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Meeting Notice and Club News

Coming Up This Week

President Claude Kendrick invites you to a scheduled Hybrid Zoom meeting on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, 7:30 AM!

Our speaker this week will be Carla Truxhall, Founder and Executive Director of SPN Survivors.

"Mental Health affects how you feel, how you think, and how you behave as you cope with life. It determines how you handle stress, relate to others, make choices, and perform at work and school. Mental Health is Everyday Living"


During our last meeting, the Invocation was given by Bob Carris. Thank you, Bob!


Please inform Mike Ladwig if you are interested in leading us with a spiritual or inspiring message to start our meeting.

Touch A Truck SUCCESS!

August 26, 2023

The Livonia AM Rotary Club community came together in a show of dedication to service above self at the recent annual Touch A Truck, which left parents grateful, kids enthusiastic, and volunteers fulfilled. The world-class event was a resounding success, leaving Rotarians across the district smiling. The continued support of families year after year is a testament to the impact of this event. We extend our gratitude to everyone who participated and made the extra effort to ensure a memorable experience, and we can't wait to see what next year holds! 😎

Club President, Claude Kendrick

It looks like our final attendance count was just above 8200, about 700 more than last year. A fantastic event that was such a credit to our Interact Club of Churchill High School (their new Principal was very impressed by them) and our own Livonia A.M. Rotary Club and tons of volunteers, not to mention donors/loaners of trucks, horses, vehicles, helicopters, and more. Bravo! The children and families were hugely grateful and expressed their thanks many, many times over. The last paid ($5 parking donation) customer came in at 1:40 p.m. We were amazed at how many still arrived late, after 1:00 p.m.  


I was given a second toy car. But as people were leaving right at the end around 2:15, one sad boy's father told me he lost his little toy car. I told them to wait a moment, went to my car, and gladly gave the little tyke a new toy car. He was so happy. A cheery for me on top of the chocolate malt of a grand day in Livonia at Greenmead!


Bravo to you who were still putting things away after 3:30, when this old body gave out. God's blessings to you all.


PE David Stechholz

Member News

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Award Winner

September 23, 2023

Our speaker last week was Debbie Yates, a member of our community who recently won an award at the 2023 Chamber of Commerce Leadership Awards banquet for her outstanding work on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As we all know, inclusion is crucial for people of all ages, especially youngsters. It is important to feel like one belongs to something, whether it is a club, school, team, or service organization. Debbie's work on the Livonia Parent Teacher Association has made a significant impact on ensuring that all students and families feel included and valued. 

Her passion for inclusion and equity was sparked when her child attended a Halloween candy give-away that left them feeling excluded due to their food allergies. Since then, Debbie has been dedicated to ensuring that all students feel included in the rich and educational programs offered by our schools. As the DEI chair, Debbie has implemented many important initiatives, including ensuring safe foods and awareness of different food allergies at school events, collecting Halloween costumes to distribute to low-income families in our school district, and providing safe restrooms for transgender students.

As Rotarians, we strongly believe in the power of community and spreading love.

As I was reflecting on the message from Debbie, I was reminded of two inspiring quotes. The first one encourages us to use our resources to build a longer table instead of building fences and walls. Let's open our hearts and minds to welcome more people to our community and build bridges instead of barriers. The second quote reminds us of the importance of loving one another, regardless of our differences. Let's come together, smile on our brothers and sisters, and try to love one another right now.

We congratulate Debbie on this well-deserved recognition and thank her for her dedication to creating a more inclusive community.

Mike Ladwig

Upcoming Meetings

08/30/2023 - Carla Truxhall, Founder and Executive Director of SPN Survivors, Invocation by PE Dave Stechholz, Board Meeting to Follow

09/06/2023 - Club Assembly

09/13/2023 - City Council Candidates, Carrie Budzinski and Robb Drzewski

09/20/2023 - City Clerk Candidate, Lori Miller and City Council Candidate, Brandon McCullough

10/11/2023 - Mayoral Candidate, Kathleen L. McIntyre and City Council Candidate, Jim Barringhaus

10/18/2023 - City Treasurer Candidate, Sue Nash and City Clerk Candidate, Linda Scheel

10/25/2023 - City Treasurer Candidate, Andrew Lendrum and City Council Candidate, Scott Morgan

11/01/2023 - Mayoral Candidate, Maureen Miller Brosnan and City Council Candidate, Martha Ptashnik (via Zoom)

Upcoming Events

09/09/2023 - Club Field Trip to Miracle League of Plymouth to Watch a Few Baseball Games, 9:00 - 11:30 AM, Sign Up HERE.

09/15/2023 - Beyond Their Stories, Human Trafficking Conference, 8:00 AM - 1:30 PM, Henry Ford College, Event Information HERE.

09/17/2023 - Livonia's Good Old-Fashioned Neighborhood Corn Roast, Bicentennial Park, 11:30 AM - 3:30 PM, Volunteer Sign Up HERE.

09/18/2023 - District Governor's Golf Outing, Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club

09/20/2023 - Ice Cream Social at Livonia Senior Center, 1:00 - 2:30 PM, Volunteer Sign Up HERE.

10/21/2023 - Kids Coalition Against Hunger, Meal Packing Event, 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM, St. Edith's Catholic Church, Volunteer Sign Up HERE.

10/23/2023 - AAA Pregnancy Resource Center 50th Anniversary Fall Fundraiser Banquet, featuring special guest speaker Dr. Ben Carson.

10/25/2023 - World Polio Day Spaghetti Dinner Community Fundraiser, Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church.

11/08/2023 - Club Field Trip to Visit Clarenceville Food Pantry and Technology Center, Details to Follow.

Beyond Their Stories

September 15, 2023

The HFC Democracy Institute and the Taking Action for Peace Initiative will co-host Beyond Their Stories” Human Trafficking Conference on Friday, September 15, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the Forfa Auditorium on the first floor of the Andrew A. Mazzara Administrative Services & Conference Center (ASCC) (Building L on the main campus).

This conference will inform you about the horrors of human trafficking and provide information about how you can help.

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or sex act. It is a highly profitable, heinous crime and a violation of human rights.

Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States. Human trafficking can happen in any community, including throughout the state of Michigan. Victims can be of any age, race, gender, or nationality.

PLEASE REGISTER TODAY to attend this conference. The cost is $35, and just $10 for students. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided to all participants.

For questions or more information, contact Therese Maggioncalda at [email protected].

Phone Access Option (929)436-2866

Meeting ID: 924 328 2286

Password: 4waytest

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

All Are Welcome!

Past Meetings and Events

Operation Pollination at the Senior Center Continues

August 16, 2023

Work continued on our beautiful butterfly garden this past week. Club members Tammy Bonifield, Susan Paluchniak, Erin Dobbins, and Claude Kendrick volunteer their time on behalf of the club, once again. Weeds were pulled and mulch was laid. The next step will be planting butterfly-attracting plants and bushes in the fall.

Accessing and Benefiting From DACdb with Matt Hatty

August 16, 2023

Last week our club had the privilege of hosting Trenton Rotarian, Matt Hatty, the District Trainer for DACdb, a software database system for Rotary Districts and Clubs. He informed us that our Rotary District 6400 utilizes this database, which is accessible to all Rotarians in the district at

To log in, use your email address and assign your own password during the registration process. Once logged in, you can update your personal information, sign up for district events, and find members in other clubs. Matt also mentioned that there is a mobile app available for Android and iPhone users. If you need any assistance navigating the website, Matt has kindly offered his help at [email protected]

District Governor's Visit

August 09, 2023

Our guest speaker was our District Governor, Russ Jones. DG Russ was accompanied by his wife Barb. We began the meeting With Russ Inducting our newest members, Susan Paluchniak, and corporate member, Thrivent Financial Services, led by Rick Hart. Also attending from Thrivent were Raeann Kusch, John McDowell, and Jordan Blanchard.

It was nice to see Tammy Bonifield's son Tristan in the crowd. We also had Kurt Whitmore, a visitor from the Dearborn Heights Rotary Club.

Russ spoke a bit about what being a Rotarian is all about. Russ spoke of service to others and relayed the Rotary theme “Create Hope in the World.” His message was that nothing happens in Rotary until like-minded Rotarians single out a problem and work together to solve it. DG Russ mentioned a “Rotary Moment” he experienced while helping to bring first-time dental visits to youngsters in Honduras. That was just one of the inspiring stories he shared.

Russ asked our members to consider applying for a leadership role in our District 6400.

He mentioned the District initiating a grant to Help clean up the Rouge River.

Russ told us that his goals were to aid in ending human trafficking and assisting those who work in our community providing mental health for our neighbors.

Often times we can get bogged down in the process and not have a clear vision of what we are attempting to accomplish.

Russ’s genius is his ability to see the clear vision and explain how to get to where we are going. Looking forward to all of us having a great Rotary year together.


Mike Ladwig

Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Gardens - Butterfly Day

August 05, 2023

Club member Erin Dobbins reports that the Taylor Conservatory held a very successful Butterfly Day this past Saturday. Erin is the Executive Director of the Taylor Conservatory and noted that “Kids love getting up close and personal with these delicate creatures, and adults appreciate the chance to snap some great photos." The event offered arts and crafts activities for children by the Taylor Garden Club and light snacks for sale by the Taylor Historical Society.

Butterfly Day is just one of many events that the Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Gardens hosts throughout the year. From garden tours to formal tea to live music concerts, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

More Photos

The Candidates Are Coming

August 08, 2023

Livonia is having its off-year elections for positions in the city government. The election will be held on November 7th at your regular polling site. To those who voted by mail, the ballots should be in the mail around September 20th.

The elections will consist of the following candidates:

City Mayor:

  • Maureen Miller Brosnan, Incumbent
  • Kathleen L McIntrye, Councilwoman


City Council: (vote for up to four choices)

  • Brandon McCullough, Incumbent
  • Scott Morgan, Incumbent
  • Carrie Budzinski
  • Robb Drzewicki
  • Jim Baringhaus
  • Martha Ptashnik

City Clerk:

  • Lori Miller, Deputy City Clerk
  • Linda Scheel, City Treasurer

City Treasurer:

  •  Sue Nash, City Clerk
  •  Andrew Lendrum

Both Sue Nash (City Clerk) and Linda Scheel (City Treasurer) are term-limited and cannot run for re-election to their current posts.

We have extended invitations to all candidates to address our Livonia AM Rotary Club.

To date, we have booked the following candidates on the following dates.

September 13th - Carrie Budzinski, Rob Drzewicki

September 20th - Lori Miller, Brandon McCullough

October 11th - Kathleen McIntyre, Jim Baringhaus

October 18th - Sue Nash, Linda Scheel

October 25th - Andrew Lendrum, Scott Morgan

November 1st - Maureen Miller Brosnan, Martha Ptashnik

These “Meet the Candidates” meetings will be held from 7:30 – 8:30 AM on the dates listed above.

Location: Livonia Senior Center Complex, 15218 Farmington Road, Livonia, MI 48154 

The public is welcome to join our meetings in person or via Zoom:

Mike Ladwig

Phone Access Option (929)436-2866

Meeting ID: 924 328 2286

Password: 4waytest

Operation Pollination

August 02, 2023

We are thrilled to announce the successful start of Project Pollination at the Livonia Senior Center, thanks to the dedicated efforts of our club members Erin Dobbins, Sharon Pommerville, Tammy Bonifield, Mike Ladwig, Pat Zucal, and Claude Kendrick.

This collaborative initiative aims to create a beautiful and butterfly-friendly garden by preparing the soil for the future planting of bushes and flowers. The Livonia Senior Center generously offered unused garden space, allowing our club to transform it into a haven for these delicate creatures. We are excited about the positive impact this project will have on the local ecosystem and look forward to witnessing the transformation as butterflies flock to the newly established garden.

Operation Pollination is a simple 7th Area of Focus Environmental Framework — and growing Rotary “Movement “– that enables and encourages Rotarians to engage in pollinator protection and education projects.

More Photos

Walmart Returns, Repurposing for the Community

July 26, 2023

Bill Jasman, a Trenton Rotarian, presented an interesting program that their Club uses called Walmart Returns, Repurposing for the Community. The basic idea is that the Club arranges to collect from the Trenton Walmart all the store's returns and then give these returns to their giving partners throughout the year. The club also has a relationship with Kohls for them to supply their employees as volunteer workers to help with the sorting and the Club gets $25.00 per worker as a Kohls charity donation.


