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Meeting Notice and Club News

Coming Up This Week

President Claude Kendrick invites you to a Hybrid Zoom meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at 7:30 AM.

Our speaker this week will be Scott Newell, Livonia Civic Ballet Company, Invocation by Rev. David Stechholz.

The Livonia Civic Ballet Company is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) dance company. Created to better educate the public of world of dance and to give all students the opportunity to perform.


During our last meeting, Bob Carris gave the Invocation. Thank you, Bob!


Please inform Mike Ladwig if you want to lead us with a spiritual or inspiring message to start our meeting.

Livonia AM Rotary Carnival Is A Wrap

May 30th - June 9th

Our annual carnival just completed its 11-day run. We had the usual mix of Michigan spring weather: hot, cool, sunny, and rainy. So, hopefully, our fundraiser crushed it. We should know the results sometime this week.

More Photos

Member News

Passport to Safety

June 08, 2024

Livonia Passport to Safety Country's Largest Children's Safety Event

Club members Sharon Pommerville, Dave Stechholz, and Bill Friske, led by volunteer coordinator Susan Paluchniak, participated in Passport to Safety on Saturday.

The event looked and felt like Touch A Truck, but with an emphasis on teaching safety to children (and adults). Various stations dealt with Food Safety, Bike Safety, Cell Phone Safety, Weather Safety, K-9 Police Demonstrations, Distracted Driving, and more. A favorite station was manned by actual 911 Operators who coached the kids on how to call and speak with 911 during an emergency.

The Churchill HS Interact Club was represented by members; Rony Korab, Hayato Yamaguchi, Shana Talmon, Reyhan Khan, Nithin Ramkumar, and Kanav Sharma.

The event organizers posted a few short videos of the event. Check them out HERE.

More Photos

Kids Coalition Against Hunger - Meal Packing Event

June 08, 2024

Club member Greg Greene joined several community volunteers, led by the Livonia High Nooners Lions Club, to help feed the hungry! The Kids Coalition Against Hunger provided the supplies, Madonna University graciously provided the facility, Lions Clubs International District 11A1 sponsored the event, and funding was provided by Lions Clubs throughout Wayne and Monroe Counties and many gracious donors.

The Lions Club offered special thanks to the Livonia AM Rotary Club and Northville Lions Club for their continued support and volunteers.

More Photos

Upcoming Meetings

06/12/2024 - Scott Newell, Livonia Civic Ballet Company, Invocation by Rev. David Stechholz

06/19/2024 - Dr. Adrienne Booth Johnson, Member of the Rotary Club of Detroit and Founder of the Wo Ye Bra program in Greater Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Invocation by Victoria Haltom

06/26/2024 - Jon Wennstrom, Outgoing President Livonia Rotary (Noon) Club, Carrie Budzinski, LPS's Niji-Iro Japanese Immersion Elementary School, Invocation by Mike Ladwig

07/03/2024 - No Meeting, Happy Fourth of July!!                    

07/10/2024 - Club Assembly, Invocation by Larry Stephens

07/17/2024 - Nick Middleton, Time To Teach Educational Trainer, Invocation by Bob Carris

07/24/2024 - David Hammond, Creating Habitats for Pollinators, Invocation by Rev. David Stehholz

07/31/2024 - Member Spotlight, Featuring Sharon Pommerville, Invocation by Victoria Haltom 

Upcoming Events

06/15/2024 - Livonia AM Rotary's Annual Installation Picnic at Tammy Bonifield's cottage in the Irish Hills. There will be an Open House, and ALL Members, Friends, and Families are encouraged to come out to the lake! Our get-together starts at 1:00 PM, the program starts at 5:00 PM, and dinner will follow. For more information and to RSVP, click HERE. Driving directions HERE.

06/25/2024 - Meet The Governor, Harrow, ON, Canada, Event Details HERE.

07/30/2024 - Club Picnic at Rotary Park. Details to Follow.

08/24/2024 - Touch A Truck, Greenmead Historical Village, 8:30 - 2:00 PM, Event Details HERE​, Volunteer Signup HERE.

08/27/2024 - Methodist Children's Home Society - Residents vs. Staff Soccer Game and BBQ Dinner hosted by our club. Details to Follow.

Join Us

Visit Our Club in Person

We meet at the

Livonia Senior Center Complex

15218 Farmington Road

Livonia, MI 48154

Every Wednesday, 7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

All Are Welcome!

Phone Access Option (929)436-2866

Meeting ID: 924 328 2286

Password: 4waytest

Past Meetings and Events

Member Spotlight

May 29, 2024

The meeting opened with excitement and joy on the cooler project funding and a great Career Day at Clarenceville with our two members, Rick Popa and Dave Stechholz, presenting programs for the students. Tammy Bonifield was very grateful for a new jet ski that will be in the lake for the June 15th installation at Tammy's lake cottage. Tammy provides the meat, but club members are to bring other dishes to pass at the dinner.

Member Spotlight: John Clay

John Clay grew up in Redford Township, then South Haven, and then back to this area. Went to Schoolcraft College, Western, Wayne State, and Michigan State. He graduated from Western with a Master's degree in Psychology.

John started as a prison Psychologist at Jackson Prison. From there, he was in charge of group homes in Central City Detroit. He then went on to be the Chief of Activity Therapy in Warren. There, he learned that all hospitals are not the same.

Another job took John to Livingston County where he was a Psychologist for all the group homes in the county for developmentally disabled students. About this time, he had a couple of kids and wanted to spend more time with them, so he changed jobs again. That's when he decided to work for schools because the hours and pay were better. John worked in Wayne Westland,  Dearborn, and Greenfield Village Schools. He retired from the school when his wife suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, and he decided he had to take care of her. She now walks 6 miles a day! John tried various activities during retirement, such as glassblowing and welding.

John had back surgery in the fall and is still recovering, but getting stronger.

When asked by Claude what motivational technique he could share with us, he said to help people see what their strengths are and build from there.  

Member Spotlight: Nancy Darga

Nancy passed out short bio that she had from previous jobs. She was born in 1953 and contracted polio at 10 months. She was the 4th child of 5 . Her Mother is a first-generation American. Her Mother's family came to America when famine came to Italy. Since they were expert stone cutters and metalsmiths, they found jobs building tunnels in New York. Henry Ford brought them to work in his factories. Her Father's family came to the States on the second boat after the Mayflower.

Nancy was raised Catholic and went to East Catholic High School, but when Martin Luther King was assassinated, her family transferred her to Bishop Gallagher. Nancy went to Michigan State, where she graduated as a landscape architect. She went to work in South Chicago to work for Public Housing. Nancy came back to the Detroit area where she worked as Chief of Design for Wayne County Parks. She had some interesting events working there as the first woman architect. She will share some of those memories when she is "loose of tongue."

Nancy got laid off when the county did not have funds, but that opened Nancy up to a job with Disney(where she always wanted to work). This was to work for Disney in Japan. She lived in the British Embassy and worked with an animator who had worked previously with Walt Disney. The animator shared great insights on what it was like to work for Disney.

Nancy came back to Detroit because her job became available and invited Michael Darga to the first Rogue River rescue that she had organized. He fell in the river and she fell in love. She worked for Northville City Council for 12 years. Nancy has volunteered and worked for many organizations in Northville but also finds time to participate in Livonia Rotary.  

Susan Paluchniak

Source of Universal Love

May 22, 2024

How We Touch Other Lives in What We Do 

Club President Claude Kendrick opened the meeting with the “Pledge of Allegiance.” Fourteen attended in person, three on Zoom. Special guests were Ginger B Wiechers, our presenter from Source of Universal Love (SOUL), and Russell Bisinger, a supporter. 

The invocation was done by Mike Ladwig, who gave thanks for the divinity source for universal love. Happy Bucks was collected by Sharon Pommerville, the Sargent of Arms, now that she is recuperating from her shoulder surgery. She received applause for getting “Back in the Saddle Again.” 


Mike Ladwig reminded members that the Female Products Drive for high school kids is coming to an end, and to please get donations to the senior center by next week.

Raffle tickets for the Westland Rotary Club Fund Raiser were offered for $20.00. The prize is a private box at the June 22, 2024, Tiger Baseball game. Claude has the tickets for those wanting one. 

Volunteers are needed at the Passport to Safety event on June 8, 2024, 10:00 – 2:00 PM. There will be 10 safety stations featured at the Livonia Police & Fire Stations at the Livonia Civic Center. Find event information HERE. Volunteer and enjoy the children learning to be safe.  Volunteer signup information is HERE.

Thank you letters were received from Janice Newsome Memorial Scholarship awardees Hannah Woods and Ava Bell. Their letters were read out loud, and their thoughtful comments meant a lot to the members. A thank you letter was also received from Shelter Box USA (A Rotary International’s Project Partner) for the club donation of $6,000 to their Shelter Box Project. As a result, the club was awarded a “Hero Award.” Our Club is now listed at

The Livonia Symphony Orchestra also sent a heartfelt thank you letter for the club’s continued support. Victoria Haltom, Susan Paluchniak, Larry Stephens, and Claude Kendrick reported on the concert they attended and remarked on how enjoyable it was. They encouraged all to attend. 

Career Day at Clarenceville was a success. Reverend Dave participated as one of the career vendors featuring religious service. He stated that the event was well-organized and impactful for the students. 

The Livonia Noon Club Wine Pull event was attended by Claude and Reverend Dave. There was a fun-filled description of the event, the raffle tickets, and the wine that each of the members who went won.

