s community efforts and saw an opportunity to rebuild.
 
“There were five or six organizations we were able to support with grants. We were able to give out more scholarships to high school seniors, I would like to see us get back to the level of giving that we were previously able to do for our community,” he said.
 
Berry has already seen action in just a short time. Recently, the club, with the help of a community grant, raised funds and volunteers to provide equipment and supplies for its adopted school, Scissortail Elementary. Rotary volunteers also helped build a garden for students there.
 
And, thanks to a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a local foundation which matched funds, the club provided support to Edmond Public Schools Foundation’s “DonorsChoose” program. The club funded 50 projects submitted by teachers in the district.
 
Berry is also frequently incorporating hope into meeting programs. At least twice a month, he brings in speakers from organizations which provide hope to their stakeholders. One of the first speakers was renowned hope science researcher, Chan Hellman, from the University of Oklahoma. Hellman’s research is being used around the world and in several
Oklahoma institutions.
 
If anyone knows how hope works and how to give it, it’s Berry. One example is through his work at the YMCA where his team creates pathways to hope by providing opportunities to witness sports at the highest level, whether it’s through attending Oklahoma City Thunder or Dodgers games or taking young kids to see high school stars.
 
“We want them to know that “Hey, we’ve got a future. That could be me in a few years if I do the right things,” he said.
 
Berry believes building pathways to hope in the community through providing opportunity and support will steer the club on the right track.
 
“We’ve got a club made up of a lot of awesome members. And we have the power to truly change the tide and create more hope, I think, for everybody in our community—whether it’s for youth and adults— even if it’s for each other. So, I think if we come together and put our minds to it and are willing to work for it, we can make an incredible difference,” he said.
 
Hope can be found at Rotary Club of Edmond each Wednesday at St. Luke’s Methodist in Edmond. The program begins at noon. www.edmondrotary.org
 
Midway through last Rotary year the Rotary Club of Edmond began a collaboration with the Edmond Public Schools Foundation.  The Club proposed to join with them to complete DonorsChoose projects in Edmond Schools.
 
EPSF monitors projects that teachers in the Edmond School system submit to DonorsChoose.   They then notify the Club about the projects.  When we decide to complete a project, we send funds to EPSF and they forward them on to DonorsChoose.
 
Rotary Club of Edmond's goal is to see that as many projects as possible get completed.    To make this feasible, the club set as criteria that the Club would cover no more than ½ of the funds needed and that the project had to have received some meaningful support from others.  Special attention is given to projects that are eligible for matching funds from other organizations.
 
The trial worked really well and the 2023-2024 Board instituted the project as an official Club Community Service Project.
 
When we fund a teacher’s project, the following is placed on the project funding synopsis locally and nationally:
 
 
This new year began with a BANG.  Not only did the school year begin with many teachers posting projects, but on very short notice the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced that for one day only, the Foundation would match 50% of any donations made.
 
A Gates Match does not guarantee that a project gets completed, only that donations made will be matched.  If the project does not complete, the donation goes away.
 
With the match, the Club was initially able to complete 3 projects each for the two elementary schools the Club has an ongoing relationship with.
 
Then EPSF showed us how the Gates match was garnering support for a number of projects, making them eligible under our criteria for completion.  So, the Club set about rounding up additional funding to increase our capacity to get more projects completed.  
 
EPSF continued to feed us projects until the whistle blew at 4:45 pm and the Match ended.
 
The final result was that we were able to complete 40 teacher projects benefitting 6,215 students.  Each teacher and teacher’s assistant, each school principal and staff, and often each school’s PTA officers learned that the Edmond Rotary Club was serious about community involvement and service.
From outstanding students to community heroes, The Rotary Club of Edmond recognized several outstanding club members and citizens during our Community Recognition Day on May 10th.
 

EDMOND, Okla – Not long ago, someone at an Edmond grocery store discovered a five-dollar bill behind a can of vegetables. A business card accompanied it with a message: “Rotary Loves Edmond – This act of kindness brought to you by Rotary Club of Edmond – Service Above Self.”

