Rotary Rewind – Dec. 4, 2023

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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 UCC: This week’s meeting, and all of our meetings for the rest of the 2023 calendar year, will be held at the Forest Grove United Church of Christ, 2032 College Way (across the street from Pacific University). Join us for our annual holiday celebration of music, featuring musical performance groups from Forest Grove High School.

For this week’s meeting, we will ask everyone to be seated in the church sanctuary to start the meeting. We will hear from our musical guests and will then enjoy lunch and fellowship in the Fellowship Hall.

Remember that if you wish to receive lunch at meetings, confirmation for lunch orders must be received by secretary Janet Peters by the Saturday before each week’s meeting. A sign-up sheet will be available at weekly meetings or you can RSVP to Janet via email,

In Memoriam – Paul Minor: It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of our friend and fellow Rotarian, Paul Minor. Paul died on Friday, Dec. 1 at his home in Forest Grove.

Paul was a longtime member of our club and served as club president in the 1997-98 Rotary year. Paul was active with Concours d’Elegance Committee and, until recently, designed and edited the show’s annual program and poster. A talented photographer, we often saw Paul at Concours behind the viewfinder of a camera, capturing images of art of wheels on the Pacific University campus.

Paul practiced as a dentist in Forest Grove for decades but he may be best known for his musical and artistic talents. His tenor voice was heard with both the Oregon Chorale and the Forest Grove United Church of Christ choir. He often performed the organ for FGUCC services and have a notable affinity for Bach compositions.

We will provide information on services for Paul as they become available. We will also be planning time at a future club meeting to honor Paul’s memory. Please keep his wife, Linda, and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Plan Ahead – Holiday Cancellations: In order for Rotarians and their families to celebrate the upcoming holidays, our club will not meet at its regular Wednesday time on the following dates: Wed., Dec. 20 and Wed., Dec. 27.

New Member Orientation: We will have our club’s quarterly New Member Orientation meeting this Wednesday, 6 p.m., at Wauna Credit Union, 3532 Pacific Ave. New members or prospective members who have not yet attended an orientation should plan on attending. All Rotarians are welcome to attend and join in on the fun.

Hope For The Holidays: Mark your calendars! This year’s Hope for the Holidays project will take place on Monday, Dec. 18, at the Forest Grove High School Food Pantry. Because of the rules that the Food Pantry has with the Oregon Food Bank, we will not be allowed to distribute meals inside the building. Instead, we will distribute the meals under tents just outside the pantry along Nichols Lane.

A sign-up sheet for volunteers will be distributed at our next meeting. There will be a need for members with trucks who can help transport food from Fred Meyer and Winco to the high school, as well as set up for the event. The distribution will take place from 4-5:30 p.m., the normal open hours for the food pantry.

Parri Van Dyke, Fareeha Nayabare, our Rotary Youth Exchange Student, and Moira Olmstead, daughter of Sharon Olmstead, will distribute save the date postcards to those utilizing the Food Pantry on Monday, Dec. 11 (the Food Pantry itself will be closed on Dec. 18).

All of the food for the project is being covered by $2,500 from the club and $2,500 from a District 5100 Matching Grant. Money from wreath sales and other donations will be used to purchase and provide household items, like toilet paper and laundry detergent, that are normally not available at the Food Pantry.

For more information or questions, please contact Parri Van Dyke at 503-680-1553 or

Holiday Pledges: Unlike in past years, the club will not be distributing pledge cards to raise funds for Hope for the Holidays or for the Rotary Foundation. If you feel so inclined to make a donation before the end of 2023, please see treasurer Sharon Olmstead at one of our next two meetings. Donations will not be billed so please check or credit card to pay at our meeting.

Wreath Sales: Thank you to everyone once again to everyone who took part in our wreath sale whether purchasing, selling, delivering or making wreaths! The club made $2,029 on the fundraiser, which will go towards the Hope for the Holidays service project. A big thank you to Janet Peters for coordinating the sale once again and to Melinda Fischer for contributing her handmade wreaths for the sale. Additional thank yous to Rus Peters and Fareeha, our Youth Exchange student, for delivering the wreaths and to Tim & Evelyn Orr, who did work to make some of the wreaths.

A Note About PMail: When club leadership sends out emails through the DacDB Pmail system (these will usually have ROTARY in the subject line), these are mass emails sent for the purpose of informing the whole club of information. While it may look like the email is addressed specifically to you, it is not. Please keep this in mind when choosing to reply to an email.