The Livonia AM Rotary Carnival event was approved by the Livonia City Council. Applause was heard from the news. ​

The Braille Enhanced Story Walk follow-up: Sharon Pommerville reported on her follow up efforts on the vandalism of stanchions along the walk behind the library. She reminded the club that LAMR installed the braille enhanced “Story Walk,” in 2018 within the Nature Nook Area behind the library. The project was a group project with Michael Sas, an Eagle Scout and Seedling Braille Books for Children.

The project was championed by the past club president, Jeff Adams. Karen Smith, a librarian, informed Sharon that the stanchions were damaged last October, and they have not been able to post a story since then. The city is looking into installing video security cameras in the area. Prices are being solicited for their replacement. 

SOUL was the featured service organization presented at the meeting. Ginger B Wiechers, the founder explained that SOUL stands for “Source of Universal Love.”

The 501(c) (3) has operated for 20 years. They have a resource center at 23030 Mooney St., Suite A, Farmington, MI 48332. They do estate sales as part of their funding method. They are also on Amazon Wish List. They provide help to those in need with furniture, connections to rides to work, food, education, and counseling. SOUL gets referrals through several churches. They also provide help to pets of their clients.

Ginger gave an example of one of the individuals they are assisting. This young man was referred to them after his Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. His father is already deceased, and the teenage boy is struggling to run the house and pay medical bills. They are supporting him both with counseling and physical assistance. Ginger pointed out that they are oftentimes helping families deal with the end of life of a loved one.

She asked us, “Do you have your life in order?" Have you documented your intentions for those you are leaving? Do you live today as if it is at the end of life?” She suggested we listen to Mathew West song “What If.” Russell Bisinger testified on how helpful the organization is to families and individuals that hit an unforeseen setback. They currently help around 1000 to 1200 families. They are always in need of toilet paper, diapers, laundry soap, small appliances. More information is available at their website or call (248)957-6078.

Nancy Darga

Livonia Civic Chorus Concert

May 19, 2024

The Livonia Civic Chorus Event was very well choreographed and produced. All the songs were songs that were Hits in their own time! I could sing along to every one of them. The theme was “I write the songs”. Basically, meaning the songwriters were singers as well. Larry Stephens, Victoria Haltom, and President-Elect David Stechholz (with son Andrew and wife Janet) are all members of this finely tuned Chorus. They sang 17 songs.

The directors, Jeff and Kimberly Swan are finishing up their last year as leaders of this busy Chorus. Honorable mention to the Five musicians that played along side them. This was a real treat to attend!

Claude Kendrick

Clarenceville High School - Career Day

May 17, 2024

I represented our LAMR. It was from 12:30 to 2:30, with four half-hour sessions. Mine were smaller because youth don’t think in terms of “Professional Church Work Careers” till their college years. Nevertheless, I had nine interested young people during each of my four sessions - 1, 1, 4, and 3, all well-mannered. The four boys were a riot.

Paul Shepich mentioned in passing our LAMR’s $30,000 cooler project, which one of the senior staff called hugely “transformational” for Clarenceville. With great thanks to LAMR!!

I got a few pictures. I was in Mrs. Adam’s Science Classroom. I met a couple of the 25 or to presenters. Many careers were featured. This is a truly fine program. Bravo, Clarenceville!

Rev. David Stechholz

Awareness of Human Trafficking

May 15, 2024

Would you believe it? 22 members were in attendance, including 3 Zoomers and 19 “live,” including four guests: Rev. Chad Parmalee and Russ Bissinger (invited again by this scribe), Trey Greene (who noted his brother Greg’s absence!), and today’s speaker, Therese Maggioncaldra, who was the Program Chair of DisCon 2024 (District 6400's Annual Conference). LAMR President Claude Kendrick chaired another great LAMR Meeting, beginning with the Pledge of Allegiance and Words of Inspiration on supporters by Victoria Haltom. Tammy Bonifield did the rounds for “Happy Bucks.” Tammy also presented everyone with a beautifully decorated Rotary cupcake (tasty!!) to celebrate our Livonia A.M. Rotary Club’s 36th birthday on May 17th. Thanks, Tammy! It was noted that the Club did a great job on our first “Adopt-a-Road” clean-up project on Five Mile Rd. on Saturday, May 11th, with excellent Churchill Interact participation. 


Upcoming Events: 

Passport to Safety - Saturday, June 8th, 10:00-2:00 PM; volunteers come at 9:15 AM to the Livonia Police Station, a service project to help our children, youth, & families.

LAMR Evening Picnic at Rotary Park - Wednesday, June 12th, 5:00-ish, Rotary Park, Pavilion #1. More details to follow. Many thanks to Pat Zucal for arranging this!

LAMR Annual Installation Party at Tammy Binofield's lake cottage in the Irish Hills - Saturday, June 15th, 1:00 PM or when you arrive. Bring swimsuits. Golfers, come in the morning; non-golfer spouses can hang out with Tammy. Bring a bottle and a dish to pass. An added treat: District Governor-Elect Dr. Nick Krayacich, Rotary’s first-ever “First Gentleman” and husband of PRIP Jennifer Jones, will install President-Elect Dave Stechholz and other Club officers around 5:00 PM.

Clarenceville High School Cooler Project:

President Claude announced three big checks have come in for our “Cooler Project” at Clarenceville HS. We are under $4,000 toward meeting our goal of raising $30,000. Keep making an “ask,” and thanks to all who have participated, donated, or made an “ask.” 

Awareness of Human Trafficking:

Therese Maggioncaldra, our Speaker and President-elect of the Passport-to-Safety Club, did an outstanding job presenting on a difficult subject: Human Trafficking. Therese is a gerontology social worker and is involved with our own Erin Dobbins in Rotary’s peace initiatives (one of the seven areas of focus in Rotary). Sadly, human trafficking occurs right here in SE Michigan and worldwide. People, often youth and children, who have been caught up in this trafficking have been lured into a horrible life of bondage or servitude. Human trafficking includes labor trafficking, domestic servitude, debt bondage, and, notably, sex trafficking. It is dehumanizing. “Human trafficking” is the second largest criminal enterprise, second only to drug trafficking. What makes it human trafficking?: fraud, coercion, force, and lack of consent.

Therese showed a compelling video of young people, especially those who were caught up in “human trafficking” against their will. Often, they trusted someone who drugged them or suddenly took advantage of them in a vulnerable state. We were encouraged to report to the police any instances we may see of what might be human trafficking; the police will at least investigate and, in many cases, rescue an individual who has been forced into human trafficking. This was an engaging program, so we closed without our usual Rotary Four Way Test and Greg Greene jokes.

Rev. David Stechholz

Adopt-A-Road Cleanup Day

May 11, 2024

Livonia AM Rotary Is In Road Cleanup Mode!

On April 27th, the Rotary Club of Livonia A.M. held its very first road cleanup event.

LAMR recently “adopted” Five Mile Road from Farmington to Merriman through the Wayne County, Adopt-A-Road program.

The adoption responsibility involves 3 cleanup events a year where litter is picked up and bagged.

This inaugural event, which involved 15 LAMR club members, Churchill Interact club members, and friends, was held at Nehasil Park.

Participants met for coffee, orange juice, and donuts, organized, and socialized under the club's gazebo.

Policing both sides of the street and the median strip, the group split into two teams, one on each side, and did the job in a little over an hour.

Everyone met back at the gathering point, the beautiful Larry Nehasil Memorial Park.

Thank you to the LAMR club cleanup committee, Susan Paluchniak, John Clay, Steve Alexander, and Eric Ladwig.

Next cleanup event in July - Please stay tuned.

Greg Greene

Livonia First Citizen 2024 - Holli Kerkhof

May 08, 2024

Our meeting opened with a Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance led by Bob Carris, dressed in his prince outfit and hat from his time in Cameroon.

Russell Biesinger, a guest of Reverent Dave Stechholz, was visiting our club. Welcome, Russell, we hope to see you again at our club.

President Claude Kendrick asked members who attended the District Assembly on April 27th in Windsor for feedback. Tammy Bonifield said she had a lot of people in her workshop for club treasurers. There was also a workshop that dealt with ''why people come to the club and why they stay there". It was brought up that there was a lot of material on the main site. Scroll to the learning center to access this information. It was discussed that each club is expected to raise $1400 this year towards the Polio Eradication effort. Our club exceeded that amount last year because of the spaghetti dinner this past Fall.

District Conference in Grand Rapids, May 3rd-5th was summarized by Tammy. She also mentioned that our Club won the Dick Hedke Award for "Membership." Tammy said that's because we care about our members. Nancy Darga summed up the event as standing on a beach with waves of information floating over your feet with groups of neighbors all over the world to help you. Dave mentioned that our club had 11 members in attendance, more than any other of the 54 District clubs.

Shirt Embroidering: Bob Carris reminded members that he will be taking shirts to be embroidered with our Club logo next week after the meeting on May 15th. Bring the shirts to our next meeting along with $13.50 for the embroidering fee. 

Adopt A Road Cleanup: This Saturday at 8:00 AM. Meet at the Senior Center. Donuts, coffee, juice, and water will be provided. Please bring your own gloves. Grabbers to assist in picking up trash will be provided.

Livonia First Citizen 2024 - Holli Kerkhof:

The speaker for our meeting was Holli Kerkhof, Livonia First Citizen 2024. Holli is quoted as saying, "It seems like one thing always leads to another. So many groups have needs, and I like to get my hands dirty and help them if I can."

Holli works at Community Choice Credit Union, which focuses on doing projects for the community that feed her need to help people and causes.

She is a member of the Livonia Rotary (Noon) Club, Livonia Lions, and the PTA. She recently took a vacation day to do a taco day at her son's school for the teachers and support staff.

