Tag Archives: Service Above Self

New Book Tells Goodman Brothers Impact on Community

–submitted by Linda Maremont; photo by Stacy Nemeth

Doug MoeDoug Moe, long-time Madison journalist, shared several anecdotes and points of interest gathered during his research for his new book, Good Men:  The Lives and Philanthropy of Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman.  When the Goodman Foundation Board approached Moe about writing the book, he acknowledged that he accepted with some trepidation.  The Goodman brothers were famously private throughout their lives and Moe had never personally met them.

Moe was able to interview 35 people who had known the Goodmans and shared some amusing stories about the rarely seen personal side of the brothers’ lives.  Irwin and Bob’s father came to America with $12.00.  After changing his surname from Gutmann to the anglicized Goodman, he joined his brothers to open Goodman Jewelers.  The State Street store opened in 1934 and Bob and Irwin ran the store together until they sold the store to the manager in 1998.  The brothers shared a passion for healthy living, sports, their business, their mother, each other, and their extraordinary devotion to philanthropy.

Their charitable works in the community were significant both in size and scope.  The local community can thank the Goodmans for sizeable donations which funded the city’s first public community pool, the UW women’s softball diamond, a Jewish community center campus in Verona, and the Goodman Community Center on the east side of Madison.

Moe’s presentation was followed by a number of comments by those who had personally experienced the kindness and generosity of the Goodman brothers.  Irwin and Bob clearly left an indelible mark on the community and Moe’s book provides engaging insight into the background of the men who impacted the lives of so many.

Rabbi Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award Program on November 12, 2014

–submitted by Donna Hurd; photos by Mike Engelberger

Club President Tim Stadelman (left) presenting award to Jonathan Gramling

Club President Tim Stadelman (left) presenting award to Jonathan Gramling

Jonathan Gramling was awarded the 2014 Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award, 32 years since its inception in 1982.

IMG_3317Patty Loew (pictured at left with Jonathan Gramling), a past recipient of the award and Mr. Gramling’s nominator, says of him “Jonathan Gramling has devoted his life to civil rights and promoting racial equity.  From volunteering on self-help projects benefitting African-Americans in the South, to fundraising for United Farm Workers in Madison to supporting Native people on environmental threats associated with mining.  Gramling’s service has been inspirational and exemplary.”


IMG_3248In remembrance of Rabbi Swarsensky, Rotarians and guests viewed the 2000 award-winning video production chronicling his life.  In addition, Rotarian Mario Mendoza (pictured at right) provided the club with excerpts of the November 22, 1967, address to the Rotary Club of Madison, entitled “Thanksgiving – Holiday or Holy Day.”  The address, by all accounts, is as relevant today as it was in 1967.  Paralleling the first Thanksgiving to that of 1967, Rabbi Swarsensky penned, “The work of the Pilgrims is no longer our world.  We could not go back to it, even if we wanted to.  But the recollection of the first Thanksgiving of 1621 can have meaning for us in 1967 [and 2014], if we learned again to be grateful for the simple things in life, which are the most priceless blessings: life and health, home and love and friendship, the privilege to give of ourselves and the determination to make our country and the work a better place so that our children and our children’s children may be proud of us, as we are proud of and grateful to those who have gone before us.”


Pictured above from left: Club President Tim Stadelman, Carol Toussaint, Mercile Lee, Sr. Mary David Walgebach, Sr. Joanne Kollasch, Melanie Ramey, Andy Davison and Mitch Javid

The Club was privileged to host 11 past recipients of the award: Sr. Mary David Walgenbach & Sr. Joanne Kollasch, Patty Loew, Richard Davis, Mitch Javid, Rotarian Carol Toussaint, Rotarian Bill Rock, Rotarian Andy Davison, Norval Bernhardt, Rotarian Melanie Ramey and Mercile Lee.


In addition, we were honored that Rabbi Swarsensky’s daughter, Sharon Swarsensky Bilow and her husband, Paul Bilow, were able to join us for this celebration.  They are pictured above with Jonathan Gramling.

The Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award was established in 1982 and identifies individuals who have, through their voluntary efforts, made a particularly outstanding contribution to the humanitarian service in the greater Madison community, in the tradition so well exemplified by the life of Rabbi Swarsensky.   The award-winning documentary video, “A Portrait:  Rabbi Manfred Swarsensky,” that was created and produced by Rotarian Dick Goldberg with assistance by Wisconsin Public Television, provides background on Manfred Swarsensky and can be viewed on YouTube, and the Rotary office also has a copy of the video for any member wishing to view it.

“It’s Never Too Late to Change”

–submitted by Mark Stover; photo by Pete Christianson

Leslie HowardKeynote speaker Leslie Ann Howard, President and CEO of United Way of Dane County, delivered this message to a full house at the 51st Annual Madison Area Service Clubs luncheon on Wednesday, October 15, at the Sheraton.

Evidence that Howard’s message of changing the human condition is not only possible but happening today in our community echoed throughout the program.

Bill Battista, winner of this year’s Ruth Gordon Service Award changed the human condition for children in the West Madison Little League.  During his involvement, the Little League has grown to encompass participation of over 700 boys and girls in baseball and softball.  Giving kids positive encouragement makes a big difference in their lives and the lives of people around them.

Christine Hodge, winner of this year’s Community Youth Volunteer Award is helping to change the human condition by her focus on children’s education.  She is founder and Director of the Mt. Zion Academic Learning Center which provides after-school tutorial support for all children in the church community and throughout the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Howard noted that “making change at scale” is often less expensive and creates greater measurable improvements in real people’s lives than many of the traditional ways of addressing social needs.  Howard cited data in three areas of the United Way’s recent work.

The initiative called Housing First seeks to insure that homelessness is addressed at its root: keep people in their homes in the first place.  Research shows that once a person enters a shelter they only have a 37% chance of leaving it – that is, getting out of a support situation.  Instead, a smaller investment providing short term support to keep people in their homes results in an 80% chance of long-term independence.

Similarly with people reintroduced to their neighborhoods from prison there is a 67% recidivism rate without intervention.  Journey Home, another United Way initiative, cuts that to less than 5% with an annual investment of $500 per program participant.  By comparison it costs $38,000 a year to keep an offender in prison.

Finally, parenting skills are critical to getting children off to a healthy start in life.  Low income participants in the Parent Child Home Program with only two years of involvement find their kids graduate from high school at that same rate as middle income kids do.

There’s a lot to be proud of among the service providers and service clubs of the Madison area.  CLICK to view Neil Heinen’s recent editorial, “Service Clubs Continue to Thrive in Madison.”

Our thanks to Leslie Howard for her presentation and to Brad Hutter and Kristine Mirelle for providing special music.

Highlights from 9th Annual Rotary Scholar-Mentor Picnic on July 13

–article submitted by Ellie Schatz; photos submitted by Noel Pearson and Ellie Schatz

On Sunday, July 13, nearly 80 Rotary scholars and mentors attended our 9th Annual Rotary Scholar-Mentor Picnic. The following photos don’t quite tell it all, but they give the flavor of a day filled with the excitement of shared goals and dreams, the bonding accomplished through conversation and caring, the comforts of an idyllic environment, good food, and people we are so lucky to have in our lives.


Upperclassman Patrick Mather shared the ropes of college with Austin Coppernoll, incoming freshman.


Club President Tim Stadelman heard of dreams and plans, like Sheikh Jammeh’s possibility of working and studying in the Galapagos Islands.


Cheryl Weston spent some quiet moments with Kiran Silwell as she prepares for her senior year.


Alan Rubio and Cristhian Hernandez talked about classes at Madison College (and soccer?).


Our hostess, Noel, never took a breather. When she wasn’t behind the scenes organizing food, chairs, etc., she was behind the camera capturing the fun and future that’s represented at her lakeside table. Thank you Noel and Dick Pearson.


Graduate scholar Chie Yang began a conversation about majors, graduation, graduate school and careers. Mentors reveled in hearing all the BIG ideas and plans.

