Rotary 2017-18 Honors

Rotarians convened at Eastern Oregon University on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 to install new officers and to honor special Rotarians. Joel Myer (2018-19) took over presidential duties from Sandra Ghormley (2018-19). Vice President, Michelle Long, Craig Nightingale, treasurer,  Mike Moeller, secretary were announced as the balance of the executive team. Jessy and Heather Watson were named Rotarian Couple of the year, Rick Pullen was named Rotarian of the year, and Jessy Watson was named New Rotarian of the Year.

Drug Free Youth Program
La Grande Middle School
April/May Update
The May DFY Event was Pizza, Pop and Prizes Movie Event! Students watched a movie called “Which Brain do you Want?” They learned about how the brain works, what happens when the brain ‘misfires’, the physical impact of drugs and alcohol on brain function, and ways to improve their brain.  The video focused on the work of psychiatrist Daniel Amen who has been studying the brain for more than 15 years. He’s performed over 25,000 brain scans, and learned about the damage that alcohol and drug abuse has on the developing adolescent brain.  About 25 students were in attendance.
In April, 7th and 8th grader DFY members went to the Maridell Center for an afternoon of skating fun. The students had a blast! Mr. Wagner & I spoke to the students about the importance of having friends that hold the same value of being drug free!

Tree Planting

As part of Rotary International’s commitment in 2017-18 to improve the planet’s ecosystem, La Grande Rotary planted four trees in front of the old Carnegie Library (Arts East). After a short training at La Grande Parks and Recreation, eight stalwart representatives of the La Grande Rotary Club clawed through the rocky ground between the sidewalk and the street in front of the old brick building. Filling twelve 15 gallon tubs with large rocks from each hole made space for the root ball and mulch. Rotarians were careful to plant each tree exactly 77 inches from the sidewalk!  With a little water and about 10 years, this part of the world will be a bit shadier, a bit cooler, and produce a little more oxygen.  Good work, Rotarians!

Drug Free Youth Program

Each spring, La Grande Rotary meets at the La Grande Middle School to have lunch.  Cafeteria food for Rotarians you ask? Tater tots, mystery meat, and a carton of milk? What is the lure?

The attraction is the students and their reporting on their participation in the Drug Free Youth program.  Each year La Grande Rotary and the Grande Ronde Hospital support the program at the Middle School to encourage students to stay drug-free.  Students join the DFY club at the beginning of the year, participate in educational activities, ski and bowling excursions, and fun activities as a way to create a culture of students who refrain from drugs and alcohol.  Middle school teachers advise the club and arrange the activities. To check on the students’ resolve to remain drug free, the Grande Ronde Hospital administers random drug tests.

At the lunch and presentation, students tell their stories about what they like about the club and how they can resist using.  When students are tempted or teased to use drugs or alcohol, they know they can say to their tempting devil that they can’t be tested positive else they could not be in the club or attend any of the associated activities.

La Grande Rotary raises funds to support this program through the Daddy Daughter Dance that occurs each February.


Tim Camp, Head Football Coach at EOU, gave an enthusiastic report to Rotary April 3, 2018.  The assembled club members heard about the incredible success of track and field, football and women’s basketball at national tournaments and the overall success of athletic teams in all areas, Tim credited the leadership, Anji Weissenfluh, with the success of the program.  Most impressive was Tim’s report of the academic success of the participating athletes and their participation in the community.  Student athletes at EOU have higher overall GPAs than the general student population. Women’s basketball had cumulative GPS’s above 3.0.  Not only do student athletes do well in their sport and maintain academic proficiency, they also serve in the community. Tim boasted that his students will aim at giving 1000 hours back to the community this term.  Students help move people in the community, serve to help where needed, and will do anything to be a part of La Grande and Union County.

Daddy Daughter Dance

The Fourth Annual Daddy Daughter Dance held Feb 17 at the La Grande Armory and Convention Center was a huge success. Not only did lots of young girls have a terrific time dancing, wining prizes, and having tasty treats; but also dads, uncles, and grandpas had an opportunity to spend quality time with their loved ones.  Through this event La Grande Rotary will be able to fund projects that center on youth in the community and beyond:  The Drug Free Youth program at La Grande Middle School, Youth International Exchange, La Grande High School Scholar-Athlete Awards, Dictionaries for all 3rd graders in the county, El Salvador Scholarships for ten young women to go to high school, and EOU scholarships. The organizers of the event, the Walch and Waston families, are already thinking about next year!

Daddy Daughter Dance


Tickets for the Daddy Daughter Dance on La Grande February 17th, 2018 are gone. Thank you to all in the Rotary Club and the community for involvement in this positive event.

Christmas/Holiday luncheon


December 12, 2017. The La Grande High School Choir presented a medley of Christmas songs at the annual Christmas/Holiday Luncheon sponsored by the La Grande Rotary Club. The event provided an opportunity for local Rotarians, Lions, and Soroptimists to celebrate the season and to share fellowship of common goals in serving the community.  After an excellent buffet lunch provided by EOU’s Sodexo, each club president asked members to be recognized and then shared current projects in the community.  The choir concluded the program under the direction of Kevin Durfee.  These young people produced a heavenly sound leading the combined clubs to an anticipation of Christmas.

Blankiegrams at Grand Ronde Hospital

The Grande Ronde Hospital Oncology and Infusion Center director and nurses had reported that patients receiving their therapies often felt cold as they sat long hours in the clinic. Although the hospital does all it can to adjust the environment, some patients can’t seem to stay warm.  Blankiegrams to the rescue!  Sandra Ghormley, a cancer survivor herself,  spearheaded La Grande Rotary’s solution to the problem. Pictured is Sandra presenting a soft, warm, fleece blanket to Infusion Center Director, Michelle Sandoval, as Jim Mattes, GRH CEO looks on.  La Grande Rotary is supplying the Oncology Center and patients with enough blankets (about 70)  for a year of different patients.  Folks can use the “Blankiegrams” at the Center and then take them home.  The cuddly blankets are showered with positive messages such as “Peace,” “Courage,” “Lots of Love.”

Mike Wood at Rotary

Mike Wood instructs Joe Petrusek on the art of balance.

Mike has Parkinson disease, a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that affects  how your body moves. It can also change the way you think–unless you tackle the problem head-on as Mike has done.  Mike has developed an aggressive approach to keeping the chronic condition at bay by developing an exercise routine that constantly challenges his body to move and to retrain nerve pathways.  He demonstrated balancing techniques, various ways of doing pushups with a heavy roller, and talked about various methods he uses to keep his body moving. His talk was an encouragement to all Rotarians to stay active and to find ways to keep the body and mind engaged.