Schedule of Activities
Twin Club Projects
Five Avenues of Service
Becoming A Member
The History of
the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast, Missouri
In 1965, Sam Hamra received a telephone call from Ernie Olson. Ernie said that the Springfield Rotary Club had received some encouragement from District 607 and Rotary International offices to charter and sponsor a new Rotary Club in Springfield. He, along with Frank Gamble and Les Kennon, were the three Springfield Rotary members assigned as principal charter club sponsors and who were empowered to start a new club in southeast Springfield. The geographical limits were to be east of National and south of Grand, meaning no one could join the new Rotary club unless they lived and or worked within these geographical limits.
During the month of June, 1967, the first organizational meeting was held in the basement of the Lamplighter Motel, with thirty-two members present. A charter application was prepared and signed by thirty-two applicants. An election of officers was held. The officers elected were:
President - Sam Hamra
First Vice President - Fr. Bill Magill
Second Vice President Frank Gamble
Secretary - Ernie Olson
Treasurer - Creed Petty
Since Dr. Graham Clark, President of the School of the Ozarks, Branson, MO., was serving as Governor of District 607 at the time, the members decided they wanted the charter issued while Dr. Clark was District Governor. Dr. Clark said if the papers were signed, he would come to Springfield, then fly the document to Rotary International headquarters to be sure to have the charter before the end of June, while he was still District Governor. He did this and the club was chartered on June 28, 1967.
The first meeting of the Rotary Club of Springfield-Southeast was held at the Lamplighter Motor Hotel on Thursday, July 6, 1967, with President Sam Hamra, Jr. presiding and Dr. M. Graham Clark, President of the School of the Ozarks, as speaker. The first weekly bulletin, entitled Rotary, appeared on July 10, 1967, with Leonard Ernstmann as editor. Meetings were held on Thursday noon of each week at the Lamplighter Motel, at the corner of Glenstone and Sunshine, Springfield, MO.
Since very few of the charter members knew much about Rotary procedures, customs, etc., they invited members of the downtown Rotary Club of Springfield to speak at the weekly meetings. The first sergeant-at-arms was John A. Simpson. He provided great entertainment for the club that first year.
Much time was spent by Bill Magill and his committee planning for the charter presentation night of September 21, 1967. The time finally arrived and approximately 150 persons, representing more than thirty Rotary Clubs, attended the charter presentation at the Lamplighter Motel. Past District Governor, M. Graham Clark, President, School of the Ozarks, presented the charter to the first President, Sam Hamra, Jr. Mrs. June Hamra, accompanied by Wilfred Adler, provided music for the special program. Dr. C.B. Thomas, District 607 Governor, Lebanon, MO., was in attendance and presented the club slogan as a gift. “It’s more important to get Rotary into a man than to get a man into Rotary.” It was an evening enjoyed by all. Various clubs provided Rotary gifts to the club, which the club continues to use today. Since this was the first Rotary Club chartered in the area after the Springfield Rotary Club was formed, it was newsworthy and was covered well by the news media.
Bartley, Imon Leigh, Doug
Becker, Daniel L. McClernon, Harry J.
Blades, Ross Dees McDaniel, Carl K.
Carr, Donald L. Magill, Rev. Wm. H.
Cohen, Herbert R. Nixon, Charles
Cole, Jack O. Olson, Ernest P.
Donegan, George J. Pettey, Cread F.
Ernstmann, Leonard F. Rich, Donald L.
Gamble, Franklin Riebold, Hubert A.
Gordon, Samuel S. Robinson, Ralph B.
Graham, G. Gaynerd Ross, Jack
Hamra, Sam F. Jr. Shain, J. Aubrey
Harbin, David F. Simpson, John
Jordan, Joseph W. Stretesky, Rudy J.
Jurras, Mark I. Waddell, Kenneth E.
Krause, Jerry Yarnell, Duane
Rev. William Magill was elected to serve as the second President of the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast for 1968 - 1969. He left town before his term expired, and Dr. Doug Leigh succeeded him to fill an unexpired term. The following year, he was elected for a full term for 1969 - 1970. He was the only President to serve more than one term as President. The club met with the Springfield Rotary Club on February 18, 1969 at the Student Union, Southwest Missouri State College, to celebrate the downtown club’s fiftieth anniversary. The club hosted a group of Australians in May 1969. In October, the club held its first fireside chat. Membership grew from 48 on June, 30, 1968 to 67 members as of June 30, 1969. Membership on June 30, 1970 was 72.