Throughout the city, residents are discovering other surprises, from one member giving his ice scraper to a stranger in need to another Rotarian giving his shopping cart to a person struggling to get two carts unstuck.  Though simple and random, they are deliberate acts of kindness encouraged by the club’s president, Beth Case.   

"This idea is not new to our club,” Case said. “We have done this effort in the past. But with an economy posing challenges and the world coming out of COVID, we just feel people need to know there are other people who care. You never know what the person standing next to you is going through. We can be the people whose kindness encourages someone to not give up.”

So, not long ago, Case encouraged her club to take the acts of kindness cards and get busy performing five acts of kindness in a campaign called Give Me 5.

Edmond residents are finding kindness across the area. Whether it was a woman whose dollar store purchase was picked up by a club member standing in line behind her, or it was The Genesis Project who benefitted when a club member gathered friends from her sorority to purchase items from the treatment center’s wish list. Boys at the facility receiving therapies and care for child abuse were showered with gifts, arts and crafts, shoes, and clothes.

Case is encouraging club members to share their stories of kindness and there are many being added to the Give Me 5 collection.

From another member helping Case unload soil for Scissortail Elementary School’s garden or rounding up a Girl Scout cookie purchase well beyond the retail price, the club is being energized to live out its motto: Service Above Self.

"This is a way our club can be encouraged, too,” Case said. “When we see how our club is impacting our community in real, personal ways, we are inspired to do more.”

The club effort coincides with Random Acts of Kindness Day by Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. You can find a full list of acts of kindness by club members and ways you can join the effort on The Rotary Club of Edmond’s website.

Edmond, OK –From bell ringing to Thanksgiving meals, Rotary Club of Edmond had a great time serving our community to make the holidays brighter.
 
The season kicked off in November as Edmond Rotarians answered the call to help kids in need for Thanksgiving. Each year the club solicits donations from members for Thanksgiving meals and grocery gift cards to benefit children at Summit Middle School. This year, the school asked for more gift cards than actual groceries. Members delivered 16 $50 cards and five Thanksgiving grocery bags to support the school’s pantry.
 
 "The Rotary club has been such an amazing blessing to Summit Middle School. Thank you for your involvement,” said Tammi Seknicka, pantry manager.
 
Rotary bells rang a full day for The Salvation Army at Edmond Walmarts. Warm hearts turned out  during chilly weather as customers filled kettles December 14. At least 37 club members volunteered. Some brought along colleagues or young helpers – including a young scholarship winner who showed her appreciation to Rotary by volunteering for the event.
 
Some children had a great holiday surprise when they found a beautiful custom-made dollhouse under the tree! The holiday-themed dollhouse was made especially for our club by Jim and Evelyn Martin to be used as a fundraiser. The club raised $1500 after raffling off the dollhouse which even had a unique address: 809 Rotary Circle.
 
The club’s annual holiday party was filled with thanksgiving, entertainment and inspiration. The party was held at St. Luke’s Edmond on December 21. Besides beautiful Christmas music provided by the church, the party recognized club veterans and new members.
 
The Rotary Club of Edmond currently meets at noon every Wednesday on St Lukes United Methodist, Edmond on I35 and Sooner Road and on Zoom.  Guests are welcome.
 
The Rotary Club of Edmond helped out the pantry at Summit Middle School over the Thanksgiving holiday by providing gift cards and food to the school’s pantry.
L to R  - Barry Bell, club member; Tammi Seknicka, Summit School pantry manager
 
This custom-made dollhouse was created especially for a fundraiser by Rotary Club of Edmond. The holiday-themed creation has a unique address: 809 Rotary Circle.
The Rotary Club of Edmond exceeded its fundraising goal by $500 to purchase clothes for Stan’s Closet at Edmond’s Sunset Elementary School. In all, the club raised $1,500 to purchase most-needed items for students such as underwear and sweatpants. Club member, Barry Bell and Sunset secretary, Ashley Corbett pose with boxes full of the donated clothes.
 
