Club Information
Welcome to our Club!

Rotary Opens Opportunities

We meet In Person
Tuesdays at 7:00 AM
Peace Lutheran Church
06321 Blue Star Memorial Highway
South Haven, MI 49090
United States of America
Rotary Headliners


Congratulations to Rotarian Bob Copping for the recognition given him by the City of South Haven for 30 years of civic engagement. Bob is pictured receiving a Proclamation from Mayor Scott Smith and members of the City Council at their November 20th meeting.
South Haven Rotary pleased to welcome District Governor Sharalyn Davis to our November 14th meeting. Our president Melinda Gruber presented her a gift basket of blueberry goodies.
Speakers and Events
Blessings in a Backpack
Dec 07, 2023 10:30 AM
at North Shore Elementary
Salvation Army Bell Ringing
Dec 09, 2023 8:00 AM
at Golden Brown Bakery & Walmart
Club Assembly
Dec 12, 2023 7:00 AM
Club Assembly
Rotary Holiday Party
Dec 12, 2023 6:00 PM
Hawkshead Restaurant @ 523 Hawks Nest Dr., South Haven MI
Our Latest Club News

The South Haven Blessings in a Backpack Steering Committee is announcing a partnership with the Rotary Club of South Haven to ensure the long-term future for Blessings in a Backpack.
Jim Marcoux, who was instrumental in establishing the Blessings in a Backpack program in South Haven noted, “The South Haven Blessings in a Backpack steering committee has been organizing and managing the weekly program since 2012 and they have done an outstanding job of implementing a program that is providing improved nutrition and weekend food to about 200 children each week in the kindergarten through fifth grade. But as the program continued to grow, the steering committee realized they needed a partner organization to take on the increased weekly activities of sourcing food, organizing volunteers, preparing the packages and distributing them to the local elementary schools and reached out to the Rotary who has been supporting the weekly packing for many years. “
Rotary has agreed to step forward and mobilize all weekly activities and to manage the relationship with the Blessing in a Backpack national organization in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Rotary support team is led by LaRae Odland and Mary Sue Lyon. They have already begun reaching out and securing support from other area community organizations and civic groups including those already engaged in Blessings in a Backpack; South Haven’s chapter of AAUW, St. Basil’s Churc. Joining Blessings this year are the South Haven
Kiwanis Club and the South Haven Vacation Rental Community Fund.

Melinda Gruber, President of Rotary said: “We are so very grateful to be given this opportunity to serve the needs of the children in the community through the Blessings in a Backpack program. This is a long-term commitment that requires a significant amount of planning, preparation and coordination among the various community organizations who will be participating in the program.
LaRae and Mary Sue Lyon eagerly stepped forward to volunteer their time and their impressive leadership talents to make the transition possible. The entire Club is eager to pitch-in and do what we can to help the children.”
Many children in our area face food insecurity and hunger every day of their lives. With your help, we can take positive steps to help feed these children on the days that school breakfasts and lunches are
not available. With your help, we can make a difference in their futures.
Thank you Angelica, LaRae, Anna, Mary Sue and Kaileigh.
The South Haven Rotary and Kiwanis clubs worked together to support the Youth Development Company (YDC) during the Oktoberfest 5K pancake breakfast fundraiser. The fundraiser generated over $2,500 to help YDC continue their mission to young people in the South Haven area. The young people of the South Haven community will benefit in a very meaningful way that provides much needed playgrounds and equipment, proven quality curriculums, and qualified and trained staff.
The YDC Board of Directors Friend-Raising Committee organized an impressive collaboration of civic groups, churches and businesses that demonstrates how sincerely the South Haven community is invested in the education, growth, and success of our young people because these groups and organizations were willing to roll up their sleeves as ‘people in action’ to raise funds for them.  
The YDC team, with help from the Rotary, Kiwanis, Star of the Lake Mason clubs of South Haven, St. Paul's Lutheran, the Hodgman Foundation, and South Haven Music Instrument Boosters, along with local businesses such as Harbor Light Brewery (the host site of the fundraiser), Bob's Processing, The Lodge, Biggby Coffee, True Blue Farms, and Decorators Choice all collaborated in Celebrating
Community Service and putting words into action!
The Rotary Club of South Haven  has achieved the Rotary Citation for 2022-23. It is the most significant award a Rotary club can receive. This past year, under the leadership of President Mary Sue Lyon, our members demonstrated a commitment to achieve its goals, which ultimately helps strengthen Rotary and shape our future. The citation is awarded if a Rotary Club achieves a minimum of 13 goals including member engagement, service, Rotary Foundation giving, and public image. Current president Melinda Gruber thanks the members of the Rotary Club of South Haven for their commitment to supporting our community.
Rotary and Community Working Together to Improve Beach Safety
The Rotary Club of South Haven met with City of South Haven leaders recently to present checks totaling $13,500 to support our community’s beach safety programs.
The funds will provide additional year round life ring stations located on the piers and three automated external defibrillator AED devices for the city beaches. Both initiatives are part of the City’s larger beach safety program and are intended to help facilitate rapid response and life-saving assistance to emergencies. Last year Rotary helped fund the installation of loaner life jacket stations on the city's South and North beaches and in recent years help fund the construction of the city's popular splashpad.
While most of the funds were raised locally, Rotarian Bill Roberts was instrumental in obtaining matching grants from the Rotary District 6360 that increased the total contribution by over thirty percent. The additional Rotary district “multipliers” made it possible for the Rotary Club of South haven to distribute both awards to the City this summer.
Pancakes, Airplanes and Hot Rods; a Recipe for a Day of Family Fun at South Haven Rotary Club’s Annual Fly-In Breakfast
Sunday, August 13 saw bright weather and hundreds of families gathered at the South Haven Area Regional Airport for the Rotary Club of South Haven’s 50th annual Pancake Breakfast, Fly-In and Car show. The Rotary Club, working with the Airport Authority and Team Thunder and Lightning Car Club organized a day of activities. This is the Rotary Club’s largest fund-raising event, ensuring the financial capacity to donate funds to area organizations. Last year, Rotary was able to contribute over $70,000 to the local community through the generosity of people attending events like this.
Generous South Haven Rotarians answered the call to assist the Hope Parent Network in providing a wide variety of much-needed baby supplies. We filled two tables with items! Rotarian Deb Davidson spearheaded the initiative.
Congratulations to Rotarian Dan Liehr who was recognized by Rotary International as a Paul Harris Fellow at our August 8 meeting. A Rotarian since 2015, Dan was honored for achieving the second level of support. He is pictured with President Melinda Gruber. List of South Haven Rotarians who have received Paul Harris recognition.