Dan Becker served as President from 1970 - 1971. The club met for a time at the Bonanza Sirloin Pit in December, 1970. Membership on June 30, 1971 was 81.
Don Handley served as President from 1971 - 1972. In December, 1971, the club set out to help with a Neighborhood Watch Program. The first hands-on project for the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast was a Neighborhood Watch Program, in cooperation with the Springfield Police Department. The project was well supported, with members volunteering and providing funds. The club was commended for their involvement. In June, 1972, the club hosted a Group Study Exchange team from England. On June 30, 1972, membership was 84.
In 1972 - 1973, Gaynerd Graham served as President. In the fall of 1972, a new title appeared in the Spokesman: “Fearless Forecaster.” Ross Ausburn, a former Oklahoma football great, forecast the winners of the weekly college football games. It was reported that some Rotarians were caught gambling because of the forecast. The club continued to hold a yearly fireside chat; and this year was no exception. The club met at John A. Simpson’s for the annual meeting. On June 30, 1973, membership was 85.
Jim Jones served as President from 1973 - 1974. His goals included developing a pictorial membership directory and initiating a club comprehensive orientation program. The club reached a membership of 100 in January, 1974. At the Riverside Inn, during the Installation Banquet, outgoing President Jim Jones handed the gavel to incoming President John Simpson and all the members walked out. Membership on 30 June, 1974 was 111.
In 1974 - 1975, John A. Simpson served the club as President, however, in October, 1974, he broke one arm and injured the other, so that both were carried in slings. On February 13, 1975, the board approved plans for two printings of the “Let’s Go Bikes” booklets. Ten thousand copies of the booklet were printed. The club worked with the Springfield Police Department to keep a low rate of accidents involving bicycles. Bike reflectors were produced for the purpose of distributing them to the neighborhood children. In April, 1975, six New Zealand Rotarians were entertained as a part of the Rotary Group Study Exchange Program. Membership on June 30, 1975 was 116.
Jim Osborn was President in 1975 - 1976. A family picnic was held at the Buena Vista Ranch picnic grounds. The first Past Presidents’ Dinner was held. In February 1975, cash contributions of $3600 were given to the City of Springfield to provide restrooms at Phelps Grove Park. Membership on June 30, 1976 was 107.
In 1976 - 1977, Charlie O’Reilly served as Club President. The club sponsored the re-settlement of a Vietnamese family. The club hosted a Group Study Exchange team from Italy. Ernie Olson, the first secretary of the club, returned for the 1977 Installation Program and was presented the first Paul Harris Fellow awarded by the club’s first president, Sam Hamra, Jr. Ernie served as secretary until June, 1971. Membership on June 30, 1977 was 116.
In 1977 - 1978, with Joseph Green as President, the club combined the Annual Fireside meeting with the club assembly. Several members encountered heart problems during that year, including President Joe Green. President-elect, Gary Lipscomb, very ably carried on for Joe from time to time and was installed as President on June 29 at the Hickory Hills Country Club. Membership on June 30, 1978 was 120.
Gary Lipscomb was President in 1978 - 1979. The club entertained a Group Study Exchange team from New Zealand and one from Sweden, then sent several students from the area to Camp Enterprise with the Kansas City Rotary Club. Our own past president, Don Handley, served as District 607 Governor for 1978-1979. Mac McCartney seved as District 607 Secretary. Membership on June 30, 1979 was 134.
In 1979 - 1980, N.L. McCartney served as President. The Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast joined with the Rotary Club of Springfield in a social event celebrating Rotary’s 75th Anniversary Year. In celebration of this anniversary, the club also joined the Rotary Club of Springfield in sponsoring a supplement to the local newspaper commemorating Rotary’s anniversary. Interesting programs featured Missouri Governor Chiritopher “Kit” Bond and Attorney General John Ashcroft. The club sponsored a young man from the area to join others in District 607 on the Group Study Exchange Team visiting Sweden. A family picnic was held at Doug Leigh’s “farm.” As of September 11, 1979, we had 14 Paul Harris Fellows and 3 Sustaining members. Membership on June 30, 1980 was 137.
