Robertson allison new rotary member

Welcome new member Allison Robertson

Nate Dunville introduced Allison on Sept. 3.  Her co-sponsor is Nikki Holden.

Allison has lived in the Springfield area for 36 years.  She's been the program director since September 2018 for Empower: Abilities, 2864 S. Nettleton Ave., in Springfield.  That organization provides services to people with disabilities to help them live independently.  She manages several departments, including Independent Living, Access and Technology, Community Outreach, and Transportation.

Allison previously worked for CoxHealth from 2006 to 2018 as manager of Case Management at its hospital in Branson, as a social worker in Adult Psychiatry, and as a social worker at its Center for Addictions.   She also worked a side job at Gorman Scharpf Funeral Home for 10 years.

Allison has been active for many years in Junior League of Springfield, where she has chaired projects and served on the board.  She is Junior League president-elect and preparing to become president in 2021.

She's been active in about 20 community organizations, including serving on the boards of Freedom's Rest Domestic Violence Shelter and Growing Healthy Families.  She's also a member of the National Council for Independent Living, and is a graduate of Springfield Leadership Signature Class 38 and Lakes Area Leadership Academy 2016.

The Springfield Business Journal named Allison one of its 40 Under 40 honorees for 2020.   She is a member of the
Community Emergency Response Team and is trained in crisis intervention stress management.

Allison earned a bachelor's and a master's degree in Social Work and a master's degree in Healthcare Administration, all from Missouri State University.  She and her husband, Paul, live in Ozark with their two children.
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WHO: Wild Polio Virus is Stopped in Africa

by Ryan Hyland,

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Aug. 25 announced that transmission of the wild poliovirus has officially been stopped in all 47 countries of its African region. This is a historic and vital step toward global eradication of polio, which is Rotary’s top priority.

After decades of hard won gains in the region, Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) — WHO, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gavi, the vaccine alliance — are proclaiming the milestone an achievement in public health. They offer it as proof that strong commitment, coordination, and perseverance can rid the world of polio.

The certification that the African region is free of wild poliovirus comes after the independent Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) conducted thorough field verifications that confirmed no new cases and analyzed documentation of polio surveillance, immunization, and laboratory capacity by Cameroon, Central African Republic, Nigeria, and South Sudan. The commission had already accepted the documentation of the other 43 countries in the region.

The last cases of polio caused by the wild virus in the African region were recorded in Nigeria’s northern state of Borno in August 2016, after two years with no cases. Conflict, along with challenges in reaching mobile populations, had hampered efforts to immunize children there.

Now that the African region is free of wild poliovirus, five of WHO’s six regions, representing more than 90 percent of the world’s population, are now free of the disease. Polio caused by the wild virus is still endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean region.
The African region’s wild polio-free certification was celebrated during a livestream event. Speakers included Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Bill Gates, Rotary International President Holger Knaack, Nigeria PolioPlus chair Dr. Tunji Funsho, and representatives of other GPEI partners. The celebration was followed by a news conference.

In the program, Knaack spoke about people needing good news during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The challenges ahead are formidable,” Knaack said. “That’s why we must recognize this great achievement and commend all the people who played important roles in reaching this milestone. It took tremendous effort over many years.”

Not detecting any wild poliovirus in Africa is in stark contrast to the situation in 1996, when 75,000 children there were paralyzed by the disease. That year, at a meeting of the Organization of African Unity in Cameroon, African heads of state committed to eradicating the disease from the continent.

To bolster the effort, also in 1996, Rotary, its GPEI partners, and South African President Nelson Mandela launched the Kick Polio Out of Africa campaign. Using soccer matches and celebrity endorsements, the campaign raised awareness of polio and helped more than 30 African countries to hold their first National Immunization Days. Mandela’s call to action helped mobilize leaders across the continent to increase their efforts to reach every child with polio vaccine.

Since 1996, countless Rotary members from across Africa and around the world have raised funds, immunized children, and promoted vaccinations, enabling the GPEI to respond to and stop polio outbreaks. More than 9 billion doses of oral polio vaccine have been provided throughout the region, preventing an estimated 1.8 million cases of paralysis.

Each year, about 2 million volunteers help vaccinate 220 million children against polio multiple times in the African region.
Rotary members have contributed nearly $890 million toward polio eradication efforts in the African region. The funds have allowed Rotary to issue PolioPlus grants to fund polio surveillance, transportation, awareness campaigns, and National Immunization Days.

Dr. Tunji Funsho, chair of Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus committee, noted Rotarians’ tremendous contributions to polio eradication efforts in Africa: “From raising funds and immunizing children, to providing ‘polio plusses,’ such as soap and health kits, Rotary members have shown resilience and steadfast dedication to our top priority of ending polio.”

Rotary members have helped build extensive polio infrastructure that has been used to respond to COVID-19 and, in 2014, the Ebola crisis, as well as to protect communities from yellow fever and bird flu.

The GPEI’s challenge now is to eradicate wild poliovirus in the two countries where the disease has never been stopped: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Additionally, routine immunization in Africa must also be strengthened to keep the wild poliovirus from returning and to protect children against circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus, which is rare but continues to infect people in parts of the African region.

To eradicate polio, multiple high-quality immunization campaigns must continue to be given priority. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s necessary to keep children vaccinated against polio while also protecting health workers from COVID-19 and making sure they don’t contribute to its transmission.

Global health officials and experts say that sustained fundraising and advocacy are still crucial, not only to protect gains in Africa, but to reach the ultimate goal of a world without polio. Rotary members still have a critical role to play in keeping the African region free of wild poliovirus and eliminating the virus in the two countries where polio remains endemic.