Holli goes to Chamber of Commerce meetings for her job but it also connects her to other groups. Farmington Cares is another organization that she's involved with. Cares supports 8 communities surrounding Farmington that are in need of everyday necessities due to insufficient financial resources. Cares gives monthly food assistance to 700 families. These families "shop" for food by appointment. They can pick out what they want in the store and then go through a checkout line, just like a regular grocery store. This way, if kids go with parents, they don't know the food comes at no cost to parents.

Holli's giving shows other ways, too. When she bought Flower cards that gave away a free arrangement each month, she bought two cards so she could give someone a free flower arrangement just because. 

Community Choice Credit Union offers free credit counseling to help couples get into a home. The credit union also provides student backpacks and teacher boxes full of supplies. The credit Union stresses members volunteering for nonprofits. It appears that Holli has found a perfect place to work and volunteer, a place to get her hands "dirty" and help the community. 

Susan Paluchniak

District 6400 Convention 2024

May 3rd - May 5th, 2024

Rotary District 6400 Convention 2024, Amway Grand Plaza Grand Rapids, Michigan

Our Livonia A.M. Rotary Club came in big numbers and with our soccer balls. A shout-out to Tammy Bonifield, Sharon Pommerville, and Bob Carris. The LAMR trademark 4-Way-Test soccer ball Dudes!

Along with the three members mentioned above, our attendees included Susan Paluchniak, Victoria Haltom, Mike Ladwig, Dave Stechholz, Claude Kendrick (and Jeanne), Nancy Darga, and Erin Dobbins. 11 of us, more than any other of the 54 District 6400 Rotary clubs!

Friday, May 3rd, morning and afternoon was the District 6400 Conference Service Project –environmental focus – at Blandford Nature Center.

Tammy Bonifield at the morning project of removing invasive plants Dave Stechholz at the afternoon project of re-mulching of the outdoor Summer Camp “classroom”.

A way cool place to meet – the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel (two towers).

Club Presidents Claude Kendrick (Livonia A.M.) and Jon Wenstromm (Livonia Noon).

Outstanding, world-class speakers, presenters, and leaders – including PRIP Jennifer Jones, & her husband, DGE Dr. Nick Krayacich; DG Russ Jones; PRIP Ian Riseley from Australia; and many, many more!!

How many of these Past District Governors and others in the pictures do you know?

And our own Club heroes at the mic!

President Claude, toasting & chairing introductions. Erin Dobbins (with Marcia Lane, Chelsea Rotary), presenting on Peace & Conflict Resolution. Tammy Bonifield & Erin were also at the mic on Sunday morning, leading the Program of Remembrance.

Our Club’s DisCon participants

Our LAMR was a winner of the Dick Hedke Rotary “Membership" Award, (presented by DGE Nick & DG Russ).

We were very glad to represent our Livonia A.M. Rotary Club. We invite you all next year to celebrate DisCon 2025 at St. Clair College, Windsor, Ontario.

David Stechholz

Livonia Prayer Breakfast

May 02, 2024

Club members Pat Zucal, Dave Burton, President Claude Kendrick, and Rev. David Stechholz joined 450+ guests and enjoyed a wonderful morning at the 50th Livonia Community Prayer Breakfast, which featured Chuck Gaidica.

Club Assembly

May 01, 2024

So Many Guests it Felt Like a Party

So many guests attended that it felt like a party instead of a meeting. Guest included Bill Joyner (Friday Musings), Charlie Mahoney (Livonia Symphony Orchestra), Nancy and Gary Reisten (invited guest from Bob Carris and Larry Stephens), Samantha Lewis and Carolyn Lewis (artists Claude Kendrick met at Friends of Livonia Art), John Larkin (Livonia Rotary noon club), John Goci (Heritage Bakery). There were 16 in person and 5 "Zoomers” in attendance. 

Invocation: Bob Carris gave our invocation, asking us to pray for our club members and friends who are struggling. 

Happy Bucks: Tammy Bonifield, who explained to our guests that we donate to the club $1.00 in celebration of something we are happy about. 

Clarenceville Cooler Project Receives Large Donation: Bill Joyner presented the Livonia AM Rotary Cooler Project with a $10,000 grant from the Hardy Family Trust for Clarenceville High School. Both Bill Joyner and Charlie Mahoney sit on the Board and were in attendance to issue the award. John Goci, from Heritage Bakery, announced that 50% of the donut proceeds sold on Monday, May 6, 2024, will go to the Clarenceville Cooler Project. This announcement received a round of applause, followed by a conversation on how to get the word out. 

Friends of Livonia Arts: Bill Joyner thanked the club for our sponsorship of the Friends of Livonia Arts event on April 25, 2024, at Mama Mia’s Restaurant. It was the first “Meet and Greet Assembly” of all of the arts groups in Livonia. The club wanted to network with these community groups. Their outreach in the community aligns on many levels, and the Livonia AM Rotary Club is proud to contribute to their efforts. 

Livonia AM Rotary nominated to Livonia Hall of Fame: Bill Joyner reported that the Livonia AM Rotary is being nominated to the Livonia Hall of Fame. All attendees, including the “Zoomers, “cheered loudly in support.

Membership Committee: Mike Ladwig welcomed all of the guests. He explained 

that the normal procedure is for potential members to attend three meetings and then ask to join. Mike thanked the members who invited guests to learn about Rotary. He stated that every month should be “Invite a Guest” month. 

Giving Committee: Bill Friske reported that the Giving Committee met on April 15, 2024, and after reviewing the applications, the following recommendations were made. 

  1. All for One $1,000​
  2. AAA Pregnancy $2,000
  3. Livonia Symphony $2,000
  4. Teacher Training Livonia School District $525

Tammy Bonifield moved for approval; Nancy Darga seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved. 

Special Thanks from the Livonia Symphony: Charlie Mahoney thanked the club for our continued support of the Livonia Symphony. It was pointed out that the LSO is a legacy group. Charlie pointed out that the continued support is vital to the success of the Symphony. 

Grant Committee Report (GC): Erin Dobbins stated that the club voted to join in a collaborative grant spearheaded by the Windsor Roseland Club to buy incubators for Ghana. The funding strategy is to raise the needed $9,000. The four collaborating clubs will donate $1,000 each, and Kim Spiro from Windsor Roseland is personally donating $1,000.  Nancy Darga asked for an update on the ultrasound machine we bought for Dr. Stanley to take to Cameroon. Bob Carris stated that he is still trying to find someone to take over the machine now that Dr. Stanley has passed away. This person must also be willing to train the users. 

Adopt-A-Road Project: Greg Greene reported that the clean-up day is scheduled for May 11, 2024, at 9:00 AM. Volunteers are to report to the Senior Center at 9:00 AM. There will be a tent set up with water and safety vests. 

Passport to Safety Event: Will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2024, from 10:00 to 2:00 PM. Our club would help direct foot traffic. Volunteers are to report at 9:15 at the police station on Five Mile and Farmington Road. This youth-aligned event has children pick up a passport book and go to different stations to get their passports stamped, featuring different safety careers. 

The Lions Meal Packing Event: This will be held at Madonna University on the same day as the Passport to Safety Event, Saturday, June 8, 2024, at 9:00 AM.

Livonia AM Rotary's Annual Installation Gathering: Will be held on June 1, 2024, at Tammy Bonifield's cottage, 180 E. Shore Drive, Onsted, MI. The gathering starts at noon, with the program at 3:00 pm. Bring a dish. 

Touch a Truck August 24, 2024: There were 8,200 participants in 2023. A need for additional parking is prompting a look at the feasibility of providing off-site parking with shuttle service. Bob Carris will report back with their findings. 

LAMR's Community Meal Packing: October 12, 2024, at St. Edith's Church in Livonia. Mike Ladwig is the fund-raising chair of the event, and the Livonia AM Rotary Club is the organizing club. The goal is to pack 50,000 meals. ​

Happy Birthday, Victoria Haltom! 

Nancy Darga

You Gotta Have Art Party

April 25, 2024

The "You Gotta Have Art Party" sponsorship was a way for the Livonia AM Rotary Club to connect to the art community. The Jaycees, LSO, Friends of Livonia Arts (FOLA), three elected officials, and, of course, the organizer, Friday Musings, Bill Joyner, were present as well. We networked with actors, painters, puppeteers, musicians, and sculptors.

I was asked to present (FOLA) with a check. Of course, I invited everyone in the room to our Wednesday morning meetings at 7:30 a.m.

I want to thank the following Rotarians for their support and attendance: Nancy Darga, Erin Dobbins, Mike Ladwig, Steve Alexander, and Sharon Pommerville.

Claude Kendrick

The Rotary Foundation

April 24, 2024

The Sheriff is Back in Town


Much to the delight of the club members, Sharon Pommerville, Sargeant of

Arms attended the meeting in person after a long convalescence period from surgery to repair a broken shoulder from a fall this past winter. Folks were so happy that everyone donated a “Happy Buck” to celebrate Sharon's attendance.

The Invocation was from Larry Stephens.


Bring a Friend: Russell Parmalee, a former member of the Livonia (Noon) Club, was welcomed to the meeting. He was invited by both Rev. Dave Stechholz and Erin Dobbins. Carnival Update: Susan Paluchniak reported that the Livonia City Council will be voting on approving the carnival at its next meeting.

Livonia AM Rotary Road Clean Up is scheduled for May 11, 2024, along Five Mile Road. Greg Greene will give details on where to meet, the time, and to pass out equipment.


The Rotary Club of Canton is sponsoring a special dinner at On the Border, 21091 Haggerty Road, on May 9, 2024. The price is $20.00. Members of the club were encouraged to attend to support the Canton Club.


