Stories
The First Friday of December brought Rotary Club Election Day, as always!  Brian Corrigan, Susan Fletcher, Miki McKee-Koelsch, and Steve Turner were elected as directors for 2022-2023, serving on the Board with President Guillo Rodriguez. The President Nominee to be announced on Saturday, December 4 at the annual Holiday Party will serve as President in 2023-2024. 
 
Thank you to the other four candidates who graciously agreed to serve on next year's Board, if elected: Becky Blair, Ted Domino, Steve Tlapek, and Rob Wagnon.
 
On October 8, we were delighted to welcome back Webster University's Dr. Kristen Anderson, who was such a hit when she visited with us two months ago.  Kristen shared more about St. Louis and Missouri history, picking up where she left the story of St. Louis preceding statehood in 1821. It seems that St. Louis saw such high levels of immigration in the first half of the 19th century that by 1860, the majority of the city’s population had been born outside the United States!  Kristen also contrasted the two major immigrant groups ~ Irish and German ~ describing reasons for leaving their homeland; details of the journey to St. Louis; why they settled in specific St. Louis neighborhoods; and what their lives were like in their new homes.
It's time again for the FAVORITE Webster Groves Fall Social Event ~~~ Rotary Club's 63RD ANNUAL PANCAKE FESTIVAL on Friday, October 1st from 5PM to 8PM.  This year's DRIVE-THRU event will take place at Webster Hills Methodist's Christian Life Center, 1333 West Lockwood Avenue at Berry Road.
 
 
 
On Friday, August 13, during the week that Missouri celebrated the bicentennial of its statehood, we met again for lunch at the Hawken House Hearth Room and heard retired attorney and historian Jim Erwin talk about Steamboat Disasters on the Lower Missouri River; this is also the title of the latest book by Jim and his wife, Vicki Berger Erwin, which addresses the perils that steamboats, their passengers, and their crews faced on every voyage. Jim is author or co-author of six books on the Civil War in Missouri, the history of St. Charles, and true crime in Missouri, and he is a frequent speaker on the Civil War and local history. Jim and Vicki live in Kirkwood and are currently working on a new book about 19th century Missouri history. He is the Vice-Chair of the Kirkwood Arts Commission, President of the St. Louis Civil War Roundtable, and Treasurer of the Unbound Book Festival.
      
This is a "Fan Favorite" year for the Hawken House Concert Series. The third performer for the 2021 season is a Webster Groves mainstay - Rosewood. They will bridge the gap to the final show with their rendition of 1960s and 70s folk rock... by guys who lived it. Bring a lawn chair, a picnic basket, and a cooler - the entertainment is FREE. The Rotary Club of Webster Groves has been a sponsor of this great community event from the very beginning. This is a perfect networking opportunity for members to talk about Rotary and to enhance our presence in the community. 
 
                         
For the first time in several years, we returned to the Hawken House Hearth Room, gathering in-person on August 6  to hear guest speaker Kristen Layne Anderson present the first of three scheduled Missouri Bicentennial history lectures. Dr. Anderson is an associate history professor at Webster University, where she specializes in 19th century U.S. social history, teaching a wide variety of courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, women’s history, St. Louis, the American West, the Gilded Age, and the Progressive Era. She is the author of several scholarly publications, including her first book: Abolitionizing Missouri: German Immigrants and Racial Ideology in 19th Century America  (LSU Press, 2016). She is currently working on a new book that examines how German immigrants remembered and commemorated their Civil War roles. (We are delighted to report that Kristen has already committed to a return speaking engagement on October 8.)
July's Hawken House Concert is Monday night, July 12, featuring Miss Jubilee and the YAS YAS Boys on the front lawn of the Historic Hawken House Museum, 1155 South Rock Hill Road (Southwest Park), Webster Groves.  Bring a chair or blanket, along with your own snacks and beverages and enjoy this entertaining music of the twenties and thirties. This is a great networking opportunity for us to talk about Rotary and enhance our presence in the community.  AND....the weather is expected to be perfect!!  
On June 25th, we held our first in-person club meeting in about 15 months. We met at Olive + Oak on Lockwood in Webster Groves. Dereck Bastian, Director of Webster Rock Hill Ministries was our guest speaker. It was wonderful to all be together and to hear about WRH Ministries and their work in our community. This is an organization our club supports.
 
Rev. Dereck Bastian speaks to our Club on June 25th
 
Club members Chuck Weed and Steve Turner present a donation to
Webster-Rock Hill Ministries
 
 
 On April 14th and May 8th, members of our Rotary Club of Webster Groves and students from Webster Groves High School held a work day in the Alan Hoener Memorial Garden. This garden was dedicated to the memory of Alan Hoener, a beloved Rotarian. His involvement with our Rotary Youth Exchange, and many other projects with our club and in the community, was legendary.
 
From left to right: Guillo Rodriguez, Phil Moppert, Franceca and Kerry Arens
 
 
The Rotary Club of Webster Groves has completed the second phase of an international project with the Rotary Club of Nuku’alofa in the Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga. This project provided urgently needed water storage tanks for a primary school in the Village of Houma, located on the Tongan island of ‘Eua. This project came about at the request of Lonita Benson, a 2014 graduate of Webster Groves High School, who was serving with the Peace Corps in Houma.
 