The Club contacts its giving partners to pick up items such as animal shelters to receive food and pet supplies, the Veterans get bicycles and Christmas trees, clothing to women's shelters, and art supplies to children's groups.

Waivers must be signed by these organizations agreeing that the items received must not be sold and that the Club isn't responsible for any liability.

This is a HUGE project for the Trenton Club which is Michigan's third largest Rotary Club. Bill Jasman told us that to make this project work the Club needed 20 people plus a project chair. 

Two to three volunteers with vans or trucks to collect returns from Walmart and take these items to a large garage or storage room to be sorted. This has to be done every week. Every 2 to 3 weeks, the correct giving partner must be contacted to pick up their donation. This is a year-round commitment. 

After the presentation, there was a lot of small group discussion about this between our members as they packed up the room and in the parking lot.

Susan Paluchniak

Club Assembly

July19, 2023

Last week we began Claude Kendrick’s first Club Assembly meeting as Club President with a Treasurer’s Report from Tammy Bonifield. She reported that we ended our fiscal year with slightly more than our prudent reserve. Kudos to Bob Carris for his year as treasurer and to the entire Giving Committee for distributing our limited resources to do the most good in our community.

Next, we talked about upcoming Events:

Touch a Truck is Saturday, Aug. 26th. Included in the vehicles we will have on display will be:

  • A Hot Air Balloon
  • (3) Helicopters
  • A possible flyover by a US military plane
  • 50+ Trucks
  • Free eyeglass exams courtesy of Livonia Lions

The committee is looking into having a PR firm contact local media to augment our outreach to the entire tri-county area.

We have been receiving sponsorships of $500 and more from local organizations that want their name attached to this event.

We request all fellow Rotarians help us make this a stellar event by volunteering. Look for the Signup genius which will be forthcoming.

Club member Erin Dobbins briefly discussed the DEI survey.

The Good Olde Fashion Corn Roast Sept 17th, 11:30 - 3:30 at Bicentennial Park. Livonia service clubs will be on hand to meet Livonia residents while having fresh corn served by Livonia politicians.

Livonia Senior Center Ice Cream Social, Sept. 20th.

KCAH meal packing event, Oct. 21st.

Mike Ladwig

Dr. Crawford, UM Pacemaker Refurbishing Program

July 12, 2023

At our club meeting two weeks ago, our speaker was Dr. Crawford of the U of M Cardiology Department. He zoomed into our meeting to discuss the pacemaker refurbishing program that the university has established.

U of M has been refurbishing pacemakers for over ten years. When someone who has a pacemaker passes and their remains are to be cremated, the pacemaker has to be removed.

Dr. Crawford and his colleagues clean up the used pacemakers, check electrical currents, determine the battery life and replace batteries as needed. The actual pacemaker is about the size of a pack of matches.

Unfortunately, refurbished pacemakers can not be used in the US. Therefore, our club is in the process of creating a connection to repurpose the pacemakers In Ghana. The U of M folks and Rotary are working with the Ghanaian Food and Drug Agency to gain approval to send refurbished pacemakers to Ghana.

We recently lost our pipeline to Cameroon receiving our pacemakers with the sudden passing of our fellow Rotarian, Dr. Stanley. Club members Bob Carris and Rick Poppa have been instrumental in this pacemaker collaboration. 

Over the years our Livonia AM Rotary has funded many worthwhile projects in our neighboring cities and worldwide. When you have a project that saves lives, like the pacemaker refurbishing, that project holds a special place of honor in my heart. 

Mike Ladwig

Livonia Chamber Golf Outing

July10, 2023

Club Members Mike Ladwig, Greg Greene, and Eric Ladwig were out in the community recently representing our club and supporting the Livonia Chamber of Commerce by participating in the Chamber's Golf Outing at Idyl Wyld Golf Course.

Miracle League of Plymouth, Thank You Note

July 03, 2023

"We want to thank Livonia AM Rotary for welcoming Executive Director Stacey Diefenbach to present at your weekly club meeting and for this gift! What a wonderful way to remember the 4 way test ⚽️

We look forward to welcoming you to Bilkie Family Field this upcoming Fall to show you what we're all about! "🍂

St. Martha's Senior Living Community

June 28, 2023

The true measure of the greatness of a people is not how many billionaires or Ph.D. holders it has produced, but rather how it cares for its vulnerable youth and financially insecure elderly.  The Village of St. Martha’s, a mission of the faith-based, non-profit, Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (PVM), has high marks in providing dignity for its elderly residents by providing safe, clean apartments for elderly residents of limited incomes.

Our speaker, Andrea Felice, represents The Village of St. Martha’s. Since 1945, St. Martha's and the PVM system have been home to over 7500 residents. Their target market is seniors over 62 with incomes of $5,000 -$30,000 per year. Rents are based on the tenant’s ability to pay. Their 46 apartments are supported by a large community room, fitness center, telehealth suite and library with a computer. Our AM Rotary donation helped fund an outside gazebo with benches, on the grounds.

During the PowerPoint presentation provided by Andrea, I was impressed by the cleanliness and spaciousness of the grounds and apartments at St. Martha’s. It speaks boldly to the idea of living in dignity in our golden years and it speaks wonders to our greatness as a people. 

Mike Ladwig

Little Free Library Returns to Senior Center

June 21, 2023

Club members Bob Carris, Pat Zucal, and Bill Friske reinstalling the recently restored (and water-proofed) Little Free Library in front of the Livonia Senior Center. More Photos. 

Ribbon Cutting Celebrates Livonia AM Rotary's Gift

June 23, 2023

Club members Pat Zucal and Bill Friske were on hand to celebrate the grand opening of the new gazebo at St. Martha's Senior Living Community.  

Funds were raised to install a new concrete patio, erectin a new gazebo, and line the perimeter of the gazebo with park benches. Our club's gift was used to purchase the four beautiful park benches.

Miracle League of Plymouth

June 21, 2023

The Rotary Club speaker for the day, Stacy Diefenbach, came to us via ZOOM since she came down with COVID. Stacey is the Executive Director of Miracle League of Plymouth. The mission of the league is to enrich our community by providing education and social development through high-quality recreation programs for individuals over 5 years old with special needs.


The League's main program is baseball. Photos of the League's field in Plymouth were shown. This field is made of special rubber material for the safety of the players. The life of the surface is nearing its end and will need resurfacing in the future.

When the games first started the players wore different colored T-shirts for each team. Now they have regular baseball shirts with the team’s name on them along with the players’ name and a number on the back. Now the players feel like regular little leaguers when they go for ice cream after the game.

Of course, the players depend on "buddies" to help them hit balls and run the bases. These "buddies" are parents, high schoolers or other adults who want to help these kids enjoy the sport. Stacy told us of the Catholic Central H. S. students who came to help grumbling and soon their attitude changed as they started working with the players. Those CC students were anxious to come back to help. They are always in need of Buddies to work with the participants.


The goal for the League is to expand sports and experiences for their members. New is basketball, rock climbing, pickleball, and bowling. Someone wanted to teach them to play the violin. The limit of time with an activity is kept to one hour but the students were engrossed for 90 minutes and presented an amazing program afterwards. They would like to introduce hockey and the possibility of skydiving in the future.


Susan Paluchniak 

Annual Installation Dinner & Celebration at the Lake

June 17, 2023

Our Annual Installation Dinner and Celebration at the Lake was a Success! The weather was amazing, and everyone had a lot of fun. We even had our Churchill HS Interact Past President, Ivanna Torres, and her family in attendance. Incoming District Governor Russ Jones was there as well.

Victoria Haltom was officially inducted into the club by DGE Russ. President-Elect Claude Kendrick was sworn in as our Club President for 2023-24.

President Tammy Bonifield was sworn in as our Treasurer for 2023-24. David Stechholz was sworn in as President-Elect for 2024-25Mike Ladwig was honored as our club’s “Rotarian of the Year,” for all of his hard work behind the scenes reaching out to the community and coordinating our speaker program.

Tammy was surprised by the presentation of a framed photo of her husband Brad’s Memorial Bench, recently installed in Rotary Park.

Spirited conversation, corn hole, ponton boat rides, beverages, and lots of food and dessert.

More Photos

Claude Kendrick

Spitfire Training With Jane Coper Muszynski

June 14, 2023

Let’s Get Physical

Our main speaker this past week was Jane Cooper Muszynski – Founder of Spitfire Training. She led us in a group of chair exercises that can be completed by just about anyone. It was not at all strenuous and after completing the stretching I felt as loose as a strand of cooked spaghetti. To see a list of these stretches and to learn more about the benefits of stretching, click HERE.

Next, Jane spoke of the importance of staying hydrated. She informed us that to determine the amount of water we need on a daily basis, take our weight, divide that number by 2, and whatever that number is, that is the amount water we need daily in ounces. (example, 200 pound person, 200 divided by 2 = 100. That person would need 100 ounces of water per day.

You can get the water from a number of sources, through drinks (so guys and girls - booze doesn’t count), and many fruits and veggies. She told of the many physical maladies that are caused or aggravated by dehydration.

Jane was cheerful and enthusiastic with her presentation. She was so pumped about getting in shape, it made me feel that getting in shape and staying healthy is not a chore but something to look forward to each day. I already start my morning by drinking 8 ounces of water when I wake up. Now if I can only get my butt off the couch to stretch…….

She told of the many physical maladies that are caused or aggravated by dehydration.

Our Next Food Packing Event

We also heard a brief message from past Livonia Rotarian, Rick Hart. He spoke of the upcoming “Livonia Service Clubs” meal-packing event that occurs in the fall at St. Edith’s Church, to support Kids Coalition Against Hunger. He is soliciting organizers to be on the steering committee for the event. He was so overwhelmed by the spirit and gregarious vibe that is evident to all who attend a Livonia AM Rotary Club meeting, that he asked for a Membership Application. If I were a betting man, I would say his chances of being accepted by our humble group are as close to a sure thing as can be found. If you are interested in helping organize this next meal packing event, please plan to attend the Steering Committee meeting on Monday, June 26, 2023, at 5:00 PM, at the Thrivent offices, 19045 Farmington Road, Livonia 48152. Questions, call Rick Hart at (734)432-777 or [email protected], Event Flyer

Mike Ladwig

Crain's Detroit Business 36 Notable Leaders in Fundraising - Dawn Magretta

June 12, 2023

Reprinted From Crain's Detroit Business

Under (club member) Dawn Magretta's leadership, the Schoolcraft College Foundation’s portfolio has grown from $14 million to $19 million. She manages annual revenues of $2 million to $5 million.

Magretta launched Visions 2025, a five year, $18 million fundraising campaign - the first campaign in the college's history - that has reached 75% of its goal. She also improved the ability to donate online, established a planned giving program, and secured more than $4 million in private grant funding “for student success, K-12 alignment, and mobility sector alignment.”

“Dawn Magretta has been an incredible asset to Schoolcraft College as her advocacy for removing student barriers is inspiring and unwavering,” said Schoolcraft College President Glenn Cerney.

Before joining Schoolcraft, Margretta launched a successful $10 million campaign for the Macomb Community College Foundation.

Magretta serves on the boards of the Association of Funding Professionals Greater Detroit Chapter and is the Secretary of the Livonia AM Rotary.

Meal Packing With KCAH

June 10, 2023

Club members Susan Paluchniac, Victoria Haltom, John Clay, Ethan Ames, and Bob Carris volunteered their time this past weekend to help pack meals to support the Kids Coalition Against Hunger.

Our group was joined by the Livonia Lions Club and 100 + other volunteers to pack more than 25,000 meals. These meals will go a long way to help the effort to feed kids in our own community and around the world.

KCAH is a humanitarian food relief organization whose mission is to significantly reduce the number of hungry children in the USA and feed starving children throughout the world.

More Photos

LSO Bob Bennett Memorial Golf Classic

June 09, 2023

Club members Bill Friske (and Rose), Greg Greene, Claude Kendrick, Pat Zucal, Mike Ladwig, and Eric Ladwig represented Livonia AM Rotary at the Bob Bennett Memorial Classic at Whispering Willows. The event was organized by the Livonia Symphony Orchestra and once again set the standard for community partnerships supporting the arts.

More Photos

Club Assembly

June 07, 2023

Last week we held our monthly Club Assembly.

Treasurer's Report - Bob Carris reported on our financial position which is in line with our projections.

