Around & About with Oshkosh Southwest Rotary




The Holidays are just about here and Oshkosh South West Rotarians have been as busy as certain elves are said to be this time of year.

The month of November closed out with a presentation from the Westside Association of Oshkosh. President of the Association, Connie Drexler, introduced Rotarians to what the Association does, where it’s been and where it’s going. Their mission is- To assist and encourage the growth and promotion of west side businesses and our community through: Involvement of our members in issues of growth and change such as economic development, roadway infrastructure, zone and planning; Education of our membership in regard to political issues affecting our businesses, community and state; Advancement of a consistent and positive image of the west side and our community; Organization’s support and involvement in community efforts to make Oshkosh a better place to live, work and play.

Our PAL school Roosevelt Elementary was involved in their annual canned food drive the week of 11/26-12/3. South West Rotarians try to help wherever they and supported this cause by making donations of can goods, with the help of Festival Foods. All the food collected was donated to the local food pantries in the area to make sure everyone has food on the table this holiday season. This year was another huge success. As always the children and families in our community made a huge impact for the Salvation Army Food Pantry in a time of great need. Roosevelt w/ PAL SW Rotary topped the list of most donations with 1,641! A total of 10,000 pound was donated.

Oshkosh Rotary Southwest partnered with several organizations for the annual “Boots for Kids” program. This is a wonderful program where children in need are partnered with high school students who take them shopping for winter boots that they would otherwise not receive. The goal was to contribute $500 to this program with Valley Christian School and Lourdes Academy service clubs sponsored by Oshkosh Rotary Southwest providing high school students to help the kids pick out their boots. A donation drive took place at the Westowne Culver’s on Tuesday, Nov. 27 as well. The 2018 edition of the Boots for Kids Project was a smashing success. Twenty six students in the Oshkosh Area School District and four who attend Catholic schools picked out a pair of winter boots with the help of a high school student.

A kick off to the Holiday Season with Southwest Rotary took place on November 29 at Oblio’s where all tips were donated to Rotary. Rotary friends, Mens’ Club and Rotarians helped to contribute to the $809 that was raised! Thank you to an anonymous donor, who gave $500 to support the good work that Rotary does in Oshkosh!

The December 5th presentation was by John Gillespie of Rawhide Boys Ranch. In 1965, John and Jan Gillespie had an idea to help at-risk youth and their families by introducing moral values, academics, and work experience in their lives. In need of a major endorsement, John and Jan contacted NFL champion Bart Starr, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, which is how Bart Starr became a large part of Rawhide history. Bart and his wife Cherry showed interest in the idea of a ranch that helped troubled teens and decided to support John and Jan, allowing them to purchase a 714-acre parcel of property along the scenic Wolf River in New London, Wisconsin. That same year, John and Jan were able to help eight young men; and Rawhide was born. Thank you, John!

The December 12th presentation was given byDick Knapinski, EAA’s director of communications and a staff member for the past 25 years. Dick provided highlights of 2018 Airventure and what’s happening at EAA in 2019 for the 50th anniversary of the event in Oshkosh. Thank you, Dick!

South West Rotarians are volunteering at Oshkosh Celebration of Lights on Thurs. Dec 20. Stop down to see the beautiful light display and bring a non-perishable food donation.

Join Oshkosh South West Rotary for a fun night of bowling while raising money for local projects in the community, as well as enjoying time with family and friends. Choose to bowl with your friends, or bring your family along for a great night of bowling. January 25th from 5-9 at Rev’s Bowl and Grill. Snacks and prizes included, as well as a Cash Bar. Cost is $25/person or $50/family of 4. To sign up contact for the details. See you there!

Visit the South West Rotary booth at the Oshkosh Chamber Business Expo on January 31 where we’ll be doing a membership drive. You can find out more about Rotary and join us for a future meeting.

Stay tuned for info on a new event, ‘Mac & Brew Fest’ taking place April 13, which will pair everyone’s favorite mac and cheese with locally brewed beers. There will be entertainment as well. This event will benefit the Rotary Arboretum in Winnebago County Community Park as well as other environmental and community projects throughout the Oshkosh area.

Meetings are held weekly at the Best Western Waterfront Premier Hotel at noon on Wednesdays. For all the latest info visit



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