Neil Eskelin was the club’s President in 1980 - 1981. As of September 1980, we had 18 Paul Harris Fellows and 7 sustaining members. On April 18, 1981, the Group Study Exchange Team from Sweden, District 238, presented an excellent program which contributed to the number of high quality programs for which the club has become famous. The club toured the R.T. French plant. The membership in June, 1981 was 143.
In 1981 - 1982, Olin Grooms served as President. Barneby and Flanagans (at the Lamplighter Motel) was closed on one occasion by the Health Department which caused the President and the Board of Directors to do a fast search for a place to meet that week. The club met at the Bonanza, but after a couple of weeks, they were back at the Lamplighter. A short time later, the restaurant closed permanently and the club went through the same experience a second time. The club met at the Sheraton Hotel and then moved to the Wooden Nickel Restaurant. President Olin Grooms served the club well in those times of crisis. A milestone was reached during 1981-1982 when the membership reached 150. In August, 1981, the club had twenty-one Paul Harris Fellows and twelve sustaining members. Membership on June 30, 1982, was 147.
Guy Bates, Jr. served as Club President in 1982 - 1983. For the first time in its’ history, the club made a long term commitment to a community project, agreeing to underwrite a unique animal survival program at the Springfield Dickerson Park Zoo. The club hosted a Group Study Exchange team from Hong Kong. Membership at the end of June 1983 was 146.
In 1983 - 1984, Larry Baughman served as Club President. The club was no longer constrained by geographical boundaries. A joint meeting with the Rotary Club of Springfield, featuring Skip Kreidler, Tulsa, OK., as speaker, internationally known for his presentation dealing with the importance of the Four-Way Test. A Group Study Exchange team from New Zealand visited the club.
N. L. “Mac” McCartney served as District 607 Governor and Rex Johnson served as Club President in 1984 - 1985. At the Shrimp Feed, the first club picture was made. The club donated funds for remodeling the Golden Lion Tamarian Exhibit at the Dickerson Park Zoo. A breezeway roof and backdrop was added to the exhibit to cut glare on the window viewing areas. The Youth Projects Committee was created on July 1, 1984.
The District 607 Conference was held in Springfield, MO., with the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast hosting a “Bull Roast” evening at Fantastic Caverns. At one luncheon meeting, Mike Lampe, from the Dickerson Park Zoo brought a bald eagle and gave a presentation on the impressive bird’s travels throughout the united States. The Installation Banquet was held at the University Plaza. Decorations included fifty to sixty large flags, representing countries from all over the world. The flag arrangement really brought home the international aspect of Rotary, as well as added a lot of color to the evening. Rotary International’s convention was held in Kansas City in June of 1985. Over twenty members attended the convention. Membership at the end of June, 1985 was 167.
In 1985 - 1986, Jerry Stiefvater served as Club President. The club moved the meeting location from the Wooden Nickel to the Sheraton Hotel. The move was described as leading the club from a dark cave into sunny daylight. The club contributed $10,000 to the Ronald McDonald House. It was their first major gift. During this year, the club produced hard cover directories for the membership. The club hosted a Group Study Exchange team from New Zealand. When a program canceled at the last minute, the CEO’s from GE, French’s and 3M stepped up and did a roundtable on “Problems Doing Business Today.” It was the best program of the year. Membership on June 30, 1986 was 165.
Andy Dalton served as Club President in 1986 - 1987. Interesting programs included ones in which the state candidates for political office spoke to the club. Membership on June 30, 1987 was 173.
In 1987 - 1988, Jim McLeod served as Club President. The single most important highlight of the year, was the success of Rotary International’s PolioPlus campaign, for which our club pledged $62,000 to the PolioPlus campaign. The Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the a club’s charter was held on September 17, 1987. Local scholarships were doubled from $3500 to $7000, with the intent of granting $1000 to a student from each of the city’s seven high schools. By an amusing coincidence, at one school the scholarship committee was faced with choosing between twins of equal qualifications and need. In the true spirit of Rotary, the Board approved an additional $1000, so that each of the students could be given a full scholarship. The club hosted a Group Study Exchange team from Bangladesh. President Jim McLeod appointed a committee to recruit female members. On January 23, 1988, a dance was held at the Shrine Mosque for PolioPlus. Hank Thompson was the star performer. Membership on June 30, 1988 was 176.