Giving Committee - Larry Stephens reported that we are closing our fiscal year next month and getting close to our prudent reserve, which was our goal at the beginning of the year. The following grant requests were approved:

  • Stuckey Day Treatment Center
  • Autism Alliance of Michigan
  • Saint Martha Senior Living Center

Grant Committee - Erin Dobbins reported that the committee has obtained a Collaborative District Grant to purchase sewing machines manufactured in Ghana to be distributed throughout Ghana to seamstresses to sew feminine hygiene products and other items. By fall other grant money should be available for us to apply for.

Mike Ladwig

M.O.S.T. Ministries Humanitarian Trip to Mexico

May 31, 2023

Our speaker last week was Reverend DaveStechholz, who spoke of the mission trip with M.O.S.T. Ministries to Juarez Mexico, and how it all started with a conversation between an El Paso Rotarian that Rev. Dave met on an eyeglass mission earlier in the year. Here is the story written by Rev. Dave of the latest mission trip reprinted from the May 24th issue of Meeting Notice and Club News.

My sincerest thanks to our Livonia A.M. Rotary Club in serving and partnering in a Mexico mission trip. We partnered with MOST Ministries out of Ann Arbor, a “MOST” mission team from Christ our King Lutheran Church in Saline, and YLM (Ysleta Lutheran Mission) in El Paso, Texas. We also partnered with the Zaragoza El Paso Rotary Club (who provided the key contacts, three translators, and volunteers alongside of the mission team), and the Club Rotario Cuidad Juarez. The Juarez Rotary made up the $3,000 added costs on the project, which totaled $13,000 for the re-roofing and added foam to end the Winter storm water leakages. (The $13,000 did not include the mission team’s transportation and other costs, just the newly-redone roof [above], foam, removal of the old materials, etc.).

The project at severely impoverished Kilometer 30 on the outskirts of Juarez, Mexico was to repair and repaint the roof, new ceiling, and outdoor and indoor walls of the Community Center.

Read More

Touch A Truck Committee Meeting

May 30, 2023

The Touch A Truck Committee held its third organizing meeting last week. The committee is made up of numerous Interact Club members lead by Co-Presidents, Emily Davis and Allison Pritula. Livonia AM Rotary is represented by Sharon Pommervile, Bob Carris, Claude Kendrick and Bill Friske.

Greenmead is represented by Chris Harloff. The group plans to meet every other week until the day of the event on August 26, 2023.

In other news, six Interact Club members volunteered their time to man a booth at the flea market held on the grounds off Greenmead this past Sunday. Their mission was to distribute Touch A Truck flyers and Carnival postcards to visitors as they exited the flea market.

Forever Families

May 24, 2023

Last week we were honored to have two speakers from the same organization, Forever Families. The speakers were Jennifer Mahon and Rhiannon Pniewski

Their primary mission is to help homeless children find their forever homes. If a forever home is not found, then they look for a foster family for the youngster.

Forever Families began 25 years ago as an international adoption agency. They subsequently added domestic adoptions to their portfolio. Reuniting the children with their birth parents is always the first goal. But, if that is not possible, they look for adoptive parents. If none are a good fit for the child, they work to place the child in a foster home.

They also have added a mental health service. Forever Families has 35 employees, and most are trained social workers. Currently, they are working with 120 youngsters in foster care.

Their goal is to be driven by what is best for the children. I could feel the passion Jen and Rhiannon have for making the children’s lives joyous, happy, and healthy.

The ladies also mentioned they are always looking for loving foster parents, with the key word being loving.

Mike Ladwig

Livonia Civic Chorus Presents "Matinee"

May 21, 2023

Club members Victoria Haltom and Dave Stechholz (with son Andrew) performed in the Livonia Civic Chorus presentation of "Matinee" this past weekend. The reviews are in (on social media that is). By all accounts, the concert was a big success!

Living & Learning Enrichment Center Field Trip

May 17, 2023


There is a saying” Go big or go home”. Rachelle Vartanian, founder of Living and Learning Enrichment Center must have changed that saying to Go big and get a big home. And she did. That was where the club went on our first outing in 2023. The new home of the Living and Learning Enrichment Center at the old Don Massy estate on 8 Mile and Griswold in Northville. 


Many of us have dreams. Most of us forget the dreams when we open our eyes in the morning as we plan our busy days. Some dreams we ponder but dismiss them as being too audacious or frivolous to pursue. There is a rare breed of people who take their dreams as a calling or a quest and in their pursuit of those dreams they lose the words impossible, can’t, or won’t, and with an equal measure of inspiration and perspiration they begin to see their dreams form.

Rachelle Vartanian had the dream of creating a place where hundreds of autistic people, young and old, could meet, socialize, learn, and be creative in a fellowship of like-minded people where every day the menu included equal measures of love and kindness.


We assembled in the main house of the old Don Massey estate. We heard the history of the house about its past owners and Rachelle spoke about all the events, classes, and social activities that are now ongoing with the Living and Learning Enrichment Center. Rachelle then led us on a tour of the house. We saw the lovely and ornate wall treatments, spacious sleeping quarters, and well-appointed rooms.

Next, we went on a tour of the grounds. It was like entering an enchanted playground. There were the alpacas, that were brought in for their gentleness around humans, and their wool which is gathered, shipped out to a business in Frankenmuth that turns the Alpaca wool into highly valued socks which are then sold to the public. The multi-acre grounds also include bunnies, a small miniature golf course, a lavender farm, a honey farm, and a veggie garden. There is a paved walkway opened to the public that circles the entire grounds. I personally want to return and walk the grounds more slowly because I am sure there was much that I missed.


As we ended our tour of this extraordinary facility, we received the best, last. As we were preparing to leave, we noticed the buses with autistic folks pulling up and we saw and felt a pure joy and a sense of belonging in their eyes and in their spirit. It was like they were returning home and the Living and Learning Enrichment Center was their home.

Mike Ladwig

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Most Ministries Humanitarian Mission Trip to Mexico

April 22 - April 29, 2023

My sincerest thanks to our Livonia A.M. Rotary Club in serving and partnering in a Mexico mission trip. We partnered with MOST Ministries out of Ann Arbor, a “MOST” mission team from Christ our King Lutheran Church in Saline, and YLM (Ysleta Lutheran Mission) in El Paso, Texas. We also partnered with the Zaragoza El Paso Rotary Club (who provided the key contacts, three translators, and volunteers alongside of the mission team), and the Club Rotario

Cuidad Juarez. The Juarez Rotary made up the $3,000 added costs on the project, which totaled $13,000 for the re-roofing and added foam to end the Winter storm water leakages. (The $13,000 did not include the mission team’s transportation and other costs, just the newly-redone roof [above], foam, removal of the old materials, etc.).

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Starfish Family Services

May 12, 2023

Our speaker this past week was Jean Overman. This was Jean's second time speaking to our group. The first time she discussed Starfish Family Services, a support program providing high quality early childhood education and support for families in Inkster and surrounding areas. At our meeting Jean (a fellow Rotarian from Dearborn) gave us insight into Operation Refuge, Mothers Pantry, Camp Inspire STEM programs and LIT.

Camp Inspire and STEM is passionate about creating life changing experiences to girls in 5th -12th grade and increasing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) awareness especially in forensic science and coding.

Professionals from Apple, Google, and Schoolcraft College present programs to expose the girls to opportunities available to them, igniting possibilities for their future. The girls participate in Kids on Campus, get involved in 6 week career programs, and are made aware of scholarships. Mentors are a main part of Camp Inspire's program. The leaders work with parents and students to accept that education is important and a way out of poverty.


The LIT (leaders in training) program is mainly for boys 14 -24. The boys get exposed to different types of Trades that they might be interested in such as Construction. Jean told us that for many students, they had never held a hammer before entering the program. The idea is to get the students learning a trade while getting paid for their effort. 


Counseling is a major part of Operation Inspire, helping the kids deal with the closing of schools due to COVID and the lack of a community school since the Inkster school dissolved. There are five different school buses taking kids to various surrounding districts.

Mothers pantry is also part of Operation Refuge. The pantry operates like a grocery store, letting the client enter the store to select only the food that they want and need. 

Susan Paluchniak

COG Award Winner!

May 06, 2023

The Council of Governors (COG) Award is presented to that individual who demonstrates outstanding service in one of the avenues of service in Rotary and shows a continued commitment of service to their Rotary Club. Just as the "COG" represents an integral working part of the Rotary Logo Wheel, the individual represents a vital moving part of the Rotary Wheel of Service.

This prestigious award was presented to our club president, Tammy Bonifield at the District Conference in Windsor this past weekend. Congratulations, Tammy!

District Conference

May 05, 2023

This past weekend the Livonia AM Rotary Club had a strong presence at the District Conference at Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino. This was a joint conference between Districts 6340 and 6400. Club members Tammy Bonifield, Bob Carris, Sharon Pommerville, Claude Kendrick, and Bill Friske attended.

We were inspired and amazed at what other clubs are doing to impact Rotary’s 7 areas of focus around the world. On Saturday, we heard from our Rotary International President, Jennifer Jones. She spoke of her experiences with Polio eradication efforts and her interactions with Rotarians from around the world. On Sunday, we heard from Mitch Albom who discussed his long work running the orphanage in Haiti since the category 7 earthquake in 2010. For the last few years, he has traveled to the orphanage every month to help start a school there and get medical care. 

There were many other impactful relevant speakers and projects, too many to mention. Many ideas were shared, notes were taken, and inspirational thoughts were spoken. Networking was happening at every break, event, and meal to engage Rotarians to collaborate and share. 

Our Club was awarded the Richard Hedke Award for Outstanding Club Administration. 

Bob Carris and Sharon Pommerville were recognized as Paul Harris Fellows. The Paul Harris recognition is awarded to Rotarians who contribute $1,000 or more to the Annual Fund or PolioPlus.

Tammy Bonifield was awarded the prestigious Council of Governors (COG) Award. Next year the District conference will be in Grand Rapids hosted by the Amway Grand Hotel.

Bob Carris and Claude Kendrick

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Club Assembly

May 03, 2023

Last week we held our Club Assembly. We had an informative discussion pertaining to our yearly club dues. We were informed by President Tammy that our per-member fees to Rotary International and the District will be increased this year. We reviewed where our annual dues are spent (Rotary International dues, District 6400 dues, PETS fees, Foundation contributions, Weekly donuts and coffee, and Zoom equipment costs). It was determined that a dues increase is needed. We heard a recommendation from John Clay for a 9% increase that received approval from all members after a lively discussion.

Next, we heard the Giving Committee Report from Larry Stephens. The following grant requests were approved:

  • Kids Coalition Against Hunger
  • Livonia Symphony Orchestra
  • Bottoms Up Diapers Bank
  • SPN Survivors

The following requests were paused pending scheduled presentations to our club:

  • Autism Alliance of Michigan
  • Miracle League of Plymouth

Mike Ladwig

District Grant Committee

May 02, 2023

The Livonia AM District Grant Committee met via Zoom. Here are the recap and action items:

John Clay, Claude Kendrick, Bob Carris, and Erin Dobbins attended the Zoom meeting. Several ideas were discussed including:

  • Funding to purchase supplies for the school pantry - Community Grant 
  • Funding to purchase equipment needed for the Clarenceville Tech Center - Community Grant

  • Working with Ann Arbor Rotary and other clubs to sending aid to the Ukraine - Collaborative Grant
  • Starting a transition program for the Methodist Foster Home for Boys - Community Grant
  • Starting an Interact Club in the Methodist Home - Community Grant
  • Building a water tower in Dr. Stanley's village in Cameroon - Global Grant

Action Items:

  • Bob to follow up with Global Grant and needs from the Livonia School pantry
  • Claude to follow up with Clarenceville tech center
  • John to follow up with Ann Arbor Rotary

The committee also talked about DACdb and a Fireside Chat for newer members.

Erin Dobbins

Earth Day Clean Up

April 22, 2023

Club member Erin Dobbins participated in the District 6380 clean-up for Earth Day at West Bloomfield High School.

Erin joined other Rotarians from that district when they volunteered at an Earth Day project replacing the wood chips and mulch on an interactive nature path behind West Bloomfield High School.

