Jerome Given passes

Member since March 12, 1964 – 51 years
While Jerome never held office in our Rotary Club, he did hold court over the large round table in the back. Jerome was one of those that arrived early and was almost always an unofficial greeter.  Unfortunately, he has been away from meetings for a while with his own declining health and taking care of his wife Jean.  We heard at last week’s meeting that Jerome passed away on Friday, August 21.  Jerome was a retired lawyer at Union Pacific, and a recipient of our club’s Service Above Self award for his work with Angel Flight, and many, many other things within our community.

District Conference Awards and notes

Best Youth Services Project

If you didn’t see this already on our Facebook page (, our club received the award for Best Youth Services Project for our 10th Grade Rotary Honor Roll Ethics program (aka BBB Student Service Excellence Awards).  This program, done in cooperation with the BBB, starts as an essay contest on ethical dilemmas.  Judging occurs not only on the answers by former Rotary Honor Roll students, but also on their involvement in their school, community service and leadership activities.  In an odd coincidence, the BBB’s Integrity Awards Luncheon, where the recipients of this award are also honored, occurs on Tuesday, August 25th.

Individual Award

At the District Conference, DGE Gary Bren received the District 5650 Leadership Award for the work he has done in the District Visioning project, District Conferences and training sessions, and his overall behind the scenes efforts supporting the District and the District leadership team.

More pictures can be seen on Facebook, including this Service Above Selfie picture by Sean Olson, and including attendees Pam Peterson, Leslie Volk, and Gretchen Bren, can be seen if you search for #WeAre5650

District Conference: August 21-22

Council Bluffs at the Mid-America Center
Friday Aug 21 “Foundation Celebration Day”
11 AM to 8:30 PM

  • House of Friendship (throughout the entire conference)
  • Luncheon speaker, “Ebola”, UNMC Dean of Public Health, Ali Khan
  • Afternoon Sessions: 7 speakers with Inspirational Stories of the Power of our Service
  • Dinner Speaker, Michael Angelo Caruso
  • Awards Presentation

Saturday, August 22, 2015 
“Where the Journey Goes from Here”
8:30 am – 5:00 pm

  • Memorial Toast and Prayer for fallen Rotarians
  • Youth Service ~ Influence and Impact Rotary has on Our Next Generation
  • Luncheon Speaker, Astronaut Clayton Anderson
    with Book signing
  • Rotary Talks ~ When did you move from being a Rotary member to being a Rotarian?
  • Rotary Moments “Be a Gift to the World”  ~ District 5650’s Gift to Clubs: Visioning

Special After Hours Event: Rotary Fellowship Night hosted by the Rotary Wine Appreciation Fellowship

Read more, including full speaker biographies and sign up at the District website –


The good you do comes back to you.

Rotary Global RewardsRotary’s new member benefits program gives Rotary members access to discounts on a variety of products and services selected with their interests in mind.

Rotary Global Rewards offers discounts on car rentals, hotels, dining, and entertainment. More products and services from companies around the world will be added throughout the year. Check back often to see what’s new in Rotary Global Rewards.
Anyone can view the offers and discounts on Rotary Global Rewards. But only Rotary club members who are signed in to their My Rotary accounts can redeem them. You can access and redeem rewards from your computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Create a My Rotary account now to take advantage of the new member benefits program. Still have questions?  for help.

Downtown Rotary Foundation Community Grant recipients announced

Our Club Foundation has announced grants for the upcoming year to the following organizations. These organizations will be invited to our club on August 5 to receive their checks.