A big Congratulations to Club Member Edward Jones - Financial Advisor: Candace R Hobbs for her spectacular performance and big wins at the Edmond Chamber of Commerce Dancing with the Stars event. Candace was a celebrity dancer following in the footsteps of other club dancers: James Kerr, Dr. Krista Jones, Chief JD Younger and Victoria Van Horn Caldwell. Our club is appreciative of our relationship with the Chamber and all the good they do for our community.
 
Congratulations Candace Hobbs!
 
EDMOND, Okla – Not long ago, members of The Rotary Club of Edmond were in a quandary. They had to find a temporary place to meet and had nowhere to go. Thanks to some quick-thinking and ingenuity, the club devised a solution that’s no longer a fast fix but now holds a popular spot in their program schedule.
 
It was springtime and Vacation Bible School was fast approaching at their regular meeting site, St. Luke’s United Methodist. The church needed Rotary’s space to accommodate hundreds of kids from the Edmond area. Recognizing the importance of the church’s service to the community, the club’s programming committee fielded a new idea to split the club into small groups at members’ places of business. Called Rotary Rotation, members are gaining insight into how others serve through their occupations.
 
“We could not be more pleased with how this turned out,” said Beth Case, club president. “Rotary Rotation is a great way to build engagement among members while allowing them to see the terrific work going on in front of their very eyes. We’re finding it’s a great way to gain understanding other than just learning about each other across the table at a regular meeting.”
 
Before each Rotation meeting, members have a chance to choose where they will meet from a list of participating businesses and nonprofits. The club caters and delivers meals, making it easier on the host location.
 
Rotary Rotation has occurred twice. Hosts have included The Edmond Police Department, The Genesis Project, Edmond Fine Arts Institute, Mitch Park YMCA – YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, Edmond Fire Department and Epworth Villa.
 
During a recent rotation at Edmond Fine Arts Institute, club members toured the facility and learned many ways the institute impacts the community— from evening ceramics classes to an outdoor mural display along an adjacent alley. Rotarians learned how The City of Edmond sees increased business on evenings the institute’s VIBES program holds outdoor performances downtown.
 
Another group visited Epworth Villa where they were awed by the amenities and services of the senior living community. One club member kept repeating “Wow, just wow!”
 
The club had so much positive feedback after the first meeting, its membership committee decided to keep a good thing going. The idea that was born out of necessity was a win-win for the club and St. Luke’s which had a great turnout at VBS, too!
 
Members of The Rotary Club of Edmond learn about Edmond Fine Arts Institute’s outdoor
mural display. The institute is one of four locations visited by club members during their Rotary
Rotation on Aug. 24.
Rotary Club of Edmond president Beth Case hopes to continue the tradition of meaningful work through engaging members.
The Rotary Club of Edmond Past-President James Boggs welcomes incoming president Beth Case. (Photo: <a href="https://edmondbusiness.com/author/brent-fuchs/">Brent Fuchs</a>)
The Rotary Club of Edmond Past-President James Boggs welcomes incoming president Beth Case. (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

For nearly 85 years, The Rotary Club of Edmond has been serving its residents, providing professional development opportunities and encouraging lifelong friendships. The club boasts a rich history of community service and involvement by local leaders.

Continuing international history

The Rotary Club of Edmond is a small part of the larger organization, Rotary International. Rotary International is a worldwide group of people who want to make a difference in the lives of others. 

Rotary International was started by Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney. He formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on February 23, 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. 

“Our club is full of amazing people from all sorts of industries and backgrounds,” said Edmond Rotary Club President Beth Case. “Our club’s theme this year is Imagine: Strengthening us through a spirit of significant giving.”

Rotary members believe in a shared responsibility to act on our world’s most persistent issues. Their causes include promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, saving mothers and children, supporting education, growing local economies, and protecting the environment.

“The Rotary Club is fun! We have a robust speaker schedule, and we are educated about our community each week,” said Case. “It is a great way to learn about the city and state we live in and where we can potentially make an impact or learn about a service, industry, or organization that impacts us.”