In support of the Arts, the Livonia AM Rotary Club donated $500 to Bill Joyner’s “You Gotta Have Art Party,” a meet-up for Livonia artists. All artists are invited to attend: painters, writers, dancers, performers, photographers, and graphic artists. Steve Alexander, Nancy Darga, Sharon Pommerville, and Mike Ladwig will attend. Claude Kendrick, President of the Club, will present a giant check at the event on Thursday, April 25, 2024, from 6 to 8 at Mama Mia’s Livonia.

The “Special Speaker” was Rick Caron, the Past District Governor 6400 and a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor (1918). Rick started his presentation by explaining that,

“The Success of The Rotary Foundation is the Foundation of Rotary’s Success.”

Rotary is comprised of three parts: Individual Clubs, Rotary International,

and the Rotary Foundation. All three components work together to make lasting change.

The Rotary Foundation uses gifts for service projects. In the past 100 years, it has funded more than 4 billion in life-changing, sustainable projects.

To be eligible for The Rotary Foundation Grants, a club needs to raise $100 per capita for the annual fund. Rick gave us an example of a project his club did in Ghana. The village has been suffering from waterborne diseases because people use water from the same source they bathe in and dump in. His club drilled a well, set up a pump, and taught the locals how to maintain it, repair it, and keep spare parts on hand. The water sanitation global grant in 2019 built over 200 wells and reached 25,000 people.

Rick encouraged the club to take donations to the Foundation seriously because it means much to the world.

Nancy Darga

Kids Coalition Against Hunger

April 17, 2024

A Fantastic Regular Rotary Meeting

LAMR President Claude Kendrick chaired a great, action-packed LAMR Meeting, beginning with the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation by Mike Ladwig. Tammy Bonifield presided over a big haul of “Happy Bucks.” 15 LAMR Rotarians and 3 guests (Mitsy Morris, Livonia Democratic Club; Patrick McNally, Clarenceville Engagement Coordinator; and Matt Collins, Livonia Lions & Past Livonia District Governor) were present “live,” and 3 “also alive Zoomers.” A crowd of 21, total! It’s still “Bring A Friend to Rotary” Month. Announcements: Greg Greene noted that Saturday, May 11th, 9-11 is our “Adopt-a-Road” project on Five Mile; park at the Senior Center. Dave Burton affirmed that Thursday, May 2nd is National Day of Prayer, with the 50th Anniversary Year Livonia Prayer Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cultural Center on Merriman, north of Six Mile Road, and with a member and his son doing the Scripture readings. 

Clarenceville High School

Our first and briefer speaker was Patrick McNally. Patrick introduced himself and mentioned two events coming up at Clarenceville High School: Friday, May 17th, Career Opportunities Day presentations for career awareness, and May 29th, an end-of-the-year event. Rotarians are welcome to these. To volunteer or find out more information, you may contact Patrick at He also noted that as Engagement Coordinator for community outreach and under his watch, absenteeism at Clarenceville has had a 20% improvement this past year. Our LAMR is also looking into the possibility of starting an Interact Club at Clarenceville.

 Matt Collins and Kids Coalition Against Hunger

Our old friend and distinguished partner in Livonia community service, Matt Collins, thanked our Livonia A.M. Rotary Club for outstanding collaborative service in our city and world. Matt is “Lions-through-and-through,” having served many years as Livonia Lions Club President and recently as the Lions District Governor for their district. Matt mentioned the upcoming Kids Coalition Against Hunger (KCAH) meal-packing events, to which we can or are joining in:

Saturday, June 8th (Lions-sponsored), noting that we also, as the LAMR club, are doing Passport-to-Safety on the same date, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the LPD and Livonia Fire Dept. parking lots. Maybe some can do both!

Saturday, October 12th (LAMR-sponsored) KCAH meal packing event at St. Edith’s RCC gym, 9:00-11:30 a.m. Matt noted that in the decade-plus of our KCAH meal-packing events in Livonia, we are approaching the half-million meals mark!

Matt mentioned projects we have also done together (Lions and Rotary) in addition to KCAH, including Sleep-in-Heavenly-Peace (bed building for children) and during COVID the candy and flower distributions at St. Mary-Mercy Hospital (now Trinity Health) for nurses and other health workers. The Lions have been known for their service in providing eyeglasses, sending eyeglasses (including sunglasses) to MOST Ministries (in Ann Arbor) and Seedlings Braille Books for Children (in Livonia). Matt noted that the Lions would be doing diabetic-retinopathy screening at the Livonia Spree, and volunteer screeners would be needed. Lion Matt especially spoke about Diabetic Retinopathy, an eye condition that can cause vision loss and blindness in people who have diabetes and a completely preventable disease. Livonia Lion Daniel Rathbun has gotten a grant to study this disease. Matt suggested that vision screening could be done at the Touch-A-Truck (pending Interact Club approval). They have an ambulance and trailer to take D-R screening on the road. What a project! In short, Matt applauded our efforts to work together to help build a better Livonia.

We closed with the Rotary Four Way Test, but no Greg Greene jokes.

- Dave Stechholz

P.S. Tickets to the Livonia Civic Chorus “I Write the Songs” Spring Concert on Sunday, May 19th 3:00 p.m. at Stevenson High School Auditorium are available from Larry Stephen, Victoria Haltom, or Dave Stechholz. ($15 per adult).

Rotary's First First Gentleman: Nick Krayacich

Nick Krayacich, spouse of 2022-23 RI President Jennifer Jones, sat for an interview about his experience as Rotary's first first gentleman. Nick shared some of his memorable stories on a recent Rotary Magazine podcast episode. Listen to Nick's story and many others at

All For One

April 10, 2024

We had two guests at our meeting this morning, one by Zoom, Brian Morgan, and the other, in person, Tristen Bonifield.  Welcome!

The speaker for today was Ishmail Terry with All for One located in Detroit. Their mission is to empower individuals and communities to reach their full potential as productive, caring citizens.

Our work stems from the growing need to empower those trapped in the cycle of poverty by providing educational tools, mentors, and community-building projects we inspire and present pathways out of poverty.

The non-profit started in High Schools in poverty areas with mentors working with kids, molding them into students. They teach the kids financial skills and knowledge of banks. If you don't have a checking account, getting paid for your work is difficult. The mentors also present

financial programs for the students. 

The program takes place in High Schools, using mentors and school staff during their prep periods. They currently offer a $2,000 scholarship if a student goes into education.

Another aspect of the program is improving the areas surrounding the schools and in the community. All for One has worked on developing parks/playgrounds in those areas using the Kaboom playground group. They want the students to have good recreational facilities. 

They have recently made improvements to two city parks in Detroit including the Ida W Jones Park with the help of area students and volunteers. Other programs are expanding such as Urban Farms. 

The group has received many awards such as Brightest Star and has been recognized by PBS and United Way.

Ishmail's main focus was to ask our club to donate money to reach the goal of getting 850 new bikes for low income students in Redford, Detroit Cody Rouge, and Dickinson Educational area. These bikes will be given out on June 7th.

Susan Paluchniak

Club Donation for RYLA Weekend

April 03, 2024

Livonia AM Rotary is sending (5) student to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA).

RYLA is an intensive training program that brings together our youth, ages 14-18, to further develop character, leadership skills and to learn about Rotary. 


RYLA 2024 will be on April 19-21, 2024 at beautiful Camp Copneconic in Fenton, MI. This program will focus on building the foundation for young leaders, and giving them the tools to find their own leadership ability and the confidence to go out and make positive change happen in their communities.

Club member Eric Ladwig has graciously donated (14) boxes of essential "snacks" for the students. The club has thrown in (9) cases of water.

Club Assembly

April 03, 2024

High Energy Meeting

President Claude Kenrick opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. Twelve members participated in person and five Zoomed in.

Invocation was given by Reverend Dave Stechholz by Zoom from Chicago.

Happy Bucks was handled by Tammy Bonifield.

Erin Dobbins thanked the club for publishing the flyer for the “Take Action for Peace,” a session being held on April 13, 2024, by Zoom. She pointed out that Rotary International felt the current discord across the world warranted a focused effort to foster peace.

Claude Kendrick reported about a special day his fraternity held with the Big Brothers and Sisters Organization in Detroit, whose mission is to ignite the potential in all youth through mentorship. They have supported over 47,000 youth since 1974. More than 175 kids are currently on a waitlist to participate in the programs. Claude’s fraternity held two workshops at a repurposed school in which the organization operates from, with the kids who are on the waitlist. One workshop was titled “What do you want to do”. They also played flag football with the youth. From Claude’s description of the activities, you could tell he was greatly touched by being with the kids.

President-Elect Training Seminar (PETS) by Reverend Dave Stechholz. A slide show presented on the PETS training indicated there were over 450 in attendance, including Jennifer Jones, from Rotary International (RI), and representatives from 7 Rotary Districts. The Livonia AM Rotary Team sold 57 soccer balls and received a shout-out for their efforts. The Rotary International theme for 2024-2025 is “The Magic of Rotary.” They have outlined seven areas of focus: Promoting Peace, Fighting Disease, Saving Mothers and Children, Supporting Education, Growing Local Economies, Protecting the Environment, and Polio Eradication. The theme for District 6400 is “Be the One,” this coming year. It was pointed out that LAMR will mimic District 6400 and RI goals about the seven areas of focus, but also include Rotary Public Image, Youth Exchange, and the Peace Initiative.

The training ended with Jennifer Jones giving what Reverend Dave described as a knockout, home run pep-talk. The smiling pictures of Reverend Dave and other PET participants showed a high-energy experience that greatly inspired our next President on what we can achieve as a club.

