Welcome to our Club!
Holmen Area

Service Above Self

We meet In Person
Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
Hybrid Meeting- Via ZOOM or in person at the Holmen Community Center
600 N. Holmen Drive, Suite 200
P.O. Box 661
Holmen, WI 54636
United States of America
Students of the Month
Dec 01, 2021 7:00 AM
Celebration for December Students of the Month
Club Assembly
Dec 08, 2021
Virtual meeting only
Bridget Pfaff - Gunderson Health Systems
Dec 15, 2021 7:00 AM
Covid 19 Update
November 2021
Facebook Link
Club Officers & Directors
President Elect
President Elect Nominee
Membership & Social Co-Chair
Vocational Committee Chair
International Committee Chair
Past President
Membership & Social Co-Chair
Programs & Public Image Chair
Fundraising Committee Chair
Community Service Chair
The Rotary Foundation
Youth Exchange Officer
Youth Protection Officer
Youth Exchange Counselor
 Holmen Area Rotary Club
Home Page Stories
Last year was such a success that the Holmen Area Rotary Club will be  holding the Holidays in the Park Fundraiser again this fall! All the decorated and lit holiday trees are spectacular, making it a must see for the family. The  club will be setting out 75 trees in Halfway Creek Park this year and for a measly $100 donation, you can show off your tree decorating skill. Folks can vote on their favorite tree and the tree with the most votes wins. The contest is open to businesses, organizations and individuals.  It is a great way to get your business or organization's name in front of the community and can become a teambuilding event for the employees or a fun  activity for the family .  Trees will be ready to decorate November 20th  with an opening ceremony and initial tree lighting Saturday December 4th at 4:00 PM. The winner in each class will have a $250 donation made to the Boys and Girls Club in their name.  Trees can be purchased online at https://harc-holidays-in-the-park.eventbrite.com/  and votes can be cast via Venmo anytime or at the park from 4-6:30pm  weekends Dec 4, 5 , 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19.    
The Holmen Area Rotary Club (HARC) is looking for students interested in living abroad for a year. The La Crosse Area Rotary Clubs have sponsored dozens of students over the years. These students have enjoyed a unique experience of attending high school while living in another country. The Rotary International exchange program involves over 10,000 high school students living nearly a year abroad. This is a life changing experience and many say it has been the best year of their life. The Holmen Area Rotary Club has sponsored at least one outbound and inbound student a year until the program was suspended due to Covid. The program is being restarted and HARC plans to sponsor a School District of Holmen student for the 2022-23 school year. If you know of a student that might be interested, they and their parents should attend the informational meeting being held Wednesday September 22nd at 6:30 PM at the Children's Museum of La Crosse, 207 5th Ave. South, La Crosse. Students should be sophomore to senior at the time of application and 16-181/2 when they depart for their assigned country. Freshmen students are encouraged to attend to learn about the program. For more info go to http://www.csrye.org or contact Jamie Schloegel at 608-304-7489
At today's Holmen Area Rotary Club meeting, four new members were inducted into the club. A very warm welcome to Bill Katra, Lisa Fisher, Kim Clark and Bret Gullicksrud! I feel good things gonna be happening!
The last items up for bid at the 2021 Holmen Area Rotary Club Service Auction were a series of hats with the Boys and Girls Club logo on them. All proceeds from the sale of these hats was specifically designated to go towards scholarships to the Holmen Boys and Girls Club. Generous folks at the auction ponied up a total of $4250 for these 9 hats. The BNG club never turns any child away and these funds will help defray the cost of serving those children in need. Accepting the check from Holmen Rotary President Kathy Reinolt and Service Auction Chair Judy McHugh is Boys and Girls Club representative Brett Gullicksrud.
The Rotary 'Avenues of Service' Dinner dinner was held last night at the La Crescent Event Center after a taking a year off due to Covid. The dinner is an annual get together of the nine Rotary Clubs from the Coulee Region that make up the Rotary Works Foundation- La Crosse. The Rotary Works Foundation creates grants to help fund local club initiatives. The dinner is also a vehicle to reflect on the past year and recognize outstanding achievements amongst the nine clubs. This year the program was extra long as winners from the past two years were announced. For 2019-2020 the Holmen Area Rotary Club dominated the awards with 3 out of 5 Service Awards, a Rising Star and Lifetime Achievement Award. The Awards were; For Club Service- 'Battle of the Beards' accepted by Art Lyons, Community Service Award - 'Better Sleep and Better Education' (aka Bed Build) accepted by Adam Fleis, Vocational Service - 'Student of the Month' accepted by Peg Knobloch , Rising Star - Bob Buck, Lifetime Achievement - Scott Ryan.
The Holmen Area Rotary Club busted out the Rotary Big Wheel float and marched in the 2021 Holmen Kornfest Parade. The club members handed out candy for the kids and membership literature to mom and dad. It was a blast to walk with all the other Holmen area businesses, scouts and clubs while listening to the local marching bands. 
District Governor Karen Hebert attended our meeting on August 4th. Karen was just the 2nd woman to be a member of the Chippewa Falls Rotary Club when she joined Rotary. She is very excited to serve as District Governor for District 6250 for the 2021-2022 Rotary Year. Karen's message focused on a commitment to service and service above self. In addtion, Karen spoke about members committing to Foundation giving and growing membership through each one bring one.
