Rotary Honor Roll Scholarships announced

At our meeting this week, Scholarship Chair Linda Beaver let us know that the committee has finished reviewing over 160 applications this year and has chosen 6 recipients who will each receive at $1500 scholarship at the Rotary Honor Roll Luncheon on May 4th:

  • Ben Adams, Burke High School, will be attending Creighton University
  • Julia Griffin, Marian High School, will be attending St. Louis University
  • Jiayi (Lily) Jiang, Millard North High School, will be attending University of Washington or Boston College
  • Krystal Kozawa, Central High School, will be attending Creighton or UNL
  • Adam Mullin, Creighton Prep, will be attending Xavier or St. Joeseph
  • Sharadh Sivamani, Millard North, will be attending Northwestern University

Adam Mullin will also be a speaker at our 89th Annual Rotary Honor Roll Luncheon.

Our scholarship program is funded through the giving to our Omaha Downtown Rotary Club Foundation.  Find out more what our Club Foundation does at

Past Club President Bill Gorman

Past Club President William “Bill” Gorman passed away Saturday, March 26. Bill was an active Rotary member for over 45 years in both Omaha, NE where he was President of the Rotary Club of Omaha in 1988-89, and in Fresno, CA and both he and his wife Linda were Paul Harris Fellows. Bill was a member of our club from 1971 to 2002. He joined Rotary the same year that he became general manager of the Omaha Royals. After hearing of Bill’s passing, Sean Olson (current Club President) spoke to his son Wil and Wil wanted us to know that Rotary was a special part of Bill’s life, especially his time in our club.

Rotary Honor Roll announces Keynote speaker

JUST ANNOUNCED: the keynote speaker will be actor, comedian, and magician Pat Hazell.  Showtime declared Pat Hazell one of the five funniest people in America. But most important to us, he grew up in Omaha and was an 8th grade student from Beveridge Middle School. Pat Hazell is one of the original writers for NBC’s Seinfeld, a Tonight Show veteran, a critically acclaimed playwright and a contributing commentator to National Public Radio.  He  now lives in Austin Texas, but will be returning to Omaha especially to share with this year’s Rotary Honor Roll students his thoughts on leadership and getting involved in something you are passionate about.  (here’s more about Pat too.)

This year, we are honoring 425 students from 57 Omaha Metro area schools, along with 127 school representatives.  As of today, over 900 people have already signed up to attend the luncheon.  If you aren’t one of them, click here to sign up to attend.

You can also sign up for volunteer positions for the 89th annual Rotary Honor Roll Luncheon starting at the meeting on April 6th.

More about Pat Hazell:

Showtime declared Pat Hazell one of the five funniest people in America. His 30 years of experience as a writer, producer and director have made him a go-to guy for new American theater.

Pat is one of the original writers for NBC’s Seinfeld, a veteran of The Tonight Show, a critically acclaimed playwright and a contributing commentator to National Public Radio. He is recognized for his genuinely funny Americana humor and his salute to nostalgia.

As a playwright, Pat’s first endeavor, Bunk Bed Brothers, was optioned by Columbia Pictures, then gained the attention of the TV industry and was filmed as the sitcom, American Pie, for NBC.

Hazell’s signature work, The Wonder Bread Years, a grand salute to the baby-boomer generation, aired on PBS where they referred to Hazell as “America’s foremost pop culture anthropologist.”  Currently, the live theatrical tour of The Wonder Bread Years is enjoying success across the US.

As the Chief Creative Officer of Sweetwood Creative, he is responsible for the national tours of four original productions: Bunk Bed Brothers, Nashville Backstage, The Wonder Bread Years and A Kodachrome Christmas. Pat is currently in development on a musical adaptation of his original play, Grounded For Life.  However, his greatest accomplishment is being the father of two of the brightest shining stars in the universe, Tucker and Keaton.

For more information on Pat or tour dates please visit and

Update on Operation Hippocrates

The Operation Hippocrates medical team from Omaha traveled to Belize the first week of February and spent three busy days in clinic, two in Belize City and one in Dangriga.  Dr. Delaney has reviewed his notes from the trip and prepared a priority list of surgery and cath lab procedures.  One child, only two weeks old when we saw her a

We currently have two patients scheduled for trips to Omaha for a heart intervention in the cath lab at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center by Dr. Jeff Delaney. Alissa Vallejo is seven months old and Josey Castillo is 18 years old.  Alissa’s procedure is scheduled for Monday, March 28th and Joey is scheduled for Monday, May 2nd.

Alissa and Josey are both scheduled for a PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus) procedure. A PDA is an unclosed hole in the aorta.  Before a baby is born, the fetus’s blood does not need to go to the lungs to get oxygenated.  The ductus arteriosus is a hole that allows the blood to skip the circulation to the lungs.  However, when the baby is born, the blood must receive oxygen in the lungs and this hole is supposed to close.  If the ductus arteriosus is still open, the blood may skip this necessary step of circulation causing stress to the heart  In Josey’s case, since she is older, her heart is now enlarged.

Please let LeRoy Swedlund know if you’d like to help out with transportation, visits or anything else during these visits – the Operation Hippocrates committee can always use more members.

