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Club Information (#27802, District 6360)

We meet Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
Elks Lodge (BPOE 541)
601 Riverview Drive
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Map            Background Check
Write to us at:
Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary
PO Box 1552
Benton Harbor. MI 49023-1552
Meeting Presentations and Stories
The youngster pictured is riding a tricycle that he can "peddle" with his arms. He's a special need child and received the bike from the Ray Carlson Memorial. This is just one of the success stories told by Craig Carlson, founder and chairman, of the organization.  Craig started life with his feet on backwards.  His father and mother sacrificed so much to correct Craig's feet.  It took 7 years of surgery and therapy before he took his first step.  Along the way the Elks offered to help.  The Carlson's were too proud to accept the help but Mr. Carlson eventually became an Elk.  Craig was working at the Elks when his father died in 1991 and he decided to start the Ray Carlson Memorial to honor his father and the sacrifices he make for his special needs child.  Now the Memorial raises funds for special needs children in Berrien County, those with juvenile diabetes, arthritis, cancer, or hearing, speech or physical impairments.  The organization covers all its administrative costs so that 100% of funds raised or donated go to help special needs children, like the tricycle, a service dog, a special car seat.  Eight volunteers and 200 local sponsors power the organization. This year they will spend $42,000 helping children.
Plans are being finalized for a special needs park, filled with equipment such that every child will be find fun and enjoy an appropriate apparatus. The estimated cost is $210,000.  Stay tuned.  To learn more or make a donation click here.

Patrice Grant, on left, club president, proudly displays the banner from Rotary Club of Parchim Germany.  Jasmina, our club's exchange student, displays our club banner.  Parchim is about 60 miles east of Hamburg.  We'll hear more from Jasmina in the future.

Shown, from left, Tanieka, Larkin, Lou, Addie, Alyssa, Annie and Grace, representatives of the four Interact clubs that participated in this year's trip to the Dominican Republic.  A total of thirty-five students went on the trip.  The initial impression was a joyous place, filled with music and signs of faith.  The people and the place were upbeat and colorful. Each student provided a water filter to a family in the village - setting it up and teaching how to use it.  Local Rotaractors helped with translation.  They also helped construct a latrine - a block and cement affair involving lots of work.  Finally they assisted in a mobile medical unit that provided services to locals. They had plenty of time to meet and play with children, passing out forty bags of clothes, shoes and toys. The kids were very happy. A day at the beach and life at the compound made the trip fun as well as satisfying for the work the team accomplished.  Many found new facebook friends when they got home.

Rotarians have had a busy summer so far.  Pictured at left is the expanded chicken coop at Countryside, thanks to great teamwork by Rotary and Countryside.  Well done, everyone!  And on a rainy Saturday morning the Rotary's Centennial Park at Chicago and Linden was refreshed and repaired for the season.  Thanks to the AKA sorority for their ongoing clean up and care of the park.

Aicha Camara is our club's first outbound Youth Exchange student. She expects to pursue a career in robotics and thought Japan would be an excellent country to explore her ideas. She was selected by a club in Yokohama. The city has 3.7 million residents and is only 30 minutes from Tokyo. She made several comments in Japanese during her presentation and will learn more on her arrival.  She will attend St. Joseph High School, an all girls private school. After her presentation Alice Ford, on behalf of our club's foundation, presented Aicha a grant to cover her obligations to the host district.  The grant consisted of contributions from individuals, the club and foundation challenge.  Her flight is August 8th. Bon Voyage Aicha.
You can keep up with the adventure by checking our her blog located here.


Sunrise Rotary's Garage Sale to End Polio Now raised $1,800, which grows to $5,400 when the Gates Foundation 2-for-1 match is included.  That's enough to immunize 9,000 children! Thanks to Alice Ford for all her great work to plan, price, organize and sell for polio eradication.  Also thanks to all the Rotarians and friends who offered items for sale and worked in the heat to End Polio Now.

Bill Smith, district governor for 2016-2017, fully embraces Rotary's new president's theme: Rotary Serving Humanity. In the spirit of that theme the district is providing a self-teaching kit for Hands-Free CPR to each club. The governor also told his personal story of growth in Rotary.  It was all about responding to requests to join and to accept new positions of responsibility - so ASK people to join and to serve the community. He recommends attending the leadership institute and annual convention in Atlanta.  In the board meeting afterward he stressed new member orientation, citing Jackson-noon as an excellent example.

Lynn Todman, chairman of the board opened the presentation with her person story of how her grandfather left a share cropping family at 13 to pursue an education.  He found success and instilled in Mrs' Todman's family the importance of education.  This inspired her to lend her support to this program. Alloyd Blackmon, executive director, continued the presentation. The Benton Harbor Promise launched in 2011 with a mission to help all students in the greater Benton Harbor area achieve a post-secondary education. The Benton Harbor Promise realizes that every student regardless of financial means should have the opportunity to earn post-secondary credentials. The program provides full tuition and mandatory fees at any accredited community college or Career Technical school in Michigan where the student is accepted. The program has enrolled a total of 600 students but struggled initially with poor attendance and grades. The program worked with Lake Michigan College to provide "wrap-around-services" that included tutoring and transportation.  Now the grades and graduation rates are at the national average, 70% are going on for four year degrees.  For more information or make a donation click here.

