Rotary Rewind – Dec. 7, 2022

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If you did not make it to our last Rotary Club of Forest Grove meeting, here is what you missed…

This Week – At Forest Grove School District Offices: We will hold our annual joint meeting with the Forest Grove Daybreak Club on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at the Forest Grove School District offices, 1729 Main Street. This meeting will include our annual concert with musical groups from Forest Grove High School. We will require a head count in advance for this meeting. If you plan on attending, please contact President Janet Peters by Tuesday so she can get an accurate head count for catering.

Last Meeting For 2022: Wednesday’s meeting will be out last meeting for 2022. We will “go dark” on Wednesday, Dec. 21 and Wednesday, Dec. 28. Our first weekly monthly for 2023 will be at Pacific University on Wednesday, Jan. 4. The Rototeller will also take two weeks off with the next edition coming out the weekend of Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

Hope For The Holidays: Our Hope For The Holidays service project takes place this Monday! We will be supply holiday food boxes for around 90 families who utilize the resources of the Forest Grove High School Food Pantry each week.

Members will start putting the food boxes together on Monday around 2 p.m. The distribution event is scheduled for 4-5:30 p.m. The Food Pantry building is on the Forest Grove High School campus along Nichols Lane.

There is limited space for Rotarian volunteers, who will work alongside volunteers from the high school. If you are interested in taking part, please contact Parri Van Dyke at 503-680-1553.

Welcome New Members: The Rotary Club of Forest Grove is proud to welcome its three newest members: Bruce Cummings, Jason Feiner and Willow Oelke.

Our three newest members were inducted into Rotary during a ceremony held during the club’s meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Pacific University. We look forward to sharing and serving with all three of these dynamic individuals.

Bruce Cummings was sponsored for membership by Geoff Faris. Recently retired from leadership in the healthcare industry, Bruce has recently started his second career as a real estate professional with John L. Scott in Forest Grove.

Bruce has lived in the area most of his life, moving with his family from Tillamook to Forest Grove in 1968. His first proper jobs were at Poppio’s Pizza and Jan’s Food Mill. His first experience with our club came in 1974 when Bruce attended the Concours d’Elegance and became an enthusiast in cars and motorcycles. “I didn’t know it at the time, but that cool car show that came to my hometown every year was at the hands of Rotarians,” Bruce said.

In his spare time, Bruce repairs and restores vintage Honda motorcycles. He entered a restored dirt bike in the 2013 Concours d’Elegance, which earned a best-in-class award.

Jason Feiner was sponsored for membership by Amy Tracewell. He is currently employed as the assistant director for conferences and events at Pacific University. His previous career path includes time as the director of student activities at Lewis & Clark College and associate director of student activities and fraternity and sorority life advisor at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

A native of the Bay Area, Jason earned his bachelor’s degree in theatre and art history from Bradley University and a master’s degree in education administration and foundations from Illinois State. Outside of Pacific, Jason enjoys spending time with his partner, Karla, and their beagle, Daisy. Jason is actively involved with the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, mentoring the undergraduate chapter at Oregon and serving on the fraternity’s national board of directors. Jason received the fraternity’s William J. Fraering Award for outstanding service in 2015 and was cited to membership in its Distinguished Service Chapter in 2018.

Willow Oelke was sponsored for membership by Parri Van Dyke. Willow is employed as the business and community development officer for Wauna Credit Union in Forest Grove. She has a long history in the banking and financial world and a lifetime of service in non-profits and community organizations.

In addition to her work at Wauna, Willow sits on the boards of firestorm for two local area non-profits that focus on serving families in crisis, including the Hope Squared Foundation. She is also devoted to financial literacy. She believes that this is often a root cause preventing individuals from rising out of poverty.

When not serving the community, Willow is a wife, mother and grandmother who spends most of her free time with her family.

Holiday Pledge Cards: Happy Holidays! November is here and along with that comes our annual pledge drive.  President Janet has chosen Hope for the Holidays, Gardens of Hope (our international project), The Rotary Foundation and our Scholarship Fund as the focus for this year.  As you plan your end of the year giving, we hope that you will consider one of these options. A pledge card is available by Clicking Here.

Hope for the Holidays will be a bit different this year. We have partnered with the Forest Grove High School Food Pantry and will be providing 80-90 holiday food boxes for the families that they serve weekly. We have received a $2,500 grant from the district and have matching funds earmarked from our very successful Concours for this project, but your donation would be greatly appreciated.

