Monday, May 18, 2015

Family Support Center Receives Rotary Support

From left:  FSC board chair Kerry Prince, Roger Nelson,
Pdt. Janet and Chris Nelson
TODAY IN ROTARY we heard from social workers Chris and Roger Nelson about the Family Support Center and remembered our friend and fellow Rotarian Shar Heitkotter who was a strong supporter of the local non-profit children’s crisis and respite care nursery.

"She wasn't easy on us," noted Chris Nelson, speaking about her organization's former chairman of the board.  "But she was our biggest cheerleader and brought balance to our organization, always making certain we kept our finances in order and paid attention to the smallest details of our FSC operations."  Chris also noted Shar's favorite things to do included ringing the Salvation Army bell during the holidays, gift wrapping in the mall and providing company sponsorships wherever she worked - all in support of FSC.  

The Family Support Center, located at 310 W. 200 North in St. George, serves children, ages newborn to 11 years old on a first come, first-served basis or by appointment, although the organization's crisis nursery and emergency respite programs are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.  The Family Support Center, in a clean, safe homelike environment, provides parents with a little break, a little help and a little support in challenging times ... and provides children with fun, structured activities; nutritious meals and a place where they feel safe and comfortable.  

Their list of available services include a crisis nursery, respite, visitation exchange, resource and referrals, parent support, foster care and adoption support respite.  

A check in the amount of $424 was presented to the Nelson's.  These funds raised during April's Horseplay activities will be used to cover costs for drop-in childcare services for families in crisis.  In accepting the check, Roger and Chris noted they also need volunteers, board members and support for their fundraising events, including a mini-golf tournament generally held annually in April.

For more information, call 435-674-5133 or on the internet see 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Allred Makes Plea for Organ Donations

David Prisbrey and Brandon Staples, both sponsored by Jim Coleman with a classification of Escrow were inducted into SGR today bringing our total membership to 72 which means "more Rotarians, more service!"

Our program featured Roger Allred, one of SGR’s newest members, shared his amazing experience as a heart transplant recipient.  In 1996, he was in excellent health when he climbed Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the “lower 48” at 14,505 feet at the summit, with one of his three sons.  Two years later, he experienced a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or mini-stroke, which doctors determined was the result of a heart which was not beating hard enough and allowing blood to puddle in the life-giving organ.  His doctor recommended a pacemaker which sent a small electronic impulse to his heart “when it needed it to stay in rhythm,” but his medical team soon found out “my heart constantly needed to be paced.”

Roger noted his life in 1998 was a continuous round of “work, church and sitting on the couch” suffering from extreme fatigue, caused by cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart muscle (literally “heart muscle disease”). Doctors implanted an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) which would shock his heart back into rhythm, similar to the paddles used in hospitals,  if he were to experience ventricular tachycardia or “sudden death syndrome.”  “But, it wasn’t just a simple shock … it was as if someone had picked up a baseball bat and hit my chest as hard as they could,” said Roger.  It happened 11 times, but “I never knew when it would happen so I lived with that anxiety for about 5 years.” 

In April 2011 he was told, “you’re dying” because the doctors had done everything they could with drugs and devices.  Roger’s name was then added to the national transplant program list managed by UNOS (which now includes over 100,000 waiting for an organ donation) while doctors at Cedars-Sinai Hospital worked to keep him alive until an organ became available.  Only 18 days later, he received the heart of a 22-year-old man killed in an accident in Northern California.  He left the hospital with 17 prescriptions, but is now taking only two immunosuppressant drugs.  He also undergoes an angiogram every year to monitor his health.  To celebrate his "brand new life" Roger and all three of his sons climbed Mt. Whitney only 16 months after the transplant.