For many years, the village primary school was forced to operate with an insufficient supply of potable water, which meant the school was routinely forced to close after lunch, and the fifty young students were sent home. Our club contributed a total of $5,600 to purchase the three water storage tanks having a total capacity of 5,800 gallons, and the Nuku’alofa Club oversaw their purchase and installation. 
 
More photos of this project are available in the slide show link "Tonga Water Project" in the lower left column of this website.
 
 
 
 
 
The Rotary Club of Webster Groves recently expanded the Ambrose Family Center lending library.  With a $2000 Community Assistance Program Grant, the club donated 165 books that provide greater depth and diversity for young readers.  In recent years the Rotary Club has focused its grants on early literacy, providing books to individual families.  This year, the club wanted to make books available to more families and, at the same time, provide young people with more books that featured fictional and real characters who reflect the community and give them current and historic figures who make great contributions to society but are often not recognized.
 
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The purpose of the Ambassadorial Scholarships program is to further international understanding and peaceful relations among people of different races, nationalities, ethnicities, and religions while pursuing a program of study at an institution of higher education either here in the USA, or abroad in a foreign country. Rotary district-supported scholarships are available for study in any academic field, but preference is given to those whose field of study is related to one of the areas of humanitarian need listed below. Applicants may be a graduate student, or may have completed or or more degrees and/or be engaged in the early stages of a career. There is no upper age limit, but applicants must have completed their Bachelor Degree prior to submitting an application. The program provides for a grant in the amount of up to $25,000 to pay for tuition, fees, room and board, educational supplies, and round-trip transportation to/from the study site.
 
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The 2020 Virtual Summit is what we used to call our “Zone Institute”. It is designed to let Rotarians share information, build connections, and exchange ideas about Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.

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Three representatives from Autism Speaks (Staci Gerchen, Lisa Radtke, and Colleen Shinny's) presented our program on August 21st. We were pleased to hear about what your organization is doing in our community.
 
 
In January 2020, our club collaborated with the Rotary Club of Nuku'alofa in the Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga, to provide an urgently needed water storage tank for a school in the Village Houma. This project came about at the request of Lonita Benson, a 2014 graduate of Webster Groves High School, who was teaching for the Peace Corps in Houma, which is located on the Tonga island of 'Eua.
 
Although the Houma primary school compound had two water tanks, only one of them was suitable for storing drinking water. As a result,  the fifty students were routinely sent home after lunch, after all the potable water had been consumed.  Our club contributed $2,600 to purchase a 12,000-liter water tank (about 3,200 gallons), which collects rain water for the school children.
 
(This story was updated on March 4, 2021, to include details about two more tanks that were funded in December 2020. More photos of this project are available in the slide show link "Tonga Water Project" in the lower left column of this website.)
 
 
 
 
We continue to meet virtually each week and it's lovely to be together. We continue our "Meet the Rotarian" series this month.
Thank you Kit. It was wonderful hearing about your professional and personal history. You are such an inspiration.
 
 After learning how the COVID-19 pandemic had severely strained the resources of the Hixson Middle School food pantry, the Rotary Club of Webster Groves sent the Webster Groves School District a check for $2,000 that was earmarked for Hixson’s food assistance program. The money was used to restock much-needed pantry items, since the normal supply chain has suffered during this time of lock-downs and social distancing.
 
Principal Grace Lee responded “It was a big surprise. Thank you!” The Rotary Club was honored to be able to provide this emergency assistance. 
 
 
          
 
RI President-elect Holger Knaack’s theme for 2020-21, Rotary Opens Opportunities, asks Rotarians to create opportunities that strengthen their leadership, help put service ideas into action, and improve the lives of those in need.
 
 
It's always a treat to have visiting Rotarians from other clubs attend our club meeting. It's particularly special when the visitors are international. Today Nithil Jose, from the Rotary Club of Cochin Technopolis (in India), attended our club luncheon and exchanged club banners with our club president, Chuck Weed.
 
Club Information
Welcome to the Rotary Club of Webster Groves
www.webstergrovesrotary.org
Webster Groves

The city of beautiful trees where roots of community service run very deep.

We meet In Person
Fridays at 12:10 PM
Webster Groves Presbyterian Church
45 West Lockwood Ave
Webster Groves, MO 63119
United States of America
ALSO Two Makeup Meetings Each Month: Rotary Coffee Hour - 1st Wednesday 7:30-8:30 AM Garden Cafe, 117 East Lockwood, Webster Groves AND Rotary After Hours - 3rd Tuesday 5:15-6:30 PM Llywelen's Pub, 17 Moody Avenue, Webster Groves
 
Birthdays
Member Birthdays:
  • Phil Wojak
    December 5
  • Rob Wagnon
    December 15
  • Frank Bloemke
    December 19
  • Jack Swanson
    December 19
  • Jean Magre
    December 30
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