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
Speakers and Events
District 6360 Mental Health Committee Update
Jul 23, 2024 7:00 AM
Jackie Blackwell
Presentation of the Chicago Mackinac Boat Race
Jul 30, 2024 7:00 AM
Presentation by Bob Metzen
Presentation on Holtec / Palisade
Aug 06, 2024 7:00 AM
Presentation by Nick Culp of Holtec
District 6360 Youth Comm.; RYLA Attendees & More!
Aug 27, 2024 7:00 AM
Presentation by Don Deibler
Our Latest Club News

President Melinda Gruber Honors Kathy and Dennis Dascenzo
Dennis & Kathy Dascenzo Honored as 2024 Citizens of the Year
The Rotary Club of South Haven is pleased to recognize ‘Citizens of the Year’ Dennis and Kathy Dascenzo as the recipients of Rotary’s 2024 Community Service Award. Each year the South Haven Rotary 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 improve the character and wellbeing of South Haven. This is the highest recognition award offered to community members by the Rotary club.

Dennis and Kathy have been tireless volunteers in the South Haven community for years. They are recognized or their leadership and contributions as founding members of the local Blessings in a Backpack program. In addition, Kathy is currently a Senior Services volunteer leader for a weekly Healthy Habits class and has served as co-president of the local AAUW chapter and chair of their domestic violence prevention program. Dennis served on the Community Foundation Board and currently delivers meals for the South Haven Senior Services Center, is active in the Senior Services Ride Easy Program, Food Transport Program, and the Ramp
Building Team.  Dennis is a hospice patient volunteer with Caring Circle and served on the Caring Circle Board, chairing the Board for two years. Kathy and Dennis have served as election works for many years. They are active members of Saint Basil Catholic Church.
Dennis and Kathy ‘s continued quiet and unassuming volunteerism and generosity makes them community leaders who truly demonstrate the Rotary motto of ‘service above self’. We are blessed to count them among our friends.
President Melinda Gruber Honors Rotarian of the Year Jerry Gruber
Jerry Gruber Honored as Rotarian of the Year
The Rotary Club of South Haven celebrated another year of service to the community with its annual leadership induction dinner and recognition of the Rotarian of the Year at Hawks Head restaurant on June 27. The Rotary Club of South Haven is pleased to recognize Jerry Gruber as the 2024 Rotarian of the Year.

Each year an outstanding club member is honored as Rotarian of the Year. Candidates, like Jerry, are individuals with a strong commitment to the principles of Rotary and demonstrate the motto, “service above self” who have made significant contributions to the mission of the club as well as one or more avenues of community or international service. This is our Club’s highest honor for individual Rotary members.

According to Angelica Gallegos, incoming Rotary Club President, Jerry Gruber has been a Rotary member for over 35 years. He served as club president in 2005-2006 and has continued to serve on many of the Rotary community service committees. Jerry is instrumental in the Rotary Club pancake breakfasts fund raisers and is always ‘working the crowd’ to make sure everyone is having a good time. Don Hodgman, the Rotary Pancake Breakfast organizer, notes that, “…Jerry Gruber works tirelessly throughout the Rotary Pancake Breakfasts; setting up the signs around town, ensuring Health Department compliance, mixing hundreds of gallons of batter, and just being there with his friendly good humor and kind spirit.”

Jerry has been an organizer for the Open Door Christmas Dinner for many years and you can find him ringing the bell for the Salvation Army Christmas fund drive each winter. Jerry is very active in the First Congregational Church.