He closed his presentation with a plea for organ donation to provide others with “a brand new life” who would otherwise live a compromised life or die from a variety of diseases.  Roger's daughter created a touching video to promote organ donation.  See it online at or register to be an organ donor when renewing your driver’s license or by going to

Monday, May 4, 2015

4-Way Test Essay Contest Winners

From left:  Timothy Isom, Kristine Sewell, Kamille Finklea, Addilyn Walker, Emily Gomez, Ellie Coder, (back) Kristie Wheeler, Elle Melo, Jonathan Naylor, Sydney McCaul and WCSD Superintendent Larry Bergeson.

“It’s a good way to trick students into loving to write,” said Kristie Wheeler, 6th grade language arts teacher at Sunrise Ridge Intermediate School, speaking about St. George Rotary Club’s 10th annual 4-Way Test Essay Contest.  “And, its good for these kids to know someone thinks what they have to say is important.”

At the recent weekly meeting of the local service club, Wheeler and two other language arts teachers, parents and members of St. George Rotary Club heard the seven 1st and 2nd place winning essays in this year’s competition from among more than 300 entries this year. 

To participate, students in four intermediate schools in the Washington County School District were invited by Chairman Durant McArthur and his committee, to put their thoughts in writing about someone they know who best exemplifies Rotary’s 24-word test of ethics in all aspects of life:  is it the truth?  Is it fair to all concerned?  Will it build goodwill and better friendship?  Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Awarded a $50 first prize at Fossil Ridge Intermediate School is Addilyn Walker, daughter of Rachel and Jacob Walker, who wrote about her own father.  A second place prize of $25 went to Emily Gomez, daughter of Adriana and Rodrigo Gomez, who shared respect and admiration for her dance teacher.

At Lava Ridge Intermediate School, first place honors went to Jonathan Naylor, son of Merry Kay and Cordell Naylor, who wrote about his best friend. Sydney McCaul, daughter of Joe and Andria McCaul, was the second place recipient for her essay about her mom, who she said “is a perfect example of Rotary’s 4-way test.”

Ellie Coder, daughter of Shana and Zach Coder, a student at Sunrise Ridge Intermediate School, was recognized for her well-written thoughts about her mother who lives both the letter and the spirit of the 4-way test.  Also at Sunrise Ridge, Elle Melo, daughter of Katie and Iuri Melo, showered praise on her language arts teacher, whom she reports “works us hard because she loves us and wants us to succeed.”

Timothy Isom, the lone participant from Tonaquint Intermediate School, took home the 1st place award for his insightful essay about his father’s influence in teaching him the principle of honesty.

Language arts teachers in the WCSD, with at least a 30% participation in the contest, were also awarded $200 to use in whatever way the teacher deems appropriate.  Recipients included Kristie Wheeler from Sunrise Ridge Intermediate School with 100% participation among her students; Kristine Sewell from Fossil Ridge Intermediate School, who had 119 of her 139 students participate and called the exercise “an opportunity to have a little glimpse into their personal lives”; and Kamille Finklea from Lava Ridge Intermediate School, who noted, "sadly, for some of these children, finding a positive role model in their lives was the hardest part of this assignment."  

Monday, April 27, 2015

Know Yer Ro ... and More!

TODAY IN ROTARY was filled with introductions of visiting Rotarians, prospectives and guests; announcements, including the upcoming May 10 deadline to sign up for the District Conference in Mexico and news of the October 9-10 Dixie Rotary Car Show; and a good-hearted and service-minded seamstress from Provo who has made more than 200 dresses for little girls in 3rd world counties and shorts for little boys – about 50 scheduled for delivery and distribution to children in need in Puerto Penasco. 

With little time left to hear from new members, Know Yer Ro was scaled down from three speakers to one. 

