President Steve Linder
Steve Linder

President Steve Linder

The 2014-2015 Year began as President Steve Linder took over the reins from Past President Ginger Anderson.  Several new things were implemented this year.  The head table was rotated around the room in an effort to have members mix and mingle with each other.  One of the jokers was removed from the raffle deck of cards and replaced with a wild card drawn each week.  Consequently, the tablecloth on the head table was variously red or black, depending on the wild card selected.

The Club was organized and directed by an able board of directors consisting of: Bill Stieren (Administration, Fellowship); Mary Ann Avnet (Administration, Fundraising); Janice Lencke and David Thorson (Membership); Deb Granda and Carolyn Sparks (Special Projects); Steve Dixon/Francesca Gilbert (Public Relations); Bob Patten (Service Projects); Jim Kohl (Youth and Vocational Service Projects); Chris Rodenfels (International Service Projects); James Bradshaw (Rotary Foundation); Ginger Anderson (Immediate Past President); Kathy Dalvey (Past Presidents’ Representative); Randy Boesch (Rotary Foundation President) and Tom Brooker (Treasurer).

At the first meeting of the year, and continuing throughout the year, President Steve began his tradition of reviewing historical items each week and remembering the sacrifices of our service members for the 70th anniversary of the final year of World War II.

Gloria Gorlin began her seventh year as the producer of the fabulous weekly Wheel publication.  This time-consuming effort is pure volunteerism at its best and continued to make our Club publication one of the best in all of District 5300.  She relinquished this task in March to Bill Houghton, who picked up this demanding task without skipping a beat.

Monthly news updates from Channel 3 were continued this year by news anchor Gerard Ramalho.

Frequent evening socials and quarterly highway clean-ups were organized by the 25 Club under the leadership of Anil Melnick, Randy Roberts, Mike Mendoza, Jaime Goldsmith, and Sarah Brown.

The quarterly Wetzel Awards continued under the tutelage of Glenn Meier, the first of which was held on August 14.  This award, named in honor of the late Rotarian and retired Air Force Colonel Scotty Wetzel, is presented to five airmen, one from each wing, serving at Nellis or Creech AFB, who have been nominated by their senior leadership.  The ceremony is held at the Air Warfare Center at Nellis AFB and is attended by the General Officer in charge of the base.  Second quarter awards were presented on October 30, third quarter on March 19 and fourth quarter on May 28.

On August 20, Past President Ginger Anderson announced the approval of the new Club Mission Statement by the Club Board, Foundation Trustees and the Past Presidents.  The new Mission Statement reads: “Teaching youth to succeed through Literacy, Education and Life Skills Development.”

On September 8, Janie Lynn coordinated the SOAR Awards (Safety Officers’ Award Recognition) to honor our first responders (police, firefighters, park service and others) who serve the public every day without complaint and, often, with amazing results.

The Wine-to-Water social events continued to be organized by Arleen Sirois.  These events featured wine and hors d’oeuvres brought by members and a wine-related topic covered by a guest speaker.  Events were held this year on September 12 and February 27.

Hurricane Odile slammed into the resort town of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on September 15.  District 5300 organized a relief effort and the board of directors voted to allocate $1,000 in emergency relief funds to assist.

On September 27, Ed Lepere hosted his annual party in Cedar City, Utah, in conjunction with the Shakespeare Festival.

Another new feature added this year by President Steve was the Club Assembly.  There were three assemblies during the year, which allowed the board to inform the Club of happenings and direction of the Club, plus allowed member interaction through questions and answers.  The first Assembly was held on October 2.  Past President Ginger Anderson and Glenn Meier updated the Club on efforts of the Major Goal Committee and announced a new Interact program planned for Bishop Gorman High School.  Steve Dixon gave an update on the development of a new website.  Janice Lencke discussed membership and asked members to promote Rotary membership.

A brand new Rotary club (Las Vegas Spring Mountains) was sponsored by our Club this year.  Charter celebration was held on October 3.

ONE DROP held a Walk for Water from the Smith Center to the Springs Preserve on October 11, attended by Arleen Sirois, Past President Ginger Anderson, and President Steve.

Another fellowship activity, the Cigar Social, continued in full swing this year, chaired by Past President Jim Hunt.  These engaging activities, held at a member’s home, were good times for cigar smokers, as well as non-smokers.  Donated items were raffled to raise money for the Las Vegas Rotary Foundation.  The socials were held on October 15 and April 30.

Anil Melnick hosted the kick-off event for the annual Salvation Army canned food drive at his catering business, “B with a Twist” on October 16.

Internationally, the Club continued to support the Corazon Superbuild in Tecate, Mexico.  This year build dates were October 18 and May 2, coordinated by Kirk Alexander.  What a wonderful project affecting the lives of many.  Rotarian Larry Tomsic donated the sponsorship of an entire house, which was matched by the Club.

Past President Randy Donald held a fabulous Halloween Party at his and Sally’s home on October 25.

Past President Russ Swain parked his big ol’ RV in the parking lot at Sam Boyd Stadium for our annual tailgate party for UNLV organized by Bob Patten.  The party was fantastic and well attended, unfortunately the Rebels lost to the Air Force Falcons.

On November 26, the past presidents announced that David Thorson would be the new President-Elect-Elect for Rotary year 2016-2017.  David will follow President-Elect Mary Ann Avnet (2015-2016).