Harry Kirkpatrick served as President in 1988 - 1989. The club arranged for the contribution of surplus medical ultrasonic equipment to RI for placement in a university hospital in Honduras. The equipment was donated by Smith-Glynn-Callaway Clinic. The first woman to join the club was Carol DeHaven on November 10, 1988. A family picnic was held on August 27 and included catered barbecued food, sno-cones, popcorn, games and hot air balloon rides. The club co-sponsored the first annual Rotary Basketball Tournament. Four area Rotary clubs provided teams, each paying a one hundred dollar entry fee. Spectators made contributions as the price of admission. This resulted in a $500 gift to Special Olympics, inter-club activity and great fellowship. In November 1988, the club voted to establish a Rotary breakfast club and our sister club, Springfield Sunrise, was chartered on June 14, 1989. Membership in the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast on June 30, 1989 was 166.
In 1989 - 1990, Steve Benton served as Club President. In April 1990, the club hosted the Brazilian Group Study Exchange Team. The club’s nominee for the District 607 trip to Brazil, Roy Vinyear, was accepted. Roy spent approximately five weeks touring Brazil as a part of the District team. Jim Cantrell served as sergeant-at-arms and frequently accompanied the membership on his banjo as all joined in singing some of the old time classics. Membership on June 30, 1990 was 169.
Jerry Stiefvater served as District 607 Governor and Steve Scott served as Club President in 1990 - 1991. Jerry Stiefvater served as District Governor for District 607. A golf tournament was held for the first time. The House Committee saw to it that all banners were either repaired or replaced, new holders for displaying flags of other clubs were made, as well as a large wooden storage box to hold and protect the renovated work. Dan Emrie led the work team. The Basketball Tournament was expanded from four to six teams. The club began the practice of giving cups to speakers. Dr. VanCleve of SMSU spoke about the ramifications of the current Gulf War.
The most significant project the club undertook; however, was providing $10,000 seed money to begin construction of the Ozarks Greenways Project, a walking/biking path. This was an ideal undertaking to benefit our community and fit well with the “Preserve Planet Earth” theme. The money was pledged as $7500.00 for the Rotary year 1990-1991 and $2500.00 from the 1991-1992 year. In addition, seed money was contributed to Leadership Springfield. Membership on June 30, 1991 was 171.
In 1991 - 1992, Danny Correll served as Club President. Four students participated in the Summer Student Exchange program. The club participated in the Russian Relief Project. The club hosted a year-long exchange student from Turkey, a Russian Exchange team and the Philippine Group Study Exchange Team. An August bus trip to Harvest Festival in Freistadt, MO., was a memorable experience. Miss Missouri 1991, Soncee Brown, spoke to the club at a weekly luncheon. After many years at the Sheraton, the club moved to the Mid America Cancer Center in the spring of 1992.
The club was recognized by the Springfield Public School system for its mentorship program with Central High School. This program followed the selected students from their junior year through their first year after high school. The primary emphasis was on preparing the students for the workplace. Membership on June 30, 1992 was 182.
Mike Williamson served as Club President in 1992 - 1993. The club hosted a Group Study Exchange team from District 4840, Paraguay and Argentina. The Club voted to commit not only money, but the time and talents of its membership to a housing project, in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity, to commemorate the Club’s 25th anniversary. The club committed $25000.00, plus in-kind support, to build a Habitat for Humanity house in the Springfield community.
This was the first year of the Rotary International “Presidential Citation.” The Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast has received the award every year since its inception. A Rotary meeting sign was constructed for display outside the Mid-America Cancer Center to help Rotary visitors find their way to the weekly luncheon. To celebrate the club’s twenty-fifth anniversary, a banquet was held at which Missouri Governor John Ashcroft, a former active and current honorary member of our club, spoke and John Davidson entertained. John Simpson served as master of ceremonies. Membership on June 30, 1993, was 200.
