Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast Endowment reaches milestone

Our club celebrated the culmination of 8 years of work on May 16.  Rick Van Pelt, Steve Rice & Gary Whitaker outlined the journey creating and increasing the funds in The Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast Endowment.

Van Pelt seized on the idea of creating an endowment fund about 10 years ago when he attended a meeting of leaders of large Rotary Clubs.  Many of the clubs already had endowment funds that allowed them to increase their contributions to local charities and projects.  Two years later, the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast Endowment was created.

A volunteer Board of Directors manages and promotes the endowment.  Steve Rice is the current chair of the board.  Its bylaws stipulated no earnings from the fund would be used until the principal reached $500,000.  Through a Founders Club drive, a Give 100 Drive, bequests and other donations, the annual Golf'toberfest, and an annual raffle of a vacation package, the fund has grown steadily.

The Endowment now stands at $550,000, which will enable the board to start distributing funds (approximately $18,000 next year).  The annual distributions will be added to the $10,000 that the club budgets each year from members' dues for Community Grants.   Steve Brooks, a past chair of the Community Grants Committee, said the funds will eliminate some of the hard choices that the committee has to make each year from the many worthy applications that it receives.

The club celebrated the milestone with champagne, "hand clappers," noise makers and roaring applause. All Springfield Southeast Rotarians who have contributed to the Foundation were also recognized, in particular Bill McNeill for his stellar work leading the annual Golf'tober Tournament and the annual raffle for a vacation trip.

Welcome new member Clay Goddard

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Brent Baldwin introduced Clay on May 16.  His cosponsor is Bob Hammerschmidt.

Clay has been President of the Southwest Region for Brightli Behavioral Health, the parent company of Burrell Behavioral Health and Preferred Family Healthcare, since 2022.  The company helps people with issues including behavioral health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities.  He is a passionate advocate for healthier communities.  Prior to Brightli, he was Director of Health for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, where he worked for 25 years.

Clay has been a resident of Springfield for 53 years.  He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Public Administration at Southwest Missouri State University (now MSU).  He’s a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Clay has been a board member of numerous organizations at the local and state level.  Some of the local organizations include Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, and Leadership Springfield.

Clay is a proud husband, parent of three, grandparent, music lover and foodie.  He and his wife, Cindi, live in south Springfield.  

Welcome new member Carrie Brown

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Andrea Bishop introduced Carrie on April 18.  Her cosponsor is Bonnie Keller.

Carrie is a certified public accountant and a partner at Elliott, Robinson and Companies, where she’s worked since 2012.  Her work includes income tax planning, and preparation of tax returns for individuals, companies, trusts, estates and gifts.

Carrie’s professional affiliations include Greene County Estate Planning Council, Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance, Missouri Society of CPAs, and the American Institute of CPAs.  Springfield Business Journal named her one of its Most Influential Women in 2023.  The Missouri Society of CPAs named her one of its Women to Watch in 2016.  She was honored by SBJ in its 40 Under 40 list in 2015 and by 417 Magazine in its 20 Under 30 list in 2010.  She’s a graduate of Leadership Springfield Class 31.

Carrie is a lifelong Springfieldian.  She earned Bachelor’s and MBA degrees at Drury University.  Her community service includes the boards of directors of Ronald McDonald House, Junior League of Springfield, Foundation for Springfield Public Schools, and Big Brothers Big Sisters; the Drury University Alumni Council; the CoxHealth Young Professionals Council; the Young Ambassadors at Ozarks Counseling Center; The Network; and Springfield Rotaract Club.   

Carrie and her husband, Jared, live in east Springfield.

Welcome new member Algerian Hart

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Brent Baldwin introduced Algerian on April 18.  His cosponsor is John Horton.

Algerian is Assistant to the President and Vice President for Inclusive Engagement at Missouri State University.  He’s been in Springfield since 2018, and served as a professor and associate dean of the MSU Graduate College before taking his present position in 2022.

Algerian previously worked at Western Illinois University, University of Nevada – Las Vegas, Seattle Pacific University and the Game Time Foundation in Seattle.
Algerian’s contributions extend beyond the university setting.  He’s served as the President and Chair of the Diversity and Conference Climate Committee for the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport.  He also is the author of "The Student Athlete’s Guide to College Success" and co-author of "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Sport."

Algerian was a Sears All-American High School Track & Field athlete, ran competitively at Long Beach State, and later coached several track national champions and All Americans.   He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Long Beach State, and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Washington State University.

