Omaha West Rotary Readers at North Omaha's Skinner Magnet School

 

 
 
 
 
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Presiding Officer: Nuzhat Mahmood
Secretary: Matt McKeever
Chair of the Day: Deb Neary
Invocator: Carol Gendler
Vocational Talk: Rebecca Miller
Cashier: Don Otis
Sgt. at Arms: Bev Karrer
Greeters: Larry McChesney & Dick Lerner
 
Speaker: Merica Whitehall
 
Merica Whitehall
Executive Director, Fontenelle Forest
 

Merica Whitehall is Executive Director of Fontenelle Forest, a nonprofit nature center and 2,000 acre forested greenspace bordering the Missouri River and located in the Omaha metro area. She grew up in a Nebraskan family that honored its connection to nature and where daily life incorporated art and creativity. Merica believes that strong, healthy communities are at the core of a just and sustainable society.

She has have over 20 years of nonprofit leadership experience including 9 years as a nationally touring artist and arts manager.Merica earned an Executive Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University where she also spent eight years as a faculty member in the Institute for Public Service in the College of Arts and Sciences. As a consultant and trainer she has advised numerous nonprofit organizations seeking to create capacity and achieve organizational goals.

Merica has served as the Executive Director at Fontenelle Forest since June of 2016. Fontenelle Forest includes Raptor Recovery, with a state-wide volunteer network to transport injured birds to the rehabilitation center in Elmwood, Nebraska; the Raptor Woodland Refuge, an exhibit of 12 raptor species native to Nebraska; conservation programs to preserve valuable ecosystems within the Fontenelle Forest properties; and an environmental education program that serves more than 40,000 metro-area students each year.

The Walkers Don’t Walk, They Run 


Bob Walker Jr joined Rotary 44 years ago at the invitation of Dr. Crotty and has served as President and Secretary plus several terms on the Board of Directors.  He was originally an active Kiwanis member.  When his business demands took off in the early 70s, and he couldn’t convince Kiwanis to lessen his volunteer duties, he left.  A few years later when things settled down he became a Rotarian.
 
Bob’s grandfather started Max I. Walker cleaners in March of 1917 and Bob worked with both his father and grandfather as a child.  In his teens, he also held two other jobs.  One for Buffett’s grocery in Dundee (this was Warren’s uncle) and another at Peony Park where he was fired for not coming in on a last-minute request because his mother had other plans. 
 
Today, Bob still goes into the office every day, keeps a cell phone and answers emails.  His son Rob “runs the place and is doing a great job.  I try to stay out of the way.”   In 1974, they took on the industrial part of the business which has been helpful in keeping the company vital and growing as well as providing jobs for his three grandsons one runs production, another the routes and customer service and the youngest is on the retail side.  In fact, they will open a new retail cleaning plant in Elkhorn this year.  Bob said with a smile, “Dry cleaning is a mature industry.   Only the best guys will survive.”
 
The company is busy preparing for their 11th annual Ultra Chic Boutique in February.  They collect, mend and clean wedding and evening dresses, then host an event where they sell to the public for $30 each   In the past, proceeds have gone to Lydia House.  This year they will go the Alzheimer’s Association.  Bob’s wife of 60 years, Linda, recently moved into a care facility with the same disease.  His two children Rob and Lisa have been there to help every step of the way.
 
As a Paul Harris Fellow +8 and a major donor at several levels, Bob said he gives generously to the International Foundation because
“I know it will be spent properly.  Look what happened to the Goodwill here.  Rotary will do the right thing. It’s something everyone ought to think about, and you don’t have to give big bucks, just get started.  Look what we have done with polio, that’s the greatest example in the world.”

Our club offers fellowship, fun and opportunities for community service locally and globally.  We seek members who will be actively involved and are community-minded.  Our traditions include inviting prominent and interesting speakers to club meetings with the purpose of educating, informing and (sometimes) entertaining members regarding our community.  We also engage in many service projects that serve unmet needs locally and globally, and recognize those who do good, ranging from our police and firefighters to high school seniors graduating with high achievement. Club members have opportunities to network with each other, at weekly club meetings and social events at our member’s businesses, along with an annual golf outing, quarterly "beer tasting" meetings and various socials throughout the year.  Ultimately, through fellowship, fun, community service and networking, we aim to achieve Rotary's goals of "doing good for humanity".  and create long term relationships with other Rotarians by supporting the international exchange of students. 


 

Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional and community leaders.  Members of Rotary clubs provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.  There are more than 34,000 Rotary clubs located in more than  212 countries and geographical areas.  Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. As signified by the motto Service Above Self, Rotary's main objective is service - in the community, in the workplace and throughout the world.

 
 
 
Club Information

Welcome! Contact us if interested in membership or a club visit.

Omaha West

Service Above Self

We meet Fridays at 12:00 PM
Champions Run
13800 Eagle Run Drive
Omaha, NE  68164
United States
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