It was pointed out that we need to identify the next President after Reverend Dave.

Committee Report and Votes

Fund Raising Committee reported that they are looking for a program to replace the carnival when that event is no longer available. We have benefitted greatly from it but the last few years have indicated how vulnerable it is to being discontinued. The Committee proposed a Bowling Event coupled with a silent auction. It was suggested to enlist a celebrity and the Professional Bowling Association.

The Membership Committee pointed out that we need to attract young people to the club. Victoria Haltom suggested we invite young entrepreneurs to speak at the club meetings to attract young people’s awareness. Her suggestion received support.

Mike Ladwig reported that he has 3 months of speakers lined up. The members clapped and cheered Mike for doing an amazing job enlisting speakers. In his not-so-humble manner, Mike stood up and took a regal bow in which the group clapped even louder.

Progress on the Touch A Truck Event was given by Bob Carris and Bill Friske. The TAT organizing committee held its first meeting this past Monday. There were 11 Interact students in attendance and they presented a very detailed and impressive spreadsheet. Currently, there are 40 students enrolled in the Churchill Interact Club and they have created teams to work on different facets of the event. The spreadsheet was improved since last year, containing information and comparative data from past Touch A Truck events. Bill said it was the most sophisticated spreadsheet he

had ever seen. The kids doubled down on sponsorships and inserted useful past data.

The Giving Committee met on March 18, 2024, to review and make

recommendations for grant awards. The Committee proposed the following grant awards, Kids Coalition for Hunger, $1,000, LEAP Global Missions was paused. Friends of Livonia Arts, $ 500, Divine Mercy Academy $500. Tammy Bonifield moved to approve the awards; the motion was seconded by Mike Ladwig. The motion was unanimously approved.

The Grant Committee pointed out they need to collaborate more closely with the Giving Committee because of overlap with needing match funds. Currently, the Grant Committee is applying for two grants. They are applying for a $2,000 grant from the Rotary 6400 District Community Grant to purchase car seats for AAA Pregnancy Center. This grant requires a 50/50 match of $2,000. They are also applying for a collaborative grant from the District 6400 Collaborative Grant Program to raise money for the Clarenceville Cooler Project. Our club would need to match $1,000. A motion was made by Tammy Bonfield and seconded by Bill Friske to approve the grant applications. The motion was unanimously approved. Discussion followed about exploring developing an international project with Larry Stevens, a member, and his family Camps in Ecuador.

The Adopt A Road Team formally applied to Wayne County to sponsor a section of Five Mile between Farmington and Merriman. Greg Greene felt this was an important road section in that it is part of the proposed efforts to create a downtown for Livonia. It was also pointed out that the clean-up on the road is in line with the “Environment Focus,” of the seven focus areas of Rotary International.

Happy Birthday to Bill Fried and Greg Greene.

By Nancy Darga 

Project SMART

March 27, 2024

Our meeting started with an Invocation by Bob Carris, who asked the group to pray for his son-in-law who had a heart attack this week. (Twelve participants were in person, and 7 Zooming in online.) 

Happy Bucks by Tammy Bonifield. Rick Hart was welcomed to the meeting, the group was glad to see him in attendance. Bill Friske was particularly happy to announce he is training his nephew to take over his company for when he retires 


Bring a Friend effort, was highlighted by Mike Ladwig. This month the club is concentrating on building membership. Mike extended an invitation to everyone to bring a friend to a meeting. 

Adopt a Road Project was reported on by Greg Greene. Greg recapped a meeting he had with the core group on this project. They selected Five Mile Road between Farmington and Merriman as the road to sponsor. They felt the planning efforts to make location a “Town Center,” made this portion of the City’s road system meaningful. The Adopt a Road Group will order a sign from Wayne County and organize a clean-up day

Special Guest: Robin Persiconi, a Livonia Rotarian, spoke about her campaign to run for 35th District Judge. She is a lifelong resident of Livonia, married, and has two daughters. She has a degree from U of M and a law degree from Wayne State University. She started a law firm 21 years ago. She pointed out that her experience in litigation made her well-suited for the judge position she is running for. 

Project SMART, a multifaceted initiative of the Rotary Action Group for Addiction and Prevention. (RAG for AP) was introduced to the club by Steve Ahles, a member of the Southgate Rotary Club. The RAP for AP is a group of Rotarians whose goal is to mobilize Rotarians to offer worldwide leadership to tackle problems as drug abuse and addiction in all its forms. RAP for Ap operates under the policies of Rotary International but is not an agency of, or is not controlled by Rotary International.

The project mobilizes Rotary Clubs in the U.S. to address opioid overuse from prevention to treatment. This program is currently running worldwide with 45 countries currently involved. Steve was reporting on the North American chapters. 

After showing several articles about the program and the staggering number of deaths from opioid overdoses, he outlined what SMART stands for regarding the program’s actions. 

1. School education and training. The “Drug Free America Program” is being introduced in schools. There has been an increase of 169% in teen deaths due to the use of fentanyl in the age groups of 14 – 18 years People are dying of overdoses, and they do not even know they are taking Fentanyl. Educating youth is patterned much like the former “Stop Smoking Campaigns.” 

2. Medicine safe disposal, Examples of how to safely dispose of medicine using activated charcoal. Education efforts to the public focus on how our water supplies are being polluted by throwing medicines in the toilets, sinks, or landfills. Rotary is currently mailing out pill disposal bottles with activated charcoal and setting up disposal kiosks. 

3. Awareness of Naloxone (common name Narcan or Kloxxado). To prevent overdose Rotarians have launched an active program to teach fellow Rotarians how to use Naloxone. This program is utilizing funds from lawsuit settlements against pharmaceutical companies. Currently Wayne County is llocating 100,000 dispensaries of Narcan.  

4. Recovery Programs are being offered in partnership with other groups. 

5. Treatment Programs use telemedicine outreach for easy access. 

In closing Steve asked that a “Project SMART Committee,” be 

established in our Rotary Club to join in the effort to curb the overuse 

of drugs. 

By Nancy Darga 

Passport to Safety

March 20, 2024

After the Pledge of Allegiance, led by LAMR President Claude Kendrick, the Invocation was given by Larry Stephens, and Happy Bucks was handled by Tammy Bonifield.

14 club members and two guests were present, 9 “live” Rotarians and five “Zoomers (also “alive”)!

A couple of our members are attending tonight’s Rotary Grants Seminar.

Bob Carris noted that 56 of our soccer balls were sold at PETS (President-Elect Training Seminar) in Kalamazoo this past weekend. Bravo to Bob, Tammy, and Bill Friske for selling those “signature” soccer balls.

Dave Stechholz, at PETS as President-Elect, affirmed that PETS was an outstanding training seminar.

On behalf of District 6400 Governor, Russ Jones, Dave presented two banners and a citation for our Club’s outstanding 100% participation in TRF (The Rotary Foundation).

Mike Ladwig, our Membership Chair, mentioned that April is our Club’s Bring a Friend to Rotary Month. Let’s each try to bring someone to our non-Assembly April Rotary meetings, featuring outstanding speakers, such as we had today.

Several Club members attended the annual State of the City Address on the first day of Spring, March 19th at Schoolcraft College’s VistaTech Center, featuring our own Club member, Mayor Maureen Brosnan. A few of us watched Maureen’s presentation on live-streaming.

In view of today’s presentation, Susan Paluchniak has graciously stepped up to be Chair of our new Passport To Safety Committee.

Passport To Safety:

Our speakers, Cheryl Bowker, an All State agent and one of the co-founders of "Passport to Safety in 1999, and Sgt. Jayson Scarantino of the Livonia Police Dept. (LPD officer in charge of community outreach events) presented on the annual Passport to Safety event.

This event is the largest safety event in the country!! 2,000 to 5,000 attend annually. The upcoming Passport to Safety event is Saturday, June 8th, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Livonia Police Department and Livonia Fire Dept. parking lots.

The Passport to Safety event helps

families to learn safety. For example, a family got out of their burning house without loss of life because they, especially the children, were trained at a previous Passport to Safety event. Kids, ages 5-11 have fun and learn. They each get a passport and get it hole-punched as they visit 10 “learning” stations.

  • Learning about proper 911 calling;
  • Car safety (such as children and pets not being left in a car that can be 160 degrees on a hot Summer day) and car seat fitting;
  • Bike safety (and with a free gift helmet);
  • Choking and poison;
  • Cell phone, phone (child predators), and internet safety;
  • Water safety; and so much more.

At each station, there is a “message” for the parents and one for the kids.

Gun safety may be a future topic for consideration. The event also features K-9 Police Dog and Jaws of Life demonstrations and drawings.

Cheryl and Sgt. Jayson’s talk and slideshow were simply great, and our Club’s Giving Committee has already approved a donation, subject to Board and Club approval shortly.

We closed with the Rotary Four Way Test and Greg Greene’s corny, par-a-dox-ical jokes.

Dave Stechholz, Scribe

A Rotary Thank You!

March 18, 2024

Dear fellow members of the Livonia A.M. Rotary Club:

Thank you!   Thank you for sending me to PETS (President-Elect Training Session) this past Thursday-Saturday in Kalamazoo.  I wish every one of you could someday go to PETS.  

More later, perhaps in a Club Assembly. But for now, THANK YOU!  I have a couple of banners to present to you, our Club, this Wednesday magic morning.

Rotary blessings,

Dave Stechholz

P.S. The photo above is Laurie Pohutsky and me, attached. Laurie is the President-Elect of our sister Livonia Rotary (noon) Club.

