By Jim Newell
The Lake Orion Sunrise Rotary Club is planning its annual Ice Golf Tournament fundraiser, a community favorite, and for the dedicated members of the club their service is a call to find ways to better their community.
“Our club’s motto from the beginning was ‘Service Above Self,’” said club President Diane Dunaskiss, adding that the group has set projects and goals for the next year.
The lifeblood for any service group is its dedicated membership and the Lake Orion Sunrise Rotary Club, which currently has 28 members, is looking to get more people involved.
“One of our goals is to increase our membership by 10 new members in the next year,” said Dunaskiss.
The club’s other goals for the current year include increasing community awareness of the Sunrise Rotary’s activities and mission and undertaking an international project.
The Sunrise Rotary Club is true to its name and meets at 7:30 a.m. three Thursdays a month at C.J.’s Grille for a breakfast meeting. The club also has a monthly Social, usually in the evening.
The Sunrise Rotary Club’s current projects include:
Beds for Kids: the club receives referrals from Love INC and provides mattresses, box springs and bed frames for children who need new beds or those who may never have had a bed. Art Van PureSleep in Lake Orion provides the beds to the club at a discounted price.
“It’s quite an experience. Some of the children have never had a bed before,” Dunaskiss said. “It was just amazing to see how excited they were when they got their beds.”
Orion on Deck: the club raised funds to donate to the all-inclusive baseball field at Friendship Park.
The Sunrise Rotary has also donated to the Lake Orion schools Lamp of Learning; bought Kindles for Pine Tree students who were classified as underachieving readers and needed extra reading assistance; provided a grant to fund a district-wide Olweus Bullying Prevention Program; and donated to Blessings in a Backpack – Lake Orion.
The club continues its efforts to support Rotary International’s mission of eradicating polio worldwide. Rotary International’s partners in this effort include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).
For their proposed international project, the Sunrise Rotary Club members want to collaborate with a Rotary Club in Cartagena, Columbia and medical facilities in Michigan to provide medical equipment to a children’s hospital in Cartagena.
“One of the aspects of Rotary is that we encourage members not only to just give money, but to be involved,” Dunaskiss said, adding that some members may make the trip to Cartagena.
The club’s meetings focus on their service projects, regular business and often include guests who provide the club with information and ideas. Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh attended the club’s Dec. 7 meeting and made a presentation about how to respond during an active shooter situation in the workplace.
“Half of the time our meetings are comprised of a guest speaker,” said Rotarian Catherine May.
“Some speakers have brought projects to us. We supported Wigs for Kids after a guest speaker talked to the club,” Dunaskiss said. “You’re doing things for the world, but you’re also doing things for your community.”
For anyone interested in joining the Sunrise Rotary, Dunaskiss and fellow Rotarian Phil McPeek advise prospective members to attend a weekly meeting and meet the club members.
“Visit a few times, get a feel for what we do and who we are before making a decision about joining the club,” McPeek said.
“No matter where you go, you’re always welcome at a Rotary meeting,” Dunaskiss said.
The club’s current fundraisers are Ice Golf, the Cajun Seafood Spectacular and Pizzas for Polio.
On Oct. 24, the Rotary Club partnered with Jets Pizza and Passport Pizza for the “Pizza for Polio” fundraiser in honor of World Polio Day. The pizzerias donated a portion of sales to the Lake Orion Rotary Club to contribute to Rotary International’s efforts to eradicate polio.
“Case numbers of the disease have never been lower, and two countries (Afghanistan and Pakistan) have never stopped transmission of the wild poliovirus,” according to Rotarian Janet McPeek.