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District Assembly

April 29, 2023

Rotary District 6400 Assembly was held at the Plymouth Cultural Center this past Saturday. Representing Livonia AM Rotary were Bob Carris, Bill Friske, Sharon Pommerville, President Tammy, Mike Ladwig, along with new members Victoria Haltom and Erin Dobbins.

With an estimated attendance of 200 Rotarians on hand, the energy in the room was electric. After a tasty breakfast, we heard from District Governor-Elect Russ Jones, followed by current District Governor Traci Sincock.

There was a fireside chat session entitled “From 8 Track to Spotify,” a panel discussion between “honorary” Livonia AM Rotarian, Trey Greene, and Jehnya Footitt, a 20-something Rotarian. The two discussed ways that older Rotarians can communicate with the younger generation, who may be interested in becoming a Rotarian.

The attendees then participated in three 50 minute concurrent sessions, offering 13 different topics to choose from, including; Club Treasurer Training presented by our very own Tammy Bonifield.

Bringing together that many fellow Rotarians into one Assembly, it was an almost spiritual experience.

Mike Ladwig

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D.O. it for Denny

April 26, 2023

Most people think that all angels have wings; white, fluffy wings, attached to their backs so they can easily fly up to the clouds. Our speaker disproved this notion for Sami McKay is truly an angel without wings. Sami is the founder of the D.O. it for Denny, a Facebook service group. Denny was her uncle who at an early age was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. He did not let his disease deter him from following his dream of becoming an attorney. Denny defended those who were poor and dedicated his life to helping those who needed help the most. Muscular Dystrophy took his life at an early age, but his passion for service to others lives on through Sami and her group.

The D.O. it for Denny group has a monthly service project that Sami does with help from her family and a few close friends. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Making blessing bags of food and seasonal items for the homeless and food insecure locally.
  • Collection and distribution of backpacks and school supplies for those in need at the Kennedy School in Livonia.
  • Twice yearly book drives for parentless children.
  • Easter projects that match families that need help with families that want to help families in need. 
  • Coordinate between helping families that need help with providing a nice Christmas for their families with people who want to help them.

I guess if I had to write a mission statement for D.O. it for Denny it would be, “All altruism, all the time,” brought to you by Livonia’s own First Citizen Award Winner, Sami McKay. She is truly a wingless angel.

We also heard from Erin Snyder, a student at Schoolcraft College and the recipient of Livonia AM Rotary’s Janice Newsome Memorial Scholarship. Erin was presented by Dawn Magretta, club member and Executive Director of Schoolcraft College's Foundation.

Erin is in the nursing program, and the scholarship allows her to cut back on her work schedule and spend more time on her studies.

Mike Ladwig

Non Profit Leadership Summit

April 26, 2023

Club members Dawn Magretta, Nancy Darga, Sharon Pommerville, Mike Ladwig, Claude Kendrick, Bill Friske, and Bob Carris, joined Livonia Lion Matt Collins attending Mayor Brosnan’s Non Profit Leadership Summit. The Mayor thanked us all for our service and told us how important we are to the community.

Several great ideas and resources were shared, such as; a website where you can post your service project to attract volunteers that are looking for a volunteer opportunity. Likewise, a website where groups in need of assistance can post their project hoping to attract help from a service club.  

Paul Harris Fellow Recognition

April 19, 2023

Club members Sharon Pommerville and Bob Carris were recognized as Paul Harris Fellows by Rotary International.

Paul Harris Fellow recognition is awarded to Rotarians who contribute $1,000 or more to the Annual Fund or PolioPlus.

Rotary established the recognition in 1957 to encourage and show appreciation for substantial contributions.

Autism Alliance of Michigan

April 19, 2023

Our speaker last week was Rebecca Drzewicki from the non-profit group Autism Alliance of Michigan. Rebecca spoke of the group’s mission; We lead efforts to expand opportunities for people touched by autism across their lifespan. Their vision statement: People with autism will lead lives that meet their greatest potential.

The Autism Alliance offers the autistic person a lifelong guide with professional help and answers for anyone touched by autism. They help those with autism to maximize educational opportunities. They also help in finding gainful employment for their autistic clients.

Rebecca mentioned the GPS program that Autism Alliance coordinates. Since many people with autism wander off when in public, the center provides a GPS system to track the movements of the autistic student. This is just one of many services the alliance provides.

Our second guest, Bill Joyner, visited to accept a BIG check from the Livonia Rotary AM group on behalf of the Livonia Historical Society to place a historical marker at the former site of the old Bentley High School. Our donation put them over the top for the funds needed to order the plaque.

Mike Ladwig

Club Meeting - Double Header

April 12, 2023

There are times even a hard-charging, motivated group like the members of our Livonia AM Rotary Club needs to get their batteries recharged. Our first speaker last week, Charlie Mahoney, had just the spark we needed to bring our motivation level up to full charge.

Charlie won the Livonia Chamber of Commerce Legacy Award for Community Service at the Leadership and Awards Celebration for 2023. If there is a worthwhile community-oriented project in Livonia, Charlie is probably involved.

Charlie spoke of her work with two of the plethora of projects she is involved in; The Livonia Community Foundation, and The Livonia Symphony Orchestra. The Livonia Community Foundation has an endowment of $2 million. The foundation looks for groups that are helping the general welfare within our town and provides financial support. The second group she spoke of was the Livonia Symphony Orchestra. Charlie mentioned the June 9th Bob Bennett Memorial Classic in support of the orchestra. She spoke with such passion about these two events that you could not help but be motivated to support these groups.

Two quotes from Charlie,1) “The first place you look for help is at the end of your wrist.” 2) “You make your life by what you give.” Thank you, Charlie! I feel I left the meeting fully charged.

We also heard from Jeff Skebo, a teacher at Coolidge Elementary School here in Livonia. Jeff submitted a grant request to the Livonia Public School Foundation for the purchase of 30 Ukuleles to be taught to 3rd and 4th grade students at Coolidge. His grant request was approved. Jeff spoke of the process of ordering the ukes and building a wall unit in the school to house the instruments. He also spoke of how this was the first time many of the students have been exposed to playing a musical instrument, and how excited they were with this new opportunity.

Our club is an annual contributor to the LPS Foundation. It is refreshing to hear of a successful project that we helped, through our contributions.

Mike Ladwig

More Ukulele Photos

Club Gift of Support to Clarenceville HS Food Pantry

April 05, 2023

Club members Sharon Pommerville, Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan, Larry Stephens, Pat Zucal, Mike Ladwig, and Claude Kendrick were on hand to present a check to support the food pantry at Clarenceville High School. President-Elect Claude is shown presenting a BIG check to school Superintendent Paul Shepich, and Veronica Cruz with Livonia Kids and Families.

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Club Assembly

April 05, 2023

At our last meeting, we conducted our monthly Club Assembly.

We began with a more secular innovation delivered by Bob Carris. President Tammy Bonifield mentioned that whoever would like to present an invocation at future meetings should relay that information to Mike Ladwig so he can put it on the weekly schedule. Mike will forward that information to Bill Friske so it can be inserted in our newsletter.

Tammy asked for a few volunteers who would be interested in learning how to assist with the setup and operation of the Zoom equipment, coffee service and meeting setup and teardowns. Kate Mackie volunteered to help with the coffee setup.

Mike spoke about the two potential new club members. Both attended the suggested minimum of three club meetings, followed by a one-on-one conversation with the membership chairperson. Both potential new members showed a keen interest in joining our club. Both applicants’ membership was enthusiastically approved by a unanimous vote. Welcome Susan Paluchniak, and

Victoria Haltom as new members of the Rotary Club of Livonia AM.

Giving Committee – Chair Larry Stephens

A total of six Grant Applications were approved by the Giving Committee:

  1. Most Ministries
  2. Clarenceville School District All-Night Party Sponsorship
  3. Livonia Historical Society – Marker for the Old Bentley High School
  4. Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels
  5. Source of Universal Love
  6. Livonia Kids and Family – Clarenceville Food Pantry

All requests were approved by all those in attendance.

Treasurer’s Report – Bob Carris

We should be spending down to our prudent reserve by the end of our fiscal year of June 30, 2023. We heard from Pat Zucal that we will be hosting our Annual Carnival this year at the Sears location at 7 Mike and Middlebelt. Sears informed us the fee would be double what we paid last year.

Grant Committee – Chair Erin Dobbins

Erin spoke of the Juarez Community Center funding request. The grant has been written, we should receive an approval status by the end of April, or early May.

Mike Ladwig

Bottoms Up Diaper Bank

March 29, 2023

This past week we heard from Tess Hoffman from the Bottoms Up Diaper Bank program and Elaine McElwaney from Fish and Loaves Community Food Pantry in Taylor MI.

The Bottoms Up Diaper Bank program, located in Grosse Ile, operates out of the Fish and Loaves facility. Since its inception 7 1/2 years ago, the Bottoms Up program has given away over 1,000,000 diapers to families in need in the Downriver community. Because they are volunteer-driven, less than 1% of received donations go to paying for expenses.

Most people who are young and start a family are at their lowest income level. Diapers cost on average $150-$275 per month, up to 14% of new parents’ incomes. This might not be the most glamorous project we have been presented with, but glamour should not be mistaken for need. 

Diaper need is an often-overlooked measure of Americans’ economic reversals. There are so many people “who do not have enough money to meet their basic needs, and what we’ve found is that diaper need is a window into poverty.”

Mike Ladwig

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

March 22, 2023

At our last club meeting, we held a Town Hall Meeting facilitated by our club member Erin Dobbins on the subject of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We were joined in the meeting by District Governor Traci Sincock and DG-Elect Russ Jones.

Erin opened the meeting with a handout asking each club member to describe what the term, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion means to them.

We began the discussion with the statement that Rotary International feels it is important to reach out to potential new members who have traditionally not been on our radar as potential new members. To accomplish this, we need to review how our meetings are run and the practices that people of different cultures might find uncomfortable to be a part of. We began with our morning prayer and our pledge of allegiance. Some club members voiced that they want to keep the pledge and the types of prayers we currently use without any change. A few others, on the subject of the prayer, are in favor of a more generic prayer that people of different beliefs could feel comfortable hearing.

Next, Erin read two position papers from Rotary International’s website: Rotary's Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Rotary DEI Terms and Explanations.

To paraphrase the moon landing speech in which Neil Armstrong said, “We at Rotary are entering one small step for man, one large step for diversity, equality, and inclusion within Rotary”.

Mike Ladwig

Forgotten Harvest Food Packing Event

March 25, 2023

We had a great showing of club members at the Forgotten Harvest food packing event this past Saturday. The volunteers included Claude Kendrick (and daughter Kayla), Tammy Bonifield, Nancy Darga, Victoria Haltom (soon to be a member), Dave Stechholz, Larry Stephens, Mike Ladwig, Greg Greene, and some of the Churchill HS Interact Club members.

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Starfish Family Services

March 15, 2023

On rare occasions, we meet and hear from people who by their sheer presence can increase the energy in a room to such a level that many people in the room can feel it. Such was the case with our speaker last week.

That energy-altering speaker was Reverend Jean Overman, a fellow Rotarian from Dearborn, and a Board of Directors member of the non-profit group Starfish Family Services.

Jean explained Starfish’s mission is to strengthen families’ equitable opportunities through early childhood education programs.

Starfish’s emphasis is on strengthening the family unit so that when children are of school age, their toolbox is filled with the needed tool for success

By the numbers, Starfish has:

  • 16 Centers in Wayne County (2 in Livonia).
  • 430 employees including therapists, social workers, educators, and administrators.
  • 3,000 youth and adults served (ages 0-5 in early education, and ages 0-64 in behavioral health service),.
  • 58% of clients are children, ages 0-6,
  • 87 cents out of every dollar received goes directly for services to Starfish children and families. 

With a goal of improving the family life for every member of a young child’s family, they provide parenting skills for parents, and through weekly home visits, they enhance the educational and learning opportunities for preschool children.

Their goal is to strengthen family foundations, grow parent-child relations, promote healthy child development, improve the child’s emotional, behavioral, and well-being, and create a positive and personal network of support.

With all that Starfish has on their plate, it is a heavy lift, it would take a person like Reverend Jean and her 430 Starfish angels to lift it. 

Mike Ladwig

Honoring Nancy Darga

March 09, 2023

A few of us made it to Northville’s first annual Community Awards Dinner to honor seven individuals who made a difference in their community, one of them being our very own Nancy Darga.

Nancy was recognized by the city’s dignitaries as the Volunteer of the Year at the Marquis Theatre.

