Grant presentation, Aug. 11
Lori Barnes Miller, Springfield Southeast Rotary president-elect, presents a $20,000 check to Amy Blansit, founder and director of the Drew Lewis Foundation and The Fairbanks project in northwest Springfield.
The club applied for a Rotary District Simplified Grant to help Blansit create infrastructure at The Fairbanks, a former elementary school that has been turned into a community center to help struggling families. The infrastructure includes supplies, technology, and office equipment.
Some of the $20,000 came from Southeast Rotary's funds donated by members, but other funds came from The Rotary Foundation.
Blansit said the latest project is to create a computer center so people in the area who can't afford high-speed internet connections can go there and use the computers to apply for jobs and do other things on the internet.
Blansit and her late husband, Drew Lewis, bought the old school with intentions of creating housing in it. After Lewis became sick and then died, the vision for the building changed.
More information about The Fairbanks is available at www.thefairbankssgf.com.
Welcome new member Scott Smith
Chelsey Bode introduced him on Aug. 18. His co-sponsor is Rick Van Pelt.
Scott is an attorney with Rooney McBride & Smith. Prior to forming that firm, Scott practiced with a nationally recognized product liability law firm in Springfield, where he represented catastrophically injured individuals in cases all over the United States.
Scott is admitted to practice in Missouri and Kansas, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and the United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit. He focuses his practice on bankruptcy, family law, Social Security disability, personal injury, and traffic law.
Scott earned a B.S. in Biology in 2001 at Missouri Southern State University, where he was a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society and an officer on the student senate. He earned his law degree in 2004 at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he also was a teaching assistant for first-year law students.
Scott is a member of the Commercial Insolvency, Young Lawyers, Social Security, and Family Law Committees with the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association.
He was selected in 2011 by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri to provide training to attorneys on representing debtors in bankruptcy litigation. Scott has also completed Civil and Family Mediation Training through Missouri State University’s Center for Dispute Resolution.
Scott is a member of Second Baptist Church. He also is a charter member of Business Exchange of Springfield and serves as vice president/membership chair of that professional organization.
Scott and his wife, Brooke, who is also an attorney, have three sons. Scott enjoys spending time with his family and playing golf.
Welcome new member Bruce Long
Scott Bailes introduced Bruce on Aug. 11.
Bruce is president and chief operating officer of Ozarks Coca-Cola since last January. He's worked for the company for more than 15 years. He began there as the corporate convenience manager and corporate marketing manager. Prior to being named as president and COO, Bruce served as vice president of Marketing/Business Development.
Bruce has a BS and a Master in Education from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar. Previous jobs include regional vice president of sales at Teters Floral Products, head baseball coach at SBU, and a professional baseball pitcher in the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies minor league systems from 1983 to 1988.
Bruce attends Ridgecrest Baptist Church and is active in several industry organizations.
Welcome new member Emily Kembell
Krystal Russell introduced her on July 21. Rick Van Pelt is Krystal's co-sponsor.
Emily has most recently served as chief regional administrative officer and trust counsel for Simmons Wealth Management in its Springfield office. Prior to taking that position in July 2014, she was a partner in the Springfield law firm of Carnahan, Evans, Cantwell & Brown, where she practiced in the estates and trusts practice areas for six-and-a-half years.
Emily is a Springfield native. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A & M University in 2000, and a law degree from New York University in 2003. She also received her LL.M. in Tax from New York University in 2006.
Emily began her legal career in New York City with two law firms. She returned to Springfield in January 2008.
Kembell is active in the community and Missouri Bar. She's the Incoming treasurer of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, serves on the Board of Directors for Foundation for Springfield Public Schools, and serves as a Planned Giving Committee member for the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks. She is also a Planning Committee member of the Missouri Bar’s Annual Estate, Trust & Elder Law Institute, a member of Greene County Estate Planning Council (GCEPC), and a frequent speaker at several Missouri and Arkansas Bar Associations’ CLE Courses.
Welcome new member Kevin Austin
Rick Gilmore introduced Kevin on July 7.
Kevin is a Springfield native who attended grade school, middle school and high school in the city. He graduated from Southwest Missouri State University (now MSU) with a degree in financial management. He then earned a law degree from the University of Missouri where he was a member of the Order of the Quaif and worked on the Law Review staff.
After college, he worked at Lowther Johnson law firm. He left to become a partner at Keck & Austin law firm, which specializes in insurance defense and corporate law.
Kevin was elected as 136th District state representative in 2014. He is now an assistant House floor leader.
Kevin is married to Jodie, a state probation officer. They have two sons: Alex is a freshman at Drury and Nick is a senior at Glendale H.S. They are members of King's Way United Methodist Church.
Welcome new member Scott Haney
Rick Van Pelt introduced Scott on July 7.
Scott was born in Green Bay, Wisc., and grew up on his parents' farm. He's a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, where he played baseball for a time.
Scott was promoted last March to community president of Wood & Huston Bank in Springfield, where he's worked for nine years. He is a previous member of Rotary Club of Cape Girardeau West, where he was elected president for 2015 - 16 and was honored as Rotarian of the Year.
Scott is married to Teresa and they have two children: a 3-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter.
Welcome new member Stephen Hoffman
Rick Van Pelt introduced Steve on July 7.
Steve was born and raised in Appleton, Wisc. He attended University of Wisconsin and graduated from University of South Florida with a degree in finance.
Steve worked for The Frick Company in St. Louis for more than 20 years, and advanced to senior vice president. That company consults with employers and helps administer control over employer and employee payroll taxes.
After The TALX Corporation bought The Frick Company, Steve served as president of its Tax Planning Division. He retired in 2004.
Steve moved to the Table Rock Lake area in 2006. He and his wife, Mandy, bought a wine and grocery shop in 2012, but sold it to Vino Cellars in Springfield in 2014.
In retirement, Steve volunteers with American Red Cross disaster relief and Habit for Humanity. He and his wife also continue to travel extensively around the world.