Member Spotlight - Tim Belanger

March 13, 2024

A Week of Memorable Dates

Invocation: Mike Ladwig named his invocation “Drift”. He noted that his new car

sounds an alert when the vehicle drifts out of its lane. He thanked the Lord that when he drifts spiritually, he brings him back on course.

Fun facts: Reverend Dave Stechholz pointed out that today 3/13/2024 was “313 Day,” established to celebrate Detroit based on their telephone area code. Tomorrow 3/14 will be PI Day celebrating the mathematical constant ratio of circles circumference/ diameter which starts with the numbers 3.14 established in 1988 by the San Francisco Science Museum to inspire students nationwide. Friday 3/15, the Ides of March, the day dictator Julius Caesar was stabbed by members of his senate and Sunday 3/17 is St. Patrick’s Day to honor St. Patrick who brought Christianity to Ireland.

Adopt A Road: Greg Greene proposed that the Livonia Rotary AM “Adopt a Road” This commitment requires picking up trash 3 times a year on a section of road chosen by the club. Wayne County provides trash bags, vests and a sign. After a discussion on how to get the Interact Kids involved a motion was made by Greg and seconded by Claude Kendrick to have Greg proceed in getting a list of road sections to adopt for the group to select. The motion passed.

Happy Birthday was sung by the club to Pat Zucal.

Touch a Job April 20, 2024: Brian Weiss thanked the Rotary Club for allowing him to use the Touch a Truck phrase for a project to introduce high schoolers to careers that do not require college degrees. The event will be held at Schoolcraft College Manufactures and Engineering Center at 13001 Merriman Rd. Livonia on April 20, 2024 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Students will get hands on introduction to several trades jobs.

Walk in Cooler Project Clarenceville High School: Special thanks were extended to Dawn Margaretta from Schoolcraft College on the announcement a the college made a $10,000 grant towards the project. Fund raising efforts continue toward the goal of raising $30,000 for the cooler.

Member Spotlight: Tim Bellanger, an Ohio State Football fan, opened his presentation by singing the

Wolverine fight song as a result of a long standing bet he made with club members that the losing party of the Michigan versus Ohio State Football Game would sing the others fight song. He paid his debt now that he was at the Rotary meeting in person. Mike Ladwig added his own rub by wearing a very obnoxious bright yellow U of M shirt with giant M’s embroidered on it. Tim an early member of the Rotary Club and former President in 2000 took the heckling with good spirit. ​

Tim pointed out that he was the son of two high school sweethearts that had him in their teens while they were both in 9th grade. This rocky beginning resulted in his parents moving 21 times due to limited financial resources. They settled in Livonia and Tim earned a scholarship at Central Michigan but decided to go to college in Ohio where his mother lived after remarrying. He worked producing sports features at a local radio station and was soon promoted to sales.

In 1987, Tim’s Dad convinced him to return to Michigan and work for a painting company he started doing sales. The company evolved in doing “Construction Management,” specializing in medical facilities that require infection control on construction jobs. Ames Construction has been operating for 52 years and expanding to Pittsburgh in 2009 and expanded again in 2019 to Columbus Ohio.

He is married to Sharon and has three kids. His daughter Jesse has two children, son, Andrew, went to West Point and is currently in Germany doing air defense. Tim

plans on retiring in two years and hopes to spend more time with Rotary.

Nancy Darga

Churchill HS Interact Club and LAMR Joint Meeting

March 11, 2024

Several members of our club attended the joint meeting with the Churchill HS Interact Club this week. Club members David Stechholz, Claude Kendrick, Bob Carris, Susan Paluchniak, Tammy Bonifield, Victoria Haltom, Pat Zucal, Mike Ladwig, and Bill Friske enjoyed a great program from the club leadership.

We were introduced to the Interact Club's Board and members, and given an update on some of the incredible work the club has completed this year.

Joint Meeting Photos

Interact Club's 2023/24 Project Photos

Livonia Westland Chamber of Commerce Leadership & Awards Celebration Dinner

February 27, 2024

Livonia AM was well represented at the 2024 Leadership & Awards Celebration Dinner hosted by the Livonia Westland Chamber of Commerce.

Club members Susan Paluchniak, Tammy Bonifield, Nancy Darga, Dave Stechholz, Claude Kendrick, Mike Ladwig, Eric Ladwig, Greg Greene, and Bob Carris (on camera) are seen here having a great time!

This event is an annual celebration to honor those who make a difference in Livonia, making the community a great place to live, work, learn, and play! 

Member Spotlight

February 28, 2024

Our club weekly meeting today was by Zoom only since the Senior Center was closed Monday through Wednesday for election business only so we had to resort to Zoom for our meeting.

Discussion was held about the value found in the Rotary magazine that recently arrived at member's homes. Please be sure to read a few of the articles.

The Churchill HS Interact Club along with the AM Rotary met on 2/27 at Forgotten Harvest to pack meals and sort donated food. The event was from 1:00 to 4:00 with 16 teens joining with President Claude and Bob Carris to do the work. The kids worked fast and their jobs were completed.

Several Rotarians joined Erin Dobbins (event host) at the Taylor Conservatory's Mardi Gras Fundraiser Party this past weekend. Photos show lots of costumes and even a dragon dancing. Looks like a fun time at the Mardi Gras event.

The Rotary Club of Mitchell Field (Wisconsin) came to town to purchase 25 soccer balls that their club will take on their work trip to another country.

The club program today is part of the Rotary Member Spotlight where members are highlighted. This week we have interviews with David Stechholz and Bob Carris.

David Stechholz started off saying he is healing well from his surgery but has to remember that he needs to slow down so he can heal. He is a 4th generation Luthern Pastor who was raised in a small NJ town. David started his career off in Oakmont, Pennsylvania in an old Church that was next to a funeral home. David, being friendly, made friends with the owner of the English Funeral Home, Dale English. That friendship between the two was the start of David Stechholz's Rotary adventure. Dale was President of the Rotary Club and asked David to come to a meeting. David joined the Rotary club. He served 3 years as secretary and the President in 1986-87. During this time women could no longer be barred from Rotary. David inducted 4 women during his term as President and only lost one member because of women being in the club.

Danville, CA was next for David where he joined their Rotary club for 3 years. The Stechholz family moved again to San Francisco were he accepted a pastoral call to serve West Portal Evangelical Lutheran Church and School. Dave served there for 15 1/2 years. He joined the San Francisco Rotary Club which happened to be the #2 club in the world and was founded in 1908. He served on the Board of Directors for his club.Then in 2006 Dave was elected bishop/ President of his church body's non-geographic diocese (English District-Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod).

The headquarters is in Farmington, MI which brought the family to live in Livonia. Dave joined the Noon Rotary but during COVID ZOOM meetings he found a better fit with the AM Livonia Rotary. Dave will be President next year of our Club.

He and his wife Janet have three children, a son and two daughters. Plus 5 grandkids. His hobbies include walking, working on model trains, writing (he's currently working on a book), singing, and working on crossword puzzles.

Bob Carris grew up in upstate New York where he attended the University of Buffalo. Bob was in

ROTC and wanted to attend grad school studying hospital administration, but the Air Force also wanted him. It was decided he could complete his schooling since it was a field the Air Force needed. He graduated and then was assigned to Scott Air Force Base where he checked the credentials of incoming medical service people. It was there that he met his wife, Teri, when Bob made a signal to the secretary that he wanted to talk to Teri. The rest is history, as they say.

In 1977 the Carris's moved to Michigan where Bob oversaw an operating room. He noticed the surgeon having great difficulty putting in a stint for a heart patient. The stint would pull off so Bob showed the doctor a trick he used from auto repair by putting a little suture in the tube they could pull the tube through. Bob's procedure is still used today.

When Bob moved to Livonia he worked for Edward Jones for 5 years. It was the custom of Edward Jones that their employees go to service clubs and pass out literature. This gave Bob a broad overview of the service clubs in the area. He joined our club and served as president of the club 6 times.

Dr Stanley Ngeyi was also a member of our club with family in Cameroon. The two men formed a friendship in part with their medical backgrounds. When the Dr. Stanley's village in Cameroon was attacked by a neighboring village, buildings were destroyed. The police said there was nothing they could do but would build a police station there. If the village was attacked again it would be against the government. The village felt safe that it wasn't going to be attacked again. Dr. Stanley would travel back to his village to help rebuild. Bob traveled to Cameroon to help with the rebuilding of two schools and a maternity hospital. The villagers treated Bob so well that they named him the prince of the village. They even gave him a cow which he regifted back to the village.

Bob was able to obtain an ultrasound machine that he's trying to get back to Cameroon along with someone that can train the villagers on its use.

Susan Paluchniak

Taylor Conservatory Mardi Gras Fundraiser

February 24, 2024

Club members Claude Kendrick (with friends Syndi and Laney) along with Tammy Bonifield and Event Host Erin Dobbins attended Taylor Conservatory's Mardi Gras Fundraiser Party this past weekend. This is an annual fundraising event attended by tons of Rotarians from around the district. Judging from the photos and videos folks are posting online, it looks like a great time was had by all!

More Photos

Divine Mercy Academy

February 21, 2024

The meeting was opened by President Claude; following the Pledge of Allegiance, an Invocation was given by Bob Carris. Since upcoming events were carefully reviewed, there was no collection of Happy Bucks. Our Club is willing to take the leadership for the Fall KCAH (Kids Coalition Against Hunger), with Tammy Bonifield heading it up and several volunteering for the KCAH Committee. We will reach out for help, as well.

Divine Mercy Academy (DMA) - Filling “A Gap”

Today’s speakers were Principal Barbara Brish and Teacher Louise Zilka from DMA. They shared a fine brochure, with the front picture of Sts. Genevieve & Maurus School on Jamison St. in Livonia.

