Here to Help, Springfield

Here to Help: Springfield Rotary celebrates 77 years of service

SPRINGFIELD – Springfield Rotary members have honed in on community service for 77 years both locally and abroad.

Rotary International is an organization which connects people to create change “across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves,” and Springfield Rotary is one of its many local clubs.

“Each club is different,” said Springfield Rotary president Rae LaMarche. “It has a sole focus on what it wants to do in the community. We focus a lot on the youth of our community: education, scholarships, mentorships, youth exchange.”

The club has given countless hours and dollars to the Springfield community through projects like landscaping Willamalane’s preschool playground in 2006-’07 and cleaning and painting the Ebbert Memorial Community House in 2017-’18. Internationally, Springfield Rotary has provided life-saving ventilation systems for children in Peru, and it has also been part of eliminating polio from the world, which now only affects people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Jay Zink joined the Springfield Rotary in the mid-70s because he had just moved to Eugene, and he knew it would be a great place to network and make connections. His love for Rotary comes down to the people in it.

“I’m recently widowed, and this club has taken me into their arms and made me feel very welcomed and kept me busy. It’s like a second family,” he said. “I love doing good whether it’s with Habitat for Humanity or for the medical center up the river. It keeps me busy, and these are family and friends.”

He was about 31 years old when he joined and mentioned that some of the older members were especially happy to have him around.

“This one guy came up to me – he was the founder of Jones & Roth CPA firm – and he looks at me and goes, ‘Jay, it’s a pleasure to have you in our club. You bring our average age down tremendously,’” Zink said. “Right now we have a lot of young people, which is very exciting. There’s a lot of energy. It’s been a very enthusiastic club.”

LaMarche said the club’s 80-85 members range from their 30s to their 90s, which allows for the club to foster both innovation and tradition.

LaMarche said Springfield Rotary “gives such meaning to my life since I’m not teaching any longer.” LaMarche was a teacher with the Beaverton School District for 18 years and with the Springfield Public Schools for 12 years, having worked at Thurston High School for nine.

“When I taught, I felt that I was making a difference. When you retire, when you’re not working with kids and changing attitudes, and you’re not helping kids understand there’s a bigger, broader world out there, it’s kind of like ‘OK, now what?’” she said. “The motto of Rotary is service above self, but really, it’s just to do good in the world.”

Next the horizon for Springfield Rotary is its quarterly food drive on March 13. All donated goods will go to Hosea Youth Services: a local organization which serves young people aged 16-24 “who are without a safe, stable place to sleep and often are not living as part of a family with a responsible parent figure.” Community members can drop off non-perishable donations on March 13 from 11:30 a.m.-noon. at Elks Lodge at 1701 Centennial Blvd in Springfield.

Springfield Rotary also has five other events already on the books for the next few months:

March 23: Measuring distances for various events at the Harvey Lewellen Throwers Invitational at Thurston High School

April 6: Interior painting with Habitat for Humanity at Fischer Village

April 27: Participating in a smoke detector installation project in conjunction with the American Red Cross

May 11: Hosting a human trafficking vigil on a footbridge over I-5.

May 18: Beautifying Laurel Grove Cemetery ahead of Memorial Day

The club meets every Wednesday at Elks Lodge from noon-1 p.m., and LaMarche encourages all people who want to do good in the world to join. Interested applicants can reach out to Springfield Rotary secretary Liz Degner at [email protected] for information on how to apply.

Springfield library, history groups meet up, mingle

SPRINGFIELD — Many of the members of the four Springfield library and museum support groups met last month to get to know each other better, share project updates, and find creative new ways to work together. The groups include Friends of the Springfield Public Library and History Museum, Springfield History Museum Committee, Springfield Public Library Advisory Board, and the Springfield Public Library Foundation. In the back row, from left: Stacy Roth (museum), Ann Ballew (foundation), Ralene Linneman (friends), Mahala Ruddell (museum), Maddi McGraw (museum curator), Patty Sage (museum), Megan England (museum), Charlotte Behm (friends), Robyn Loudin (library), Jennifer Archer (friends), Roy Burling (library), Shelly Dicks (foundation admin), Karen Johnson (foundation consultant). In the front row, from left: Michele Tierney (library staff Friends liaison), Violet Olsyzk (library), Christina San Filippo (foundation), Cami Romig (friends), Alma Fumiko Hesus (foundation), Bekah Weed (library), Emily David (library and museum director).

Shelter running special on senior, bonded pairs

Greenhill Humane Society is running a special on senior and bonded cats for adoption this month. During the “Love is Priceless” adoption promotion, adopters of senior cats and bonded cat pairs will be able to name their price for the perfect match. Bonded pair cats are best friends and must be adopted together. There are over eight bonded pair cats and senior cats up for adoption. Greenhill is open every day with adoption meet and greets from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. To see all the cats part of this promotion,

In other news at Greenhill, it recently received a grant that will help expand disaster response programs for animals. Through a grant from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Greenhill was able to purchase a disaster response vehicle and equipment trailer. The new vehicle and trailer will be used to expand Greenhill’s ability to respond to disasters impacting people with pets in Lane County. Greenhill is looking to raise funds to stock the trailer with crates, food and water dishes, and other equipment and supplies that will be used during the 2024 disaster response season. 

Grant to help Guatemalan children in CG

Singing Creek Educational Center was recently awarded a $2,500 grant from the Cow Creek Indian Tribe Foundation to support its Los Pueblos Spring Break camp for low-income Guatemalan children in Cottage Grove. This day camp will bring them much needed connection and cultural activities.  “This is a very meaningful grant as it means we can expand this program into Spring Break, a time when many of these children do not have access to educational opportunities,” said Karen Rainsong, executive director. SCEC was also recently awarded a $5,000 grant from Oregon Community Foundation. Singing Creek Educational Center provides history camps, school field trips and classroom presentations for children in Lane County and throughout Western Oregon. Its mission is to inspire children and families toward an appreciation of local history through hands-on learning. The center was previously located in Cottage Grove, and now operates in Eugene. 



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