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A picnic on the lake must include a boat or two?!  Brett Stratton helped Captain Dick bring the boat up for a very popular annual activity.  Seeing Madison from the lake adds new perspectives for many scholars.


New Rotarian Jason Hunt and scholar McKenna Crossen shared some get-acquainted time.

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The Kitchen Committee, as always, got a big heads up as do all the mentors for the delicious dishes, from chips and dips to cookies and pies. Terry Heinrichs, did you make that scrumptious raspberry pie yourself?

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It was a perfect day in a perfect setting. If this is “service above self,” we enjoyed living our Rotary motto.

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Photo Highlights and Video Clips from 2014 SummerPalooza

–submitted by Juli Aulik, Ellsworth Brown and Paul Riehemann

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It was picture perfect weather for our second annual SummerPalooza held on Saturday, June 14th on the Capitol Square.   We had 2007 people enjoy free admission to the Madison Children’s Museum and outside activities for children, including crafts, a bounce house and a dunk tank.  A parade around the Capitol Square started at noon, and we had 300 participants in the parade with 1000+ viewers.    Shown on the next page are photo highlights.  Our thanks to Steve Goldberg and Deb Gilpin for organizing this year’s event and to 45+ Rotary volunteers who helped make it another great event!

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From left: Steve Goldberg, Renee Moe, Deb Gilpin, Lester Pines, Regina Millner and Roberta Gassman

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Photo 1: Renee Moe with her children Nora and Nick; Photo 2: Tim Stadelman and Karen Kendrick-Hands

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From left: Deb Gilpin, James Tye, Michelle McGrath, Mike Kosolcharoen and Steve Goldberg

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(Photo 1: Tim Stadelman winding up for the pitch; Photos 2 & 3: Mike Kosolcharoen takes a dunk in the tank!)

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Dora Zuniga

Dora Zuniga


Dedication of Rotary Club of Madison Centennial Plaza on June 11

–submitted by Bob Dinndorf; photos by Valerie Johnson and Uriah Carpenter

Madison Rotary Square June 2014 3912 (1 Of 11)

Led by members of the Hiking Fellowship Group, Rotary Club of Madison members trekked from Inn on the Park to the Rotary Club of Madison Centennial Plaza (corners of Hamilton & Mifflin Streets) to witness a special moment capping the first Rotary century and inaugurating the second century. Club members participated in the official dedication of the Rotary Club of Madison’s Centennial Plaza.  John Bonsett-Veal and Uriah Carpenter arranged a creative aerial photo of Rotarians fresh from their post-lunch constitutional. This indisputable visual evidence of Rotary pride was summarized by Mayor Paul Soglin who read a proclamation commemorating June 11, 2014, as a day to celebrate Rotary and one of Madison’s newest landmarks.

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(Photo 1: Steve Goldberg addresses the gathering; Photo 2: Deb Gilpin reads a poem; Photo 3: Rotarians peering into the sky for a group photo [below])

Madison Rotary Square June 2014 3976 (3 Of 11)

Earlier at Inn on the Park, Steve Goldberg regaled the club with his now signature Palooza Pleaser, a song about the club’s summer spectacular. The 2014 SummerPalooza takes place Saturday, June 14 around Capitol Square and the Madison Children’s Museum.


Mayor Paul Sogilin reads the proclamation with Club President Renee Moe

Laura Peck, chair of the Plaza Project Committee, reviewed how the art installation developed. Deb Gilpin, Executive Director of the Madison Children’s Museum provided an introduction to the art piece, “Roads Diverge” which provides whimsical food for thought to plaza visitors. Deb expressed appreciation for the daily inspiration that the art provides. Finally, appreciation is extended again to Dave Ewanowski who chaired the initial 2008 Centennial Project Planning Committee and all Rotarians as well as friends of Rotarians who participated in celebration of the club’s 100 years past. Our brave march into the future continues.