 This is a huge honor, she has been instrumental in the reconstruction, development, and implementation of many of the city’s areas, including the river walk, the farmers market, and a pavilion to name a few.

The awards presentation was preceded by a delicious dinner at Genitti’s Hole in the Wall.

Pat Zucal

4-Way-Test Soccer Ball Booth

March 10, 2023

Club members Bill Friske and Bob Carris hosted a 4-Way-Test Soccer Ball booth at the Great Lakes Rotary PETS training seminar at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo this past weekend. 

PETS is designed to train incoming club presidents, from more than 350 clubs. It has proven to be a terrific venue for us to promote our soccer balls. Historically, presidents-elect will purchase one or more to take back to show their clubs. Since the soccer ball has the 4-Way-Test in 16 languages, it is unique throughout the Rotary world. Our soccer ball makes a great leave behind for traveling Rotarians doing projects overseas. We donated one of our soccer balls to be auctioned off at the conference, to raise funds for Polio Plus. Believe it or not, the winning bid was $1,300. That winning bid combined with the Gates Foundation double match will mean $3,900 for Polio Plus. We also gifted 6 more soccer balls to RI President Jennifer Jones to give out during her last months as RI president!

Bob Carris

President-Elect Training Seminar (PETS)

March 09, 2023

“Create Hope in the World,” will be the theme for our 2023 -24 Rotary year.  The PETS Conference exceeded my expectations with dynamic, inspiring speakers and training that was engaging, thought-provoking and fun.  The networking possibilities were endless as everyone discussed how their club impacted their respective communities. 


I went to the vendor booths and hung out with Bob Carris and Bill Friske during my break time. 

Our Super District 6400 club theme is  “Be the One.” I am so proud of our club and our leadership when I hear about how all clubs are working on DEI, Grants, social media, membership, and establishing a local footprint.  

I feel more prepared and knowledgeable about The Rotary Way!  I thank the Livonia AM Rotary club for the opportunity to represent our club at PETS this year!

Claude Kendrick

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Chief Robert Jennison

March 08, 2023

Last week we heard from Fire Chief Robert Jennison of Livonia Fire and Rescue. The Chief began his talk by telling us his story of firefighting as an 18-year-old volunteer at his home in Lyon Township. He spent 24 years at the Livonia Fire Department achieving many promotions until he accepted his current position as Chief, a year ago.

Chief Jennison informed us that the Livonia Fire Department has 5 fire stations throughout our town. The department has 89 firemen, and the Fire and Rescue are available for calls 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Besides fighting fires and handling paramedic calls, the department works on:

  • Haz Mat Calls
  • SWAT
  • Paramedics
  • Active Shooter Response

The Chief told us that one of the greatest problems with fires is that people do not have smoke detectors in their houses, or they have them, but the batteries are out of power. He recommended that people change their batteries, twice per year, when they change their clocks for daylight savings time. He also said that lithium batteries, when not handled properly, can be deadly. Chief Jennison recommends unplugging charging stations after the battery reaches a full charge, and not sleeping with your cell phone under your pillow since that can produce heat which may cause the battery in the phone to explode.  

Mike Ladwig

Livonia Fire and Rescue

City of Livonia Fire Statistics 2022

Club Assembly

March 01, 2023

We learned that fellow Rotarian, Dr. Stanley Ngeyi, passed away last week. When a memorial service is announced, we will share that information with the club. Dr. Stanley will be missed.

Giving Committee – Larry Stephens informed us that two Grants were approved for:

  • AAA Pregnancy Resource Center, for the purchase of car seats.
  • VT Seva, to support visually challenged students in India.

There were two grant requests that were paused pending our request for more information or a future presentation to the club. They are Bottoms Up Diaper Bank Grosse Ile, and MOST ministries.

Treasurer’s Report - Bob Carris informed us that the Interact club approved donations to Shelter Box, Wayne County Horse Patrol, VT Seva, and Syria & Turkey earthquake relief. 

We were reminded that we need a few more volunteers for the Forgotten Harvest event on March 25. Hopefully, We will have some Interact students join us.

President-Elect Claude Kendrick represented our club at the Fire and Ice fundraiser at Schoolcraft college. He said the food was excellent, and rumor has it that due to the vast quantity of food and the large array of desserts, when arriving home, Claude had to drill another hole in his belt. 

Mike Ladwig

Interact Club's Gifts to the Community

February 28, 2023

Club members Dave Burton and Bob Carris were on hand when the Churchill HS Interact Club met at Mayor Brosnan's office recently to distribute generous donations to various Livonia organizations. The funds were the proceeds from their 2022 Touch A Truck event. The recipients included the Livonia Police Dept, The Livonia Fire Dept, the Wayne County Sheriff, and VT Seva.

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Joint Meeting with Churchill Interact Club

February 27, 2023

Livonia AM Rotary Club members paid a visit to the Interact Club at Churchill High School last week. We began the meeting in our regular fashion with the Pledge of Alliance. President Tammy Bonifield asked the interactors to sign up for our food packing at Forgotten Harvest on March 25. She went on to tell us all many facts about Rotary:

  • There are 1.2 million Rotary members worldwide.
  • 99% of Polio is eradicated worldwide.
  • Rotary clubs provide local as well as international impacts in their communities.
  • Interact and Rotary clubs inspire our future generations of service volunteers.

(Authors note—at this point, we were 15 minutes into the meeting. I looked around the room and of the 18 Interact students present, I did not see one on an electronic device, miracles do happen).

Next, we heard from Churchill HS principal Kristen Quesada (who I originally mistook for a student). She spoke of her leadership style, focusing on truly listening to students. She told us her main focus is on what is best for her students.

Next, we heard from Interact club President Ivanna Ibrigido Torres. (note after another quick scan of the Interactors with ten minutes to go until the conclusion of the meeting, still, no Interactors using mobile devices). Ivanna talked about their interact clubs’ weekly meetings and how they use GroupMe to communicate the agenda. She spoke of the many club and charitable events they support over the year. 

It was a refreshing meeting to see young people engaged and embracing the Rotary 4-Way-Test.

Mike Ladwig 

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Fire and Ice Culinary Extravaganza

February 23, 2023

President-Elect Claude Kendrick is heading to Kalamazoo this Thursday for a weekend of intense training to be our club's next president.

At Great Lakes Rotary PETS, Claude will join over 350 presidents-elect from 6 districts with clubs in Michigan, Indiana, and Ontario. Claude will gain practical knowledge to prepare himself for his leadership year as a Rotary club president. PETS trainers have developed a curriculum based on years of experience and feedback from the previous attendees.

Claude is sure to ​leave PETS feeling “fired up” and eager to begin the amazing year ahead as our Rotary club’s President!

Passing of Dr. Stanley Ngeyi

February 26, 2023

With a heavy heart, we announce the passing of club member Dr. Stanley Ngeyi. Very little is known by the club at this time. Information will be shared when we learn more. Dr. Stanley was Chairman of the Chemistry Dept and a full professor at Madonna University, and an active member of the club until his work schedule and illness interfered with his weekly attendance. In the coming weeks, we will highlight the incredible story of Dr. Stanley's return to “give back” to his home country of Cameroon through Rotary's Ambassadorial Scholarship program, and the numerous projects our club did in Cameroon. 

Fire and Ice Culinary Extravaganza

February 23, 2023

Club member Claude Kendrick (and his wife Jeanne) attended Schoolcraft College's Fire and Ice Culinary Extravaganza fundraiser to support the students and programs that are associated with the culinary arts department. Fellow Livonia AM Rotarian Dawn Margretta spearheaded this event along with other members of the Schoolcraft Board Community. The guests met the students and instructors in their kitchens and tried samples of their delicious entrees, flavorful desserts, and tasty beverages.

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Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels

February 22, 2023

They are unseen and unheard. Their productivity in society long expired, and they live lives of quiet desperation. They are lonely for company and hungry for food. These are the clients of Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels.  

Our speakers last week were Danni Murphy and Chris Brown of the Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels program.

Chris explained Meals on Wheels’ mission is to provide meals, personal care items, human contact, and general welfare checks for homebound seniors in the Ypsi area. They deliver 250 meals per day, 120,000 meals per year.   

The staff of workers for the program includes a combination of paid staff and volunteers. They also provide a personal care pantry, as 2/3 of their clients are incontinent. Less than 10% of their funding is furnished by government funds. 

Their mission at Meals on Wheels is to make those among us in their twilight years a little more like their golden years. Just because someone is unseen and quiet doesn’t mean they are not among us. It is refreshing that Meals on Wheels can be a voice for the quiet and can shine a light on the unseen.  

Mike Ladwig 

Northville Chamber of Commerce to Honor Nancy Darga

March 09, 2023

Club member Nancy Darga will be recognized as The City of Northville's "Volunteer of the Year". The Northville Chamber of Commerce has organized this first annual Northville Community Awards Dinner.

The event will be held at Genitti's Hole in the Wall & Marquis Theater on Thursday, March 9th, from 5:00-8:00 PM. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

Meet Our Newest Member - Ethan Ames

February 15, 2023

The members of Livonia AM Rotary are happy to welcome Ethan Ames to our Rotary Club family.

Ethan lives in Wyandotte and works in Livonia, as a Chiropractor. Ethan achieved the Eagle Scout designation and would be interested in being an ambassador between our club and the Scouts. Rotary offers unlimited opportunities for collaboration with other organizations, and for personal and professional growth. It is our job to help Ethan fulfill his goals of civic engagement in our community, through Rotary.

The next time you are at the club, be sure to introduce yourself to Ethan.

Club Meeting - Mayor Brosnan

February 15, 2023

We had the honor and privilege to host our Mayor, and fellow Livonia AM Rotarian, Maureen Brosnan, as our guest speaker.

Maureen spoke of her experience campaigning for the position of Mayor. While knocking on residents’ doors, there were four overriding issues that kept being requested from those she spoke to :

  1. Keep Livonia safe.
  2. Take care of the kids.
  3. Fix the roads.
  4. Make Livonia a place their kids want to live in when they grow up and start their own families.

There was a shortage of firemen and police officers when the mayor took office. That shortage has been eliminated, which should make us all safer.

There are many programs at our parks, in our schools, and at the Rec Center designed for children. We have a world-class library offering many programs for our youth. We have many houses of worship to address the spiritual needs of our families.

Working with Wayne County and receiving infrastructure funds from the Federal government, we may finally “fix the damn roads”.

What will bring our children back to Livonia when they start a family are affordable housing and good schools.

Maureen brought up the recent discussion about the Noble Library. Because of its current condition, it may not be economically feasible to return the building to a functioning library. The city is still reviewing options for that property.

The Mayor also mentioned the 28 boards run that have unpaid volunteers that counsel her. She also gave praise to all of the service clubs that give their time, energy, and riches that help make Livonia a wonderful place to live and work

Mike Ladwig

You Are Loved - Delivers Gratitude Boxes

February 14, 2023

Club member Susan Landmesser was at it again, delivering happiness throughout the community on Valentine's Day, through her amazing organization, You Are Loved

(Reprinted from Facebook)

Gratitude Boxes were delivered today to The Livonia Fire Dept., Livonia Police Dept., EMS Unit, and the ER Staff at St. Mary's Hospital.

These folks do soooo much in keeping my community of Livonia safe and protected and never think of expecting a Thank You.

I love gifting them a box of homemade cookies and buttons, along with a little note of thanks. It's the least I can do to show a smidgen of appreciation and gratitude this Valentine's Day.

THANK YOU for ALL you do. Your hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed.

Taylor Conservatory Foundation’s Annual Gala

February 10, 2023

Club members Tammy Bonifield and Sharon Pommerville joined our newest club member Erin Dobbins at the annual fundraiser to support the Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. The two were also supporting our new friend, Erin, as she was one of the principal organizers of the event.

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Club Meeting - Dual Speakers

February 08, 2023

The long arm of giving for the Livonia AM Rotary club crosses many borders, and quite a few oceans. Last week’s speakers are indicative of that.

Speaker # 1 Marty Mora, with MOST Ministries (Mission Opportunities Short Term). Their organization provides; Eyeglass clinics, medical clinics, vacation bible studies, construction projects, and water filtration.

MOST's focus is on short-term projects in 52 countries. Marty showed slides of a community center in Juarez Mexico, the one that our club member Rev. Dave Stechholz visited on a recent eyeglass mission. The community center’s roof is in desperate need of repair. Our club granted a generous donation to aid with the repair efforts.