Forming the Edmond Clubs

The Rotary Club of Edmond was chartered on April 25, 1938, making it one of the oldest clubs in the state. According to an Edmond Sun article about the event, “this action unite[d] with more than 4,400 other cities all over the world where Rotary clubs have come to play a leading part in the progress and development of the life of the community.”

Nearly 50 years later, in 1986, members recognized the need for a noon club in Edmond. The Edmond Evening Club, under the leadership of then-president Bill Cather, sponsored the chartering of the Edmond/Central club on January 19, 1987, with 28 charter members. Less than two years after the formation of Edmond Central, on November 13, 1988, the Edmond and Central Clubs sponsored the chartering of the Edmond Summit Rotary Club—a breakfast club.

The Rotary Club of Edmond throughout the years peaked at approximately 50 members in the 1970s. But by 2004, the numbers had dwindled to only ten or so members, and accordingly, the board approached the Central noon club about the potential of merging the two clubs. Although the Central club was much larger, it was determined that the surviving club in the merger would be the original Edmond club—so as not to lose its 1938 charter. The clubs officially merged on July 1, 2005.  

“The Rotary Club of Edmond has been around a long time. Sometimes the things we do in the community make a big splash, and other times, they are quietly behind the scenes,” said Case. “You might not see us picking up trash or delivering mobile meals.”

Serving the community

The main pillar of Rotary is “service above self,” and President Beth Case has a vision for strengthening club service and community relationships. 

“Because the last two years saw us separated but together via Zoom, we couldn’t fellowship like we once could. This year, we want to get to know each other on a deeper level,” said Case. “I am excited about our plans to orchestrate this throughout the year with fundraisers, volunteer opportunities, and site visits.” 

Case was recently named club president in July 2022 and has been a member of The Rotary Club of Edmond since 2017. She will serve as president for one year alongside 16 other board members, and she believes the key to achieving meaningful work is through engagement.

“I had an incredible role model in my father. He epitomized the motto of Rotary: Service about Self,” said Case. “I think that is why Rotary has been such a great fit for me. I value honesty, integrity, and the service of others.” 

Rotary President Beth Case was recently inducted and will serve for one year. (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

The organization’s most recent project included the Miracle League of Edmond. The Club was able to donate new equipment and a new sound system to be used at games. 

“While the financial donation was important, our volunteer opportunities with the kids are the most meaningful,” said Case. “Spending an evening with these kids on the field so that the parents can simply sit and watch is the true spirit of Rotary: Service above Self.”

One of the club’s favorite volunteer opportunities is bell ringing for the Salvation Army during the holidays. Some members sing while they ring the bells, and others bring their children and encourage them to wear the red apron to see how serving others can change lives. The late Stan Kelley of Edmond was a pivotal member of The Rotary Club of Edmond and had a significant role in organizing the event in previous years.

“We also have a long and impactful relationship with Ida Freeman Elementary School in Edmond,” said Case. “Our club has had a Rotary Reader program in place for many years, where up to 25 club members volunteer to read weekly or bi-weekly in the classrooms. The students and club members look forward to seeing one another.” 

The club has previously sponsored a Rotary Reader Corner, where they provided seating when the new media center was built a few years ago. Each week, Rotary has the guest speaker of the meeting sign a book, which is donated to the school in honor of the speaker.

In May, the club honored three Edmond high school students with scholarships and a local business, Edmond Dental Associates, with a community award, which not only supported individuals but also showcased the connections provided by Rotary. 

“One of our scholarship recipients announced that he wanted to attend dental school. Immediately after the meeting, the student and the doctors connected, visited, and a relationship was formed,” said Case. “Making meaningful change in a person’s life through relationships is an important part of our club’s purpose.”

The new president of Rotary Club of Edmond cast her vision for strengthening club service and community relationships during the installation of new officers for the fiscal year. The event took place at the club’s regular meeting at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Edmond on
Wednesday, July 6, 2022. 
 
President Beth Case said the key to achieve meaningful work is through engagement then introduced the year’s theme, “Imagine. Strengthening us through a spirit of giving.”
 