THANK YOU! to all that came out to the Holmen Area Rotary Club's Service Auction last evening. If you missed it and discovered how much fun it was, you would be bummed. There was lots of laughter, great food, fellowship and plenty of excitement throughout the evening. The Auction raised money that will allow HARC to continue to serve the community and humanity. Money was also raised specifically for scholarships to the Holmen Area Boys and Girls Club. I am humbled by the generous, caring spirit of the people from the Coulee Region. Thank You again and hope to see you next year!
Wednesday Night was a make up Holmen Area Rotary Club Annual Dinner and a changing of the guard event all wrapped up into a wonderful picnic at Halfway Creek Park in Holmen. Club awards are normally handed out at the club's Annual Dinner in February but was missed due to Covid. A very deserving Vicki Lyons received the Rotarian of the Year award. She saved our club during Covid by taking on the technical challenges of meeting online. Even setting up a virtual auction site so the club could still have their Annual Service Auction last year. Thanks Vicki! Three Paul Harris Awards were given out. Judy McHugh donated her points this year to Gerry Knobloch for his hard work with the community garden and Bob Buck for his help with Fundraising. Bob Buck was again awarded this year through his contributions to the Rotary Foundation.
The night was bittersweet as outgoing President Tom Knobloch relinquished the club gavel to incoming President Kathy Reinolt. Tom spoke about the year's accomplishments and how the club was able to thrive, even during the pandemic. Kathy talked about the future and how the club will continue their commitment to the Boys and Girls club and Community Center and also work on other initiatives to help the community and the world. Thank You Tom! And welcome Kathy! It's gonna be a great year.
Today's Holmen Area Rotary Club meeting featured David Inmam from Water Mission. South Carolina based Water Mission is a non-profit organization that facilitates the production of clean water in 3rd world countries. Their activities include assessment, planning and construction of new water systems but also supplying clean water and their services as emergency response during natural disasters. The organization strives to create sustainable projects by assessing the community and their needs, establishing and training key community leaders and monitoring and following up after the installation. A major initiative is to also train the community in WASH (Water and Sanitation and Hygiene) methods to promote safe hygiene behavior. Water Mission projects have effected the lives of over 7 million people. To carry out their work they employ 350 staff members throughout the world. Water Mission has been given 4 out of 4 stars for the past 13 years from Charity Navigator. Water Mission works with many charitable organizations to help fund water projects. The Holmen Area Rotary Club has made a difference by helping fund 5 of their Peru projects in the past 13 years. Thank you David and Water Mission for allowing the Holmen Community to make a difference in the world!
The Holmen Area Rotary Club recently acknowledged the generosity of certain members. Peg Knobloch, TK (Tom Knobloch) and Nancy McHugh received Paul Harris Foundation Awards. Paul Harris founded Rotary back at the turn of the 20th century. The resulting Rotary Foundation funds many humanitarian and educational programs throughout the world Folks who provide significant funding to the Rotary Foundation are recognized with a Paul Harris Award. Each Paul Harris represents a commitment of at least $1000. And these individuals are repeat Paul Harris winners- Peg at 2x, TK at 3x and Nancy at 5x. Congratulations and Thank You!
Holidays in the Park inaugural year was a smashing success! Out of 52 trees set up, 48 were purchased and decorated. Initially designed as a Covid safe way to connect the community and raise some funds the consensus from the public has been that it needs to be done again next year.
All the trees looked awesome and there are some real creative decorators out there.  Funds raised will go to the new Holmen Boys and Girls Club. The trees were broken into three categories, Organizations, Businesses and Families. Votes were gathered from the beginning of December until New Years.
The winners are!
Organization- PCCW (Parish Council of Catholic Women)
Business- Triple L Cleaning
Family- Berget Moss Families
The Holmen Area Rotary Club is having their inaugural Holidays In The Park Christmas Tree decorating contest . Businesses, Organizations and Individuals can purchase a tree to decorate. The trees will be set up in Holmen's Halfway Creek Park and will be on display from December 4th to the 31st. Viewers can vote for their favorite trees and the Business, Organization and Individual with the most votes will be awarded a significant donation made to the Holmen Boys and Girls Club in their name.  Each vote costs $1 and can be done in person at the Park during the event's operating hours or at any time via the Bid Beacon App - https://app.bidbeacon.com/invite/#QS47RE . All proceeds go to benefit the Holmen Area Boys and Girls Club. 
Get in on the fun! Sponsoring a tree to decorate is only $100.  If you would like to compete you can buy a tree at https://app.bidbeacon.com/invite/#QS47RE . Or contact a HARC member at  holmenrotary@gmail.com to get signed up. For more info on rules and dates go to page/holidays-in-the-park
A Paul Harris Fellow is a award through Rotary that goes to a Rotarian who has contributed at least $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation and it’s humanitarian projects.  The award can also be presented to a community member, Rotarian or non-Rotarian, who has helped to improve the community through their service and action. Three members of the Holmen Community were recognized with Paul Harris Fellow Awards this fall by Holmen Area Rotary Club members for their significant contributions in making our community better and brighter. These three individuals are Laurie Kessler, Sharon McHugh and Patty Barge. 