Speaker #2 Priya Sankar, with VT Seva, a nonprofit whose mission is to support international nonprofits in over five countries. Their pillars of support are community, health, and education. Priya spoke of her local club supporting schools for the visually impaired, and schools in remote locations. They procure needed but non-funded items for the school of approximately 250 sight-challenged children. They also provide assistance for remote location schools. Our club also furnished funds to help her organization fulfill those lofty goals. Priya is the mother of our friend Harish, a Past President of the Churchill HS Interact club.

While Rotary International's reach spans the globe, the outreach is prevalent in our own community as well.

Mike Ladwig

Club Assembly

February 01, 2023

The meeting began with an introduction of the Grant Committee. It will be chaired by Erin Dobbins, with committee members Bob Carris, Nancy Darga, and John Clay. They will track deadlines for various grant opportunities and determine the best practices for writing the request.

Next, we heard the Treasurer’s report from Bob Carris. He told us about the balances in both our Accounts and the Interact account, both accounts are positive. It was also brought to the club’s attention that the Hardies Family Trust distributed a check for $5,000 to our Churchill HS Interact Club to pay for the park rental for using Greenmead for our annual Touch A Truck event. In consideration of the donation, the Hardies Family Trust will be named as a sponsor for the event. It was also suggested we have a combined Interact Club and Livonia AM Rotary meeting. It is tentatively set for Monday, Feb. 27th.

Larry Stephens reported that the Giving Committee approved three grant requests this month:

  • The Civic Park Senior Center was awarded monies to buy rolling food carts.
  • The Taylor Conservatory Foundation.
  • M.O.S.T. Ministries, Marty Moro, one of our speakers on Feb. 8th. 

Mike Ladwig

$5,000 Touch A Truck Gift

January 30, 2023

Club members Bob Carris and Mike Ladwig were on hand to receive a very generous donation of $5,000 from the Hardies Family Trust to help underwrite the operating expenses of the annual Touch A Truck event organized by the Churchill HS Interact Club with the assistance of our club.

Seedlings Speaker's Gift

January 30, 2023

President Tammy stopped by Seedlings Headquarters recently to present Katelynn Lucas with our 4-Way-Test soccer ball. Katelynn presented to the club via Zoom a few weeks back and we wanted to express our thanks to Katelynn in person.

Culinary Pop-Up Lunch at Schoolcraft College

January 26, 2023

Club member Bill Friske (and Rose) joined club member Dawn Magretta at a special Culinary “Pop-up” Lunch at Schoolcraft College. Because of construction, the college created this event to help their Culinary students gain some experience.


The attendees enjoyed a program titled "2023 Economic Outlook" by nationally recognized economist, Dr. Cedric Howie.

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Livonia All-Stars vs Redwing Alumni Hockey Game

January 29, 2023

This past Saturday, at the Eddie Edgar ice arena in Livonia, the 21 members of the Livonia All-Stars hockey team played against the Detroit Redwing Alumni team. The stands were packed with standing room only for last minute ticket buyers. The game was entertaining, and the Livonia All-Stars led by Brandon McCullough gave the Redwings a very competitive match.

A few takeaways from the game.  Your Livonia AM Rotary club, led by Pat Zucal, Greg Greene, Nancy Darga, Claude Kendrick, and Mike Ladwig handled ticket sales, online ticket verification, and wristband distribution like all-stars. Rotarian Eric Ladwig worked as a bench coach for the All-Stars. Our fellow Livonia Rotary club provided security for the Redwing locker. Our fellow Rotarian, Mayor Maureen Brosnan dropped the ceremonial first puck. The crowd was a blend of young and old. Judging by the many smiling faces in the stands, it was very entertaining to all who attended.

Because of the many sponsors picking up much of the costs, the true winner of the game was the local charity, Livonia Kids and Families. The game, with ticket sales and monetary sponsors, raised around $14,000. It was a win-win for all involved. Even the Livonia All-Stars who, although they were outscored by the Redwings 11-7, collected memories they will cherish for the rest of their lives. And the city of Livonia hosted a wonderful event that was enjoyed by all. 

Mike Ladwig

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Club Meeting - Source of Universal Love

January 25, 2023

Every organization should be able to give a simple, one-sentence mission statement of their purpose. If I was tasked with providing one for our speaker’s organization, S.O.U.L (Source Of Universal Love), it would be “They deal in human kindness”.

Ginger Wiechers, our speaker, is the founder and Executive Director of S.O.U.L. S.O.U.L. began in 2003 when Ginger, who owned a coffee shop kept hearing of the many people who had requests for food. Over the years her passion to help those in need of food and shelter morphed into S.O.U.L. They have an office in Downtown Farmington. They service 900 people in the Farmington, Livonia, and Redford areas. They take food donations and raise money by conducting monthly estate sales.

They have a resale store that also funds many of their giving programs. Many of their clients are working people who were low-income households, and if one household member got sick, it could throw their entire budget into disorder. Sometimes people in need must decide whether to pay their rent or pay for groceries.

One way people can express human kindness is through food and financial support. S.O.U.L. fills this mission with love and compassion. For additional information about S.O.U.L, call (248)318-6691 or look them up and friend them on Facebook, Source of Universal Love.

Mike Ladwig

Club Meeting - Seedlings Braille Books for Children

January 18, 2023

Our speaker this past week was Katelynn Lucas, spokesperson for Seedlings Braille Books for Children.

If I was to write a mission statement for the organization “Seedlings Braille Books for Children,” it would be - to open the doors of darkness and let the light shine in so that what the eyes can’t see the mind can create. The magic that creates this sense of wonder, knowledge, and adventure, is books, braille books.


Katelynn Lucas told us that Seedlings Braille Books publishing was started in 1978. They had one braille printer and published 33 books in their first year. Jump to the present time and Seedlings has a staff of 11 paid workers and 30 volunteers. They have printed over 600,000 braille books that have been distributed to over 75 countries.


Seedlings books help children learn spelling and punctuation in braille. For these students, Seedlings places clear labels with braille markings onto the pages of standard children’s books. This way, sighted children can read along with the unsighted child. Seedings also prints chapter-only books (no pictures) for students 12 and up. The following are a few of the programs Katelynn mentioned to aid in getting more books into the hands of young braille book readers:

  • Book Angels - for young readers up to 21 years old – they can receive up to 5 free books per year.

  • Adapt a Reader Program - For a donation of $100 you can adapt a reader.

60% of seedlings books are free of charge to their readers. For those Seedlings books that are bought, the average price is $10. The average price for other braille books from other providers is $100.


All the workers, volunteers, and donors of Seedlings Braille Books are Angels! The gifts they present go way beyond the numbers, it can only be measured in the hearts of the braille book recipients. We have yet to find a way to measure that, but trust me, it is enormous. 

Mike Ladwig

YOU ARE LOVED SLEEPING BAG PROJECT: Showing that Service to Humanity is Year-Round

Reprinted from Bill Joyner's Friday Musing 1/16/2023


You are loved was founded a few years ago by fellow Rotarian Sue Landmesser-Cohl with the goal of providing sleeping bags to the homeless in our community. Sue spoke to our Rotary club a few years ago, and subsequent to her speaking the club and Sue felt a synergy and she joined our club. The partnership began.

Read The Full Story Here

Club Meeting

January 11, 2023

We had two sets of speakers last week. First, we heard from Rusty and Laura, club member Larry Stephen’s son-in-law and daughter. They spoke of the Camp Bellevue mission in Ecuador, where they play an integral part. Rusty and Laura help provide after-school programs, community education, summer camps, leadership, and development. They showed a photo of the office copier secured with a generous donation from our club. Check out the video below to see the incredible work of the mission.

Our second speaker was Haitham Fakhouri, President of “Bold Media”, a Livonia business that aids in digital messaging for local businesses and nonprofits. Haitham spoke of the history of website development and the importance of businesses and nonprofits having an online presence. Bold Media helps its clients with “Branding”, which is advanced advertising with a dash of an explanation of what the client has to offer and why customers should choose their organization for their needs. What the Yellow Pages and ads in the Livonia Observer provided in the 20th century, Bold Media provides in our current century. 

Mike Ladwig 

Erin Dobbins - Newest Member of Livonia AM

January 11, 2023

The Rotary Club of Livonia AM is excited to welcome Erin Dobbins, our newest club member. Erin is a past president of the Taylor Rotary Club. Erin lives in Livonia and has recently transferred from the Taylor club. Please join me in welcoming Erin to the Livonia AM family!

Club Assembly

January 04, 2023

This week we held our Club Assembly. The following items were discussed:

Giving Committee - Larry Stephens informed us that two grant requests were approved by the committee; 1) Livonia Public Schools Foundation, and 2) Rosedale Gardens Presbyterian Church for their Christmas blessing bags project. Two additional requests are “pending” awaiting the requesters addressing our group during a meeting; 1) Source of Universal Love (S.O.U.L.), and 2) Wheels on Meals Ypsilanti. Both groups will be addressing us in the near future.

We received a warm thank you note from St. Mary’s Community Outreach.

There was a discussion about our club becoming active in helping early teen girls from poorer nations stay in school and not drop out of school because of embarrassment from starting their menstruation cycle. This led to a discussion of the possibility of wring a grant request to purchase some sewing machines that could be sent to Ecuador so Ecuadorians could make their own sanitary menstruation for the pre-teen young ladies. 

This led to a discussion of forming a grant writing committee with an emphasis on writing international grants. Once the committee is formed, Mike Ladwig will reach out to PDG Rick Caron, an expert on grant writing, to address the committee.

We will be sending up to six club members to help with the Livonia All Stars vs. Detroit Red Wings Alumni Charity Hockey Game on Jan. 29, located at the Eddie Edgar ice arena. The proceeds of which will be donated to a local Livonia charity.

For a Feb. project, we will be procuring additional info about a Tim Tebow night for a local fundraising event.

We discussed possible outside meetings for spring. Some locations are; 1) Living and Learning Enrichment Center, 2) Clarenceville Food Pantry, and 3) Roush Auto Hall of Fame.

Mike Ladwig

Christmas Break

December 28, 2022

Club members Sharon Pommerville, Tammy Bonifield, Nancy Darga, Mike Ladwig, John Clay, Bob Carris, Larry Stephens, Rick Popa, Pat Zucal, and Bill Friske got together for a nice breakfast at George's Senate over the Christmas holiday break from our regular club meetings.

Greg Greene Inducted into Canton Hall of Fame

December 18, 2022

Club member Greg Greene was recently induction into the Canton Township Hall of Fame. Greg was recognized for his 30 + years of volunteering his time to various causes and commissions with the goal of making Canton a great place to live. Check out this terrific commemorative video created by the organizers to express the community's gratefulness to Greg for all that he has contributed over the years. Congratulations, Greg!

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Salvation Army Bell Ringing

December 17, 2022

Livonia AM club members along with members of the Churchhill HS Interact Club were well represented at Joe’s Produce for the Salvation Army bell ringing event a few weeks back.

Our team serenaded folks with Christmas tunes and handed out Christmas candies to all the kiddos. Fun time, all for a good cause.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered!

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Club Meeting

December 14, 2022

Our last speaker for 2022 is the epitome of all that is good about Livonia. I am referring to Reverend Kellie Whitlock, senior minister at Rosedale Gardens Church.

Reverend Kellie spoke about a few of the outreach programs she has spearheaded with the goal of honoring fellow Livonians, including Livonia first responders. They began the blessing bags in 2017 with a modest goal of providing 100 bags for nursing home workers who were on duty on Christmas day. During a meeting with then-Mayor Dennis Wright and Police and Fire Department chiefs, they expanded the count to 500 bags to be delivered to the nursing home workers on duty on Christmas day.

During the second year, they took the program to St. Mary’s hospital and distributed 700 bags to hospital workers. With the generous donation of Primo Pizzas, they also hosted a 2 ½ hour pizza party.

The 2019 project focused on helping 25 Vietnam Vets in need. Also, police and fire distributed $25 cash awards to those in need of some holiday cheer.

With COVID rearing its ugly head in 2020, they altered distribution by making bins for doctors and medical staff to pass out Christmas blessings to 1,100 medical workers.