Santa Clothes was again organized by Past President Jim Hunt and successfully executed on December 4.  A near record number of children from Salvation Army and other groups were assisted with new clothing, shoes, socks and underwear.  Following the shopping, the students were treated to pizza at UNLV and interaction with the university athletes.

The Board of Directors voted to allocate $1,000 to Will Beckley Elementary School to help offset the $40,000 in equipment recently stolen from the school.

The Holiday Party was organized on the evening of December 4 by Janice Lencke and Deb Granda, with the assistance of Jaime Goldsmith, who helped bring the party to Treasure Island.  It was a wonderful party and beautiful venue.

Rotarians again gathered at Opportunity Village on December 11 for a night of volunteer service at the Magical Forest organized by Past President Brock Fraser.

In January, Lawry’s moved into the 21st Century by eliminating paper Lawry Bucks and issuing only electronic cards with 15-month expiration dates.  All paper Lawry Bucks expired on January 31, 2015.

On January 22, President-Elect Mary Ann Avnet announced that, beginning with her term on July 1 the Club meetings will take place in Lawry’s Great Room, which is to the left when you enter Lawry’s lobby.  The Ale & Sandwich Bar will be closing.  The Great Room has the same capacity as the main dining room, but provides a totally private venue with less noise from the lobby and the kitchen.

The second Club Assembly of the year was held on February 5 with the major announcement by Glenn Meier that the Club board of directors had approved a $25,000 sponsorship of Will Beckley Elementary School through Spread the Word Nevada.  This is the 34th school to be sponsored in the Clark County School District.  Pam Lang, Director of Development for Spread the Word Nevada, spoke about the origins and current operations of her organization.

At the March 19 board of directors meeting, a new picture of Las Vegas was approved for the Club flag, Club make-up card and the cover of the Club roster.

ONE NIGHT for ONE DROP was held on March 20 at the Beatles LOVE Theater at the Mirage.  All Cirque du Soleil shows were dark this evening for the special Cirque event.  The donations from this one evening raised over $6 million for ONE DROP.

Our Spread the Word Nevada Kick-off was held at Will Beckley Elementary School on March 27.  Each student received five books to take home, plus a book bag, and will receive one book per month going forward.  Past President Ginger Anderson and Glenn Meier presided with Principal Jeanne Plese to present the books and recognize our Club.

The District 5300 Foundation Dinner was held at Treasure Island on March 28, planned and organized by Janice Lencke and Cate Berry.  Rotarians with 50+ years of service were honored, including our own Bert Purdue, Don Loyd, and Kazem Fathie.

District Assembly was held at Oak Hills High School in Hesperia, CA, on April 11.  Many training classes were held benefiting both seasoned and new Rotarians.

With the raffle amount at $10,971, Past President Jim Tucker drew the joker.  However, he was not drawing for himself, but for Past President Karen Whisenhunt, who was in Canada, and will receive a check for one-half of the pot, sharing the other half with the Las Vegas Rotary Foundation.

RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) was held April 17-19 at Lake Arrowhead in California lead by Kirk Alexander.  This is an amazing weekend for selected youth to bond and learn about Rotary.

On April 25, a major earthquake struck Nepal, killing more than 9,000 people.  The board of directors voted to send $1,000 to Shelter Box, a non-profit groups that will help in the recovery effort.

The Club’s annual fundraiser, the J.A. Tiberti Memorial Golf Tournament, was held on May 8, to honor long-time Rotarians Bert Purdue and Irwin Kishner.  It was a rather cold and windy day, but all attendees had a wonderful time.  The honorees were treated royally and reminiscences abounded.

District Conference was held on May 15-17 at Green Valley Ranch featuring outgoing District Governor Larry Skaggs.  The service activity was building artificial hands which were to be distributed to souls who had lost a limb – a very worthwhile project.  There were updates on Polio Plus, Rotaplast, and ONE DROP to name a few.  Socializing allowed many to get to know fellow Rotarians in other clubs in the District.

Marie Walsh coordinated our first “Breakfast with Books” through Spread the Word Nevada at Will Beckley Elementary School on May 20.  This is another great program for our Club Rotarians to volunteer, make a difference, and help achieve our Club’s new major goal.

The third Club Assembly was held on May 28.  President Steve reviewed the new Rotary International logo and the board-approved and updated logo for the Club.  Foundation President Randy Boesch updated the Club on Las Vegas Rotary Foundation activities and Glenn Miller covered Foundation financials.  Past President Ginger Anderson and Past President Brock Fraser talked about the partnership with Spread the Word Nevada and Will Beckley Elementary School.  President Steve reviewed the importance of attending District Conference for all Rotarians.  Then President-Elect Mary Ann Avnet reviewed the upcoming changes for her Rotary year and asked all members to submit their pledges and desired committee assignments.

Nellis Night was held at the 51s game at Cashman Field on June 12.  The Club provided tickets for 319 airmen to watch the game.  Thanks to Mike Blecher for coordinating with the 51s and Nellis AFB.

June 18 was President Steve’s last meeting.  Anil Melnick pulled the joker from the deck and won half of the $1,810 pot; the other half going to the Las Vegas Rotary Foundation.

President Steve’s debunking was held on June 25.  Past President Ginger orchestrated a wonderful event held at Celebrity Cars, courtesy of Rotarian Ryan Hamilton.  The military theme was based on “Dwarf,” which was President Steve’s call sign when flying jets in the Marine Corps.

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