Click on 'Read More' to find out about these amazing recipients and how they have affected our community - 
The bed building project has been completed. Thursday October 8th,  Alex Goodman and Adam Fleis delivered the remaining beds to their intended recipients.  The excitement from the Children and Family’s when they showed up was incredible. The euphoria of giving fills a void that is so desperately needed right now.  
The Holmen Area Rotary Club started this project the middle of last year. The School District of Holmen identified children in need of a bed and provided this list to the Holmen Area Rotary Club. The club stepped up and using club manpower, donated funds, materials and district grants to provide a total of 42 beds for those community children in need. The beds were a mix of bunk, twin and queen size beds depending on the need. Queen size beds were required in some instances where the room size did not allow two twin beds. Each bed included a custom built headboard, frame, new box spring and mattress combo, linens, blanket and a pillow.  A special thank you to those area vendors that helped with the effort -  to the folks at King Furniture in Holmen for supplying the box springs and mattresses at their cost, for Ameridown and Beer By Bike Brigade for providing the pillows and Wisconsin Building Supply for a portion of the lumber used for the headboards.  The special Rotary emblem was burned into the headboards by Tulips and Treasures out of Arcadia.
Though the initial project has been completed, the need continues and HARC will revisit this issue in the coming months and assess where it can help. 
The Holmen Area Rotary Club took advantage of the sunny weekend weather and spent Saturday morning picking up trash along Holmen Drive. Twice a year, the HARC comes out and picks up litter along route 35 from the 53 interchange, south to Schnick road. The Holmen High School Interact Club also showed up in force and we were done in no time. Thank you to all who took time out of their weekend to make Holmen a better place!
The Holmen Area Rotary Club put together a small team to build beds. The beds consist of a unique headboard, frame, new mattress, bedding and a pillow. The beds are destined for children in the Holmen area that do not have one. The list of those in need is provided by the
School District of Holmen. Delivery date for the beds is yet to be determined.
The Holmen Area Rotary Club was glad to host Rotary District 6250 Governor Bill Pritchard at their August 12th meeting. Bill is a Holmen native and this was his 285th club visit. Bill went on to explain the theme for the year "Rotary Opens Opportunities". With today's Covid challenges we have been forced to change how we do things. This has not been all bad. Take the ZOOM meeting for instance, Rotary meetings are now accessible to folks that weren't able to make it before. Even holding room and ZOOM hybrid meetings open the door to new participants. Membership has still remained strong and increased in some ways. Dealing with the virus has made us become more creative in solving problems, like how the HARC Service Auction went from a room full of people to an online format. His suggestion was to now dust off the club's strategic plan and ask; "Why do we exist?" and " What do you do?" given the changing environment. Bill also talked about After Hours member David Knutson, who was the ultimate Rotarian. David would not say no whenever the need for serve arose He believed that saying YES to service leads to a happy life. Bill had asked all the clubs in the district to identify the member that most exemplified David's Rotary spirit. HARC's Executive committee chose Scott Ryan as the YES recipient. Scott generously donates his time, was a past president, is uber involved in the youth exchange program, RYLA and Interact. Scott received a plaque with the Ben Franklin quote " What good shall I do this day?" Congratulations Scott! A well deserved honor.
It's Auction Time!
Bidding opens up July 6th
The Holmen Area Rotary Club is hosting their 12th annual Service Auction. Club members donate unique services or items to auction off. The funds raised go to help the club perform service to the community, the region and internationally. This year, due to Covid, the auction is being held online starting July 6th and ending on July 23rd with a Live You Tube Channel event. A new addition this year is a dedicated 50/50 drawing. The tickets are $100 and limited to the first 200 sold. You can win 1/2 of the pot, with the other 1/2 going to support the Boys and Girls Club of La Crosse - Holmen . This year's service offerings include In Home Foot Care, a personal River Cruise, Genealogy Research,  Wine and Chocolate, Car Care and many others. Unique items up for bid include a Leather Harley Jacket, Art Glass,  Nature Prints, Gourmet Bacon and many other unique items. And of course the delicious cakes will be there to bid on! Participation is easy. All you have to do is click on the following link and sign up for our auction with Bid Beacon. https://app.bidbeacon.com/invite/#M7JJ3T
The Rotary year is coming to an end and it is time to transfer the gavel to the new president. At Wednesday's online Holmen Area Rotary Club meeting, outgoing Club President Art Lyons reflected on a very busy, productive and tumultuous year. Highlights include bed building, working the thanksgiving dinner, commitment to Boys and Girls Club/Community Center, Rotary Lights, Holmen Community Garden, the new Holmen police dog, Holmen High School student support through scholarships, student of the month and STRIVE, Bea our foreign exchange student from Brazil and the monthly food/supplies drives along with many other initiatives. The club took on a totally new fundraiser with the successful Battle of the Beards Fundraiser. And then throw in the last 3-4 months dealing with the Covid crisis and how the club came together within a week of not being able to meet and establishing a regular online ZOOM meeting that still draws a crowd.  Art also made it a mission to improve the club's transparency by creating a written policy manual and make all past club documents available on Club Runner. Thank you! Art for your enthusiastic, positive and strong leadership. Incoming President elect Thomas Knobloch (A.K.A. TK) accepted the virtual gavel and spoke about keeping the momentum going and to leverage our club 's strengths with neighboring clubs to enlarge our ability to service the area. Welcome TK!