In 1993 - 1994, David Caffey served as Club President. The club entertained the Group Study Exchange team from India. Our club gave $20,535.00 back to the local community that year, through scholarships and various community projects such as Boys and Girls Club’s summer program, Special Olympics, Leadership Academy and The Kitchen. In addition, the highlight of the year was the completion and dedication of a Habitat for Humanity House on April 10, 1994. Forty-five members volunteered and provided many hours of labor and a donation of $25,000.00. On September 28, 1993, all three clubs in Springfield joined together for a joint meeting which was a debate on “The Economy of the Nineties-Where Are We Headed” and it featured economists Arthur Laffer and Robert Kutner. The Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast challenged the Springfield Rotary Club to a softball game at Fassnight Park. Membership on June 30, 1994 was 191.
Doug Nickell served as Club President in 1994 - 1995. A joint campaign named “Save Our City” was started with all three Springfield clubs. The project’s purpose was to assist the Springfield Police Department in providing better protection for the citizens of Springfield through the acquisition of drug sniffing dogs. Three drug sniffing dogs were purchased at a cost of $6500.00 each. The project also included training for the dogs’ handlers and outfitting special police vehicles for the dogs. Partnering with St. John’s Regional Health Center, the Springfield clubs’ donation of $16000.00 enabled the Springfield Police Department to convert a donated ambulance to a Mobile Crime Scene Van. A Group Study Exchange team from Indonesia and one from India, visited our club. With the help of Springfield Southeast, the first Rotaract Club in Springfield was established on June 14, 1995. Membership on June 30, 1995 was 191.
In 1995 - 1996, Barbara Lucks served as Club President. Barbara was the first female president of the club. A Group Study Exchange team from Thailand visited in April, 1996. In conjunction with the Ozark’s Technical Community College, the club sponsored a career booklet called the Career Passport. The self-guided booklet was used in a week-long “TECHSPO” event for helping students make decisions on future careers. Cathy Reser retired as club secretary after serving twenty five years. Theresa Robertson was hired on May 1, 1996, to serve as the executive secretary. Membership on June 30, 1995 was 193.
Steve Rice served as Club President in 1996 - 1997. Steve proposed an idea for a project for the three Springfield Rotary clubs. The Rotary clubs worked together to fund the printing of a local resource guide book which would tell teenagers everything they could do in the summer, as well as why, when and how to become involved. The project was named “Super Summers, Springfield”. The project took two years to complete, at a cost of $30,000. Seventeen thousand copies were distributed to all seventh through eleventh grade students in Springfield, MO. The New Member Mentor program and mixer meetings were established. A Paul Harris Fellow Appreciation “Event” was held for the first time and became an annual event. A “Blue Ribbon” committee was appointed to review and update the club by-laws and create a club manual of procedures. Kelly Weber, a Springfield High School student, went to Wales on a long-term youth exchange program. Membership on June 30, 1997 was 194.
In 1997 - 1998, Gene Molnar served as Club President. The year saw the completion of the Super Summers Project. The club hosted the District 6070 Rotary Conference. Jim McLeod served as District Governor and David Caffey was the District Treasurer. The opening session of the District Conference was held at the Clarion Hotel in Springfield, MO. Springfield Southeast held a “Shrimp Feed” for the conference. A golf mixer with the Springfield Rotaract Club was held. Membership on June 30, 1998 was 196.
Marty Ross served as Club President from 1998 - 1999. A Leadership Education Training Seminar was created to help make the transition into the next Rotary year as smooth as possible. A Long Range Planning Committee, chaired by Steve Scott, was established to review the structure and activities of the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast, identifying areas in need of improvement or change. An Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Committee, chaired by David Caffey, produced the famous video starring Lisa Nally, Brent Dunn and John Simpson. The screenplay was written by Joe Meystrik and helped to make Rotarians more aware of the importance of organ and tissue donations. Oscar Awards were handed out at the Installation Banquet. A special banquet was held on April 1, 1999 at the Tower Club. The Service Above Self Banquet was held to unveil a Rotary International recipient of the Service Above Self Award. Dr. Steve Rice was chosen by Rotary International from hundreds of volunteers who had demonstrated exemplary humanitarian service, with an emphasis on personal volunteer efforts and active involvement in helping others. This is Rotary International’s highest honor for an individual Rotarian. A maximum of 150 recipients may be selected each year. Our District designation changed from 6070 to 6080. Membership on June 30, 1999 was 196.
