A Hands On Club for Those With a Desire to Serve

Madison Horizons Rotary Club Conference SignIn 1988, eleven Rotarians left another club that had decided to maintain a historic policy of admitting men only.  These eleven recognized the benefits of the Rotary ideals and argued that admitting women was consistent with values of Rotary.   This notion attracted 24 other professionals who founded Horizons as its charter members.

From its origins Horizons defined itself as a “hands on club”. We got our hands dirty rather than writing a check to a charity.  Teams of Horizon Rotarians contributed to the construction many homes through Habitat for Humanity. Every year since the inception of the Dane County Paintathon, the Club sent a team to transform a house with a new coat of paint.  We became the first club to adopt a highway in Madison.  Several work teams have flown to Bolivia and Guatemala providing labor and material for the expansion of local medical clinics.  Every week, another team shares a route and delivers Meals on Wheels in Dane County.  We have had the good fortune to look into the grateful eyes of people affected by the impact of group of Rotarians working together.

Rotary International sought several pilot clubs to experiment and innovate with the “rules of Rotary” to make it more relevant in a modern era. When Horizons Rotary was tasked to become one of those pilot clubs, we dropped the traditional rules and substituted a simple principal of a desire to serve.

If these ideas find a place in your heart, we would welcome you to join us and get your hands dirty. We are all about making it easy to make a difference.

The John B. White Scholarship

Each year, Horizons Rotary funds two scholarships to graduating seniors from James Madison Memorial High School. The students are selected by their counselors because of their demonstrated participation in community service.

The scholarship was nameJohn B. White Scholarshipd after the late John White, a charter member of the Club. John was a powerful advocate for Rotary to inspire ethics in business. For his fellow members, he was regarded as the senior statesman who always guided the group to do the right thing.

John tendered his resignation from the Club at the time he was dying of cancer. However, the Board refused to allow him to resign until it had conferred upon him the Club’s first honorary membership for meritorious service in the furtherance of Rotary ideals. Those ideals live on today through the deeds of many fine young people who have been awarded a John B. White scholarship.

Written by John Pinger, Charter Member of Madison Horizons Rotary.

Madison Horizons Rotary Provides Meals on Wheels

As part of our “Service Above Self” motto, Madison Horizons Rotary embarked upon serving senior citizens  and the disabled by providing meals on wheels on a weekly basis.

Six of our members have committed to this project.

Every Monday one of our volunteers picks up 8-10 meals and delivers them to the home of meals on wheels client throughout the western Madison/Middleton area.

Our goal is to get a hot meal to the clients, with a secondary goal of providing a security check.

Here’s a great news clip featuring one of our club members, Jim Sirianni:


Horizons Helps Build Clinics and Assists on Home Visits in Bolivia and Guatemala

For Bolivia Trip in 2007, we were asked if we would accompany a nurse (a young woman trained by the non-profit to administer vaccines, dispense medications, and do certain wellness checks) around the neighborhood for home visits.  I have no medical training and was wondering what purpose I would serve, but agreed to go.

At one house we were not allowed entrance – the household consisted of a mother with yellow fever and 2-3 young children.  She refused the medication and the nurse expressed sadness in being unable to offer assistance; she indicated this was the norm for this house.  We remained in the car while the nurse spoke with the daughter who was 10-12 years old through a fence.  (On a side note, yellow fever is transmitted through mosquitoes, so I wasn’t concerned about my presence.)

One house we were not allowed entrance – the baby had received a vaccine previously, had a fever and was sick/fussy afterwards.  We discussed the safety of vaccines, she indicated she understood but was scared for further vaccines.  We stood in the courtyard outside the house.  Her husband came home during our discussion and also expressed concern that the vaccine caused the infant’s illness.  We provided testimony about receiving vaccines  throughout our childhood and before traveling to Bolivia, that the injection site was sometimes sore, that I sometimes feel “icky” afterwards, and that symptoms from the vaccine are milder than the disease.  The couple seemed to consider the information, but understandably seemed scared and skeptical.

Montero-Bolivia-Clinic-Entrance-500One house we entered a “breezeway” area between an outer wall and the inner living area of the home.  It had a dirt floor.  The teenage mother was alone with her younger sister and her infant.  The younger sister brought wooden chairs for myself and Tara.  (Seemed rude to refuse although my comfort was not really important.)  She indicated her father was away at work, her mother was deceased, her younger sister was not attending school to stay home and help her, the father of the baby had not seen him since birth, was not providing assistance, and was at work with his father.  The infant seemed listless and unresponsive.  We removed the stocking cap to discover what appeared to be hydrocephalus.  The infant had been feverish and sick.  She was advised to bring the baby to the clinic to see the doctor as soon as possible.  Later that afternoon, we saw her arrive at the clinic, then leave about 15 minutes later in tears.