As Knaack said, “This is a big step in our journey to a polio-free world, but the fight is not over yet. We still need the support of our Rotary members, donors, and heroic effort of health care workers to finish the job.”

Visit to learn more and donate.
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Jennifer E. Jones is first woman named Rotary president-nominee

by Ryan Hyland, from

Jennifer E. Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, Ontario, Canada, is nominated to become Rotary International’s president for 2022-23.  This will make her the first woman to hold that office in the organization’s 115-year history.

Jones will officially become president-nominee on Oct. 1, 2020, if no other candidates challenge her.

Jones says she sees Rotary’s Action Plan as a catalyst for increasing Rotary’s impact.

“As we reflect upon our new strategic priorities, we could have never envisioned that our ability to adapt would become our North Star during what is inarguably the most profound time in recent history,” Jones said in her vision statement.  “Silver linings rise out of the most challenging circumstances.  Using metric-driven goals, I will harness this historic landscape to innovate, educate, and communicate opportunities that reflect today’s reality.”

As the first woman to be nominated to be president, Jones understands how important it is to follow through on Rotary’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement.

“I believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion … begins at the top and for us to realize growth in female membership and members under the age of forty — these demographics need to see their own reflection in leadership,” Jones said.  “I will champion double-digit growth in both categories while never losing sight of our entire family.”

Jones is founder and president of Media Street Productions, an award-winning media company in Windsor.  She was chair of the board of governors of the University of Windsor and chair of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.  She has been recognized for her service with the YMCA Peace Medallion, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and Wayne State University’s Peacemaker of the Year Award, a first for a Canadian.  Jones holds a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.).

A current Rotary Foundation trustee, Jones has been a Rotary member since 1997 and has served Rotary as RI vice president, director, training leader, committee chair, moderator, and district governor.  She played a lead role in Rotary’s rebranding effort by serving as chair of the Strengthening Rotary’s Advisory Group. She is the co-chair of the End Polio Now Countdown to History Campaign Committee, which aims to raise $150 million for polio eradication efforts.

Jones recently led the successful #RotaryResponds telethon, which raised critical funds for COVID-19 relief and was viewed by more than 65,000.  Jones has also received Rotary International’s Service Above Self Award and The Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service.  She and her husband, Nick Krayacich, are members of The Rotary Foundation’s Arch Klumph Society, Paul Harris Society, and the Bequest Society.

The members of the Nominating Committee for the 2022-23 President of Rotary International are: Robert L. Hall, Dunwoody, Metro Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Bradford R. Howard Oakland Uptown, California, USA; Per Høyen, Aarup, Gelsted, Denmark; Peter Iblher, Nürnberg-Reichswald, Zirndorf, Germany; Ashok Mahajan, Mulund, Mah., India; Sam Okudzeto, Accra, Accra, Ghana; Eduardo San Martín Carreño, Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain; Takeshi Matsumiya, Chigasaki-Shonan, Chigasaki Kanagawa, Japan; Michael K. McGovern (secretary), Cape Elizabeth, Maine, USA; José Alfredo Pretoni, São Paulo-Sul, São Paulo, Brazil; Saowalak Rattanavich, Bang Rak, Bangkok, Thailand; Hendreen Dean Rohrs, Langley Central, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada; Kenneth M. Schuppert, Jr (chair)., Decatur, Alabama, USA; Ravindra P. Sehgal, Belur, West Bengal, India; Noel Trevaskis, Merimbula, Tura Beach, Australia; Giuseppe Viale, Genova, Genova, Italy; and Chang-Gon Yim, Daegu-West, Daegu, Korea.
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Canceled Rotary Basketball Tournament still helped Special Olympics

Despite the cancellation of the annual Rotary basketball tournament, sponsors' donations still allowed us to give $13,886 to help Special Olympics athletes in the Ozarks.   The three-night tournament at Drury University's O'Reilly Event Center was canceled in March because of restrictions on large gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Robin Anderson, development director for Special Olympics Missouri's southwest region, accepted the check from Rotary Club representatives on June 17.

The tournament is more than 30 years old.    All the clubs in Springfield, including the Springfield Rotaract Club, plus the Ozark Rotary Club, spend hours and create buckets of sweat getting their teams ready for the tournament.  Southeast Rotary Club usually has about 20 players and sometimes fields two teams.   In the early years of the tournament, clubs in Branson, Lebanon, Bolivar and other cities participated, and some games were held in other cities.

Most of the revenue for the tournament  is from sponsors and club donations.   We're grateful to all the sponsors for their support even though we were not able to play.

Marc Mayer (second from left) chairs the Springfield Southeast Rotary Club Basketball Committee.
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District Governor-designee

The Rotary District 6080 Nominating Committee picked Springfield Southeast Past President John Horton as its designee for district governor in 2022 - 2023.  John was club president in 2010 - '11 and has been a club member since Jan. 24, 2002.

John founded the Don't Meth with Us program in Springfield after learning about a similar program of another club while he was at a Rotary International convention.   He is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow as well as a Rotary Benefactor.  He has also served as an assistant district governor.

John has played on our Rotary Club basketball teams for many years, is an avid golfer, and a passionate Kansas City Chiefs fan.  He founded and grew a successful information technology company, Layer 3 Technology.

Five other past presidents of Springfield Southeast Rotary Club have been district governors: Don Handley (governor in 1978 - '79); Mac McCartney ('84 - '85), Jerry Stiefvater ('90 - '91), Jim McLeod ('97 - '98), and Steve Montgomery ('09 - '10).

Congratulations, John, and best wishes as you spend the next two years preparing for your term as district governor!
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What "Rotary" Really Means

Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast 2017-'18 President Lori Barnes and 2018-'19 President Bill Squires discuss what people should know about Rotary and why it matters.