2021 brought on the “Be the I in Kind” program, with lawn signs and large banners throughout the city, reminding people to be nicer to one another. Along with this event, 3,100 bags were made for LPS employees to be distributed prior to Easter weekend.

2022 the blessing bag project will continue to grow with blessing bags handed out to employees at senior living locations. Through a generous donation of $5,000 the police and fire departments again will have the cash to pass out in the community this year.

Starting with a modest plan of providing some holiday joy to 100 people, moving on to putting the “I” in kind, to this year’s outreach, Reverend Kellie Whitlock and her merry band of Christmas elves, not only put the “I “in kind, they have become the “ME” in Merry Christmas. For that, all of Livonia thanks you.

Mike Ladwig

Gift Wrapping at MCHS

December 12, 2022

Club members Sharon Pommerville, Dave Stechholz, Claude Kendrick, John Clay, and Bill Friske, along with "friend of Rotary" Bryan Squires, volunteered their time to help wrap a mountain of Christmas presents at the Methodist Children's Home Society this past Monday. It was breathtaking to see the number of presents that were donated to help support the many families that MCHS assists at Christmas time!

Storage Closet Declutter

December 09, 2022

Believe it or not, our club made its move to the Livonia Senior Center over two years ago. In that two years, we've been slowly transferring our Rotary paraphernalia from members' homes to our meeting place storage closet.

It didn't take long for the space to become overloaded and in need of a good purge and some straightening out.

Club members Tammy Bonifield, Bob Carris, and Bill Friske put in a bit of overtime on Friday to clean out and organize the closet.

Club Assembly

December 07, 2022

This week we held our Club Assembly. The following items were discussed:

District Holiday Party

  • The party was well attended with great food, lots of fun, and a wonderful venue.
  • Our club received 3 awards at the party: 1) Every Rotary Every Year Club, 2) 100% Foundation Giving Club, 3) A Certificate of Support for our Contribution to End Polio Now.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • See Newsletter And Website For Details And Sign-Up Links.
  • Present wrapping at Methodist Children's Village at 10:00 AM Monday, December 12th. This is a drop-in activity and will last until approximately 5 PM.
  • Salvation Army bell ringing Joe's produce Saturday, December 17th, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM one-hour shifts
  • Celebrating Brad Bonifield Saturday, January 7th, from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM, One Under Craft Beer and Eats, Livonia.

Financial Report - Treasurer Bob Carris

  • We are in a strong financial position and able to reach our goals.
  • The annual carnival is our biggest fundraiser. We did well this year and early indications are that we will be able to hold the carnival in the same location at the Sears parking lot next year.
  • Bill Friske has created a spreadsheet of all the grants we have given over the past six years. He highlighted grant recipients we tend to give to each year (Legacy Grant Recipients). There was a discussion on using this spreadsheet as a tool to help with budgeting. Ideas included budgeting the total amount we typically give to the Legacy Grant recipients and that will allow us to project how much we can give to new parties requesting grants.
  • The membership was told to talk to Bob or Tammy if anyone wishes to go into more detail about budget issues such as reviewing receipts, etc.

Giving Committee - Chairperson Larry Stephens

  • The committee reviewed 4 grant applications in the last month and made the following recommendations. 1) Roll a Hippo, 2) Living and Learning Enrichment Center, 3) St Mary’s Outreach Center, and 4) Interact Club Past President Harish‘s program working with the visually impaired in India (VT Seva). The recommendations were approved by the club membership.
  • Rosedale Garden Presbyterian Church grant request is currently under review and the committee has requested more information.
  • New grant requests are coming in at a steady and manageable rate


  • Sending out reminders to Legacy Grant recipients to apply for a grant if they have not done so.
  • Organizations applying for Grants are a good resource to tap as future speakers at our meetings.
  • Doctor Stanley has been in and out of the hospital lately. He is planning a return trip to Cameroon in 2023 and plans to deliver the ultrasound machine to the clinic at that time.
  • Water Well in Cameroon. By making a significant investment, we may be able to get matching funds for this project if we choose to pursue it.
  • Much discussion and energy about pursuing international projects. Our Rotary district is supportive of efforts by district clubs interested in pursuing international projects.
  • Discussion on having a traveling Cookie and Eggnog Christmas Celebration (like a progressive dinner) on Thursday, Dec. 22. More information will be coming.

John Clay

Deck The Rec. Contest

November 30, 2022

Club member and founder of You Are Loved, Susan Landmesser, is participating in the Livonia "Deck the Rec" competition. Susan is looking forward to handing over all the hats and gloves to 3 local charities after the event is over.

District Holiday Party

December 01, 2022

President Tammy Bonifield, Sharon Pommerville, Bob Carris, and Taylor Rotary member Erin Dobbins attended the first ever District 6400 Holiday Party last Thursday at the Phoenix Mill in Plymouth, with 100+ members from throughout the district. 

Hosted by Governor Traci Sincock, all were treated to a great dinner, and contests including a live auction. As noted in the picture, our club won the "Every Rotarian Every Year" award. EREY is awarded to those clubs whose members donated a minimum of $100 each to the Rotary Foundation, during the previous year. A great time was had by all.

Bob Carris

Greenleaf Commission

November 30, 2022

Our guest speaker this past week was Jim Baringhaus, Chairman of Livonia's

Greenleaf Commission on Sustainability

The Greenleaf Commission is a Livonia government agency. Their charge is to promote and educate the Livonia community on environmental issues.

Jim spoke of four major initiatives the commission engaged in during 2022:

  • Green Infrastructure - Renovation, replacement, and solarizing of the Livonia housing stock.

  • Tree Ordinance - Since trees play a major role in removing pollution in our air, they are working on a plan to sustain and increase the number of trees we have in our community.

  • Recycling - Jim informed us of the City's successful trash recycling program. He also mentioned how to recycle rainwater by using rain barrels.

  • EV Charging Stations - There are plans underway to increase the number of Electric Car charging stations in the city. Many EV auto owners are installing electric car charging stations in their garages.

We all applaud the many efforts of Jim and the members of The Livonia Greenleaf Commission. They are showing us how to live in a greener and cleaner city. 

Mike Ladwig

Local Celebrity Visitor

November 16, 2022

At our last meeting, we had a special visitor in attendance, Jimmy Crowley. Jimmy is a bit of a local celebrity. Many people around town know the Livonia resident as the guy who mows lawns and shovels driveways for veterans, the elderly, and disabled residents. And he does it all for free. The club enjoyed his visit and learning about his generous spirit. Jimmy has hung up his shovel but is very active in volunteering around the community in other ways. We're hoping to see Jimmy at future meetings.

Read More About This Good Neighbor

Sleeping Bag Mission 2022

November 19, 2022

WITH SO MUCH GRATITUDE AND THANKS TO ALL who donated anonymously, who gathered together to sort, fold, build kits, and assemble sleeping bags for the You Are Loved

Sleeping Bag Mission 2022.

We are gathering our photos for our album so that should be posted by next week.

Special mentions to:

Livonia Civic Senior Center

Livonia Democratic Club

Livonia A.M Rotary

Mile City Church

City Orchard and Pelic Groups

Friday Musings

Northstar Marketing Content

My personal friends and family.



Susan Landmesser

Larry Stephens Out of Africa

November 16, 2022

Our speaker at our November 16th meeting was club member and Giving Committee chairman, Larry Stephens. Larry, who is a retired minister, returned to Africa this past summer. He returned to Kenya where thirty years ago he began a church in the town of Nairobi, Kenya. When he started the church in 1992 the church was built attached to a 400 square feet house. Larry showed us pictures of the church today, and its a much larger edifice that continues to serve the spiritual needs of many residents of Nairobi.

Today the church, the Komarock Church of Christ, has an outreach program to help local street kids to leave drugs and return to school. Their motto is If you save the life of one person, you can change the world.”

Larry also graced us with stunning pictures of the Kenya landscape, the large animal preserves in the country, and some really, lovely pictures of local Kenyan birds.

Larry left us with the message to travel while we can, and step outside our comfort zone. The message I received from Larry’s presentation is prosperity is not measured with dollar signs, but with your legacy of helping others. I guess that is the Rotary Way.

Mike Ladwig

Gift to Livonia Civic Chorus

November 15, 2022

Livonia Civic Chorus Vice President Jennifer Perry received a $2,000 check from our club. 

Club member, and Livonia Civic Chorus member, Rev. Dr. David Stechholz is shown here making the check presentation. 

Livonia AM Rotary is supportive of both the LCC and Livonia Symphony Orchestra, both with separate upcoming concerts in December. 

Club Meeting

November 09, 2022

We began our meeting with our own Rev. Dave Stechholz providing a heartwarming message for President Tammy Bonifield and her family on the transition of her husband Brad, a great man, and a true friend of Rotary. He is loved, and he will be missed.

K.I.S.S. and the Roll A Hippo

Often, we overcomplicate things to the point where we give up trying to solve our problems because we think they are too dang complicated. Other times, when we employ the K.I.S.S. method of problem-solving (keep it simple stupid) the answers to our problems are right in front of our noses.

In many parts of the world, people live in rural villages and are many miles from the sources of freshwater creeks, rivers, or lakes. Without sources of animal or mechanical transportation, they are often left to carry the water in containers they place on their heads. This makes for many trips from the water source to their villages.

To increase the amount of water that can be transported, enter the Roll A Hippo. A device made from plastic that can roll up to 24 gallons of water, as opposed to the usual maximum of 5 gallons of water on their heads. They just fill the rolling hippo and push it back to their destination. This drastically reduces the number of trips needed to provide water and does not strain the neck and back muscles of the women who do the heavy water transporting.

Our speaker on the subject was Luke Vorstermans, founder of the Roll A Hippo Foundation, and a member of the Rotary Club of Gibsons, British Columbia. Luke spoke about his club’s work providing Roll A Hippos to people in rural areas of South Africa. The Gibsons Rotary Club solicits funding for the Roll A Hippos and partners with the Hillcrest Durban South Africa Rotary Club. The Hillcrest Durban club purchases and distributes the Hippos locally for approximately $150 per unit. They also throw in some seeds and hand-held farming equipment. Pretty simple solution to a pain in the neck (literally) problem.

Below is a link to the material that Luke used during his presentation. Creating awareness is a big part of Luke's challenge!

Mike Ladwig

District Governor's Visit

November 02, 2022

Our special guest this past week was District Governor, Traci Sincock. DG Traci is from the Northville Rotary Club. This was her official visit to our club. District governors commit to visit every club in their district at least one time per year. That’s 50+ club visits. DG’s Traci’s visit was our opportunity to hear what is happening at the district level. It is also our opportunity to update DG Traci on the progress our club is making toward our goals for the 2022-23 Rotary year.

Here are some highlights that were discussed:

  • The responsibility of the District Governor is to be the bridge between Rotary International and the individual clubs. Communication is a two-way street between these two entities.

  • DG Traci explained that Rotary should be a safe place for people to come together in friendship and through community events, to better our neighborhoods.

  • New members should feel welcomed by all and have the desire to be of service to mankind.

We also discussed upcoming projects:

  • You are Loved, sleeping bag kits with warm items for the homeless, and financially insecure, to be distributed on Nov. 19, in Detroit.

  • Gift wrapping holiday gifts at the Methodist Children’s Home on December 12, 13, and 14th, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

  • Salvation Army Bell Ringing, Saturday, December 17th, Joe’s Produce, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM, one-hour shifts.

The Board of Directors met briefly with DG Traci at the conclusion of the regular club meeting.

Mike Ladwig

MCHS Trunk or Treat

October 29, 2022

Club members Sharon Pommerville and Bill Friske participated in the Methodist Children's Home Society's truck or treat this past weekend. A quick glance through the photos will show you what a terrific event this was for the residents, and staff, and the community surrounding the MCHS campus.

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World Polio Day Spaghetti Dinner Community Fundraiser

October 26, 2022

In 1979 Rotary International set a goal to bring the Polio vaccine to all of the nations in the world, in an effort to eradicate the brutal and painful disease. This almost impossible quest, with the aid of many other groups and other organizations, has almost been completely met. There are still some cases reported in remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The two Livonia Rotary clubs met this past Wednesday to host a Spaghetti Dinner Community Fundraiser. The proceeds of which will be donated toward the Rotary International polio vaccination effort.