Gardens of Hope: Our International project in Aguascalientes, Mexico is in its third year. Mike and Claudia Yakos provided an overview of the project on Sept. 28. It is available to view on our YouTube channel. This project has helped impoverished families learn to prepare the soil, provided kits for irrigation and seed and grow their own organic food. There are technical experts who help them get started and see success in this project. The kits and technical support cost about $290 per family for startup.

The produce that they are growing helps provide a more balanced diet for these families.  They started with 40 families in 2021, added a Home for Girls with 8 gardens (this provided fresh produce for the girls and additional produce that was sold to restaurants with the proceeds going to educational and vocational programs for the girls) and an additional 20 more families and 40 new gardens during 2022.   The goal for 2023 is 100 new families and a global grant. Please consider this project in your giving.

The Rotary Foundation: Your gift to The Rotary Foundation funds service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world. Since it was founded more than 100 years ago, the Foundation has spent more than $4 billion on life-changing sustainable projects, improving health, providing quality education, improving the environment and alleviating poverty.

Dollars for Scholars (Scholarship Committee): Our club has been providing scholarships to local high school seniors for many years, having awarded over $225,000 since recordkeeping began in 2013. The funds for scholarships primarily come from the Concours d’Elegance, but if education is important to you, then this is a great cause to donate to!

Thank you for considering donating to Rotary and our projects!

Wreath Fundraiser: Thank you to everyone who either purchased wreaths or sold wreaths to friends during our annual wreath fundraiser. The wreath sale netted around $1,177 for our service projects in the community.

New Treasurer: Lucas Welliver will be stepping aside as club treasurer at the end of December as he transitions to program chair as part of the officer’s rotation. We are happy that Sharon Olmstead has agreed to step into that role beginning in January. Thank you, Sharon, for your continued service to the club!

Concours Concert Event – Help Wanted: The Concours Committee has given the green light to go ahead with another concert event linked to the annual show. The concert is tentatively scheduled for Friday, July 14 with the Concours taking place on Sunday, July 16. If you are interested in helping plan and execute the concert event, please contact Court Carrier at 971-404-7864 or

Caterers For Future Meetings: President Janet is looking for one to two more members to serve with herself, Howard Sullivan and Court Carrier in identifying local caterers that could serve the club at future meetings. We will have a number of meetings coming up where we will meet at the Forest Grove School District offices and will need catering for those meetings. If you would like to assist, please let President Janet know.

Past Programs: Did you miss a meeting or want to go back and check out a program again? Most of our programs since May 2020 are archived on our club’s YouTube page. Visit

Service Opportunities For Club Members
FGHS Community Food Pantry: Our club’s support for the Forest Grove High School Food Pantry continues.  Thanks to its partnership with the Oregon Food Bank, food donations are still welcome but are of less need at this time. Of need, however, are toiletries and hygiene products as well as household cleaning materials.

The Food Pantry is open on Mondays from 4-6 p.m. The pantry is now open in its new site in the building along Nichols Lane between the football field and the Basinski Center.

For information on the Food Pantry, please contact Brian Burke, If you wish to make a cash donation to the pantry, Click Here.

Additionally, Rotarian Gwen Hullinger has put together an Amazon wish list of items that can be purchased and donated. Click Here To View That List.

Around District 5100
Award Nominations Open:
Is there a Rotarian out there that you believe is worthy of special recognition of their work within the club, the district or Rotary? There are a number of award nominations open to recognize members for exceptional service at both the district and international level. Click Here to view the nomination criteria along with links on where you can nominate for awards.

If you have questions about the awards programs, please contact District 5100 Awards Committee co-chairs Tom Markos,, and Christine Huot,

District Committees – It’s Not Too Late!: A number of district-wide committees are looking for members. If you are interested, you can find contact information for the committee chairs in the latest District 5100 newsletter (link below).

Vocational Service – Lal Bhatia, Chair

Working to promote the awareness and opportunity to advance our vocations as an opportunity to provide service to our communities.

Public ImageDiane Noriega, Chair

Working to promote Rotary through our club projects and communications with the general public and with Rotarians within District 5100.

MembershipDennis Long and Julie Fugate, co-Chairs

Focusing on finding ways to attract new members, but primary emphasis this year is to engage our existing members to retain them as members by finding their interests and focus.

Grow RotaryMarcia Wimmer, Chair

Growing membership will be accomplished by identifying opportunities for new clubs and to add Satellite clubs to existing clubs to provide additional opportunities to participate.