One house we stood outside but allowed to peer inside (no breezeway.)  It was about the size of a U.S. hotel room with a dirt floor.  The nurse weighed the infant using what reminded me of a produce scale from the grocery store.  She then used charts in her backpack to compare the infant age with the weight, then advised the mother that the infant was slightly underweight and should increase number of feedings.  Mother was friendly and about 35 years old. The courtyard of these homes is often shared with others, strewed with clotheslines, an outdoor tub for laundry, other debris.  Others were around and watched us with curiosity.Bolivia-Clinic-500

The last home:  about the size of a U.S. hotel room and shared with three teenage girls (16-17) and their husbands (17-18 years old) and three infants.  One of the boys was home, the others were at work which was walking distance away.  Two of the girls were sisters.  The sisters’ mother was seated in the corner of the room and coughing.  One of the infants was coughing.  All three infants were weighed and (I think) neither underweight nor overweight.  The information from the charts was shared as to how many feedings per day were recommended.  The girls were very friendly, a bit shy at first, and eager to please us and take direction from us and the nurse.  They had a hammock strung from the ceiling over the only bed in the home where the babies slept and swung.  They had some kind of outdoor kitchen with an oven they were excited to tell us about.  They could make their own bread.  We expressed concern about the coughing and recommended mom and infant be taken to the clinic to see the doctor soon because it will spread.  They seemed to understand the problem, however mom had mobility problems and was unable to walk.  Because we had seen horse-drawn (or mule-drawn) carts in the street, we asked if there was a cart they could borrow from a friend.  They were also concerned about paying the doctor, as they had limited funds.  We recommended a payment plan and talked about what could happen if medical care was delayed while they saved funds…  could be too late.  This was a new concept for them.  We also talked about vaccines, how we had all received them as children, and had received several before traveling.  We told them we had a yellow card with a stamp from the doctor’s office showing we had the yellow fever vaccine, and that we would need to show it at the airport in Miami or we would not be allowed to return home until we received one.  They were receptive to the vaccine info.  Later that day or the next, we saw them bring mom to the clinic on a cart, and leave money with the nurses.  The nurses didn’t know what to do with it, as it was a partial payment and they didn’t really have any record keeping system.  I think later I heard mom was taken to the hospital with possible pneumonia.

Sex-Education-Sign-at-Clinic-in-Montero-500We also saw the nurses holding a health class (sex education) at the clinic.  It was in an open area by the front door.

Ron can tell you about the home visit where they had some kind of pox that was spreading.  The translator, who was the English teacher from the high school, said it was chicken pox, but it sounded like scabies to me.  Ron said there was much discussion about using separate water for cooking, laundry and bathing.  He also washed his hands and used the hand sanitizer repeatedly when he got back to the clinic!

Overall, I felt like our presence at the home visits was wanted by the nurses.  The locals were shy at first, but warmed up quickly after we oohed and aaahed over the infants.  Afterwards, I felt like sharing our own experience with vaccines was helpful to the community.  Hopefully the introduction of a payment system will be helpful, even if they have difficulty implementing it for cultural reasons.

iPad-and-Guatemalan-Children--500In Guatemala 2012:  the clinic was mainly a birthing center with a traveling doctor.  The woman in charge had midwife training from either Red Cross or Catholic church, or both.  They asked us to leave for the day on Wednesday because they had wellness appointments and they thought the patients wouldn’t arrive if we were there.  (We traveled to the other village to see the clinic that had been built by our club in 2004.)  They indicated they were giving pre-natal care, post-natal care, and Depo-Provera shots.  Early one morning, I was already awake pre-dawn and heard shouting in the native language and a vehicle drive up.  At breakfast, there was a pick-up still parked between our dorm and the birthing center.  Casa-Materna-Calhuz-Guatemala-500We learned that a teenaged girl from a village about an hour away was driven there, gave birth in the back of the pickup, and received post-birthing care in the center.  She and baby were resting and doing well.  She wanted to go home, and was assisted in walking from the center to the pick-up while we were eating breakfast.

Packer Raffle Winners!

Madison Horizons Rotary has one fundraiser a year, and it’s the Packer Raffle. This year, we had several prizes donated by area businesses and members. Here are the 2015 winners!

Madison Horizons Rotary raffle winner, Sara Waldenbach, wins Packer tickets!

Madison Horizons Rotary raffle winner, Sara Waldenbach, wins Packer tickets!

Madison Horizons Rotary raffle winner, Sara Waldenbach, wins Best Cleaners Gift Certificate!

Madison Horizons Rotary raffle winner, Sara Waldenbach, wins Best Cleaners Gift Certificate!