The PMail system is the same system we use to send the Rototeller out each week. This means that if you are opting-out of receiving club emails, you will not receive the weekly newsletter either.

Rotarian Rob DeCou To Speak At Old College Hall Lecture Series: Rotarian and 2005 Pacific alumnus Rob DeCou will be the featured speaker during Pacific University’s Old College Hall Lecture Series on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

A member of the Nor’Western Rotary Club in Port Angeles, Washington, Rob will present on “Resilience: A Journey Through Entrepreneurship and Ultra-Endurance Endeavors.” The CEO of his own creative business and an instructor at Peninsula College in Washington, Rob has also done numerous ultra-endurance events (bike rides, runs, triathlons, etc.) to raise awareness and funds for a number of causes, including the fight against human trafficking and PolioPlus.

Learn more about Rob in this feature published in the Fall 2023 edition of Pacific magazine, written by Rotarian Blake Timm.

The lecture is free but advance registration is required (there is a cap of 50 attendees). If you are interested in attending, Please Register Online.

Concours d’Elegance Committee: The Concours d’Elegance Committee is starting the planning for our 50th show on July 21, 2024. If interested in getting further involved with the Concours, the steering committee is always looking for volunteers to prepare for the show throughout the year. For more information, contact Tom Raabe at 503-704-1200 or or Geoff Johnston at 503-939-7868 or

The next meeting of the Concours Committee will be on Wednesday, Dec. 13 via Zoom at 7 p.m.

Committee Communications & Meetings: Our executive board is working to put together a master calendar of club functions and committee meetings. The goal is that this calendar will be available for all members of the club to access. If your committee is planning to meet during the months of November and December, please send that information to any member of the executive board as soon as possible.

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 (over 100 videos to date) are archived on our club’s YouTube page. Visit


Service Opportunities For Club Members
Do You Know Of Service Opportunities?: Are you aware of service opportunities in our area that our members might be interested in? We can advertise those here! This space is not limited to club-sponsored activities but to any service opportunity in the community. To promote the service activity, please send a detailed description of the project, the date and time, contact information and a link to register to Rototeller editor Blake Timm,

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 Mondays from 4-5:30 p.m. The pantry is located along Nichols Lane between the football field and the Basinski Center. Click Here for more information on the FGHS Food Pantry and on other resources for those experiencing food insecurity.

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


Around District 5100
Renee Fontenot Named District Governor Nominee Designate: Renee Fontenot, a member of the Rotary Club of Tualatin, has been selected as the District Governor Nominee Designate to lead District 5100 as District Governor during the Rotary Year 2026-27.

Renee has served as an Assistant Governor of the Metro Region, has served on the Public Image and Learning and Development committees, and has been active in her home club. 

Prior to joining the ranks of District 5100 in 2020, she was active in District 6920 in Georgia and brings 18 years of Rotary experience to the position.

Renee will be presented for formal approval at the District 5100 Business meeting at the One Rotary Conference in Hood River in April. She has already begun her training and preparation by participating in weekly Governor Team huddles and recently attended the Governor Team retreat in Wilsonville.

Please congratulate Renee Fontenot on her selection to the District 5100 Governor team and encourage her during the training she will receive over the next two and one-half years.

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


Around Rotary International
An Audacious Request Transforms South African Schools (by Etelka Lehoczky): Partnerships can sometimes be slow to develop, but their results can be remarkable. Two Rotary clubs in South Africa and the U.S. might never have become partners if it weren’t for an enthusiastic expat who worked at a Jackson Hole hospital. But the outcome of their alliance is extraordinary: a US$540,000 overhaul of facilities at 11 South African schools that benefits more than 7,200 students every year.

Julia Heemstra, a health worker in Wyoming, USA, who used to live in South Africa, told a meeting of the Rotary Club of Jackson Hole about the water scarcity many South Africans deal with. She mentioned that on her next trip back, she planned to take along as many handheld water purifiers as she could fit in her luggage.

“It literally was just me putting water filters in my duffel bags and then heading up to the township and working with schools to distribute them,” Heemstra says. “I went and talked to Rotary about it. Rotarians came to me at the end of the meeting with their checkbooks, saying, ‘How much money do you need? And who do I write the check to?’”

The Jackson Hole members were eager to do more, so Heemstra helped them connect with the Rotary Club of Grahamstown, South Africa. At the time, Grahamstown members were working with the nearby Ntsika Senior Secondary School, which serves around 760 students ages 12-20. The school’s sanitation facilities were practically nonfunctional, and the school had limited access to water. 