New Rotary International president John Germ offers this wonderful pick-up line in the latest issue of The Rotarian magazine:
"I think you have the skills, the talent, and the character to make our community better, and I want you to join me in doing that."
The magazine also offers proof that Rotarians are happier and healthier because of their service.

The Belgium flag will welcome home Victoria Majois from her Rotary Youth Exchange year ending in July.  Victoria had praise for her Lakeshore host family and Lakeshore High School where she was graduated this year. The highlights of her trip were: being part of the track team (sports are by village in Europe), Niagara Falls, spring break in Florida with her host family and a trip out west.  Her biggest take-away from RYE: you can be happy in more than one place.

Yes, that's beer you see in the picture for this story.  Noel Dolan told Rotary how innovation takes place at Whirlpool.  She works in the "garage", a silicon valley like atmosphere with ping pong, foosball and collaboration happen among sixty professionals in a separate building. She used the Vessi Fermenter and Dispenser* as an example to describe the process. It starts with SPARK teams the generate product ideas and pitch them to management.  A successful idea can win a $20,000 prize for the winning team.  The garage then goes to work to create concept designs.  In the case of Vessi, the idea was put out on Indiegogo funding site to test initial market reaction. They sold 120 units in just a few weeks. Now they are working on the market and distribution channels.
*Vessi is an 8 gallon vat with temperate and pressure controls designed to make and dispense beer in a single unit about the size of a dishwasher. The dispenser shown in the photo is part of the unit.

Dave Krieger is shown after receiving an award for outstanding leadership during his presidency.  Dyann Chenault presented the award in place of incoming president Patrice Grant who had broken her ankle - ouch!.  The other new officers for 2016-2017 are Joseph Taylor, president nominee and Dan Utroske, chair of the club administration committee.  Dave presented a review of the year and thanked all the fellow officers for making his year special and  successful.

From left are Bob Kynast and his new member Eddie Marshall, and Fern Hollingshead and her new member Debbie Goforth.  Eddie has lived in Benton Harbor for 40 years and served as a city commissioner for 12 years. His wife Rose was in attendance for the induction. Debbie has had a career in customer service and now works at 5th/3rd on Napier Ave.  She has two grown children with husband Dave.  Welcome to Rotary! Patrice Grant, president-elect performed the induction ceremony.

Our own Dyann Chenault has attended the Rotary Leadership Institute recently and talked about Vocational Service, one of Rotary's five areas of service.  When Rotary was founded the business climate was dog-eat-dog and cutthroat competition.  Paul Harris thought a cooperative effort of non-competing businesses was better approach. This lead to rotating meetings at each business;  hence the name Rotary. The early objects of Rotary included promotion of business interests of its members. The Four Way Test made ethics a top priority of Rotary.  Club activities in Vocational Service include things like Group Study Exchange, support of Junior Achievement, and career mentoring. But we seem to have lost the promotion of business of members.  Who better to do business with than a Rotarian?  Not for discounts but for ethic business partners.  Jim Schueneman suggested we add "I am ... I do..." to our meetings.

The Benton Harbor Parks Conservancy placed a new sign at City Center Park.  The sign faces Main St. and shows Rotary as the adopting partner.

Stacey Davis, marketing representative for Mid-West Family Broadcasting, volunteered to play the piano for the club song. That put everyone in an excellent mode to hear her tell about Mid-West Family Broadcasting's unique position in their markets.  Mid-West  has no competition, radio or TV, that provide local content to the 283.100 residents in the tri-county area. They have eight people doing local news and feeding the free Town Crier Wire app.  And with six stations, all the listening habits covered. They also support the community with shows like the Brenda Layne Show and non-profit access to Moody in the Morning. Super Saver ads are just one way Stacey and Mid-West can put all these tools to work for local businesses.

Bill Schalk, communications manager, is happy to report that Cook Nuclear is still the lowest cost producer in the AEP portfolio. The low prices of natural gas is driving down prices but that is inspiring an industry-wide initiative to look at ways to reduce nuclear power costs. The plant is the middle of the license renewal which will extend operations to 2034 and 2037. Cook has a big impact on the community; employing 1,200 people with $100 million payroll, they also pay $36 million in property tax. The site has space for a third unit but demand is not growing enough to build a third plant.

The book, Tree Lady, was just one titles from the 700 books that went out from our Books for Kids program. It is a book of learning and inspiration, teaching persistence and community service. The books go to all pre-K, K, and 1st grade students in all the schools in the area.  The books are the students to take home, read and share with friends and family.  Thanks to District 6360 Foundation for a matching grant to help fund this program.  Also, thanks to Patrice Grant program chairperson for selecting and organizing the distribution, and all the Rotarians who helped with labels and delivery.