Pictured, left to right: Dan Thompson, Bob Copping, Melinda Gruber

Bob Copping Honored as Our 2023 Rotarian of the Year
South Haven Rotary celebrated another year of service to the community
with its annual leadership induction dinner and recognition of the Rotarian of the Year at HawksHead restaurant on June 27. The Rotary Club of South Haven is pleased to recognize Robert (Bob) Copping as the 2023 Rotarian of the Year.

Pictured left to right are members of the Landers family: Mark Hills Jr; Katheryn Hills; Doug Landers; Dianna Landers; and Rotary President Melinda Gruber.
The Rotary Club of South Haven is pleased to recognize ‘Citizen of the Year’ Doug Landers as the recipient of its 2023 community service award. Each year our club recognizes and honors a resident of the South Haven area who makes a significant difference to our community while embodying the spirit of “service above self”. Recipients of this award have demonstrated long-term commitment, service, participation and leadership to the character and well being of South Haven.
Pictured: Past President Mary Sue Lyon and President Melinda Gruber.

Leadership for the 23-24 Rotary year has been announced.
* President Melinda Gruber
* President-Elect Angelica Gallegos-Dickerson
* President-Nominee Amy Nichols
* Immediate Past-President Mary Sue Lyon
* Treasurer David Campbell
* Secretary Rhonda Wendzell
* Directors: Deb Davidson, Kaileigh Eddy, Todd Heinrich, Paul Hix, Dana Hullinger, GB Richmond, William Roberts, Thomas Ruesink

“We have had a fantastic year,” past president Mary Sue Lyon remarked, “our membership has increased and we have been able to take on more community service projects and continue to contribute over $50,000 to the needs of our community and region. In addition, we saw the completion of a new sanitary water supply system for villagers in Ngoswani, Kenya. This is a club that has accomplished a lot and who demonstrate Rotary’s motto of ‘service above self’ in a very meaningful way.”
Decades of commitment and personal sacrifice by Rotarian Dr. Marty Graber to help improve the lives of the people of Ngoswani, Kenya was recognized recently when he and fellow Rotarian Steve Larsen journeyed there to join Maasai leaders in celebrating his service and marking the completion of a project designed to provide a safe water resource for the maternal and children's hospital. The trip to Kenya was also an occasion to celebrate Dr. Graber's 89th birthday. South Haven Rotary has for several years supported projects in Ngoswani that included construction of a school and the hospital.
The Rotary Club of South Haven is pleased to announce the 2023 Rotary Scholarship recipients. Dene Hadden chairs the Rotary Club selection committee and he notes that the four students were selected
from a field of nearly 50 applicants. The four students demonstrated the Rotary motto, “service above self” in their academic results and their involvement in extra-curricular and civic activities. The four
Rotary Scholarship recipients from South Haven High School are:

* Jillian Carey, who plans to attend Central Michigan University to study chemistry;
* Arianna Rouse, who will be majoring in social studies at Lake Superior State University;
* Elizabeth Sell, who will attend Grand Valley State University to major in nursing;
* Roderic Yelding, who plans to study accounting at Southwestern Michigan Community College.

