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
Rotarian Deb Davidson stands proudly by the South Haven Rotary ice carving created in celebration of the community's annual Ice Breaker Festival the weekend of Feb. 3-5. The carving is customed-made as part of the Chamber of Commerce sponsored event.
Speakers and Events
Rob Byrd, Director
Feb 07, 2023 7:00 AM
House of David: Life Everlasting Award Winning Documentary
Rotary Social Hour
Feb 08, 2023 5:30 PM
Three Blondes Brewery, 5:30 p.m.
Blessings in a Backpack
Feb 09, 2023
North Shore Elementary, 10:30 a.m.
Alloyd Blackmon, CEO for Boys & Girls Club
Feb 14, 2023 7:00 AM
Boys & Girls Club - also presenting is Mak Roberts, SH Site Supervisor
Our Latest Club News
A gift of $10,000 representing donations from member at the annual holiday dinner was presented to We Care I.N.C. for their food pantry. Pictured left to right are President Mary Sue Lyon, Rotarian Dana Hullinger, We Care Executive Director Erica Morrison and Rotarian Tom Ruesink.
South Haven Rotarians were busy in Service Above Self this past holiday season.
Our Rotary club and the We Care Community Resource Center are working together to offer the resources that provide relief for those in need in our local area. The $10,000 grant reflects the donations of individual Rotarians to help We Care in its mission to match people in need to assistance and resources that are available.  Mary Sue Lyon, President of the Rotary Club of South Haven, described “…how inspiring it is that so many Rotarians came forward at the holiday season to make significant donations to help others in their time of need.  It is truly a reminder of Rotary’s motto; Service above Self”.
Erika Morrison, We Care’s Executive Director notes that “We Care is a non-profit that is "for community, by community".   About 90% of all funds received are from individuals and organizations, like Rotary and its members. "It's because of you, our community, that we can meet almost 10,000 needs each year.  We Care provides our neighbors in need with basics like food, personal hygiene, baby items, and cleaning supplies.  In addition, our staff can assist with more complex issues like rent, utility assistance, DHHS navigation, free medical equipment on loan and distributions for migrant families annually.  We Care’s CIRCLES Life Skills program and bi-lingual staff, ensure that every family that comes to us receives all the resources that they need. We do not require proof of income nor restrict services based on age or religion - We are open to everyone!"
More than 30 South Haven Rotarians braved cold, blustery weather, raising over $1,765.00 by ringing the bells for the Salvation Army.  The second photo captures Rotarians Jerry Gruber and his granddaughter Emily Gruber reaching out to serve the community and enjoying every minute of it.  Jerry and the South Haven Rotary have been ringing bells for the Salvation Army since 1982, providing much needed funds to assist people, especially during the winter months. Enjoy photos of our bell ringers.
Griffin Graham, the Rotary organizer for the bell ringing notes “I’m always amazed at the generosity this time of year and we’re very fortunate in South Haven to have a community that has a legacy of giving and contributing to service projects like this,” Graham said. “Our Rotary club annually fund-raises and issues back to the community in grants tens of thousands of dollars, and for a community of our size to be able to do that is nothing short of amazing.”
(Photo left to right: Dana Hullinger, South Haven Rotary, Jessica Fiedorowicz, SHPS Director of Orchestras, Jeffery Bopp, SHPS Director of Bands, Ross Woodhams, South Haven Rotary, and Debra Davidson, South Haven Rotary)
The South Haven Rotary Club has presented the South Haven Public Schools Instrumental Music Booster Club with a $1,500 scholarship donation to enable more students to participate in the Band and Orchestra trip to Universal Studios next Spring.
Jessica Fiedorowicz, Director of Orchestras, and Jeffrey Bopp, Director of Bands, notes that “Travel and performing in front of a new audience on what is essentially a global stage will give our students a chance to represent themselves and their community with pride.”
The South Haven Rotary is pleased to support our school’s music education programs with the knowledge that these “once in a lifetime” opportunities to perform in places like Universal Studios will inspire young people to greater achievements as they continue their academic journey.
For more information, or to provide additional scholarship funding, contact Jessica Fiedorwicz or Jeffery Bopp at the South Haven High School.
Pictured left to right: Paul Hix, Kerry Hagy and Mary Sue Lyon.
Rotary Grant Supports Center for the Arts
South Haven Rotary Club is pleased to announce the presentation of a $2,500.00 grant to South Haven Center for the Arts in support the Center’s education and outreach programming in the coming year.
Mary Sue Lyon, President of the South Haven Rotary Club emphasized the importance of arts in our community and welcomed the opportunity to support the South Haven Center for the Arts expansion of their arts education programming.
“Our gift will help to underwrite the work of retired South Haven educator and artist Sarah Rydecki who has been retained to provide both arts education to children and their families, but also to train other artists to teach.  These efforts will build upon and support the work of our public schools in the community.”