Don Mitchell, president of the club's foundation, presented five grants to community partners to advance our goals for the youth of Benton Harbor.  The recipients were to: Katie Boyer, Benton Harbor Public Library, for a summer reading program; Emma Kinnard and Audrey Lester, Fresh Start Children's Garden, for garden tools and supplies; Hilary Furney, Countryside Academy, for iPads for her Coding Club; Jennifer Zimmerman, Junior Achievement, for Inspiring Sodus' Future; Kim Sarola, First Tee of Benton Harbor, for Character Development 2016.  In addition, the foundation provided ten scholarships for the Berrien County Sheriff's Kids Camp.

Our own club's Lee Scherwitz overviewed this year's plans for Lest We Forget.  Landing craft rides at BH boat launch, battle re-enactments, Michigan Vietnam Wall cycle parade, helicopter rides, WW II camps and equipment, 7-7 chow hall, and more, are all part of this year's event, June 23 to 26. 

The airport will provide the camp ground for the troops.   Flyovers and parachute tributes are on the program again this year.

There are events for the whole family, such as, Leap Dogs Parachute Team, War Birds Aerial Display, 20th Century War Museum and rides in military aircraft ($).  Most events are FREE and open to the public.  Click here for times and places of events.

Rotarian Bryan Tutton's tractor is common site at our work projects.  Bryan is shown here working to create a new garden at the corner of Columbus and Division, on property owned by the Abundant Life Church.  He spent most of Sunday pushing back brush and debris to create open ground for the garden. He is working with Emma Kinnard of the Fresh Start Children's Garden and members of Abundant Life to establish the garden.  Emma has her first garden at May and Pearl. Bryan hopes to establish one new garden each year.  Fresh Start Children's Garden has received Rotary support through our Foundation grants.  Way to go Bryan and Emma!!

Wendy Mangelsdorf, senior case manager, provided an update on one of the programs funded in part by our club's foundation. The "littles" are all third grade students at Hull International in Benton Harbor; the "Bigs" are seniors at Lake Michigan Catholic.  This year twenty-two matches were made.  Weekly visits by the Bigs helped build solid relationships with their Littles.  This year's class of Bigs is planning to provide their littles with a shirt from the college the big plans to attend.  This will help build a long term relationship and remind the littles to make college a goal.  The shirts are a repeat of what happened last year.  It is likely to become a tradition of the program.

Mike Kinney lead a large group of Rotarians in the spring clean up of our adopted park - The Dwight P. Mitchell City Center Park. It took two truck loads to haul away all the weeds and leaves pulled and raked up from the park. Fresh mulch was placed through out the park.  The park looks ready for the Blossomtime parade.  The roundabouts on Main Street were also spruced up. Thanks to all the Rotarians who pitched in. A special thanks goes to Mike for his preparations and truck; and to Bryan Tutton who put his tractor hauling trash and mulch.

Countryside Academy Early Learning Center in Millburg was the site of this week's meeting. Above, left to right, are Sean Kellogg and Mark Gallagher, the staff members that lead the Chicken Coop project; and Sean with a student in the coop.  Sean reported that the project is a great success, providing learning experiences for all the students.  They help with the chores and harvest the eggs - eleven per day.
The meeting included an auction of a Golden Dozen to raise funds for the ongoing operation of the coop. The bidding was spirited, with bids from Rotary, Countryside's financial partners, George McManus and Millburg businesses. Shown below are the auctioneer and Sean with Skip Heavener, owner of the Millburg Trading Post, representing the businesses that won the auction with a bid of $1,400.

Bob and Mary Kynast are shown at the District 6360 recognition dinner.  Bob was recognized as our club's Rotary Hero for 2016.  Bob was cited for promoting a new literacy effort for our club that became our "Books for Kids" program which provides new books to kindergarten and first grades in our community.  He also lead the club through a complete re-branding of our events to promote the Books for Kids program in our community. These are excellent examples of his commitment to our mission to support the youth of Benton Harbor. Additionally, Bob consistently steps up when the club needs leadership. He currently serves as a fundraising chairman and has taken over the lead of the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary's largest event, the Pumpkin 5k & 10K Run & Walk.

Club Information

Welcome to our Website!

Benton Harbor-Sunrise

Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
Elks Lodge (BPOE 541)
601 Riverview Dr.
For mail: PO Box 1552
Benton Harbor, MI  49022-1552
United States
District Site
Venue Map
Aug 31, 2016
German Exchange Student "
Sep 07, 2016
Bob Kynast
Preparation for the 5k/10 race
Sep 14, 2016
Bob Kynast
Preparation for Bed Race and the Pumpkin Festival
Sep 21, 2016
Lake Michigan College
Off-Site Hanson Technology Center
Oct 12, 2016
Farai Rukunda


Pam Pappas - September 5

Mike Scheffler - September 8

Bob Elliott - September 30


Lee Scherwitz - Oct 9

Larry Culby - Oct 14

Lorraine Day - Oct 14

Kevin Geiser - Oct 14

Sarah Stocker - Oct 20


Brian Tutton - Nov 22
Rotary membership gives men and women an opportunity to forge new friendships and share the rewards of helping others through volunteer service.