This K-8 private school in the Roman Catholic tradition serves children and families with special needs of all kinds, many having emotional problems. Ten students are currently enrolled. DMA has been in existence for five years and receives no funding from the State or from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese.

Their presentation also tugged at our heartstrings, since many of the children have been “expelled” (or suspended, etc.) from public, parochial, or other schools where they cannot fit in.

DMA teaches social skills, as well as providing physical, speech, and emotional support. Each child has an individualized plan, with students entering the school at different times of the year.

DMA has joined St. Valentine’s RC School in Redford Twp. For a weekly chapel. The school is funded through tuition ($15,000/year), though many cannot pay the full freight, and through charitable donations. DMA has student teachers from Madonna University. DMA needs reading volunteers, please call (734) 855-4997 or email

There are no coaches in the school; DMA is “bare bones,” but always with at least three teachers in the building. (See the attached video.) No traditional report cards are issued until 7th & 8th grades, though “brain mapping” and progress reports are given to the student’s parents. A helpful Q&A!

 Dave Stechholz

Junior Achievement

February 14, 2024

Beth O'Conner, VP of Programs for Junior Achievement of SE Michigan, was our speaker for today's program. She explained that through JA, young people discover what is possible in their lives, helping them to connect what they learn in school with life outside the classroom. JA does this by using the personal life experiences of volunteers in finance to teach financial literacy and careers in finance. Other volunteers teach about the use of credit cards, interest rates, and setting up a bank account. (Detroit ranks as the 5th unbanked society in the U.S.) Students learn how to fill out job applications and interview skills taught and practiced.

Corporations in business, manufacturing, and medicine also provide volunteer leaders to mentor the students. 

Beth told us how a group of students developed and made lamps that showed how much electricity was used when it was turned on. The students then sold the lamps to the public.

The programs are delivered by corporate volunteers, community-based organizations, and educators. The lessons, which are aligned with the State of Michigan educational standards, are designed to provide relevant experience and knowledge needed for vocational and personal success.

  JA was started in 1949 and serves youth from 5 to 25. Classes are taught in schools, community centers, and libraries. Career fairs are held for the students to explore different fields available in Michigan. JA has programs in Livonia and Clarenceville Schools.

Through Junior Achievement, students learn that it's possible to invest in their future, get a better understanding of how the world works, and pursue their dreams.

Susan Paluchniak

JA of Southeastern Michigan 2023 Programming

Thank You From Guatemala

February 14, 2024

Dear Livonia AM: I bought a couple of soccer balls from your club on eBay last November to take to Guatemala on our service trip with the Lake in the Hills Rotary Club. These kids were thrilled with the soccer balls! They had an ancient rock-hard ball to play with. Soccer is a big part of their day during free time at the AkTenamit School in La Libertad, Guatemala. Thanks for making these soccer balls available. All the best, yours in Rotary.

Diana Mark

McHenry Area Rotary Club

McHenry, Illinois

More Photos

Wayne County Commissioner

Terry Marecki

January 31, 2024

Building Connections

The Invocation was done by Victoria Haltom. She pointed out that Pluto moved into Aquarius and that we should welcome change and focus on the gifts each member has to offer. She said this is a new era of connectivity.

Tammy Bonifield pitched in for Happy Bucks, since our Sargent of Arms, Sharon Pommerville is in the hospital with a broken shoulder. She is slated for surgery Thursday. Prayers were extended to her.

Reverend David Stechholz and John Clay were happy to be recuperating from their back surgery.

A guest from the Trenton Rotary Club attended the meeting, Bill Jasman. He was happy to be going to Africa in 2 weeks in Ghana putting in a well at a school.

Special thanks were extended to all the members who helped out at the Livonia Hockey Allstar Game with Redwing Alumni. Special cheers went out to member Eric Ladwig who skated at the game. The game netted over $10,000 for local charities. The Livonia Rotary PM group rented a room at the arena during the game for the players serving pizza.

Bob Carris announced that the club will be meeting with the Interact Club at Churchill High School on March 11, 2024 at 2:30. Nancy Darga will pick up snacks and Tammy is bringing water.

The Guest Speaker was Wayne County Commissioner Terry Marecki. She pointed out that the voting districts for Wayne County Commissioners were changed with the census and she now represents the west end (60%) of Livonia, Northville City, and Northville and Plymouth Township. She was first elected as Wayne County Commissioner in 2015. She listed all of the committees she serves on. Some of the affiliations she listed was being a member of the National Assoc. of Counties and the Planning Group for the Tri-County Summit. She informed the Rotary Club that each Commissioner gets to appoint a student to the County wide Youth Council. These students get to go to Lansing. Applications are open in September. She encouraged the club to nominate someone.

In speaking about current legislation pending, she stated that recently a Senate Bill at the State was introduced to add a $2.00 charge to all water bills to establish a fund for people who cannot pay their water bill. This fund would be overseen by the State Health and Human Services Department. She does not support the bill in that the administrative costs are estimated over 20% (12 million of 60 million to be collected). She pointed out that she helped Livonia secure 8 million ARPA Funds for a new Senior Center.

The biggest challenge Wayne County is facing currently is rebuilding the workforce. Wayne County is losing Sheriff’s and Prosecutors to other municipalities due to low wages, high workloads, and stressful work environments. Union contracts are being re-opened to introduce incentives to improve the retention rate of the workforce.

The new Criminal Justice Center on I75 and Warren will be opening. The next project is the Civil Justice Center. She expounded on improvements the County is making.

  • The County will be spending 5 million each year for the next 5 years in new technology to improve operations.

  •  Commission meetings are Zoomed in and recorded. The public is welcome to make comments.

  • The Roads Division has set up a road call center for complaints. If anyone has a problem with a road call 1-888-762-3273. Do not call her office. Greg Green wanted to know how our club could sponsor a road like he does in Caton. She told him to call this road number.

  • Nancy Darga asked if she was still sponsoring a project for Rouge Rescue Day. She explained that the Friends of the Rouge do not do a single Rouge Day. She suggested our club contact the Friends through their website. Nancy agreed to do so.

  • The Commissioner explained that the Parks and Recreation Department have made great improvements to the parks. Their goal this year is to connect all their parks and waterways.

In closing accolades were made about the club setting up a text chain to keep everyone in communication about Sharon’s accident and need for assistance. Claude Kendrick offered to add everyone’s name in the phone chain as a way to keep everyone connected in real time.

Nancy Darga

Autism Alliance of Michigan

January 25, 2024

Our club was recently recognized by the Autism Alliance of Michigan.

Club members Sharon Pommerville, Bill Fried, Mike Ladwig, and Steve Alexander attended the dinner event held at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute in Southfield.

This event was the Autism Alliance of Michigan's first event to induct supporting organizations that donate to their cause/mission in the BRIDGE BUILDERS SOCIETY and the Founders Society.

Livonia All-Stars vs Detroit Redwings Alumni

January 28, 2024

On Sunday, members from both Livonia Rotary Clubs came out to help support the Livonia All-Stars vs. Detroit Red Wings Alumni charity hockey game.

Our club was well represented by Tammy Bonifield, Steve Alexander, Mike Ladwig, Bob Carris, Claude Kendrick, and Pat Zucal.

Club member Eric Ladwig was suited up and playing for the Livonia All-Stars team.

Laugh and Learn Austism Therapy

January 24, 2024

Smiles and Laughter Cut Through Fog and Rain at the Livonia Rotary AM Meeting

Despite the fog and rain, a large contingent of members attended the January 24, 2024 meeting both by Zoom and in person. Many of them wearing Detroit Lions Football gear as they savor the Teams’ victory over Tamps Bay Buccaneers, on January 21, 2024. This victory places Detroit in striking distance to the Super Bowl game. The current President, Claude Kendrick, wearing a Lions knit cap, and looking quite sporty, thanked Tammy Bonifield on behalf of the club for hosting a Lions game viewing party and taco bar.

Invocation: Larry Stephens asked God to give us wisdom. He asked for peace in the world. Prayers were extended to Rick Poppa and his son Nick who is struggling with MS. Reverend David Stechholz was sent intentions for his speedy recovery from back surgery.

Happy Bucks: Bob Carris reported that due to the efforts of Mayor Brosnan and her assistant Dave Varga, Sears will let us use the parking lot again for the annual carnival. Everyone cheered hearing the happy news.

Erin Dobbs reported that she is happy she will be attending a Rotary Peace Conference at the Richard Nixon Conference Center north of Los Angeles.

Mike Ladwig was happy that his son, Eric Ladwig, also a Rotary member, will be skating at the Livonia All-Star Hockey Game vs the Red Wing Alumni on Sunday, January 28th. Volunteers are needed at the Livonia Ice Rink from 10 to 2:30.

Correspondence: Claude reported that the club received a thank you letter from the “Restore the Horse,” for the donation from the Churchill Interact Club's, Touch a Truck fundraising event. The funds will go to the Wayne County Mounted Unit who participate in the event with their horses. A thank you letter was also received from M.O.S.T. Ministries, for their grant to provide optometric services to a poor region in Mexico.

Tammy encouraged members to sign up for the District Assembly 4/7/2024 at St. Clair College Windsor and District Conference

5/3/2024 in Grand Rapids. Registration is through the DACdb website.