Organization: Executive Director Amount: Purpose of funding request summary:
Holy Name School Mrs. Sofia Kock $1,000 The purpose of the grant is to purchase leveled readers (books geared towards specific reading abilities) to enhance a reading library began in 2013.
Abide Josh Dotzler $4,000 Abide is requesting funding for the Better Together Internship program that will give youth and young adults on-the-job paid experience, as well as, mentoring and job skills training around future education and employability goals.
College of Saint Mary Dr. Maryanne Stevens $3,000 To enhance the education of K-6 students from Girls, Inc who come to College of Saint Mary two times a week each semester and work with our elementary education pre-service teachers to supplement their math, science and relevant technology skills.
Completely KIDS Penny Parker $1,000 Completely KIDS request funding for learning centers for the youth in grades pre-kindergarten through second enrolled in CK 26 (Completely KIDS on 26th Street).
Rotary Club of Omaha Gretchen Bren $9,000 Scholarships for Rotary Honor Roll Students who will be seniors in 4 years.
Rotary Club of Omaha Gretchen Bren $2,000 Provide funding for up to 10 previous 8th grade Rotary Honor Roll Students who received the BBB Student Service of Excellence Award as tenth graders to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy in their Junior year.
Rotary Club of Omaha Gretchen Bren $2,333 To support the Centennial project of the Rotary Club of Council Bluffs (which our club founded 100 years ago) to rebuild Fairmount Park. ($7,000 over three years)
Papillion-La Vista Community Theatre $750 Papillion-La Vista Community Theatre would like to host a Kids’ Musical Theatre Clinic in conjunction with PLVCT’s production of “The Wizard of Oz” that will include seven rehearsals and four performances during the months of June and July.
YMCA of Greater Omaha Len Romano $5000 The YMCA of Greater Omaha respectfully requests funding for the early childhood readiness program, Ready to Learn.
Alegent Creighton Health Foundation Kevin L. Bonney $1,500 Funding for senior cancer patients who cannot afford transportation to get to their treatment.
Omaha Community Playhouse Tim Schmad $4,000 The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) respectfully requests $4,000 to underwrite the costs of two full-time senior scholarships for OCP’s Theatre Technology Apprenticeship Program (TTAP®).
TOTAL   $38,250  

The Omaha Downtown Rotary Club Foundation was incorporated in Nebraska on December 31, 1990 as a non-profit corporation. The Club Foundation’s purpose is to carry out the community service projects of the Rotary Club of Omaha and to accept property to be administered for charitable purposes.

For more information on the Omaha Downtown Rotary Club Foundation and the Community Grants, please visit our website at

New Website Launched

Check out our club’s new redesign. It is now device-responsive, which means you’ll get a great look whether you are on a phone, tablet, or computer.

Menu bar is now at the top for easy access – and if you are on a mobile phone, it comes up collapsed (look for the three bars in the corner to open.)

The My Rotary page (formerly Members Only) shows what you need to know now – links for what you want to do, upcoming events and upcoming speakers with a fresh clean look.

If you log in to the site, you have access to the Quick Search feature: type in a member’s name, then click the magnify glass and the name, company, picture, phone numbers and email will pop up – with clickable links! (see picture below.)

Website signups are now easier than ever if you are logged into the site – click on the red “Sign Up” button, and one more click and you are signed up.

More items to be featured in upcoming Whirls!

If you have changes to your profile information, please email them to the office.

OPS Transition Project

VOCATIONAL SERVICE COMMITTEE –  Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for OPS Transition Project

Last Thursday, March 19th, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the OPS Transition Program at the PVA, 7612 Maple Street.  The event marked the completion of the OPS Transition Program District 5650 multi-club grant project.  New sensory/vocational educational materials and storage units were purchased for students with the grant.  Northwest Rotary, lead club, and participating clubs, Omaha Downtown Rotary and Suburban Rotary received the District 5650 multi-club grant to fund the project costing about $2,900.00.  Members of Northwest Rotary; Omaha Downtown Rotary; the OPS Transition Program Teacher Leader, Amber Tjaden and Learning Supervisor, Shana Frodyma attended the ribbon cutting.

The Transition Program at the PVA is one of 14 alternative programs in the Omaha Public Schools District. The Transition Program provides special services – vocational training, adapted physical education and assistive technology – for students, aged 18-21, with disabilities (special physical, mental, or learning needs).

KPTM-TV covered the event and included a story about the project on their 9:00 p.m. Thursday evening news program.  The OPS District Communications video journalist also covered the ribbon cutting ceremony for the school district.

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The first photo features the large metal storage unit purchased to secure the materials purchased.  Amber Tjaden and Ken Backman are pictured in the first picture. Amber is shown with the containers of materials stored in the cabinet in the second photo.  The cabinet and containers all have the Rotary logo displayed.  The third picture includes two OPS Transition students using some of the new educational materials being assisted by Amber and Downtown Rotarian, Steve Cramer.


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