At Wednesday's March 4th HARC meeting a check for $6000 was presented to the Holmen Police Department to help pay for incoming K-9 Officer Halo and a portion of his training. Present were Officer Terry Kind, Officer Aaron Hintz, Lieutenant Erich Zwicker, Village of Holmen Administrator Scott Heinig and Past Holman Area Rotary Club President Barry Ploessl. Thank You! to the Holmen Police Department and their service to our community.
Unfortunately due to Covid19, HARC's Annual Service Auction Fundraiser has been postponed. The popular fundraising event originally was scheduled for March 26th. The new date has not been determined but will be announced once it can be verified.
Holmen Rotary Club President Art Lyons and his tech guru wife Vicki quickly put together a Zoom meeting last night so our weekly meeting could be still held in light of the new 10 person max for in-person gatherings. 20 of our 38 members attended. We will continue to meet weekly online in the near term to continue our Rotary fellowship and determine how we can best continue to serve in our comminty. Contact us if you are interested in Rotary and would like to join us for one of our online meetings. 
The Holmen High School Rotary Interact Club recently donated $2500 of their hard earned funds to the New Holmen Boys and Girls Club. According to Club Member Lizzie Pfaff in a recent Visions article, " We are so excited as a club focused on volunteering and community development to be donating to a place as amazing as the Boys and Girls Club. Both organizations have a very similar mission for their students and participants—we want all kids to feel appreciated in a safe space for them to learn and grow." You can read the whole article at-https://www.holmen.k12.wi.us/cms_files/resources/Visions%20Feb%20Mar%202020%20FINAL.pdf?fbclid=IwAR04uDigslkcZsVMiB57mIgB_geMU5OlC0yJ_3BvQmSHi0_vYvfcsNIE_sE
Saturday February 8th was Holmen Area Rotary Club's Annual Dinner at Drugan's. It is an annual event, where the club gets together, socializes, has a meal, reflects on the year's achievements, honors the youth exchange host families and recognize individual achievement. Congratulations Judy McHugh for being awarded HARC's 2019 Rotarian of the Year!
The Holmen Area Rotary Club was successful with their inaugural Battle of the Beards fundraiser Saturday night November 30th. A great crowd came out to the Pearl Street Brewery despite the weather and enthusiastically cheered on the contestants as they put their best face forward. There were some fantastic beards competing and the judges had a tough time distilling the groups to just the top three in each category.  Here are the winners, first, second and third:
Full Long Beard: Shaun Hanson, Dan Callahan, Duncan Beard
Partial Beard: Andrew Mattson, Cliff Hendrick,  Jim Spencer
Full Short Beard: Randy Dewhirst, Patrick Mc Hue, Ben Nugent
Fake Beard: Jenn Luedke, Terrel Schaefer, Kathy Weitekamp
No Shave November Beard: Jon Mc Kenzie, Matt Boshcka, Steve O'Malley
Styled Beard: Joe Weitekamp
Peoples Choice: Randy Dewhirst, Joe Heimann, Duncan Beard
The Rotarian No Shave November Award was taken away by Jon McKenzie. This traveling trophy is for the best No Shave November sported by a Rotarian. The challenge is on- Jon will have to bring the trophy back and defend his title next year. I'll be eating fertilizer for a year so I can take it away from him next November. 
Congratulations to all the winners! 
There was plenty of activity with the contest going on, 50/50 raffles, bucket raffles, peoples choice voting and beard tips from two National and World beard champions. If you missed it this year you have almost a year to get your beard on. We will host another raucous evening on Nov 28th, 2020. For more info go to https://battleofthebeardswi.com/ 
This year the Holmen Area Rotary Club joined the Onalaska Rotary Clubs in their annual free thanksgiving dinner at the Armory. HARC members helped with the meal and coordinated a limo-bus shuttle (donated by Town n' Country Title) to take Holmen residents from the Holmen American Legion to the Armory and back. We enjoyed meeting all the people in the Onalaska/Holmen area who came . Holmen Rotarians Judy, Art, and Vicki (and many others who served) had a great time! A big thank you! to all that helped, Town and Country Title and those that came out to dine with others on this thanksgiving.
Saturday November 2nd was an incredible day. So many things going on. The Holmen Area Rotary Club members were all spread out across the coulee region making this area an amazing place to live. This is only one of 3 things going on this day. We may only be 35 member strong but we sure know how to work. We are proud to make an impact in our community!!!!!
Our members participated in the IFEED event and turned out many meals locally and internationally! Way to go La Crosse Area Rotary's.
'2 little monkeys , jumping on the bed' - Well, first you have to have a bed! The Holmen Area Rotary Club was doing their part in putting together beds for children that currently have no bed to sleep in. The Holmen School District identified those children in need and Rotary responded. The beds come with custom headboard, mattress and box spring, pillows and bedding. The materials and funds to pull it off came from donations, Wisconsin Building Supply, Holmen Rotary Funds, a Rotary Foundation grant and Holmen's Hope.Just a preview of our incredible day! On Saturday, a Rotary crew delivered 19 beds to families in the Holmen school district!  The tears of joy, the hugs, high fives and genuine gratitude was amazing! 