Special Speaker: Karoline Kennville, the Director of Laugh and Learn Therapy for Autistic Kids, gave a presentation of their program to help children with developmental disabilities. She pointed out that the ratio for autistic kids used to be 1 in 36 and now has climbed to 1 in 6. Studies are trying to ascertain why the increase. Their program is private and they currently have two centers, one in Grand Blanc and one in Brighton. Their program offers learning through “Applied Behavioral Analysis.” They stress play as a learning experience and want to offer more outdoor play experiences. They are in need of outdoor play equipment and gently used toys and bikes for their clients. They have applied for a grant.

Nancy Darga

Post Meeting Thank You Note: Thank you for giving me the chance to speak today! Here is a picture of some of our staff with the ball. This is a new addition to our play area. Great for teaching rolling the ball back and forth for social and working on gross motor skills!

Karoline Kennville

Detroit Lions Watch Party

January 21, 2024


A pre-game gathering for the Lions Football Game on January 21, 2024, was hosted by Tammy Bonifield at her home, with a taco bar.

Club members Bill Fried, Greg Greene, Erin Dobbins, Nancy Darga (with Mike), Claude Kendrick (with Jeanne), Bob Carris, and Bill Friske (with Rose), enjoyed Tammy's hospitality and the Lions watch party.

Bob Carris brought his popular bean dip. Prior to the game starting, a "brainstorming discussion" was held on future fund-raising events or programs. The game was a nail-biter at times but this rowdy group cheered our beloved team to victory as well as Tammy’s two dogs and Erin's pooch.

Freezing Weather Meets a Heat Wave at the Livonia AM Meeting

January 17, 2024

This past week's meeting was held via Zoom only due to weather conditions. Thanks to the technical help from our member Bill Friske, who set up the regular meetings both in person and virtual, the group met by Zoom. The warm greetings and laughter shared by members in the Zoom warmed up the day and kept the cold at bay.

The Invocation was done by Bob Carris. In continuation of a conversation from the previous meeting, funding opportunities for the walk-in coolers for the Clarenceville Food Pantry were discussed. Erin Dobbs asked members who would be willing to help write letters, to contact her.

The special guest speaker was

Elana Voyles of Gentiva Hospice. She described their philosophy on giving personal care at a vulnerable time in people's life. Gentiva is a national service provider with three centers in Michigan, Southfield, Canton, and Flint. A heartfelt PowerPoint with video clips of patients describing how grateful they were for the care they received was presented.

Several members shared their experiences with hospice care for their family members, and how important it was during their challenging times.

Nancy Darga

Churchill HS Interact Club Presentation Of Checks

January 10, 2024

The Churchill HS Interact Club's leadership team met with Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan at City Hall last week to present checks to groups that they are committed to supporting.

Club members Dave Burton, Bob Carris, Susan Paluchniak, Dave Stechholz, Pat Zucal, Eric Ladwig, and Claude Kendrick were on hand to share in the ceremony.

The gift recipients were - The Livonia Police Department, The Livonia Fire Department, Restore The Horse, VT Seva, and Shelter Box.

The funds were raised from this past summer's successful Touch A Truck event.

More Photos

RACCA Cancer Foundation

January 10, 2024

President Claude presided over the meeting today. Claude mentioned that the Churchill HS Interact Club will be presenting checks this afternoon at 4:30 to several recipients from the proceeds of the Touch A Truck. 

Claude would like as many members who can be there to support the Interact Club as they make these presentations.

A brief discussion occurred with possible fundraising /grants for the coolers for the Clarenceville food pantry. Those interested in helping were asked to please stay after the meeting.

Reminder - the Rotary District Conference is in Grand Rapids, at the Amway Grand Plaza, May 3-5.

The January Rotary Magazine has several good articles, especially " The Race to Save Lives".

Jimmy Hill and Brandon Melin were our presenters on ZOOM for RACCA Cancer Foundation.

This foundation started with a group of friends, driven to raise funds and awareness, inspired in the name of our fallen brother, to benefit local members in our community affected with cancer.

They raise these funds by having a disc golf tournament at Blue Ribbon Pines in Minnesota. This has grown through the years to include 4 live bands, lots of food, and raffles. 

We were having difficulty in showing their taped presentation and ran out of time for our meeting. They were invited back.

Susan Paluchniak

Club Assembly

January 03, 2024

New Year, New Outlook

Mike Ladwig gave the invocation. He stated that he would like to get back to basic civility and dedication to serve others be the focus in 2024.

Tammy Bonifield the past President, chaired the meeting as Claude Kendrick, the current president, was stuck in a traffic jam. Shortly after the meeting started Claude arrived to cheers from the group.

Treasury Report: Tammy Bonifield stated that the club was in a good financial position. She will bring in updated accounting reports at the next meeting.

Fund Raising: Nancy Darga asked what the status was of the carnival for 2024 in that it is the largest revenue generator for the club. Bob Caris reported that he talked to Clarenceville School District about using their parking lot for the carnival. He also talked to Burton Manor on the I96 service drive. It was

suggested that the club talk to Dave Varga who has a meeting with Shostak to see if we can use Sears one more time. Pat Zucal offered to speak with Sears. It was pointed out that the club needed a more permanent home for the Carnival. The Clarenceville School complex was voted the best site of the three being considered. A generous donation could be given to the school for hosting the carnival. Bob and Pat would follow through with negotiations.

Giving Committee: Bill Friske reported that the following organizations applied for grants from the Livonia Rotary AM Club:

  • Clarenceville School $1,400 for a 3D printer in their stem lab.

  • Livonia Ballet, $500 for a scholarship. They will be asked to speak to the club in April.

  • Divine Mercy Academy, $1,000 for science supplies for special needs children. They will be asked to speak to the club in February.

Reverend Dave Stechholz motioned to approve the recommended grant awards, Nancy Darga seconded. The motion was unanimously approved.

The Livonia Allstar Hockey Game

is fast approaching on January 28, 2024. Claude will set up a SignUp

Genius. It was agreed the club would volunteer at the event.

Rotary International has decided to eliminate separate "themes" in two years. They are going to have single branding. Separate themes and logos have proven to be confusing. Rotary magazine is distributed to 55 countries. A single branding campaign will provide a unified voice.

The Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) will combine youths from district 6400 plus 6480. The camp

is scheduled for April 19-21st. The theme will be “Imagine the Future.”

Tammy asked for ideas for a

meeting at the Seedlings Event in May. Greg Greene asked if the Rotary Livonia AM Club would like to “Adopt a Road.” This involves doing a cleanup four to five times a year on a section of road. A cleanup day could take four to five hours given

how many volunteers show up. It was pointed out that such a commitment would take a lot of time and physical challenges. Tammy would like the club to consider a “Service Day.” The annual Rouge River Clean

Up Day was mentioned. Nancy Darga will contact the Friends of the Rouge to see if a Livonia site is


Reverend Dave wants the club to focus on enrolling new members with whatever service project is adopted.

Nancy Darga

Membership Summit

December 09, 2023

On Saturday, December 9th, I attended a Rotary Membership Summit in Troy. The Summit was a hands-on event with Rotarians from 6 districts covering Michigan and Southwest Ontario. 

Here is a message from DG Russ Jones as stated in the December D6400 Newsletter:

"Membership. It is a universal concern among all clubs in our zone and should be a priority for all Rotarians. Keeping ourselves and other members engaged and bringing in new members is vital to maintaining a vibrant organization. If you want a Rotary club that has an impact on your community and the world, you must be the one actively promoting the club and asking other leaders to join."

At the Summit, we worked on "developing an action plan to ensure we as club members increase our impact, expand our reach in the community, enhance member engagement and increase our club’s ability to adapt." I had the honor and privilege to meet in-person and learn from some very distinguished Rotary leaders; Rotary International President Elect, Stephanie Urchick, RI Directors Drew Kessler and Chris Etienne (Elect), Louisa Horne and Tom Gump.

Once again, I was very proud of our Livonia AM Rotary Club for doing things right and checking most of the boxes for being a vibrant, inclusive, diverse and equitable club; promoting Rotary in our community; and always working to increase membership.

RIPE Stephanie explained to us that Rotary was founded as, and remains to be, a membership organization. We are defined as a "membership organization with opportunities for service." 

The emphasis of fellowship in Rotary at the Summit really struck home with me as the chairperson of the District 6400 Pathways to Understanding Committee.

Our first breakout session reminded me of the town hall our club had a few months ago (and that we should follow up with a "part 2" after the New Year.) During the work session, a member of the Grosse Pointe Rotary club stated that she really enjoyed the meeting format that includes the Pledge of Allegiance and an invocation. I was lucky to have a personal audience with RI Directors Drew Kessler and Chris Etienne during the next break. I took the opportunity to discuss the statement from the Grosse Pointe member while she was included in the conversation. The Directors were very decisive in explaining that prayer is inappropriate for Rotary club meetings and should be replaced with a non-religious "moment of inspiration". I explained that I am a Christian and that is a tough thing for me to promote as the District Chairperson for the Pathways committee. We left the conversation very peacefully with the message that religion, like politics, has no place in Rotary.

However, as a Christian and member of the Livonia AM club which has many Christian members, it has been a difficult struggle for me to be called to "shine my light" by Jesus but hide it under a basket by Rotary. After several months of prayer, contemplation, multiple bible studies and even one-on-one discussion with theologians, I came to my personal conclusion and wanted to share it with you:

Acts 15; 1-21 teaches about deference; respectful submission or yielding to the judgement, opinion, will etc. of another. Just as Paul and Barnabas showed deference in Judea about who can be saved, I can certainly show deference to Rotary, the greatest organization for good on Earth, by encouraging our clubs to relax on public prayer during meetings that are called in the name of Rotary in order to welcome those who are not yet working on their faith journey. I appreciate our club and value all the new friendships formed with our members. Thank you again for letting me be a part of the "cool kids"!

Erin Dobbins

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