The Rotary Club wants to congratulate the students and their parents for their hard work and dedication to academic performance and wish them the best as they continue their education.
South Haven Rotarians were honored for their support of the Rotary International Foundation at the May 23 meeting. Welcomed as a Paul Harris Fellow were Deb Davidson, LaRae Odland and Melinda Gruber. Rotarian Bob Copping, a Paul Harris Fellow since 2002 was honored for his continued support. The honorees are pictured with President Mary Sue Lyon. South Haven Rotary has the distinction of being a 100% club for its financial support of the RI Foundation. The Paul Harris Fellow Honor Roll for South Haven now stands at 73 including 31 current members.
Rotarians Art Ayers (pictured) and Jerry Portman joined fourth and fifth graders from North Shore Elementary planting chinook fingerlings in the Black River (at SHOUT Park) on May 12. Sponsored by South Haven Steelheaders the school project was supported by South Haven Rotarians who donated the chiller used to develop the eggs into fingerlings. The students planted about 150 fingerlings into the river.
South Haven Rotary hosted its second annual informal Car Show on May 17. In addition to a variety of cars, we were treated to a demonstration by the South Haven High School Robotics team. Enjoy photos by clicking here.
South Haven Rotarians joined other community volunteers in the annual ritual of planting flowers on the Dyckman drawbridge on May 18. Rotarian Anna Rydecki is pictured placing one of the nearly 2,100 begonias in the 130 planters that line the bridge. Rotarians LaRae and Mark Odland chair this activity.
Rotary District 6360 held its annual conference this past weekend in Battle Creek. South Haven Rotary was recognized as a 100% Participation Club to the Rotary International Foundation. Our president, Mary Sue Lyon, proudly displays a banner presented to the Club. In photo below Rotarian Mark Odland joins other District leadership for a photo. Mark will be the District Governor in 2024-25. He is joined by current District Governor  Kathy Gallagher, District Governor Elect (25-26) Jackie Huie, District Governor Designate (26-27) Sharalyn Davis. Our club was well represented at the conference (bottom photo).
Edwin Velarde has logged thousands of miles cycling on his
EPiC Journeys to raise awareness of Diabetes in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. This year he is partnering with Rotary International and bringing the tour to Southwest Michigan, including South Haven. The “Windy City to Cereal City” Diabetes action ride began on May 2nd at Rotary International Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois and ended in Battle Creek, Michigan at Rotary’s District 6360 annual conference. The ride will met up with Rotary Clubs in Evanston, New Buffalo, St. Joseph / Benton Harbor, South Haven, Portage and Battle Creek. The route from South Haven to Portage took place on the Kal-Haven Trail. We began this event with a lovely dinner hosted by Rotarians LaRae and Mark Odland in their home. Through this event we learned more about the Rotary Action Group’s initiatives and actions for Diabetes awareness, prevention, treatment, management and complications.