Capping off an amazing day of giving!!! Beds for kids who don't have them, Food for people who need it! Now to brag about impacting people today and for future generations! Today we are finally able to announce our support for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse. We are committing to $50,000 of support to our community! This is our biggest reach yet! We are proud and We are humbled. We Are Holmen Area Rotary!!!
The Holmen Area Rotary Club is glad to announce its inaugural Battle of the Beards Wisconsin competition event for people with beards and mustaches, raising funds for Coulee Region Community needs. Contestants go chin to chin to win the best beard or mustache. Multiple categories make up this event with full long, full short, partial beard, mustache, styled beard and peoples’ choice. Ladies and the beardless can be involved as part of the 'fake beard' category! The event happens on November 30th in conjunction with No-Shave November for men's cancer awareness. This is a unique event for the Coulee Region and has already garnered a ton of interest. We expect 70 contestants and about 350 people to attend at the Pearl Street Brewery on November 30th 2019 from 5-9 PM located in the former Rubber Mills at 1401 Andrews Street, La Crosse, WI. Information, tickets and registration for the Battle of the Beards Wisconsin can be found at https://battleofthebeardswi.com/
Get involved in support of our community!
Low air in your bike tires got you huffin' and puffin? Don't despair. Now you can pump them with air at Holmen's new bike repair stations. The Holmen Area Rotary Club has donated 2 self contained repair stations that have recently been installed in the Village of Holmen parks. Each stand features an air pump with gauge, bike stand, screwdrivers, metric hex wrenches and special open end wrenches to fix most ride related maladies. One has been installed at the start of the Half-way Creek bicycle trail, right behind the Holmen Library and the other one has been installed in Deerwood Park next to the ball diamonds. Ride On!
Today, September 25th,  the Holmen Area Rotary Club received a Rotary Foundation grant of $5000 towards their bed project. The School District of Holmen has identified 35 children in the district in need of a bed to sleep in. HARC, with the help of Wisconsin Building Supply are planning to build the required bed frames. To complete the project with mattresses and bedding, money from the grant along with donations from Holmen's Hope and others will allow the project to be completed. A bed building day will be announced in the near future. Accepting the grant from Rotary Foundation members Liz Evans and Laura Milner are HARC members Alex Goodman and Adam Fleis. 
The Holmen Area Rotary Club recently received 2 awards at the Avenues of Service Dinner at the new La Crescent Area Event Center last Tuesday evening. Every year, the nine regional La Crosse Area Rotary Clubs get together and acknowledge the clubs in the area that have created programs that have excelled at moving Rotary's goals forward. Holmen Area Rotary was awarded the Club Service trophy for their successful Service Auction and another trophy for Vocational Service with their STRIVE student mentoring program. Judy McHugh, fundraising chair accepted the award for the Service Auction and Scott Ryan, Youth Coordinator accepted the trophy for STRIVE. The individual club Rotarian of the Year Award recipients were also honored. Holmen's own Scott Marshall was present for the tribute. Thank you! to the members that have put in the time and effort to create these most excellent award winning programs.
The August 17th Holmen Kornfest Parade was a blast. HARC busted out the spinning wheel float sporting new paint (thanks Scott and Kathy!) and banners. There had to be a few thousand people lining the parade route. A couple of bushels of candy were handed out to the kids. (couldn't throw it this year sad ). This slowed down the walkers that then had to do a Kornfest 1.5K fun run to get back to the float and restock. The kids were like piranha - give one piece out and you were swarmed by others wanting some too. And you didn't want to disappoint any. Along the route hairy faced folk were accosted with Battle of the Beards information for HARCs upcoming beard fest November 30th.
Info on the Holmen Community Garden was passed out to get people interested in coming out. Best time too, as the harvest is peaking. At the end of the parade route both the candy and the parade walkers were totally exhausted. A really fun event, with smiles and laughs all around.
At the July 17th HARC meeting, the club met this year's Short Term Exchange Students. The Rotary Short term exchange program joins interested youth in a low intensity exchange situation that is part vacation-part education. The student is paired up with another individual from a distant country. The home student's family hosts the distant student for 3-4 weeks and then the home student travels to the distant student's home for 3-4 weeks. Students have a chance to share their culture and also learn about how other people around the world live, work and play. The Short Term Exchange Program gives the students a little taste of what the year long Youth Exchange Program may be like. Programs like this make the world smaller with every exchange.
This years participants are Holmen Interacters Hailey Bruegger and Chloe Lichucki who are sharing their homes with Laia Aibar Vidal from Miranda de Ebro Spain and Maria Blanco from Barcelona Spain. They were coming to the end of the home visit and would be traveling soon to Spain for the second portion of the program. Their description of what they had done the past couple of weeks sounded like a version of Ferris Buehlers Day Off, with lots to do and plenty of adventure. Welcome to America Laia and Maria!