In 1999 - 2000, Ken Coleman served as Club President. Our club hosted an exchange student from Venezuela. We began the Youth Mission Minute Program, where individuals and organizations working with youth, were honored during our weekly luncheons. We hosted a Friendship Exchange team from England and held a Fall Mixer at Bass Pro. Membership on June 30, 2000 was 185.
Paul Sherard served as Club President from 2000 - 2001. Under his leadership, Southeast joined in the Second Annual Rotary Clubs’ Rock’n Ribs Festival. Marty Ross served as co-chair of the event and Southeast provided leadership and money for the event, which raised over $33,000 for local youth charities. Membership at the end of the year was 185.
In 2001 - 2002, Steve Montgomery served as Club President. Southeast introduced thirty new members, increasing to 202 members. In addition, Southeast sponsored a new Rotary club, the Rotary Club of Springfield North. The new club was chartered with thirty-six members. Responding to the terrorist events of September 11, 2001, Southeast sponsored a community Youth Forum for high school and middle school students and participated in Rotary International’s refugee project in Afghanistan.
Under the leadership of Brent Dunn in 2002 - 2003, Southeast made a special trip to the United Nations in New York in July, 2002. Rotarians and their families spent time touring the United Nations building and heard briefings on its work in the world. The tour also included a visit to Ground Zero, where the September 11 attack on America occurred.
Southeast celebrated its 35th Anniversary with a fall dinner and auction at the Jude Ranch. On November 21, Southeast joined with the other area Rotary clubs to hold a joint club meeting at the University Plaza Convention Center. The speaker for the event was Duane Sterling, the retiring General Manager of the Rotary Foundation. The club raised over $31,000.00 for PolioPlus to finish the commitment to rid the world of Polio. A raffle was held to raise funds for PolioPlus and Cindy Howell won the His and Her Rolex watches. The Club purchased a new drug dog for the Springfield Police Department to replace one of the original dogs that Southeast purchased in 1995.
A key goal for President Brad Bodenhausen during the 2003 – 2004 Rotary year was to make the international aspect of Rotary more tangible for members of our club. A highlight of the year was joining together with Club Rotario Tlaquepaque El Refugio in Mexico as “Twin Clubs” in Rotary service. Additionally, numerous international exchanges emphasized the global network of friendship and fellowship available through Rotary. The club hosted Group Study Exchange teams from India and Japan, a Friendship Exchange team from Thailand and a Youth Exchange student from Ecuador. Rotary’s international scope also provides many service opportunities. The club donated funds to build a house for a family in Nicaragua and sponsored the production of educational videos about drug abuse prevention and environmental protection for distribution to all the schools in Tlaquepaque – our first community service project in partnership with our Twin Club.
Bonnie Keller served as President in 2004-05. This was the year that Rotarians worldwide celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Rotary International. Southeast was entertained weekly by the Centennial Sarge Team, which was comprised of past sergeants-at-arms. Various interesting programs included one by the US Department of Treasury’s Secretary and one by the US Attorney General (and Southeast’s Honorary Member) John Ashcroft. The Installation of Officers was changed from a evening banquet to a recognition luncheon on the last meeting of the year. It is a practice that is continued today.
In honor of the 100th Anniversary of Rotary International, Southeast joined with the other clubs in Springfield to sponsor a joint venture with 417 Magazine. A special section in the 417 Magazine promoted Rotary’s service mission and celebrated the 100 years of Rotary. In addition, the joint Rotary club meeting for 2004-05 featured an outstanding video presentation on Rotary and a Paul Harris impersonator.
The Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast formally committed to "K-Park at Jordan Valley Park", an interactive sculpture park, as our Centennial Project. The project was formally dedicated on May 21, 2005. This "park within a park" features our club as the sole presenter to benefit the children of Springfield and surrounding areas. This lead role was achieved and approved by the City of Springfield through an initial $50,000 commitment of club funds and member contributions which underwrote a master plan, purchase and installation of Kinetic Man, signage, and a portion of The Rock. Our commitment is long term and on-going, The Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast will continue to serve in a leadership role to ensure that the interactive areas of K-Park are selected and funded according to the wishes of the club, working in conjunction with the City of Springfield and the Springfield-Greene County Parks Department.