District 5100 Newsletter: Click Here To View The Monthly District 5100 Newsletter

Around Rotary International
Rotary International Convention:
The early registration deadline for the 2023 Rotary International Convention in Melbourne, Australia, is this Thursday, Dec. 15. Avoid increased registration fees and register now on the Rotary International Convention Website.

Gift Of Life Changes Live In China (Magdalen R. Leung, Rotary Club of Richmond Sunset, B.C.): Through my participation in global grants from The Rotary Foundation, I have seen how the lives of 600 children in China have been changed for the better in the past ten years.

I have been involved in four global grants to support Gift of Life in Shanghai, China. These grants, ranging from $150,000 to $200,000, have provided life-changing heart surgery to children as young as three months old, with most of the children ages five or six.

Part of every grant is training for new doctors and nurses to perform the surgery and to ensure post surgery care. Training new medical staff in remote areas has reduced costs by allowing the children to have post-operative care locally rather than having to endure a long bus or train journey to Shanghai.

I have been asked from time to time why I spend so much time in a different country helping these children. On one of my first trips to the hospital, a doctor explained that one little girl needed emergency heart surgery, but her family could not pay for it. I asked him how much and he said $5,000. This small sum for one child’s life. The hospital just wanted the commitment that the money was available. My Rotary club made the commitment.

One year later, I went back to visit this little girl. She opened her shirt to show me her surgery scar and said, “look this is my zipper.” I said it’s so beautiful and she said, “do you think I would ever get married with this?” I said, yes, I guarantee you will get married. It is this child and all the others that make me want to raise more dollars and save more children.

The parents come and kiss you and hug you and say thank you. They want to give me gifts, small things to me, great gifts for them. Sometimes they give bags of peanuts, hand-made slippers or a scarf. This is from families with next to nothing. How can a person not want to work on the next grant and the next?

Last Week’s Program: Willow Oelke, Hope Squared Foundation

Click Here To Watch The Full Program

On the day that she was inducted into the Rotary Club of Forest Grove, Willow Oelke introduced our club to one of the non-profits that she is involved with, the Hope Squared Foundation.

Hope Squared was launched in 2011 when the Portland metro area saw a massive decrease in availability of maternity homes for women in crisis pregnancy (from 6 to 1). Its founders’ sough to open and reopen these critically important resources in the service ecosystem, and has since provided hundreds of thousands of dollars across 17 grants to do just that. In the process, Hope Squared expanded north, east and south, found itself as a critical connector of people and organizations, and started provided much needed training directly to girls in need and the homes that serve them.

Willow has been involved with Hope Squared for seven years and was called to its mission by her own experience as a teen mother. When Willow was 15, she became pregnant and came from poverty and a dysfunctional home. She was isolated and terrified with the responsibilities of being a mother and ensuring a healthy, positive outcome for both of them. Willow said while there are a lot of people with good intentions willing to provide advice, there were few, if any, places where teen parents could turn for help and assistance.

The Hope Squared Foundation helps mothers with crisis pregnancy. She feels that her experience has called her to this work.  Most people don’t understand the lives of teen parents because most people have never been there. Hope Squared helps provide that support.

Less than 2% of teen moms earn a college degree by age 30. In 2011, women with incomes below the poverty line had an unplanned birth rate nearly seven times that of women at or above two times the poverty line. In 2011, nearly half of the 6.1 million pregnancies in the U.S. were unintended.

The Hope Squared Foundation fosters hope for teens and women facing crisis pregnancy with a simple message: yes you can. While the issue of teen and crisis pregnancies can be divisive, they choose not to pick a side but to just help.

Hope Squared’s mission is to foster hope by helping pregnant young women and the organizations that support them by providing knowledge, resources, and empowerment for life. We do this by partnering with maternity homes and other resource providers to ensure access to shelter, education, counseling, and opportunities. Since 2012, Hope Square has raised more than $125,000 for maternity home and other similar organizations.

Learn more about the Hope Squared Foundation by visiting

Club Calendar
Wed., Dec. 14: Joint Meeting With Daybreak Club, Noon
Forest Grove School District Offices, 1728 Main St., Forest Grove
Program: Forest Grove HS Music Programs

Thurs., Dec. 15: Board Meeting, 7 a.m.
Via Zoom

Wed., Dec. 21 & Wed., Dec. 28
No Meetings – Happy Holidays!

Wed., Jan. 4: Weekly Meeting, Noon
Boxer Pause Room, University Center, Pacific University
Program: To Be Announced

Wed., Jan. 11: Weekly Meeting, Noon
Boxer Pause Room, University Center, Pacific University
Program: Shannon Huggins, Clean Water Services, Gales Creek Dam Project

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