“They had an inconsistent water supply. When the water is shut off, the schools have to shut,” says Stuart Palmer, a past district governor in Wyoming and the main fundraiser for the projects. “You cannot have school if you don’t have water. We were seeing the children shortchanged in their education.”

Ntsika had only eight toilets, and they frequently clogged. Even worse, an overflowing sewage tank had created a kind of swamp outside.

“We were told it was going to cost 1 million rand — about $80,000 in U.S. dollars at that time — to repair the facilities,” says Gavin Keeton, past president of the Grahamstown club. “That would have been far bigger than anything we’d ever done. But then, when we looked closely at the project, we realized it was going to cost double that.”

Enter the skilled fundraisers of Jackson Hole. Together with the Grahamstown club, they applied for a global grant of US$109,000 from The Rotary Foundation and raised US$48,000 in contributions, including donations from other clubs and a remarkable US$20,000 from nonmembers. A change in the exchange rate made the project more affordable. The Grahamstown club got to work, installing water tanks, repairing the gutters and sewage system, and completely remodeling Ntsika’s kitchen and toilet facilities. 

“They just did everything we could possibly need,” says Madeleine Schoeman, Ntsika’s former principal. “They even put up mirrors in the bathrooms. I did not think that the mirrors would be such a big deal, but it’s made an immense difference to our children. Like most young people, they love knowing they’re still looking good.” Read More

This article first appeared on the website.


Last Week’s Program: Emily Cupo, StoveTeam International

Click Here To Watch The Complete Program

Last week, we were joined by Emily Cupo, the director of development and communications for StoveTeam International, a non-profit based in Portland. Emily is also currently the president for the Portland New Generations Rotary Club.

The presentation was designed as a follow-up to a presentation we had in 2020 on StoveTeam International. Emily expressed her gratitude not only for our club’s contributions to the cause but the continued partnerships between Rotary clubs and StoveTeam. The founders of the organization were both Rotarians.

StoveTeam International’s mission is to facilitate the placement of low-smoke, fuel-efficient and safe cookstoves in collaboration with local communities in Central America to support families and protect the environment. To date, StoveTeam has worked in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico.

Emily asked everyone to imagine being around a campfire, constantly fighting the smoke and the heat. When people utilize wood fires as their cooking source, they stand around those fires for as much as 14 hours per day. With fires going that long each day, it is not unusual to see as much as a three-inch layer of creosote building up around the stove area. That gives you an idea of how toxic these fires can be. And this is how much of the world cooks.

StoveTeam International’s mission has three prongs: improving health; improving women’s well-being and empowerment, and protecting the environment. Emily noted that the World Health Organization calls wood-fire cooking the “killer in the kitchen,” accounting for 2 million deaths per year. Most of those killed are women and children as women do the majority of the cooking in those countries and their children are around with their mothers. It is a leading cause of death worldwide for children under five.

The first stove designed and distributed by StoveTeam was the “Ecocina,” which utilized a rocket-elbow design to create a stove that provide a clean method of wood-fire cooking. Those stoves are manufactured in the countries that they will be used in. More recently, StoveTeam has worked to build larger capacity “Justa” stoves in homes. The Justa is a fixed stove with brick construction and features a larger cooking surface. StoveTeam is currently placing 1,500 Justa stoves in home each year.

To build the Justa stoves, StoveTeam has created a program that trains builders and allows those teams to take the building information back to their local communities. The program is a three-day program that trains up to 10 stove builders at a time.

To learn more, visit


Club Calendar
Wed., Dec. 6: Weekly Meeting, Noon
Forest Grove United Church of Christ, 2032 College Way
Program: Forest Grove High School Music Programs

Wed., Dec. 13: Weekly Meeting, Noon
Forest Grove United Church of Christ, 2032 College Way
Program: Club Assembly

Wed., Dec. 13: Concours Committee Meeting, 7 p.m.
via Zoom.

Thurs., Dec. 14: Executive Board Meeting, 7 p.m.
via Zoom

Mon., Dec. 18: Hope for the Holidays Service Project, 4-5:30 p.m.
Forest Grove High School

Wed., Dec. 20: No Meeting

Thurs., Dec. 21: Board Meeting, 7 a.m.
via Zoom

Wed., Dec. 27: No Meeting

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