Most years, Jerry hosts the Rotary club party in late summer at his cottage by the lake and it is a highlight of the year. Jerry is always quick with a joke and a consistent source of humor and good cheer. In addition, he is almost a “one person membership committee” having recruited his son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren to the South Haven Rotary club. Jerry is an inspiration for those who want to make great things happen in a small community like South Haven, Michigan.
District Leaders Visit South Haven
South Haven Rotary was honored to host the future Governors of our District (6360) at the June 18th meeting. Pictured are Mark Odland, 24-25 District Governor; Jackie Huie, 25-26 District Governor; and Tim Lee, 26-27 District Governor. Mark is one of our own and will begin serving as District Governor on July 1st.
South Haven Scholars
The recipients of Rotary Scholarships in the SHHS Class of 2024 have been announced. The honorees are: Katheryn Hartmann, Kelsey Hodgman, Hawk Li, Bradley Wildey, Shawn Torres and Leo Redies. Rotary has honored 21 students since the scholarship program was launched in 2020.
Real Life Science Project
Rotarians joined in the annual salmon fish planting in the Black River on May 7. Bob Metzen and Dave Campbell are pictured with teacher Barb Raak who coincidentally is our Educator of the Year at the planting. Fourth and fifth graders first bred the salmon in chillers donated to the school by Rotary. Then, one-by-one, the developed fingerlings were carefully launches in the river. This is a project conducted in partnership with the South Haven Steelheaders.
Educator of the Year Barb Raak with President Melinda Gruber
South Haven Rotary Honors Educator of the Year
A South Haven resident dedicated to helping students achieve success as they begin their college education has been presented with the 2024 Education and Service Award from the Rotary Club of South Haven. Barb Raak, a 4th and 5th grade teacher at North Shore Elementary School, received the award during the Rotary Club’s annual scholarship fundraiser dinner. The award recognizes a South Haven resident in the education field who exemplifies the attributes of quality teaching, mentoring and community involvement. Rotary contributes a $500 grant to the South Haven Public Schools Foundation in honor of the Educator of the Year recipient.  Past Recipients of Award
Pictured are: (LtoR) Heather Welsh-Johnson, Executive Director
SHAPE, Rotarians Mary Sue Lyon and John Mellein.
South Haven Rotary Supporting SHAPE Beach Safety Programs
The Rotary Club of South Haven is proud to support the South Haven Ambassadors Program and Education (SHAPE) to help advance their mission to “…create an improved level of safety for South Haven's main attraction - Lake Michigan.
Heather Welsh-Johnson, Executive Director of SHAPE accepted the donation on behalf of the SHAPE organization. She noted that the gift will help to cover the costs of additional printed materials for the upcoming season. These materials have proven effective in reaching a large number of residents and visitors, raising their awareness about the dangers of Lake Michigan, especially rip currents, and how to stay safe in the water by knowing when not to enter the water and when to get out of it. The materials also provide information about alternative safe
and fun activities for red-flag days.
According to Rotary President Melinda Gruber water safety is a
primary focus of South Haven Rotary’s public service initiatives. The past few years have seen significant investment in life jacket and life preserver stations on the beaches and piers and red- flag day alternatives at the splash pad, Mitten Museum and Maritime Museum.
Rotary is proud to be partnering with SHAPE and its ambassadors ‘with sand between their toes’ to carry this important mission to people right at the water’s edge. Rotary would like to echo SHAPE’s commitment, as published on their website, “…to create a safer
environment for beachgoers and ultimately save LIVES.”
Tom Ruesink is Our 2024 "Club Hero"
We are pleased to name Tom Ruesink our "Club Hero" for 2024. Each year our Rotary District invites all member clubs to name their "Hero". The honorees are recognized at the annual District convention. A Rotarian since 1983, Tom has served as the Club’s master of Arms for many years.  As such he runs the “happy bucks”  and  50/50 drawing at each club meeting.  Tom also coordinates the the annual member donations to “We Care”  at the Christmas party. His" cheery”  and pleasant demeanor always puts our members at ease and makes the club meetings very enjoyable.   Tom attends most if not all Club functions and has been a “staple" of the Club. Tom’s dedication to the club’s success exemplifies his “service above self”, and it is with great pleasure The Rotary Club of South Haven names Tom  our "Club Hero"
In Honor of Rotary International
South Haven Rotarians marked Arbor Day 2024 with the traditional planting of a tree in the community. This year a Tulip tree was planted in SHOUT Park. Our club began this tradition in 2018 in honor of Rotary International Founder Paul Harris.
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Vice President
Immediate Past President
Board Member
Board Member
Board Member
Board Member
Board Member
Board Member
Board Member
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays:
  • Stuart Comiskey
    July 1
  • Steven Larsen
    July 15
  • Shelley Ammerman
    July 25
  • Jerome Gruber
    August 11
  • Larry Wittkop
    Barbara Wittkop
    July 11
  • Thomas Rummel
    Tom RUMMEL
    July 12
  • Tom Renner
    Carole Renner
    July 17
  • John Mellein
    Debbie Mellein
    August 10
  • David Campbell
    Kathy Campbell
    August 21
  • Nick Tuit
    Nancy Tuit
    August 24
  • Thomas Ruesink
    August 24
  • LaRae Odland
    Mark Odland
    August 28
  • Mark Odland
    LaRae Odland
    August 28
  • Bob Brickman
    Gail Brickman
    August 29