Remarks by Outgoing 2017-18 Rotary Club of Eau Claire President Wes Escondo
 at our Annual Recognition & Installation Celebration


Wes Escondo

June 18, 2018


(Editor’s Note: After completing his year as our Club President, Wes Escondo reviewed the year, thanked the Officers, Committee Chairs, and Program Leads for their service, and recognized Past-Presidents and Paul Harris Fellows)




Good evening and thank you to everyone for coming to our Recognition & ?Installation Celebration.  It has been a wonderful year and we have much to celebrate and recognize this evening.


Rotary International’s theme this year was “Rotary: Making a Difference”.


There is no doubt that your participation as a Rotarian makes positive change possible.  Pat Thoney often talks about how simply attending meetings and engaging in fellowship contributes to the efforts of Rotary, as he is right.  However, our club, the Rotary Club of Eau Claire has continued to make a difference and touch the lives of many in the Chippewa Valley.


In a time when society tends to divide, Rotary is a common thread that brings people together.  It surely has brought all of us together this year in preserving the pride that this Club has earned to boast.


In 2013, I became a member and gave a classification talk that alluded to why I chose to be a Rotarian, and as my time as Club President closes, I think back to that speech and the amazing things I have had the opportunity to be involved in each day since.  In my speech, I talked about the influence my father played in encouraging me to go beyond “living in a community,” but rather, “be part of that community.”  I can’t think of a better community to give and receive from, than the Rotary Community I have grown to embrace.  Rotary is full circle for me, it is common ground for my personal and professional endeavors, but it is also connected to my Filipino heritage that helped launch Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio, a disease that afflicted some of my grandparent’s closest friends and relatives. That means something to me.


The joy I found in serving as Club President this year, comes down to the experiences I shared with others… all of you. At this time last year, I gave a speech as the incoming President and cited our membership of 41 as 41 specific reasons to fuel my efforts this year, so I owe all of you a big thank you for making my year rewarding and inspiring me to move this club forward.


This year, we held true to our traditions of service above self and did so in a multitude of ways.


This year, I am proud to share that we…

  • Granted over $5,000 in financial support to 14 local organizations to assist in projects and efforts that make their mission possible.
  • We welcomed 8 new members.
  • We implemented a new online process to apply for financial support and our high school scholarships.
  • We brought the high school scholarship selection process in house and reviewed 22 applicants to award 8 students with $500 scholarships. Thank you to Char Gurney for leading this committee.
  • We continued our support of our amazing Interact Clubs at Regis and Altoona and our Uthrotar Recognition with North, Memorial, Altoona and Regis.  We also now have a Rotary Garden at both Regis and Memorial High Schools – Thank you to Steve and Howard for coordinating those projects.
  • We made Jerry Kuehl’s dream a reality by completing the Phoenix Park Bridge Project.


There are many more and know that any accomplishment that this Club held this year was only possible through the tremendous collaboration of our members and community partners.


Committee Chair, Program Lead and Officer Recognition

In anticipation of a great year to come under Steve’s leadership.  I would like to quickly recognize the committee chairs and program leads for the 2017-18 year.  When you hear your name please stand and be recognized… 

  • Fundraising – Dennis Vanden Bloomen
  • Bridge Lighting – Jerry Kuehl
  • Rotary Foundation – Bill Klish
  • Youth Exchange – Audrey Nelson
  • Uthrotars – Scott Rannila
  • Interact – Carrie Ronnander
  • Volunteering – Hannah Walsh
  • Membership – Gary Johnson
  • Programs – Pat Thoney

I would also like to extend a thank you to the officers for the 2017-18 year.  Please stand and be recognized when your name is called… 

  • President Elect – Steve Nick
  • President Elect Nominee – Howard Ludwigson
  • Secretary – Char Gurney
  • Treasurer – Jerry Reinecke
  • Past President – Hannah Walsh

How about another round of applause for our 2017-18 Officers, Chairs and Program Leads.


Past Presidents

As I prepare to take on the role of Past President, I’m excited to be amongst a group that includes current members such as: 

  • Jerry Reinecke
  • Bill Hilgedick
  • Laura Talley
  • Sam Stagliano
  • Sara Antonson
  • Pat Thoney
  • Jerry Kuehl
  • Hannah Walsh 

Let’s show our appreciation for their past service as Presidents and current members of the Rotary Club of Eau Claire.


Paul Harris Fellows

I would like to now invite Dennis Vanden Bloomen to recognize our Paul Harris Fellows for the 2017-018 year.


(Read from Program)