On June 18-22, 2005, a group of Southeast Rotarians made the journey to Chicago, Illinois to attend the 100th Anniversary of the Rotary International at the 2005 Rotary International 96th Annual Convention. A bus was rented for the week to provide transportation for the group and hotel rooms at the Comfort Inn & Suites on Ohio Street were obtained. Once at the convention, Southeast members were joined with two members from our Twin Club in Mexico. A special dinner was held at the top of the John Hancock building. Members of Southeast, our Twin Club friends and other Springfield Rotarians watched the sunset over Chicago and then feasted on a lovely meal and wonderful fellowship.
Bob Hammerschmidt served as President in 2005-2006. The annual theme, “Service Above Self” was exemplified as Southeast Rotarians attained the Presidential Citation for 2005-06. Our crowning achievement was the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Nixa. With a club survey as our guide, we initiated Rotary Fellowship Luncheons and meetings devoted to “mini-classification talks” to help get to know each other better. Our club streamlined the membership proposal process and officially adopted K-Park and Club Rotario del Refugio as long-range projects. The membership screening committee was expanded to help improve the quality of our new member proposals. Club By-laws and Manual of Procedure were also brought up-to-date.
Under the leadership of Shawn Harris, Southeast caught the attention of the Rotary International. Along with the other Springfield Rotary Clubs and Rotaract Club, Southeast received a Rotary International award for the Mobile Food Pantry project as one of its Best Cooperative Projects for 2006-07. In addition, Southeast received the RI Membership Development Initiative Award for developing and implementing creative strategies to positively impact membership. Member Jim McLeod was selected to serve on the Rotary International Nominating Committee to select the Rotary International Directors. Membership at the end of the 40 years was 230.
On of the highlights of the 2006-07 Rotary year was returning to an Annual Christmas event. A large crowd of Rotarians and their spouses enjoyed the festive evening at the Vandivort Center on Walnut Street, downtown. Entertainment was the Skinny Improv group. On June 28, 2007, members gathered together at Hammons Field, reserved exclusively for the event, to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast. Because of the goal to capture the club’s most treasured traditions with the celebration, the board moved the July Shrimp Feed to serve as the foundation for the June 28 event. Entertainment included the Strolling Garbonzos, a video presentation of club memories, breakout discussion sessions and ended with a fireworks show, provided by the Past Presidents.
During the 2007-2008 year Southeast Rotary continued its outstanding record of giving. The club supported a myriad of local and international projects including participation in the Rock 'n Ribs Festival which netted approximately $130,000 for Children of the Ozarks and the Special Olympics basketball tournament which raised nearly $11,000. Among the other projects supported were; Rotary Mobile Food Pantry, Polio Plus, Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, UMR chapter of Engineers Without Borders, Convoy of Hope, and a joint project with the Club Rotario Tlaquepaque El Refugio in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco Mexico in which we donated $4000 toward the rehabilitation of a Child Care Center. Fellowship was in full swing and was highlighted by our Christmas Party which was held at Highland Springs. Club member Steve Smith and his band "The Sneakers" provided the entertainment. The Fifth Thursday Make Up Opportunity fellowship event was established and proved very successful. We also participated in joint programs with the other Springfield clubs when we helped host the all city luncheon where Former U.S. Senator John Danforth spoke, the District 6080 meeting where we sponsored a table discussion, and the Zones 29 & 30 Zone Institute where we provided financial support, supplies and volunteers.
During the 2008-09 Rotary year, Anne Keckeley Brown served as president of the club. One of the highlights of international service was a trip to visit the Club Rotario Tlaquepaque El Refugio in Mexico. A delegation of twelve, including members and spouses, witnessed the plaque unveiling of the project to rehabilitate the San Miguel Child Care Center. The group also participated in activities with the children, attended Rotary meetings and purchased supplies for a soccer field. Other international projects in Africa and Honduras were supported during the year for almost $9,000. A highlight of the year was the luncheon held in June, 2009 with the other Springfield Rotary Clubs. Rotary International President Elect Nominee Ray Klinginsmith of Kirksville, MO was the featured speaker and spoke on vocational service and international projects. Membership at the end of the year was 229.