Note from a Visiting Rotarian on June 11, 2014:
“Thanx for the warm hospitality shown by your club’s Rotarians. Today’s visit to the Rotary Club of Madison will always remain a memorable day in my life.   I am fortunate enough to be able to witness the centennial plaza dedication event. Yours is indeed a vibrant and unique club in the world.  May your club achieve still greater heights in the  forthcoming years.”

Yours in Rotary, PP KISHOR OSWAL, Rotary Club of PUNE FAR EAST India

Melanie Ramey Receives Joseph G. Werner Meritorious Service Award

–presented by Carol Toussaint, June 4, 2014


Club President Renee Moe (left) pictured here with Melanie Ramey

Club President Renee Moe (left) pictured here with Melanie Ramey

The 2014 Joseph G. Werner Meritorious Service Award is presented to Melanie Ramey for her extensive service to Rotary.

Joining the club in 1991, Melanie immediately signed on for committees, especially those that called for a tireless volunteer.   She brought humor and hard work to every task and seemed always ready for the next assignment.  She became a Rotary News reporter, managed the Sergeant at Arms position and was elected to the board of directors, then vice-president, president in 1998-99, followed by more service on the board of the Madison Rotary Foundation.  Her Rotary reach extended to leading the Ethics Symposium Committee and helping organize the first Ethics Symposium for high school students.  She is a mentor for Rotary scholars, an advocate for UW and Edgewood College students in Rotaract, helped secure funding from Rotary International Foundation to launch CECADE, the club’s signature international project, is active on the Orientation, Visitor Hospitality, Member Development Committees, and on and on.

There is also something special about Melanie and money.  There was a club auction held in 1994 to raise funds for community grants and youth awards.  President Alan Orenberg used words such as brash, forceful, persuasive to describe her auctioneering style, but he also praised Melanie for the $8000 added to the fund.  In 1998 at the start of her term as president, she inaugurated the system to pay forward on your birthday with the suggestion that each celebrant make a gift of one dollar for each year of age, rounded up to 100.  Succeeding presidents have not wanted to tamper with a sound money scheme and to date Melanie’s presidential year idea has averaged over $26,000 a year for a 15-year total of $402,021 to the Foundation from the birthday “tax”.

The Werner Award Committee also takes into consideration an individual’s work for community causes whether as a volunteer or professional.  In 2010, Melanie was nominated by our club and was selected by the Madison Area Service Club Council to receive the Ruth Gordon Service Award.  This award is given to honor an individual who, over time, has exemplified the concept of volunteer service for the betterment of the community.

In 2012, the club honored Melanie with the Manfred Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award and detailed many of her selfless acts in support of others.  Individuals and organizations needing an advocate seem to find Melanie or perhaps she finds them.  Those living in poverty, those in prison or any who are denied rights as citizens have seen that same forceful, persuasive, might I add, brash and effective style, put to work on their behalf.

In November 1974, nearly 40 years ago, club president Ted Long presented the first Werner award.  He told the club that the intention is not to provide a reward or incentive for Club efforts, but rather to maintain examples of the Rotary tradition of “Service above Self”.  It was a special moment for Ted.  Joe Werner had been his mentor at the law firm and his sponsor for Rotary membership.

Congratulations Melanie!

Congratulations Melanie!

It is also a special moment for me to congratulate a friend who becomes the 29th member of this club to receive the Joseph Werner award.  Melanie Ramey.

History of Joseph G. Werner Meritorious Service Award: In 1974, our club established the Joseph G. Werner Meritorious Service award as the club’s highest recognition for club service.  This award is granted by our Rotary Club in recognition of outstanding club service in the Rotary tradition of “Service Above Self.”  Joseph Werner was a committed Rotarian.  He chaired many significant committees, both before and after serving as club president in 1953-54.  He served as a district governor in 1958-59 and became the second member of this club to serve as director of Rotary International in 1969-71.  He later served Rotary International in many other positions, and two different RI Directors indicated that Joe was in line for president of Rotary International at the time of his death from cancer in 1973.  Joe was a truly committed Rotarian whose example of “Service Above Self” is memorialized in this award.