At today's HARC meeting we said so long to Kajus Bjorkroth, the club's 2018-2019 inbound youth exchange student. Kajus has been with us here in the states for almost 11 months. Kajus will be heading to Grand Rapids over the weekend to a gathering of all inbound and next semester's outbound students. Then it is back to Pargas Finland to see if his folks will still recognize him. We are all much richer to have experienced Kajus's fun loving wit and stoic Nordic presence. We wish him well and safe travels!
A short video of a recent Clean Water project in Peru. Holmen Rotary participated with Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch and several other clubs to help bring clean, safe water to this community. Please check out the video to see how a small amount of money from our club helped make a big difference in the lives of the 100 families in Ivan Vasquez community. It's well worth the 90 seconds out of your day.
The Holmen Area Rotary Club's April 4th Thursday Night Service Auction was unforgettable! Dynamic MC Dustin Luecke and fast talking Auctioneer Alex Goodman kept every one on the edge of their chairs and the laughs coming as they peddled the unique services the club was offering. For the live auction, members offered everything from a summer of lawn mowing, sailboat excursions, plane rides, meals on wheels, custom jewelry, custom smoked meats, paddlewheel party packages, internet marketing service, signed football helmet, car cleaning, Limo Service  to a whiskey and cigar extravaganza. The  Gourmet Cakes did not disappoint this year and were deeelicious!
There were plenty of activities besides the live auction to keep folks occupied. 20 bucks bought you 20 chances to win one of the many interesting and valuable baskets.  Or for just 20 bucks you could have won over $1300 in Holmen Business gift certificates. For a measly $10 bucks you had 7 chances to throw a ring over a bottle of Dom or MGD, depending on your skill (or luck). And for $5 you could get into a 50/50 raffle to win a quick $130. The food was fantastic and plentiful and the drinks cold and tasty.  The live auction ended by selling handmade friendship bracelets created by Justin Bodin. All proceeds from the bracelet sale will go to Casa Hogar Orphanage in Peru. Thank you to all that came out and supported the Holmen Area Rotary Club! We hope to see you next year! If you could not make it this year you missed a very fun event. We hope to see you too! 
Saturday night, February 9th,  Holmen Area Rotary Club members got together at Drugan's Castle Mound to break bread and reflect on the past years achievements and listen to future plans for the club. Barry Ploessl stood before the crowd and listed the year's many efforts and also put out a challenge to provide significant support for the proposed Holmen Community Center.
Scott Marshall was voted as the Rotarian of the Year. Scott has been active with the Holmen Community Garden and also providing a good story and a welcome laugh at the weekly club gatherings. Congratulations Scott!
Incoming President Art Lyons spoke about his plans to continue the successful programs but to also look at new opportunities for the club.
Wednesday's HARC meeting was a treat with Sami Helgeson stopping by to update the club on her activities since being a Rotary Exchange student. Sami was drawn to the Holmen High School Rotary Interact Club with their "Service Above Self" message. She was accepted as the 2014-2015 outgoing Holmen Area Foreign Exchange Student and spent almost a year living with a host family and attending school in Indonesia. Sami is now attending University of Denver, working towards a double major in Environmental Science and International Studies.  Sami has been very active, volunteering for PlatteForum, Charles Hay World School PTSA and DU Public Achievement, an internship at the EPA, participating in the Pioneer Leadership Program - University of Denver and involved with food resource programs Plates for the Planet and Food Recovery at DU. 
As part of her studies, Sami has participated in the University's Study Abroad program, learning Arabic and spending the last semester living in Amman Jordan in the Middle East. There she was embedded into the community, living with a host family and experiencing the culture. She witnessed first hand the effects of over a million Syrian refugees and the humanitarian issues that ensue. As part of the experience, Sami traveled to the United Nations European Offices in Switzerland and met with representatives of front line NGOs like Doctors Without Borders. She was able to use her environmental sciences knowledge through an internship at Queen Rania Family and Child Center, working on an agricultural curriculum for their educational greenhouse. 
Sami's future goals are to graduate in 2020 and then apply to the Peace Corps. Sami attributes her global mindset to the opportunities offered by Rotary. Rotary International states "Rotary’s programs are developing the next generation of leaders, providing funding to make the world a better place, and making peace a priority." I think they succeeded here.
iFeed November 3rd 2018 - Team HARC helped fill 101,088 meals that are on their way to Nicaragua to feed hungry children. Over 35,000 food items were collected to fill the shelves at local food pantries thriough the Hunger Task Force. Way to go Team HARC! 
The Holmen Area Rotary Club recently donated Festival Foods Gift cards so that 10 families in New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Centers' program could have a Thanksgiving meal. If you are not familiar with New Horizon's , check them out at http://www.nhagainstabuse.org/.  They are on the front line in the fight against domestic and sexual abuse in the La Crosse area. New Horizons provides shelter and services to a seven county (population 238,236) area in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Shelter is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to provide emergency shelter and food to victims of domestic violence and their children. Along with the physical needs, New Horizon's also provides ongoing counseling and advocacy programs. In 2017 they fielded over 2500 calls to their crisis line,  provided over 260 men women and children with more than 10,000 nights of safe shelter and provided free and confidential services to over 1500 victims. New Horizon's receives some grants but relies heavily on donated funds to do their work. If you aren't a donor today, think about adding this worthwhile cause to your list.