Southeast Rotary continued its reputation of excellence during the 2009-2010 Rotary year.
Many individuals stepped forward and provided leadership to the many projects completed. The commitment of so many club members to our projects is a testament to the strength of our club. Rock N Ribs was again lead by SE members and resulted in providing a record amount of support to the Ozarks Children's Charities. The club also strengthened its relationship with our Twin Club in Tlaquepaque, Mexico where we provided financial support for construction of restrooms. Of special note, the Long Range Planning Committee was convened and helped solidify the future of our club. Club members were especially grateful to be able to support the Polio Plus Challenge through our “Four of Clubs” raffle. Many Club members also became enlightened during the year and shifted their allegiances from the Chiefs to the Vikings.
The 2010-2011 Rotary year was marked by two key projects. First, President John Horton wanted to create a hands-on project that Southeast Rotarians would be able to see the faces of those they were helping. The club was able to duplicate a program from Farmington, New Mexico with an drug education program teaching 5th graders about the dangers of methamphetamine usage. Over 30 club members served in various capacities as they provided the education to almost 2500 elementary kids, who will hopefully never experiment with the most addictive, destructive drug. Secondly, we were able to spread the gift of Rotary by chartering yet another club. The feeling was that Springfield was large enough to have an evening club, so a committee led by Bonnie Keller was formed to start the Rotary Club of Springfield Metro. The new club was charted on March 9th, 2011 with 63 members. Southeast only lost 4 members to this new club. To date, Southeast has now chartered 5 new clubs: Sunrise, Rotaract, North, Nixa & Metro. Southeast also continued implementing the recommendations of the long range planning committee. We started automating the attendance process with scanners, continued the Polio Plus challenge fund raising with our weekly progressive raffle and our leadership with Rock N Ribs to reach the $1 million mark in money donated to Children’s Charities.
Springfield Southeast accomplished several of its goals during the 2011-2012 Rotary year under the leadership of Brent Baldwin. In September 2011, a groundbreaking was held for the new Springfield Wagon play feature at K-Park. The installation of the wagon was celebrated with an official ribbon cutting event in June 2012 led by K-Park Committee Chair Jeff Cumley. After several months of informational meetings and new member recruitment, led by committee chair Gerry Lee, the Interact Club of Glendale High School held its charter banquet in January with the induction of 25 new members. For the first time in club history, every Southeast member donated to the Rotary Foundation Annual Programs Fund. Our club sent a small delegation of members for service projects with our twin club in Tlaquepaque, Mexico. Southeast continued its leadership of other previously established projects with volunteer and financial support of Rock n Ribs BBQ Festival, Don’t Meth With Us, the Special Olympics basketball tournament, and the World Community Service auction. Springfield Southeast focused on membership recruitment, diversity, and retention with the addition of 26 new members bringing total membership to 226 at year end.
Springfield Southeast accomplished a great deal during the 2012-2013 Rotary year under the leadership of Laura Ward. In October 2012, Southeast Rotary continued its partnership with Club Rotario Tlaquepaque El Refugio, by partnering on a project to improve kitchens and provide fencing for two daycare centers in Tlaquepaque. In addition to $8,000 from Southeast Rotary, the Rotary Club of Ozark also made its first donation to an international project. We continued our relationship with the Interact Club of Glendale, and worked with them to donate school supplies to the Instituto de la Juventud Juan Pablo, and made a monetary donation of $1,000 to the school in June. Also in October, the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast co-sponsored the “Haunted Hustle 5k Run/Walk with the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield to bring attention to Rotary, Polio Plus and to highlight the work of the Ronald McDonald House. Over $3,000 was raised for the two charities. The club continued its leadership in joint Rotary projects in Springfield with volunteer and financial support of Rock’n Ribs BBQ Festival, Don’t Meth with Us, the Special Olympics basketball tournament, and the World Community Service auction. Southeast added 14 new members, and increased diversity within the club by adding 8 new members from underrepresented demographic groups, bringing total membership to 232 at year end.