Looking for a few new friends in Rotary

December 5, 2012 was one of my best days in nearly two years in

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Princeton.

And how could it not be?

As the treasurer of the Princeton Rotary Club, I hand-delivered a $480 check to the middle school to sponsor four students on the upcoming visit to Deep Portage, I took a $100 check to the Princeton Area Pantry to help support the hungry of our community in the weeks before Christmas, and I took a $100 check to Christ Our Light Church where the Rotary Club sponsored a family for Christmas.

I’m a lucky guy to be a member of the Rotary Club and the club’s members are my closest friends in Princeton.

We meet weekly at noon on Wednesdays in the back room of the K-Bob Cafe on Princeton’s main street. Each week one of the club members is responsible for bringing an interesting program or speaker to the meeting.

Yesterday Kim Young had Dr. Peter Jenson and Cindi Naumann in for a visit. Rotary members learned all about Rum River Health System’s new Primary Health Care Clinic and all the wonderful things RRHS is doing in the community.

On December 26, 2012, Erin Johnson invited her nephew Andrew Barthel to speak. Andrew is a 2011 Princeton High School graduate who is now in his second year at West Point Military Academy. His visit was a reminder of the great future leaders that are being raised in our community.

Representatives from the Princeton Kinship program and the local Girl Scouts rounded out the calendar of scheduled December speakers.

I also shouldn’t forget that on December 12, two days before my birthday, I was treated to the most awful rendition of “Happy Birthday” a guy has ever heard. Rotary Club members were singing as terrible as they could on purpose, and the fact they did it just for me made my day. Unfortunately, I got to hear the dreadful song a second time that afternoon because Steve Tou, owner of the K-Bob, had a birthday on December 15 and was back in the kitchen when the song was sung for the first time. We never let you miss the singing of your birthday song!

Many people in Princeton might not know much about Rotary and the good that our club members do throughout the community.

Our club was chartered on October 14, 1980. We have two members, Jim Heymer and Art Skarohlid, who are charter members and were there that day for the club’s first meeting.

Your contact with Rotary might come only when we’re selling something. Throughout the year we have the famous Rotary Rose Sale in October and we sell a mean steak sandwich  out at Coborn’s in August. The past two years we have produced a community calendar – about 5,000 of the calenders were delivered to you free in your December 17, 2012 edition of the Town & Country.

We appreciate your contributions to those projects and we do some pretty cool things with the money we raise.

I mentioned a few of them above, donations to the middle school, food shelf and the Christmas giving program.

But the list is much longer!

We have a long history of supporting the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Kinship, literacy projects, local parks, Princeton fireworks, and Rum River Health Services. We present two $750 scholarships each year to graduating seniors at Princeton High School and we sponsor a student of the month program and invite the student and a teacher to one of our meetings each month during the school year. We also are working on a program to bring medical equipment to a community in Mexico. We’ll have more on that later in the year.

We’re a great bunch of men and women who care a lot about service to our community – and will welcome with open arms other community members who share in our philosophies.

Our president is Paul Kinneberg of Longview Financial and our incoming president on July 1 is Kim Young of Rum River Health Services. Either would be happy to discuss membership with you. Paul can be reached at 763-389-9355 or by e-mail at paul@longviewfinancial.com. Kim can be reached at 763-856-5314 or by e-mail at kyoung@rumriverhs.org.

Next Wednesday, club member and local pastor Bill Yuill is scheduled to be our speaker. We’re sure to have a few laughs because he’s scheduled to talk about the best “Rotary Jokes.”

I invite you to come on over to the K-Bob at noon next Wednesday to be our guest and learn what Rotary is all about – and have a few laughs along the way. You’ll hear a good program and while you’re at it you’ll meet some of Princeton’s finest and my close friends.

I hope to see you there.

Jeff Hage is the editor of the Princeton Union-Eagle. Reach him by e-mail at jeff.hage@ecm-inc.com.

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