On receiving the grant, Kerry Hagy, Executive Director of the South Haven Center for the Arts, expressed the Center’s sincere appreciation for the grant from the Rotary that will “…make it possible for the Center for the Arts to invest in the growth of our education and outreach programming in the coming year. The South Haven Center for the Arts strives to bring arts programming to our community members, and especially children in the community, and this support will allow us to embrace that effort this fall and spring! We will continue to reach our partner organization and schools with quality arts programming and to invite students of all ages into the Center to explore new art materials and arts experiences to advance the Center's mission to enrich our community through the arts.”
Paul Hix, representing the Center for the Arts board of directors and member of South Haven Rotary, was instrumental in bringing the two organizations together for this important opportunity.
Park Project Will Honor South Haven Rotarian
The longtime service of Rotarian Robert (Bob) Stickland will be memorialized at South Haven's Four Seasons at Dyckman Park project.
SHOUT of South Haven is currently seeking to raise $40,000 to build an outdoor fireplace with sitting places at the downtown Dyckman Park across from City Hall. Launched on October 10, the crowdfunding initiative through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and City of South Haven is approaching the halfway point with $15,600 already contributed.
Included is $7,000 from the Rotary Club of South Haven which represents memorial gifts honoring Stickland who died on May 20, 2021.
“Bob Stickland epitomized the Rotary organization’s motto 'Service Above Self'," said Rotary president Mary Sue Lyon. " He generously gave of his time and talent over the entire 20+ year membership in the Rotary Club of South Haven. He served twice as president and chaired our annual Salvation Army Bell Ringing service project. He was a stalwart volunteer at the Club’s pancake breakfast fundraisers and was always amongst the first to raise his hand to take on a new task. Rotary is pleased to honor Bob’s service and memory with a significant contribution to the Dyckman Park fireplace project.”
Stickland's professional career included 32 years as a civil engineer with Consumers Power Company followed by a "second" career as Director of Public Works for the City of South Haven. After his second retirement he stayed involved by serving on municipal utility boards and councils, including president of the Michigan Municipal Electric Association.
"My Dad loved working, living and volunteering in South Haven," said daughter Christine Stickland. "Community service was the very center of his personality. Dad found joy in sharing his boundless enthusiasm, contributing wherever he saw a need. He would be delighted to see the fireplace and landscaping plans for creating the Four Seasons at Dyckman. He would be flattered and grateful for the generous contribution of funds, time and creativity that the South Haven Rotary and SHOUT have dedicated to honoring his life of service."
Bob's wife of 64 years, Delores Katheryn Shaffer Stickland, passed in January, 2022. The Sticklands have two children, Christine and Timothy.
The $40,000 SHOUT goal will be matched by a Public Spaces - Community Places Grant through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. It must be achieved no later than December 2nd.
Please consider ways you might honor your family, remember a loved one or just a gift in appreciation of Wonderful Times in South Haven.
Tax deductible gifts can also be mailed to SHOUT, Post Office Box 986, South Haven MI 49090. Note: Checks should be written to the City of South Haven in order to be eligible for the MEDC Matching Grant.
Photo from Left to Right: Mary Sue Lyon (South Haven Rotary President); Ashley Deming (Maritime Museum Director of Education & Administration); Patti Montgomery-Reinert (Maritime Museum Executive Director); Dan Thompson (South Haven Rotary Board Member).
Rotary Presents Michigan Maritime Museum Grant
South Haven Rotary has presented the new Michigan Maritime Museum a $10,000 grant for a video, touch-screen learning center in the museum's Golden Age of Greats Lake Passenger Steamships main floor exhibit.  The touch screen learning center features five key topics of the exhibit: Destinations, Routes, Service, Costs and Popular Ships and is an integral part of the exhibit, located at the entrance, that introduces visitors in a dynamic way to valuable information about Great Lakes steamship travel.
“Our visitors are raving about this exhibit, the wealth of information it contains, and all the interactive elements. It is popular with every age group,” says Ashley Deming, Director of Education & Administration for the Museum. “In the short time we have been open, we have already had over 100 students come for educational programming directly related to this exhibit and more booked. We could not be more proud of what we have accomplished.”
South Haven Rotary originally planned to spread the grant over two years, but the hard work and dedication of our club members, friends and families this year enabled us to hold two very successful pancake breakfasts. Those revenues, combined with generous individual contributions, enabled our Rotary Club to distribute the entire grant to the museum in 2022. 