Many hands make quick work. This fall's Holmen Area Rotary Club's Highway cleanup was done in record time due to the number of enthusiastic volunteers that showed up. The day was windy and cold with a freaky sleet/snow storm in the middle of it but there was nary a complaint. The Holmen High School Interact club turned up in force, showing the old folks how to do it. They even had a dance contest going on roadside to some Christmas classics. Thank you to all that showed up on a challenging day and  picking it all up! Holmen is a much prettier place for it.  
The Holmen Area Rotary Club was honored to receive a grant  from Rotary District 6250 to help with the efforts on the Holmen Community Garden. The Garden was started last year and 2800 lbs of produce donated to the community. This year the amount of ground tilled was doubled and it is estimated that almost 7000 lbs of food will be harvested. The veggies went to St Elizabeth's Food Pantry, Hunger Task Force, WAFER, Prairie Home, McHugh Manor, Ponderosa, Senior Meals at the Village Hall, Holmen's Hope Community Dinner and other avenues. Josh Mansee, District 6250 Grants Sub Committee Chair  and District 6250 Assistant Governor Patt Boge presented Tom Knobloch and Scott Marshall with a check for $2950 which will be used to buy gardening equipment. Hoes, shovels, wagons, rototiller, mower and additional storage space. 
On the morning of August 15th, the Holmen Area Rotary Club slept in instead of going to their regular am meeting at the Village Hall. In its place, they all met at the Holmen Community Garden Wednesday evening. Now what do you get when you put the Holmen Rotary and the Holmen Community Garden together? A mountain of sweet corn of course! The members picked buckets of cucumbers, boxes of tomatoes, zounds of zukes and  wheelbarrows of sweet corn. Some of this fresh bounty was grilled and consumed before it could be carted away, washed down with a soda or barley pop. As you read this, these veggies are working their way into the community, available at designated sites and local food pantries. Approximately 1500 pounds of produce was picked and distributed. 
On July 31st, Scott Marshall Wrote;
Thanks a ton for the help tonight from the Trail Blazers 4H Club at the Holmen Community Garden. We collected over 200 pounds of veggies for our community. We truly appreciate any help we can get. And the best part ......FREE VEGGIES.
Wednesday's Holmen Area Rotary Cub meeting's highlight was a visit from Rotary District 6250's new Governor Bill Hoel and Assistant Governor Pat Boge. Bill spent some time going over the future focus of Rotary. Polio eradication is still Rotary International's prime focus. There were over 350,000 cases a year when Rotary took on the massive task of trying to eradicate the disease. So far this year there have been only 12 cases. Rotary will stay focused until the virus is gone. That means not only no more cases in the human population but no live virus detected for 3 years. Bill also expressed thanks for the amount of work done by the Holmen Area Rotary Club and said that we should be proud of the efforts the club has done in the community and for humanity. And that we should share that pride and "Be The Inspiration" for others. Thanks for coming and sharing with the club Bill and Pat! We look forward to doing some great things together in the new year. For more info on how Rotary makes a difference in the world go to https://www.rotary.org
At Wednesday's July 18th HARC meeting, two short term Foreign Exchange students were welcomed and Rotary flags exchanged. Sasha Cromheeke was hosting Camilla Quimto from Italy and Lizzie Pfaff was hosting Silvia Scavello, also from Italy. The short term program allows one of the students to spend 3 weeks in the host country and then the host student travels back to the exchange students home for 3 weeks in their country. Ms. Quimto comes from the Rotary Club Corato in Corato Italy and Ms. Scavello from Rotary Club Varedo E Del Seveso in Milan, Italy. As HARC Student Liaison Scott Ryan explained, "These connections provide insight to other cultures and creates understanding between people from faraway places, promoting peace." Welcome to Holmen !
Tommy, Tommy, how does your garden grow? Too fast!
The Holmen community garden is popping with huge green tomatoes, peppers, corn, cukes, zuchs, beans, peas, squash, punkins, onions and what all. Tomatoes are starting to ripen.  Could use some help picking beans, thinning out the weeds and doing the rain dance. For motivation please follow link- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0C4FOL1qIw
The Community Service Committee will try have someone at the garden to help coordinate volunteers on
Monday, Friday and Saturday mornings 8-11am and Tuesday, Thursday Nights from 5-8pm.
Holy Cow did we have fun Rotary Rock N Ribs! From the BBQ to the BASS, Bands and Great Friends! We had some amazing partners and many Team Members all work so hard for this!
On Wednesday June 27th, the Holmen Area Rotary Club were privy to Holmen High School Student Anja Houghtaling's  draft of her origin's presentation. No, you are not having de ja vue. Anja is Zoe Houghtaling's sister. Anja will be traveling to Thailand to live with a host family for a year and Zoe heads to Brazil. Anja's stay will be in the mountainous Chiang Mai province in the northwest corner of the country. Both leave in August.  Mom Tracy said this about her sudden empty nest " First, I will have a major breakdown, then try and find out who I am again."  Anja's presentation includes information about herself, her family, activities and interests along with interesting local information. These presentations can be given in the host country to the local rotary club, school etc. when the student arrives. Anja has been boning up on the Thai language and customs so that she can converse with the locals. We wish Anja a safe and wonderful adventure!