Bryan Wheat, a resident of Washington County for about three years and on staff at the Washington County Attorney’s Office, grew up in Marsh Valley, ID.  His first time in Washington County was on a motorcycle tour through Zion National Park which he saw as “awesome!” but before he got here he worked in Washington DC where he spotted a stunningly beautiful young woman at the metro stop but didn’t approach her because he was convinced she wouldn’t be interested.  As it turns out, they met again in the laundry room of the apartment building where both resided while working as interns.  After they married, he attended the University of Idaho Law School and practiced for a short time in Dillon, MT before accepting a position in Washington County.  His law practice specialty is Real Estate and Water law and 1031 exchanges.  He and his wife have a baby girl.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

SGR Celebrates Spring

On a windy Friday, April 24 evening, members of SGR, a few from RRR and DSR, gathered at the home of Dan and Cindy Strobell to celebrate our membership in Rotary and to say goodbye to this year's nine Rotary exchange students before they return to their homes and families in countries around the world.

Taiga Ichikoa from Japan spent the school year supported by the Springville Rotary Club.  Antoine L'Hotis of France studied and lived among the members of the Bountiful Rotary Club.  Erik Lewis, a student in Cedar City, is from Sweden.  Javi Fuentes, of Chile, is finishing her school year supported by the Salt Lake Rotary Club.  Lucie Badenhorst from Switzerland, has enjoyed her time as the Rotary Exchange Student supported by the Ogden Rotary Club.  Alice Noce from Italy is living in Grantsville and supported by the Tooele Rotary Club.  Matt Molina from Brazil and Ari Madorell from Spain both represent the South Jordan Rotary Club.

The evening was filled with laughter, good food, basketball, volleyball and a little bit of swimming by those under 16 who were brave enough to take the plunge.  Still we had to run for cover a couple of times due to an occasional sprinkling of rain - much needed in our desert community.  Thanks to Janet for all her hard work in organizing the event and to all those who contributed to the pot luck dinner.

Monday, April 20, 2015

SGR Hears from Big Brothers / Big Sisters

TODAY IN ROTARY members of SGR heard from Cassie Ballering, Community Recruitment Coordinator with Big Brothers / Big Sisters of Washington County which has a vision for all children to achieve success in life.  The organization’s mission and purpose is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally support 1-to-1 relationships to change their lives for the better … forever!

The organization recruits volunteer “Bigs” for community based, school-based and workplace mentoring to provide children with role models who support their dreams and hopes for the future.  Volunteers, willing to make a commitment of no less than one year, are matched with an at-risk child for activities together, homework assistance and hosting children from nearby schools in the workplace.

Fundraising activities held locally include the recently held Bowl for Kids Sake event.  Still being planned for 2015 are the Mustache Dash and the Great Big Barn Party.  Ongoing fundraising activities include donation bins around the community to collect gently used clothing, shoes and household items which last year raised $2 million in the state of Utah.

Financial support and volunteers are still needed for more than 20 kids currently on a waiting list for a Big of their very own.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Joe Andrus and Family Healthcare

Joe Andrus, SGR’s newest member sponsored by Richard Isom and with a classification of Insurance Sales, was inducted today.  Joe brings our total membership to 68 + 6 Honorary members.  "More members, more service" means a better world!

TODAY IN ROTARY our speaker was Lori Wright, Director of the Family Healthcare Center.   She replaced former Rotarian Nancy Neff at the community-based and patient-directed non-profit organization facility which has provided comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services since 2002 to now more than 10,000 medically underserved residents, including vulnerable populations and others with limited access to health care.

According to Wright, approximately 55% of those they serve are below 100% of the national poverty level, but her organization also welcomes local residents who have insurance coverage but no medical home.  With 43 employees, the Family Healthcare Center provides services including family practice, treatment for mental health and chronic illness and other services “to keep patients out of the emergency room.”  The center also provides discounted medications and office visits for students in the Washington County School District for $10. 

Partners in their work include, but is not limited to, Intermountain Health Care, Washington County School District, the Association for Utah Family Healthcare Centers, the Utah Department of Health, SW Behavioral Health, the Doctors Volunteer Clinic, The Learning Center for Families, the Dove Center and Switchpoint.

Hours of operation at the St. George Clinic, 25 N. 100 East, Ste. 102, are Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  A clinic at Millcreek High School, and another in Hurricane, are both open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.