Rotary Club featured in Strictly Business feature “Joining Organizations”

Joining Organizations in Omaha, NE

Joining Organizations 2016 in Omaha Nebraska


Omaha is home to a thriving business community, and in support of the growth of the professionals who keep us continuously moving forward, there are many fantastic local organizations that are an important part of the process.

Among the key benefits of membership in a professional organization are access to career resources and educational opportunities, mentorship, meeting new people and expanding your network of contacts, and the opportunity for community involvement and outreach as a part of a larger group initiative.

What do these benefits all have in common?

The answer is making valuable connections. Connections are essential to success in any industry, and joining a local organization is not only a way to unite with like-minded individuals but also to foster relationships with those in similar industries, or in many cases, across several inter-connected industries. This provides critical access to potential customers and employees but also creates an environment that’s rich with referrals, giving you trusted sources to do business with and vice versa. Think of it as a major career catalyst, with many parts working together to move everyone involved forward.

“Participation in a professional organization is hands-down one of the best investments to make in your future”

Fostering development and engagement on both a personal and professional level in addition to building mutually beneficial business relationships, there’s no doubt that participation in at least one professional organization will leave you in a better place than where you were when you arrived. Omaha in particular has a wealth of fantastic organizations so take your pick, because you’re guaranteed to find the right fit for your goals and area(s) of focus. Nearly every profession, interest area, or cause has a corresponding national, state, regional or local organization one could join.

Getting involved with a local organization shouldn’t merely be a bullet point on your resume. In the vein of you reap what you sow, this is the perfect example of putting in the effort to be a part of a group of professionals in our community, contributing your time and talents to the whole, and enjoying the plentiful return on that investment.

Above all, being involved in an organization is about developing meaningful relationships and being exposed to opportunities and events from which you will learn and grow, both personally and professionally. Membership and participation in a professional organization is hands-down one of the best investments to make in your future. Furthermore, if you’re an employer, you’ll reap all of the same rewards from supporting your employees who participate in professional organizations and encouraging those who are interested to do so as well.

It’s never too early or too late to get involved, but before you leap headfirst into making a commitment, first identify your objectives, do your research and ask for recommendations. If you’re looking to join a professional organization, we’ve highlighted some wonderful ones right here in our community that are currently welcoming new members and would love to have you!

Logo - Rotary Club of Omaha - Joining Organizations in Omaha, NebraskaThe Rotary Club of Omaha (Downtown Rotary; is a place where new and emerging leaders meet and interact one-on-one with established leaders in our community. Our Club has been here for over a century, but our mission has always been the same: Leaders in our community working together to put service above self.  We do this by:

• Weekly Speakers – dynamic, relevant and informative

• Operation Hippocrates – we arrange for Omaha cardiac surgeons and hospitals to provide heart surgery and follow-up medical care for children in Belize

• Outland Trophy – we co-sponsor the annual Outland Trophy award dinner for college football’s outstanding lineman

• Community Service – we offer numerous opportunities for community service

• People with Disabilities – we support projects for the disabled and we sponsor J.P. Lord School in the “Adopt a School Program”

For more information about Downtown Rotary visit our website,, or call (402) 342-0281.

Service Opportunity- RYLA

Dear Fellow Rotarians,
We have the opportunity to pass on our leadership skills to the next generation through RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards). RYLA is a weekend where high school juniors get to learn about the ideals of Rotary, Leadership, and they actually create international projects through small groups.

Many of you have expressed wanting to be able to participate in something that helps youth gain leadership skills, and what better way to leave your mark than participate in this? RYLA is on the weekend of April 15-17. If you would like to participate the entire weekend, that would be amazing, but you can also participate in many other ways through a day or just a few hours. You could speak to the students on a topic of leadership, or you could just come along to volunteer and help the kids transition throughout the weekend.

Tom Cardwell, who is the head of our region’s RYLA, would eventually love for members from our club to join this district committee. This is a unique experience to join with other Rotarians from all over our District to work towards a great cause. The committee meets 5-6 times a year.

If this is something that perks your interest, please contact me. Have a great week!

Suzie Heffernan

Click here for more on RYLA,

This year, our Rotary Club will be sending past Rotary Honor Roll recipients/BBB Student Service of Excellence winners to RYLA thanks to a grant from the Club Foundation’s Community Grants program.

Investing in our Future

Several weeks ago, Emily Tonniges mailed out letters with an opportunity to support our Club’s signature event.  The 8th Grade Rotary Honor Roll Program has been around since 1927 and currently recognizes the top 5% of our area’s 8th graders in areas of leadership, scholarship, character and presence.

This event is not possible without the financial support from our members and/or their businesses.  Many thanks to those who have already committed to being a sponsor of this year’s event!

We are half way to our financial goal!  Please help us reach our goal by considering a personal donation or by encouraging your business to sponsor this incredible event that hosts over 1,500 people.  These youth are our future.  Please help us recognize them for demonstrating the characteristics that we as Rotarian live by.  If you have any questions, please contact Emily Tonniges at or 719-661-1192 or mail your sponsorships/donations into Gretchen.

Thanks for your consideration!

Click here to see a list of the current sponsors for this year.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.