Brokke, Murphy speak to Rotary

Keith Brokke and Doug Murphy from the Fargo-Moorhead AM Rotary Club spoke about the Guate-malan projects Rotary clubs in the Fargo-Moorhead area and surrounding North Dakota and Minnesota communities have been supporting since 2000 at the Rotary ...

Keith Brokke and Doug Murphy from the Fargo-Moorhead AM Rotary Club spoke about the Guate-malan projects Rotary clubs in the Fargo-Moorhead area and surrounding North Dakota and Minnesota communities have been supporting since 2000 at the Rotary meeting.

Their first project was building a clinic. In the last year they built three new schools, a fourth school was provided an additional room, repairs were made to the drinking water at the schools to make sure it was clean and potable, and they provided diesel power for a corn grinder.

The country of Guate-mala has 13 1/2 million people, they said, including 3 1/2 million in Guatemala City. The makeup of the country with regard to nationalities is a mix of what would be termed Guatemalans. In the outer areas of the country there are people of Mayan descent who speak 22 different dialects, and most of those dialects are all different so they do not understand each other.

Brokke said building schools has been an important project for the last few years because education is important in helping people and nations improve their lives. Each time a group goes to Guatemala it takes gifts such as paper products for schools, pens and pencils, and donated clothing items. People go with their suitcases full of products to give away to the people who are appreciative of all the things they are given.

Murphy said he gave a number of boxes of pens to one of the school teachers who was in tears of happiness as she was able to give every child in her classroom a pen. The FM Rotary Club sent three teams to Guatemala in 2007. In 2008 they will send three different groups to Guatemala, one group in February, one in March, and one the latter part of April. The cost for individuals is around $1,200 and this is money either raised by the individual or paid by that individual to go along on the trip to assist. To help raise funds, the groups bring back Guatemalan coffee to sell in the States. Murphy and Brokke said anyone going on these projects has returned with a new appreciation of how blessed people are to live in America. The current projects being considered for 2008 are to build more schools, help with water projects, and take books for their libraries. This type of project provides a cultural exchange, helps people from the U.S. get to know another culture, and helps those from the Guatemalan culture to see Americans in a different light. The costs for a school are $10,000 per building. For every $2,500 raised, a local Rotary club can apply for a grant from the district and International Rotary; this match totals $10,000. A Rotary volunteer is gone for 10 days and there is a lot of hard physical labor, but the results are beyond anyone's expectation, they said. They are looking for other Rotary clubs to join in helping them raise the dollars and as participants.


The Rotary meeting was presided over by President Dave Smette. Jim Ukestad provided the invocation, Casey Stoudt and Bev Hall lead the music, and Rick Pfeiffer collected numerous "happy dollars" for Rotary projects.

Guests at the meeting were Gary Kolsrud, former U.S. Bank president in Jamestown and Rotary member who is now retired and lives in Minnesota. Steve Listopad was a guest of Jason Braun. He is an instructor at Jamestown College and also the coach for the Jamestown High School tennis program. Marv Tokach and Mark Olson spoke on Camp Rokiwan.

Smette shared the seven priorities of Rotary International for the 2007-2008 year. The No. 1 priority is to eradicate polio, second is advance internal and external recognition and public image of Rotary, third is increase Rotary capacity to provide services to others, fourth is to expand membership globally in both numbers and quality, fifth is to emphasize Rotary's unique vocational service commitments, sixth is to optimize the use and development of leadership talents, and number seven is to fully implement the strategies and strategic planning process set up by Rotary International.

Dan Howell gave a short report on membership. The membership committee is planning a family picnic for Rotary members and their families at Camp Rokiwan. The date is to be decided at the next meeting, but dates to be considered are the week of Aug. 13 or the week of Aug. 20.

Don Redmann asked for helpers at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 24. At least 10 to 12 Rotary members are needed to assist in the final phase of the fencing operation at the soccer complex. For further details contact Don.

Smette said today's program will be RYLA students who recently returned from their camp experience in Minnesota. The invocation will be given by Casey Stoudt, Mark Olson will be the music leader, and Harold Bensch will be the sergeant at arms. The July 31 meeting the program will be in the hands of Marty Richman.

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