White Bear Rotary in the News

80-member Rotary Club celebrates 30 years

by Michelle Miron
Managing Editor White Bear Press
Tuesday, December 29, 2009 

WHITE BEAR LAKE - A local branch of the service organization Rotary International - one which boasts 80 members and has actively supported the community since being founded in 1979 - celebrated its 30th anniversary Dec. 18.

Notice something being quietly taken care of in the community? Maybe you've strolled through Rotary Park, enjoyed the Manitou Days Beach Dance, met a Rotary exchange student or noticed improvements to the White Bear Lake Library.

Much of that is due to the White Bear Lake Rotary Club, which will mark its anniversary and honor its founding members at its holiday dinner Dec. 29 at the Dellwood Hills Country Club.

Current president Bob Morse, an assistant vice president at Bremer Bank, said the club is considered a strong one within Rotary International as a whole, partly because it sets high expectations for its members.

"It's the level of commitment and the philosophical values of its members," he said. "They're hard-driving. They know that the most important thing in life is not having a tombstone that says ‘World's Best Employee', but making a difference in somebody's life. And they recognize how to do that ... it's harder to make a difference as an individual than as a group."

The club's long-term goals include growing in membership and "making even a bigger difference in the community than it already does," Morse said.

Chuck Sandstrom, one of the founding members, said the club was instigated by three members of the Roseville Rotary Club: Roland Wilsey, Walt Meyer and Lee Whitson.

"We originally met in the basement of Bobbie's in the Park restaurant on Third Street and Highway 61, owned and operated by Bob Hartzell, one of our charter members," said Sandstrom, president of Sandstrom & Associates financial planners in White Bear Lake. "We chartered the club in December, 1979, with 26 members. Three years later we had 43, a year later, 53, 10 years ago, 75 and today 80. We later met at the original White Bear Country Inn, then the Piccadilly in Mahtomedi and currently at Rudy's Redeye Grill."

"Our Rotary Club remains strong and vibrant because of many unselfish hours by members serving others," Sandstrom added. "It's the giving, not the getting that makes it work."

According to its Website, Rotary Internat-ional is the world's first service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto "Service Above Self." The organization is perhaps best known for its foreign exchange programs and its efforts to eradicate Polio worldwide.

The White Bear Lake Rotary Club meets Wednesdays at 7 a.m. at Rudy's Redeye Grill, 4940 North Highway 61, White Bear Lake. For more information about the club, contact member Fred Treiber at 651-276-0157.

Editor's note: Michelle Miron is a member of the Rotary club.

Services and accomplishments of the White Bear Lake Rotary Club through the years include:

• Founded Rotary Park, with restroom and picnic shelter construction, tree planting, cleanup of park areas and buckthorn removal.

• Serve an annual senior picnic with a free banquet and entertainment at Dellwood Hills Golf Club.

• Participate in the annual senior Dinner with Santa at the White Bear Country Inn.

• Engage in cleanup of the lakeshore, Salvation Army bell-ringing and White Bear Food shelf food collection twice a year.

• Landscaped Clark Avenue Centennial project and stone seating area.

• Regularly sponsor Ambassadorial Scholarship candidates.

• Established a sister club in 2007 with shared projects in Kingston, Jamaica.

• Participated in the "Mountain of Books" Literacy Project, supplying 10,000 books to Jamaica.

• Refurbished the White Bear Lake caboose.

• Regularly maintain and care for the White Bear Lake Library; supplied the first children's computer and furnished a children's corner.

• Began the National STRIVE Scholarship Program for White Bear and Mahtomedi students.

• Started and implements the BEAR'ly Open Golf Tournament on White Bear Lake for the local food shelf.

• Converted South Campus Ambassadors Club to the Rotary Interact Club in 2004.

• Formed a relationship with Don Bosco School in San Jose, Costa Rica.

• Assisted Hmong community establishment in the 1980s.

• Supported community youth support program CONNECT in 1997.

• Provided cataracts surgical eye clinic in India.

• Completed community service projects of decks, steps, remodeling construction, house painting, etc. for local group home provider Northeast Residence Inc.

• Brought back the traditional Manitou Days Beach Dance at Ramsey Beach in White Bear Lake.