On Wednesday June 13th, Holmen High School Student Zoe Houghtaling (pronounced Hoteling) presented to Holmen Area Rotary Club a draft of her origins presentation. Zoe is being sponsored by HARC as an outbound foreign exchange student later this summer. Ms. Houghtaling will be traveling to Brazil to stay with a host family for close to a year. The origins presentation is what the student uses to show her host and new friends what her hometown and state are like, along with a description and pictures of her family, school and activities. The Holmen Area Rotary Club has sponsored more than 30 young people both inbound and outbound as foreign exchange students in the 10 short years of being a Rotary Club. These opportunities to experience other cultures first hand promotes a greater understanding of other cultures, build strong multinational friendships and advance world peace.  We wish Zoe safe travels and know that she and her sister Anja represents the best of Holmen. 
On Wednesday, June 6th, Holmen Area Rotary Club's Justin Bodine was able to present a check to Sarah Sceery, Director of Development for Casa Hogar Juan Puablo II Orphanage.  Justin was able to raise a phenomenal $2840 by hand making 10 friendship bracelets and offering them up at the recent HARC Service Auction. Ms Sceery was also able to update the HARC members on the Casa Hogar Mission. The Casa Hogar orphanage in Lima Peru provides a family environment for 65 at risk children between the ages of 4 and 17. The Orphanage organizes the children into family units of 8 children, 4 groups of boys and 4 groups of girls. This structure helps the children develop interpersonal and social skills, lasting relationships and support structure. A recent addition is a program called 'Project of Life' that continues support of these children after they turn 17. This program helps the adolescent to create a life plan whether to further education or work toward employment. Casa Hogar was started as a mission of the Lacrosse Diocese so has a local La Crosse connection.  Way to go Justin!  And thanks to Casa Hogar for giving these children a chance!
For more info go to http://www.homeajpm.org/
The Holmen Community Garden lost it's stealth status over the weekend. The shed got painted in Lion's and Rotary Colors and is a real eye catcher. The raised beds were set and planning done to get the ground fertilized and turned by the end of next weekend. We'll be planting soon! Thanks to all that participated!
Art Lyons spoke this morning about past international projects and current efforts being done on behalf of the Holmen Area Rotary Club. Providing clean water is one of the 6 main missions of Rotary. According to Rotary International, "Clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education are basic necessities for a healthy environment and a productive life. When people have access to clean water and sanitation, waterborne diseases decrease, children stay healthier and attend school more regularly, and mothers can spend less time carrying water and more time helping their families." 
It all started 8 years ago with HARC establishing a contact with a Rotary Club La Molina in Peru and utilizing Water Missions International's expertise to start a project to provide 220 sand filters to a community in need. The initial project was possible by taking advantage of Rotary's ability to amplify funds through Rotary grants. The $7K from HARC  was matched by the Rotary District office and again matched by Rotary International to fund a $25K project. This project was very successful and used as a template by other Rotary Clubs to further fulfill the need. Ultimately 5000 of these special sand filters have been installed into Peruvian households. For info on the Peruvian water filter project watch the video at https://player.vimeo.com/video/33735494
In 2017, the Holmen Area Rotary Club partnered with the Lakewood Ranch Rotary Club to assist with their $50K Peruvian water project in the community of Ivan Vasquez. The project includes a central, solar powered treatment facility and Rotary's WASH hygiene education program. The facility becomes a public utility for sustainability in the community. The project for 2018 is to continue to partner with the Lakewood Ranch Rotary Club and establish a similar solar powered treatment facility for the Peruvian community of Monte Castillo. Monte Castillo is a larger community of 12,000 people with a school and clinic. This project carries a $80K price tag but is again possible through the ability to take initial donations and increase them through available Rotary grants.   To learn more about Rotary's water projects go to https://www.rotary.org/en/our-causes/providing-clean-water .  
Upcoming Events
Rotary 4 Way Test
  1.  Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? 

Various Current and Past Projects
  • Holmen's Hope Monthly Community Dinner
  • Purchased 1st Police K-9 for Village of Holmen and significant contribution towards replacement K9
  • Beds for Kids
  • Boy Scout Building Restoration at Camp Decorah
  • Deerwood Park shelter Construction
  • Bike Repair Stations 
  • Holmen Area Community Garden supporting Holmen Food Pantry
  • Bio-sand Water Filters in Peru serving over 2,500  Residents
  • Youth Foreign Exchange Program with Holmen HS
  • Kenya Cow Project
  • Centralized Sanitation and Water System in Rural Peru Community
  • Christmas Presents to children in Peru
  • Holmen High School Scholarships
  • Respect Retreat for Holmen HS Students
  • STRIVE Program for Mentoring Holmen HS Students at risk
  • RYLA Leadership Training for Holmen HS Students
  • Students of the Month for Holmen HS Seniors
  • E-Waste Recycling
  • Adopt a Highway Roadside Clean-up
  • Thanksgiving Dinners for New Horizons
  • Rotary Clock in Halfway Creek Park
  • Rotary Lights
  • Back Pack school supplies
  • Tons of Taters Potato Donation to Food Pantry