The kitchen crew arrived early Wednesday morning to make the spaghetti sauce and chop the lettuce and onions for the salad. Hungry diners began arriving early, and they kept coming. The line of diners moved smoothly and everyone I spoke with commented that the food was excellent. There was a true sense of community as Livonia residents came to support a worthy cause. Although the official head count of the participants is not available at this time, many experienced spaghetti dinner volunteers said that the counts looked to be well up from last year’s event. All in all, this year’s Spaghetti Dinner Community Fundraiser was a win-win for everyone involved. We raised some money to help fund the End Polio cause, and a good time was had by our diners and volunteers.

Mike Ladwig

More Photos

Club Meeting

October 26, 2022

Some people’s answer to a challenging situation or to something that has never been tried before is a resounding “You can’t do that”.

Last week we had our End Polio week at Livonia AM Rotary. Our club hosted two people who have intimate knowledge of this dreaded disease, Bill Joiner, the voice of Livonia through his Friday Musings blogs, and our own member, Nancy Darga. Bill’s story regarding Polio is centered around his mother, who was a Polio survivor. Nancy herself is a Polio survivor.

Bill’s mother raised a family and spent twelve years on the Livonia School Board of Education. Bill recalls his mom explaining to her children the physical pain of living with Polio. But it was not an everyday topic of discussion in their home.

Nancy, an architect, was the chief designer for Wayne County Parks and Recreation Department before she retired. She also spent twelve years on the Northville City Council. Nancy was three years old when she was diagnosed with Polio. She shared the story of painful operations on her legs so she could regain her ability to walk. Many neighborhood parents wouldn’t let their children play with Nancy out of fear of that Polio could be transmitted through Nancy to their children.

Both Nancy and Bill’s mothers did not let the disease of Polio define them. They defined what was possible for Polio victims to accomplish. To those who said to them, “you can’t do that, you had Polio” they probably replied, “step out of my way and watch me”.

Hearing both the sad story of the extreme pain that Polio can cause to those who get this disease, and the inspiring story of overcoming obstacles to reach a goal was an exceptional way to begin our “End Polio Week” for our Rotary club.

Mike Ladwig

Rotary Club of Dublin Central

September 21, 2022

Club member Larry Stephens and his wife Diane recently returned from a trip to Ireland where they spent time with family. While there, Larry paid a visit to the Dublin Rotary Club. Club president Monica is pictured wearing our internationally famous 4-Way-Test "Football!"

Club Meeting

October 19, 2022

Our guest speaker last week was Rachelle Vartanian, Founder, and Executive Direction of Living and Learning Enrichment Center located in Northville MI...


Many of us have dreams that we immediately forget as our alarm clock beckons us to arise to face the new day. Some of us remember our dream but dismiss it as nothing more than a foolish dream. A few of us like the dream so much that we try to turn that dream into a vision until we give up thinking it is too big, and undoable, and we throw the dream into the mental trash can.


In the movie “The Man from La Mancha,“ the lead character, Don Quixote sang a song entitled “The Impossible Dream." A few of the lyrics describe Rachelle, "To dream the impossible dream, and to run where the brave dare not go.”


Rachelle’s youngest son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism. Rachelle noticed there were few programs available to enhance social skills and social interaction for teens and young adults with autism or related challenges. She began her Living and Learning Center humbly with a small rental space off the beaten path in downtown Northville. She offered classes on social skills and fun activities to her clients. She knew there was a greater need, and she could not meet that need in her current location so she sold her house in Livonia, quit her job, and expanded the center to attract more clients and expand the offering of services to her clients. That was her vision.


Rachelle noticed the Don Massey estate on the corner of 8 Mile and Griswold in Northville was for sale, the asking price was $2.9 million. She envisioned how the building and property could make her dream come true by offering programs such as Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis, Social Skills Groups, Summer Camps, Job Skills & Vocational Training Programs, and Farming and Agricultural Experiences, to name a few. The buildings on the property are large enough to expand her client base. She took to raising the money with her contagious enthusiasm. She bought the building a few years ago. Rachelle and her ever-growing staff have been going like gangbusters to bring that impossible dream to fruition. Today, the Living and Learning Enrichment Center is the gold standard for equipping people who have autism with the skills to become contributing members of society. And it all started with one fiercely dedicated lady’s dream.

Thank you, Rachelle, for sharing your inspiring story with the Livonia AM Rotary Club.

Mike Ladwig

This year's Churchill HS Interact Club officers - Tara Nguyen, Mahi Garg, Ivanna Brigido, and Kayla Miller, and the entire Interact Team!

KCAH Meal Packing Event

October 15, 2022

Over 50,000-plus meals were packed for our neighbors in need, around the corner, and around the world, at the annual Kids Coalition Against Hunger meal packing event at St. Edith’s. Club members Susan Landmesser, Mike Ladwig, Greg Greene, John Clay, Dave Stechholz, plus Claude Kendrick’s daughter Kayla, who was on another team, joined Rotarians from the Livonia Noon, Ann Arbor, and Northville Rotary clubs and high school Interact clubs, Thrivent and event chair Rick Hart, KCAH Director Mike Burrell, as well as several of the Livonia Lions and past chair Matt Collins, other service clubs, church groups, and other groups. Our club distributed more than 100 flyers for the World Polio Day Community Spaghetti Fundraising Dinner, and a few tickets were sold, with special thanks to Thrivent.

Rotarily, Dave Stechholz

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Club Meeting

October 12, 2022

Our speakers this week were Carrie Budzinski and Brian Weiss who launched Vote.Run.Serve-Livonia in December 2021. Michael Testa later joined as the correspondent for Livonia Public Schools. All 3 are Livonia residents.

Vote.Run.Serve-Livonia is a volunteer driven, local news source designed to help make information about the City of Livonia easy to access for residents. It’s mission is to provide non-partisan information about municipal government, local issues, and community events. The hope is that by doing so it will change the way we engage with each other and bring people and organizations together to work on projects which will improve Livonia.

Using their Web site VoteRunServeLivonia and their  Facebook page, they report on City Government, Local events, and Candidates running for office. On the first of each month, they post a recap of what went on during the previous month. Some of the topics recently covered include Greenmead Master Plan Draft, October 5, 2022 – City Council MeetingCandidate Meet and Greet (VIDEO), and October Happenings.


In addition to reporting on current events, they publish downloadable guide booklets on various topics such as Livonia’s 2022 Voter Guide, Livonia Non-Profit Guide. On their Facebook page, they have videos on various topics including Running For Office which provides information about the nuts and bolts of how to run a campaign.

Carrie and Brian explained this is a labor of love for them. They have very little interest in becoming a 503-C3 organization in order to be able to acquire funding through donations or grants. They enjoy what they are doing, do not need much money to do it, and really do not like keeping books or filling out tax forms.

John Clay

Club Assembly

October 05, 2022

Last week we held our Club Assembly. The following items were discussed:

Treasurer's Report: Bob Carris informed the club that Touch a Truck was financially successful with the generous profits going to fund the goals of the Churchill HS Interact Club.  Bob also mentioned that our club’s coffers are full and prepared to fund our grant needs for the year.

Giving Committee: Larry Stephens told us two grant requests were approved last month; Livonia Kids and Families, and the Stuckey Center Day Treatment Program. Both grant requests were approved by the Giving Committee, the Board of Directors, and the general membership.

We discussed two upcoming club-sponsored events:

  • The KCAH meal packing event at St. Edith’s’ is on October 15, 2022. We need a few more Rotarians to sign up if we are to have a full Rotary assembly line. A reminder, we start work at 9:00 AM, and we should arrive at 8:30 AM to sign in.

  • World Polio Day Community Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser for Polio eradication is Wednesday, October 26, 2022. So far, we have 13 club members signed up to work on this event.

A few non-sponsored events were brought to our attention for anyone who wants to partake:

  • Christmas gift Wrapping at the Methodist Children’s Home Society, December 12th, 13th, and 14th, anywhere from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Please Contact Carrie Ann Piechocki at MCHS to volunteer, at [email protected].

  • There is another Build-a-Bed delivery day scheduled for Saturday, October 15, 2022. Contact Wendell at (734)516-8780 if you are interested in helping.

PE Claude Kendrick will be attending the annual President-Elect Training Seminar in Kalamazoo, from March 11 - March 13, 2023.

Our club needs a Grant writer, if interested, please contact Tammy Bonifield.

Mike Ladwig

Club Meeting

September 28, 2022

Our guest speaker this past week was Jim Baringhaus,  Chairman of Livonia's 

Greenleaf Commission on Sustainability

The Greenleaf Commission is a Livonia government agency. Their charge is to promote and educate the Livonia community on environmental issues. Jim has been on the Greenleaf Commission since 2017.

Jim explained a few of the projects the Commission has been involved with. One was the 2019 simple recycling plan for Livonia waste. They have done community outreach at many city events. On earth day they organized a tree planting in Livonia. They introduced recycling at city events with special receptacles for recyclables. On Oct. 1st they held an Electronic Vehicle (EV)bevent at Schoolcraft college where they explained how electronic vehicles operate, and they had some EV cars on hand for attendees to be driven in.

Jim’s presentation to our club was cut short, so we have rescheduled him to return on November 30th. I am anxious to hear the rest of his presentation. We only have one earth, so we can’t afford to muck it up and make it uninhabitable. But there is time to make it sustainable. There is no plan B.

Mike Ladwig

Club Meeting

September 21, 2022

Our guest speaker this past week was Matt Carr, President of Storch Magnetics, a Livonia-based maker of magnets of various shapes, sizes, and applications. Some of the magnets they fabricate are used in conveyor systems during the manufacturing of metal products. 

Storch created the SuperMag, the world's first self-cleaning permanent magnet engineered specifically to work in front of vehicles. The truck-mounted SuperMag picks up metal debris from roadways and airport runways, eliminating tire blow-outs, and saving costly down time for crews and their equipment.

Storch Magnetics was recently honored with the Livonia Greenleaf Commission Award for another of their inventions, the AIROTRUST. One of the concerns with returning to an indoor work environment during the pandemic was that almost everyone in the workplace was sharing the same, poorly filtered air. 


Matt and his crew designed and built the AIROTRUST, a magnetic filter housing paired with a high-quality filter that snaps directly onto the ceiling tile grid, over a return or supply vent, to create an extra layer of air filtration. The AIROTRUST unit allows staff to return to work with the added peace of mind that comes with clean, safe air.

Mike Ladwig

Good Old-Fashioned Neighborhood Corn Roast

September 18, 2022

We welcomed the last weekend of summer in Livonia with an event we affectionately refer to as The Good Old Fashion Corn Roast. Led by Bill Joyner and his crew (himself and the Bodyguard), with over 30 Livonia service clubs in attendance, we had us a party.

The Clarenceville HS young men’s basketball team was out early shucking the corn, The Livonia Lions Club cooked it, and it was served in one-hour shifts by local elected officials. Your Livonia AM Rotary Club held the gateway spot with our newly minted Rotary canopy, passing out the water. 

Club members Mike Ladwig and 

Pat Zucal arrived early to set up, Bob Carris brought the water and ice, and Kate Mackie, and Susan Landmesser joined us as did Rev. Dave Stechholz.

As the residents mingled, ate corn met with our different Livonia service clubs, heard live music from local musician Robert Johnson, and the Livonia Civic Chorus you could feel the community spirit become enhanced as the bonds between fellow Livoniaites were strengthened. 

More Photos        Mike Ladwig

District Governor's Golf Outing

September 18, 2022

Club members Claude Kendrick, Greg Greene, and Bill Friske (and Rose) participated in the District Governor's Golf Outing in Kingsville, Ontario.

Golfers from all over our district enjoyed perfect weather, an amazing golf course, a terrific dinner back at the clubhouse, and of course camaraderie with fellow Rotarians and friends.

Proceeds from this event support International projects through Grants from the district.

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Rotary Day of Service

September 17, 2022

Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) Bunk Bed Delivery

On this beautiful Saturday, volunteers met at Stor-N-Lock Self Storage in Westland, where several beds frames, mattresses, sheets and pillows were assembled on Sept. 10th, and readied to deliver to families that need them today.

To that end, President Tammy Bonifield and Past President Greg Greene from Livonia AM, Bob Moore from the noon Livonia Rotary club, and Matt Collins from the Livonia Lions club were among the many who went to several homes in Inkster. There, several beds, including bunk beds, were assembled for very appreciative children and their parents. 

The work on both Saturdays shows what teams of dedicated individuals can do together to serve others.

Greg Greene

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