The theme was introduced after incoming board members discussed a two-year plan during a recent retreat. The theme is designed to strengthen existing community ties and build on growth that occurred during challenging years posed by the COVID 19 virus.
 
“This is your club,” Case said. “You have trusted us with a plan, and I thank you.”
 
The new plan will build on projects the club is known for, such as its support for Ida Freeman Elementary School and volunteer events such as The Miracle League. Case urged attendees to strengthen retention by taking care of its own members while reaching out to others to build
membership.
 
Outgoing president, James Boggs ceremoniously passed the gavel and the Buddy Morris presidential emblem to Case. District 5750 Governor, Dena K. Fisher then installed 16 officers and directors including President-elect Chris Berry with the YMCA, Secretary Andrew Conyers, assistant city manager with The City of Edmond, Treasurer Chris Koehler, Price Mortgage Group, who has also served as past president of the club; and Edmond Police Chief, J.D. Younger will remain as sergeant-
at-arms.
 
Other directors inducted include Codie Hardy, of Creative Financial Strategies, club service; Barry Bell, of Bell Brothers Racing, community service; Hunter Cottle of Edward Jones, vocational service; Robert Gibson of Luckinbill Inc., golf committee; Mark Jones, retired educator, international service; Natalie A. Bonney, CPA, The Rotary Foundation; Rhett Schuman, of Raymond James, membership; Scott Coppenbarger of The Genesis Project, public relations; and Christine Merideth, Oklahoma
Christian University, scholarship committee.
 
The club honored Allison Calhoun who retired after serving 17 years as executive secretary. She is replaced by Amy Hollas.
 
A highlight of the installation was the introduction and recognition of 16 of the club’s past presidents. The Rotary Club of Edmond currently meets at noon every Wednesday on St Luke's United Methodist, Edmond on I35 and Sooner Road and on Zoom. Guests are welcome.
 
 
Past Presidents: L to R
Front: Jay Smith, Jessica Lyle, Chris Koehler, Ruth Boss, Natalie Bonney, Amzi Gregory, James Boggs, Jane Sutter
Back: Mike Roark, Dan Chavez, Jay Buxton, Jack Warner, G.K. Powers, Steve Murdock, Andy Lester, Kelly Kay
On June 8th, instead of our regular meeting, we held a Rotary Rotation.  Club members went out in the community and learned about the Edmond Police Department, Government, Edmond Fine Arts Institute, Mitch Park YMCA - YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, Genesis Project, and the Edmond Fire Department, Government. 
 
It was a great time of learning and engaging with the community!
 
The Rotary Club of Edmond has partnered with the Summit Rotary Club of Edmond and the Sooner Rotary Club of Norman to provide funds for Feeding the Future program, a project of the Rotary Club of Playa del Carmen-Seaside.  The Playa del Carmen Club-Seaside started the program in 2017 in the Village of Torres de la Paz, close to the city of Playa del Carmen. The village exists in extreme poverty, and many of the village children live in uncertain food conditions. After the local construction of a small community school, the Seaside Rotary Club brought together funds for a solar-powered water filtration system and a small kitchen where the Feeding the Future program operates. Local organizations and businesses supported this program, but the Coronavirus pandemic has stopped those organizations’ ability to help. The Seaside Rotary Club provides ninety-six children with healthy meals for six days each week. The total costs are $1,200 per month, and the club sought outside help for a month’s worth of food for the children.
 
Teresa Sparks Cleaver is a former resident of Edmond and is now a member of the Playa del Carmen-Seaside club. She contacted Carol Wright of the Rotary Club of Edmond, seeking assistance in providing one month’s meals for the children in Torres de la Paz. Members of the Rotary Club of Edmond provided approximately half of these funds, with the remainder coming from the Summit Club and the Sooner Club. The Rotary Club of Edmond is thankful to its members for participating in these fund-raising efforts, and the club is especially pleased that the Summit and Sooner Clubs offered their help to reach the goal of $1,200 for the children of Torres de la Paz.
Rotarian, Barry Bell had a goal to build 20 Thanksgiving bags for families of Summit Middle School. Little did he know, but the Club would come through in a big way, providing a total of 27 bags.
 