1. Packer Tickets: Sara Waldenbach
2. Badger Tickets: Jeanne Armstrong
3. $100 framing gift certificate: Jon Lowrey
4. Packer Art: John Kurowski
5. $25 Villa Dolce: Shay Santos
6. Best Cleaner Dry Cleaning: Sara Waldenbach
7. $25 Coppertop: Lucy Lasseter

Madison Horizons Rotary just helped celebrate the completion of the most recent Habitat for Humanity Home built by the Lower Wisconsin River chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Dawn Lovaas & two daughters in new home

The new homeowner, Dawn Lovaas, with her two daughters next to the christening cake in her new kitchen/family/living room (her son could not attend).

LWR HFH Chistening 04 Oct 14

The whole group who attended the ceremony, standing in her new kitchen/family/living room with the christening cake in the foreground and the nice cabinets mounted!!

N Bennett Rd Habitat Home in Dodgeville

An outside view of the beautiful newly completed house as it stands today

Annual Raffle Results!

Horizons holds one fundraiser a year, led by our one and only Nancy Winter. The proceeds are used for projects locally. If you didn’t get in on the action this year, there’s always next fall! Here are the winners from this year’s raffle:

Grand Prize 1: 2 Packer tickets won by Ryan Thoman
Sold by John Thoman

Grand Prize 2: 2 Packer tickets won by Zach Wachowiak
Sold by Paul Matzke

Badger tickets won by Shelby Mulcahy
Sold by Bob Anderson

Villa Dolce gift certificate won by Kim Trainor
Sold by Randy Hess

Clay Matthews picture: Craig Redwine
Sold by Nancy Winter

Sofra gift certificate won by Don Jackson
Sold by Paul Matzke

Coppertop gift certificate won by John Hefelbauer
Sold by John Thoman

“Shorthanded” book won by Andy Goepfert
Sold by Jim Sirianni

“Shorthanded” book won by Jason Salus
Sold by Jason Salus himself!

“Wheel Fever” book won by Craig Brown
Sold by Paul Matzke

Madison Horizons Rotary Gives Back to the Community

In The Community

We gave $9,500 in total to the following organizations. These are some extraordinary people doing extraordinary things right here in Madison and Dane County.

Andy Czerkas

The River Food Pantry: Andy Czerkas
Horizon’s Connection: Ron Phelps
600 families/week/30,000 pounds of food; clothing, dinners, live music, childcare, rides home.
Bakery training program; first class graduated and are all employed! riverfoodpantry.org to buy cream pies for Easter.


The Salvation Army/Major Loren Carter:
Horizons Connection: Bev Klumph
Most known in Dane Co. for shelter work. They have a community center and basketball and football teams. After school programs with homework help. Christmas campaign fell short $350,000; horribly difficult to make up. Trying to raise new dollars. Having to make some tough decisions.


John Ziehr

Habitat for Humanity: John Ziehr
Horizon’s Connection: Many of our members have a connection.
Totally volunteer organization; only Habitat affiliate in Wisconsin. One house per year. They have money to build a house; just need a family. It’s hard to get a family that falls into the narrow window of not being too far in debt but also not making too much money.


Bob Schmidt

St. Coletta’s: Robert Schmidt
Horizon’s Connection: Jim Sirianni
Provide services for people with disabilities. In Madison since early 80s. With technology, they’d like to be able to use iPads. Their apps are great for music and speech therapy.


Teresa A. Gmur

Gilda’s Club: Teresa A. Gmur
Horizon’s Connection: Jacqui Sakowski
Local cancer support community. Any type of cancer and any time in their diagnosis. Jacqui purchased a bench for Gilda’s Club Madison in memory of her sister.


Dan SteinSecond Harvest: Dan Stein
Horizon’s Connection: Many of our members have a connection.
Food bank/distribution center. They serve 16 counties. Part of a national network.



Tom Voss

Dry Hooch/Veterans Trek: Tom Voss
Horizon’s Connection: Ron Phelps
Peer to peer support service for veterans. Anthony and Tom had great success and turned this into a nonprofit that they’re in the middle of right now.



Pam Geary Godfrey

Meals on Wheels: Pam Geary Godfrey
Horizon’s Connection: We have six members, maybe more hands on delivering meals.
Meals on Wheels serves Middleton, Monona and Madison. 500 volunteers. Market Street Diner, one of the Food Fight restaurants. Meals on Wheels is not only about meals, but about safety checks. In December, one of the volunteers didn’t get one of her customers to answer the door. Her safety check got authorities to the home to find the resident on the floor.
Jason Hafeman

Project Home: Jason Hafeman
Horizon’s Connection: Many of our members have a connection.
1989 started. Lots of programs: energy savings, home repair programs for folks on a tight budget, Paintathon (25th Anniversary last year!) with 200 volunteers, Hammer with a Heart with 200 volunteers.