Algerian and his wife of 20 years, Michelle, are parents of two sons, Ahmias and Rowen.   They live in east Springfield.

Welcome new member Justin Herrell

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Tammy Mast introduced Justin on April 18.  His cosponsor is Ray Meyer.

For the past year, Justin has been executive director of the Pat Jones YMCA on Republic Road.  He retired after serving 31 years as an educator, including 26 years in the Springfield School District in positions such as director of before- and after-school programming, principal of Westport Middle School, a teacher at Central High School, leadership roles at Parkview and Hillcrest high schools, and in the district’s administrative office.

Justin's community service includes the boards of Ozarks Fighting Back, Ozarks Food Harvest, One Door, TriCounty Collaboration, and Community Partnership of the Ozarks.  He’s a past member of the National Association of School Administrators, Missouri Association of School Administrators, and the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals.

Justin earned Bachelor’s, Master’s and Specialist degrees at Southwest Missouri State University (now MSU), and a doctorate at Mizzou. 

Justin lives in east Springfield and has two children.
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Welcome new member Nathan Zoromski

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Travis Comfort introduced Nathan on April 11.  His cosponsor is Dave Bosso.

Nathan is a financial advisor in the Edward Jones office on East Republic Road.  He’s worked for that financial planning company for 17 years.  Nathan earned a bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University and a master’s degree at Missouri State University. 

Nathan was a member of the Springfield Rotaract Club from 2010 – 2014. His community service includes the board of Down Syndrome Group of the Ozarks, SWMO BBB board, Children’s Miracle Network, James River Church and Northpoint Church.

Nathan and his wife, Heather, live in Nixa and have three children.

Welcome new member Jordan Russell

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Brandon Welch introduced Jordan on April 11.  His cosponsor is Adam Reichert.

Jordan is a co-owner of Pillar Insurance in southeast Springfield, which he founded in 2016 with his brother, John.  Their brother, Jason, joined them in 2017 to open a second branch in Lebanon.  They specialize in commercial, property and casualty insurance, and high net worth personal lines.

Jordan grew up in Lebanon.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2014 at University of Missouri, and a master’s degree at Missouri State University in 2016.   He’s lived in Springfield for 10 years.

Jordan was a member of Springfield Rotaract Club from 2016 – 2019.  His community service also includes Have A Heart dog rescue and the Child Advocacy Center.

Jordan is an avid Mizzou football and basketball fan.  He’s a member of Hickory Hills Country Club, where he golfs, and Hill City Church.  He and his wife, Gabby, live in northeast Springfield with their 3-year-old daughter, Quinn, and enjoy traveling.
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Welcome new member Susan Herron

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Kimberlee Nevins introduced Susan on March 28.  Brent Baldwin is her cosponsor.

Susan has been in the real estate business since 2004.  She owns and manages Red Door Associates at Keller Williams in southeast Springfield.  It was known as Stowe Realty Group until three years ago, when she rebranded after she remarried.  In addition to being a broker, she stages homes to help them sell better.  She serves on the Keller Williams Agents Leadership Council.

Susan spent her childhood in South America.  She moved back to the states when she was 17 years old.  She attended Samford University and Southwest Missouri State University (now MSU).  She’s lived in the Ozarks for 24 years and is a member of the Nixa and Springfield chambers of commerce, Hill City Church, and Women’s Outreach.

Susan and her husband, Waylon, live in Nixa and have seven children, four sons-in-law, and two grandbabies.  Holidays are chaotic, loud and fun at her house.

As a former bakery owner, Susan puts her experience to work by taking goodies to teachers and first responders to thank them for loving our community, families, and children.  When she’s not working or baking, she powerlifts at a gym.

Welcome new member Vanessa Howe

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Joe Daues introduced Vanessa on March 21.  Her cosponsor is David Yancey.

Vanessa has owned Below Zero Cryospa, 1374 E. Republic Road, since it opened in November 2022.  She also has been a real estate agent for 25 years for Murney Associates and Carol Jones Realtors.  She formerly owned Athletic Performance Center in Ozark and was an independent sales representative for Silpada Jewelry.

Vanessa has a bachelor's degree in Textile and Clothing from Colorado State University in Fort Collins.  While in college, she did a summer internship at Paris Fashion Institute in France.

Vanessa has lived in the Ozarks for 33 years.  She and her husband, Todd Strickland, live in east Springfield and have three children.

Vanessa volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Women in Need Of the Ozarks, and Gathering Friends of the Ozarks.