Rotary Supports Beach Safety Initiative
The Rotary Club of South Haven recently presented a $1,640 grant to the Bronson Wellness Center’s Safe Kids Greater South Haven (SKGSH) water safety program. The funds have been used to install life jacket loaner stations at South Haven’s North and South beaches.
According to Pam Ford, coordinator of the SKGSH program, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in all children ages 1-4, and is the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children 19 and under. The availability of life jackets adds one layer of protection. According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, 65 people have drowned in the Great Lakes in 2022, 29 of those drownings were in Lake Michigan. Tragically, two of these were in South Haven.
Pam emphasized, “Preventing drownings in our community has been a driving force behind joint efforts by the South Haven Rotary, City of South Haven, South Haven Area Emergency Services, Bronson South Haven and Safe Kids to bring life jacket loaner stations to beaches in Van Buren County. We want to educate and provide resources that help locals and visitors safely enjoy Lake Michigan.”

Rotary President Mary Sue Lyon affirmed that the club is continuing its mission to partner with the community to advocate for water safety measures and communicate important water safety messages to the public. In 2020 South Haven Rotary was a major contributor toward the construction of the City of South Haven Splashpad, providing families a warm weather day alternative when Lake Michigan conditions are hazardous. Rotary was also a contributor to a project through the Visitors Bureau and Bronson Safe Kids Coalition in printing water safety placemats for restaurants and lodging establishments.
This newest contribution allows SKGSH to place the life jacket loaner stations at the city's South and North Beaches.  SKGSH has also placed loaner stations at the Pilgrim Haven beach, Van Buren State Park, and Covert Township Park.
The Rotary Club of South Haven over the past two years has donated over $120,000 in support of local, regional and international non-profit initiatives.

True Servants in Service Beyond Self
The Rotary Club of South Haven is privileged to recognize Gail and Bob Brickman for their incredible support of the Rotary International Foundation and recent membership in the Trustees Circle of the Arch Klumph Society. A Rotarian since 1964, Bob is a past RI Vice President and has traveled the world representing Rotary International. He and Gail are true ambassadors of Rotary within the South Haven community. Bob has faithfully maintained the club's membership directory for years.
"Bob and Gail truly exemplify the Rotary principle of Service Above Self and we are honored to count them among our club members," said Rotarian Mark Odland who recognized them during the club's annual dinner.
Named after the sixth president of Rotary International, the Arch Klumph Society recognizes the Rotary Foundation's highest tier of donors — those who have contributed $250,000 or more during their lifetime.
South Haven Rotary Honors Paul Layendecker
A community leader dedicated to making life better for the people who work and live in South Haven is being honored by the Rotary Club of South Haven.
Paul Layendecker is the 2022 recipient of the club’s Community Service Award. He was honored during the organization’s annual induction dinner on June 30. Paul is pictured receiving award from President Mary Sue Lyon.
The award, initiated in 2010, recognizes citizens who have demonstrated significant service to the community through commitment, participation, achievement and contribution to the character and well-being of the South Haven area.
Layendecker, who is Director of Operations and Program Director for Midwest Family Broadcasting, has extended a highly active and visible professional life to the community through personal involvement in a variety of organizations.
“Paul truly exemplifies the Rotary principle ‘Service Above Self’,” said Rotarian Mark Odland. “He takes his position on the radio beyond what others might do by using his talents to support organizations throughout the area. He can always be counted on to help promote the people and organizations who are working hard to make South Haven a wonderful place to live, work and play.”
His community involvement has included a leadership role with We Care Community Resource Center, past chairman of the Van Buren County United Way and past president of the South Haven Kiwanis Club. He has donated thousands of hours of airtime on COSY radio promoting South Haven. He was recently presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Greater South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce.
South Haven Rotary Honors Member Art Ayers
A South Haven Rotarian whose persistence has facilitated a club initiative to make an impact internationally is being honored as the organization’s Rotarian of the Year.
Art Ayers was recognized during the club’s annual induction dinner on Thursday, June 30. Art is pictured receiving award from Mark Odland.
A member of the Rotary club since 2014, Ayers was instrumental in coordinating an initiative through Rotary International that led to the construction of a 160,000 gallon water storage cistern from thew Maternal and Child Hospital in Ngoswani, Kenya. The system recently became operational as a safe water resource to the hospital which serves approximately 300,000 people.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Art for his tireless work under sometimes frustrating conditions to plan, organize, coordinate and lead this process,” said Rotary president Bill Roberts. “The $75,000 project was approved by Rotary International in 2021, a huge accomplishment that came as a result of Art’s focus, hard work and tenacity.”
Ayers is a person who exemplifies the object of Rotary, Service Above Self. He serves as chaplain of the club and is an active volunteer on projects. He was the club’s president in 2016-17 and was honored as the club’s Rotary District Hero in 2018.
“He is a humble servant leader who always shares credit even when his work was significant,” said Roberts.

A Vision Becomes Reality

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.
Minutes and Archive
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Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays:
  • Michael Matheny
    February 27
  • Griffin Graham
    March 4
  • Dene Hadden
    March 12
  • William Roberts
    March 18
  • Thomas Ruesink
    March 24
  • Mark Odland
    March 29
  • Sandra Reno
    Mark Reno
    February 4
  • William Roberts
    Jan Roberts
    March 24