Each bag contained a variety of grocery items that would be needed to make a traditional Thanksgiving meal. In addition, a $25.00 gift card to either Crest Foods or Walmart to purchase a turkey, ham, or any additional grocery items.
 
The Rotary Club of Edmond has been providing Thanksgiving bags to Summit for 4 years. Bell coordinated the effort with Summit pantry volunteer Tami Seknicka. She was appreciative of the Club’s efforts and commitment to the community. In her first year as Head Principal, Maryjel Cochrane also expressed her gratitude for the bags that would provide a great holiday for families needing a little help.
 
 
Pictured: Maryjel Cochrane, Barry Bell, Tami Seknicka (L to R)
 
 
Josh Korenbilt, otherwise known to his teammates as The Black Knight of Doom just turned 35 and has been playing baseball with the Miracle League for a long time, where he is known for hitting homeruns.  Josh and his dad, Mike Korenbilt spoke to the Rotary Club of Edmond a week prior to the Miracle League season opener.
 
This year the Miracle League is celebrating its 20th year in Edmond. The league was originally started by Margo Price with the YMCA of Edmond taking it over 3 years ago after her retirement. There are 2 ages divisions, offering baseball to participants ages 7-62. The younger Korenbilt plays 8 games a season and is in the 18 and over division. Upon hearing that the club was coming out to be buddies for the players, Josh told the Club, “We’re gonna have fun out there!”
 
The elder Korenbilt thanked the club for the generous donation of new equipment and a new sound system which was put to use on September 13th at the season opener.
 
The evening of the season opener saw 15 Rotarians at the Mitch Park Miracle League field to serve as buddies. The games are 2 innings with each team batting through their lineup twice. There are no strike outs, no outs and is coach pitched. Chris Berry of the YMCA said that the Miracle League sees kids come from as far as Tuttle and Norman to play.
 
With the new sound system, each batter was announced and received great fanfare from everyone in attendance.  Music played continuously throughout the game and as parent, Tammy Duchene comment, “the music created such a fun ambiance and atmosphere.” Rotarians and players could be seen dancing in the outfield.
 
A grant was submitted to Rotary district 5750 for matching funds through The Rotary Foundation by board member Natalie Bonney who wanted to make a bigger impact after previously volunteering at the Miracle League.  “This is a project that is meaningful and supports our community members in a significant way.” Berry worked in conjunction with Bonney to determine what equipment was needed. In total the club donated close to $7,600.00 allowing new purchases of the field signage, helmets, bats, catcher’s gear, a new safety netting backstop, safety balls, equipment racks and carriers, and the previously mentioned sound system.
 
Barry Bell, Rotarian said, “what a fun and rewarding experience it was to spend the afternoon with the kids from Miracle League. I’m not sure who had more fun, but it was a great time for all of us to come together as a community. Everyone had a smile on their face.”
The club joined the Miracle League again on October 5th for another night of fun. For more information on the Miracle League of Edmond, contact the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City.
 
 
Miracle League Cardinals
 
 
Rotarians: Dan Chavez, Krista Jones, Brett Towne, Chris Koehler,                                               
Barry Bell, James Boggs, Amzi Gregory, Natalie Bonney, Codie Hardy,
David Osborne, Mike Sanders, Chris Berry and Beth Case (L to R)
 
Rotarian Barry Bell, Logan Doughty(L to R)
Board of Directors
President
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Secretary
Treasurer
Sergeant-at-Arms
Club Service
Community Service
Golf Committee
Vocational Service
International Service
The Rotary Foundation
Membership
Public Relations
Scholarship Committee
Executive Secretary
Speakers
Bob Burke
Feb 28, 2024
Uniqueness of Oklahoma
Career Day
Mar 06, 2024
Kim Gutowsky
Mar 13, 2024
The Great Gotowsky Edmond Oil Story
Gene Johnson
Mar 20, 2024
Author / OU Athletics Historian
Upcoming Events