Rotarian Steve Larsen Visits Ngoswani Hospital (May, 2023)
Lifesaving Kenya Water Project Completed
Years of visioning, planning, fundraising and designing is being rewarded with the construction on a 160,000 gallon water storage cistern for the Maternal and Child Hospital in Ngoswani, Kenya. A global grant from the Rotary International Foundation, together with grants from the South Haven Rotary Club, other Rotary Clubs in District 6360 and individual Rotarians, provided $75,000 for the project. Members of the Milimani Rotary Club of Nairobi, Kenya, joined Maasai leaders in a celebrative groundbreaking for the project designed to be a safe water resource to the hospital which serves approximately 300,000 people. Here's a photo gallery showing construction of the cistern.
Pictured, left to right: Rotarian Ross Woodhams, honoree Keri McGarr and Rotary President Mary Sue Lyon.
A South Haven resident dedicated to helping students achieve success as they begin their college education has been presented with the 2023 Education and Service Award for the Rotary Club of South Haven.
Keri McGarr, the Campus Support Specialist and Coordinator for Lake Michigan College’s South Haven campus, received the award during the Rotary Club’s annual scholarship fundraiser dinner on April 29th.
The award recognizes a South Haven resident in the education field who exemplifies the attributes of quality teaching, mentoring and community involvement.  The South Haven Rotary contributes a $500 grant to the South Haven Public Schools Foundation in honor of the Educator of the Year recipient.
“Keri is a phenomenal teacher outside the traditional classroom setting,” wrote Jeremey Burleson, Associate Dean, Regional Campuses and Select Academic Programs for Lake Michigan College.  “She has an ability to recognize the needs and opportunities facing students and helps them navigate their way around obstacles and into the academic program and classes they will need in order to succeed.
Keri has recognized how the disruptions in college programs and students’ lives due to the COVID pandemic have created additional needs to help new and returning students successfully complete the admissions and registration processes, find additional sources of financial aid, connect with community organizations for childcare, transportation or other needs, find tutors, and ensure they have the technology, equipment and internet access to function in an on-line or virtual learning environment.  In addition to their academic needs, Keri and the team at LMC’s South Haven campus have implemented a food pantry for students with temporary nutrition needs and host a monthly “food day” to bring students, staff and faculty together to help rebuild the collegial atmosphere that was diminished during the COVID restrictions. 
In addition to all that she does to help the students, Keri is often the face of LMC to the community working with stakeholders community organizations guiding and teaching them about facility ideas, possibilities for classroom use, and the availability of the community conference rooms.  Keri goes above and beyond to make sure the groups using the LMC facility do not encounter access, technology or facility issues and is always there, before and after events, to support the organization hosting the event.
As her Associate Dean, Jeremy Burleson, noted “…Keri goes far beyond her job description to help people become LMC students and then to connect them to the support resources they need to complete their education.  When it comes to teaching the community about the South Haven campus of Lake Michigan College, Keri McGarr is the ‘go-to’ person.
When asked, what gives you joy in your role?, Keri was quick to answer “Helping the students succeed, to reach their goals.  Many are taking these classes to get their first jobs or to receive a promotion and increase in salary in their existing jobs.  We are helping these students overcome obstacles to make big improvements in their lives.”
Keri has been at LMC for 14 years.  She and her husband Terry are native Michiganders, moving to South Haven in 1991 from Florence, South Carolina.  Keri is a graduate of Kalamazoo Valley Community College with an AAS in Information technology.  They have two married children Carly (Ricardo) Cervantes and Michael (Ashley) McGarr.  Keri is an active member of the First Congregational Church and volunteers regularly to help maintain the gardens at the church.  She has also served as a volunteer on the Christian Education Board and the Memorial Committee Board at the church. 
South Haven Rotarians and kindergarten students from the Maple Grove school celebrated Arbor Day on Friday, April 28 by planting a white oak tree in historic Stanley Johnston Park. This has been a South Haven tradition for five years and celebrates the legacy of Rotary International Founder Paul Harris who more than a hundred years ago spearheaded initiatives to plant Peace Trees worldwide. City Arborist Aaron Priebe organized the effort, which in addition to planting a white oak tree, provided outdoor educational projects for Ms. Chalupa’s kindergarten class. Mayor Scott Smith and fellow Rotarian and Deputy City Manager, Griffin Graham were on hand to help lift the tree into place. Enjoy Photo Gallery
In a very short time, Angelica Gallegos-Dickerson has made herself an indispensable part of our Club.  We are honored to name her our "Club Hero" for 2023. She will be honored at our upcoming District Conference.
Angelica has worked many hours the past year, both before and during meetings.  She has taken on the task of ensuring that all our technology works as intended. She sets up the Zoom meeting connection, ensuring that it works for our members unable to attend live meetings.  She has maintained the platform, making it feel normal as members travel, and includes them in the presentation material.  She has dealt with a vast variety of electronic material that presenters bring her, and made it appear on our monitors. While some presenters are kind enough to supply the information beforehand, many times she is scrambling at 6:53 a.m. (prior to the 7 AM meeting time) to interpret a variety of software, and translates it to speak to our laptop.
She is in the room early and often last to depart. She also delivers the morning donuts and sets up banners.  All in all, a great effort to make meetings flow smoothly. In addition, Angelica has taken over the role of all communication with the program chairs, the newspaper for Community Calendar and sending out the weekly reminders of the
She is indeed South Haven Rotary's Club Hero!!
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Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays:
  • Theodore Weber
    January 1
  • Thomas Fleming
    January 5
  • Bryan Kurtz
    January 8
  • Paul Hix
    January 16
  • Tom Renner
    January 19
  • Thomas Rummel
    January 20
  • Bob Brickman
    January 22
  • Robert Metzen
    December 7
  • Ron Seiler
    December 10
  • Jeff Wilhelm
    December 17
  • Kelly Coipel
    December 17
  • Jean Stein
    December 21
  • Bob Straits
    December 30