Past Presidents of Seward Rotary Club gathered to reflect on and share their leadership experiences as the Club begins its 100th anniversary year
Many of the Seward Rotary Club’s Past Club Presidents met on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at the Nebraska National Guard Museum for a breakfast meeting to reflect and share their leadership experiences as Club President with Anita Foor, incoming Rotary Club President for 2024-2025.  The “round table” discussion centered first on reflections and memories of each Past President on a highlight or memory of their year as the Club President, followed by a discussion on the plans for Seward Rotary Club’s Centennial Year Celebration.  About half of the living Past Rotary Club Presidents were in attendance.
Kurth Brashear (2019-2020) served during the “Covid” Pandemic and shared how the membership insisted that the club continue to meet, not to shut down.  They first met by technology.  Then, when permitted, the club met “in person,” however the membership was spread out for meetings and the meetings moved to the basement of the Civic Center.  He noted that through it all, the idea of meeting, having programs and continuing with modified “Service Projects, was all a priority. The members wanted to keep the club alive and not “shut-down!”  As a result, even yet today, all of the meetings are still offered by Zoom as well as in person.
Zane Francescato (2022-2023) noted that during his administration, a special Rotary District Grant was awarded the club to help purchase a community generator for Utica, Nebraska.  The Seward Rotary Club was the only one awarded such a grant and he was proud of the club for “going after that grant!”  It showed the scope of Rotary's impact is beyond the city limits of Seward.
Chuck Matzke (1978-1979) fondly remembers the great meals prepared by first by Frieda Dittmann and then Della Miers-homemade food and served family style!  He enjoyed the Rotary Group Study Exchange program and hosted a GSE Team from India.  He noted that the Seward Rotary invested in many International Programs and worked with the Lincoln Clubs to sponsor various International efforts.  He commented on the many strong business leaders who were longtime founding members of the group.
Ken Schmieding (1977-1978) enjoyed several outstanding social events and the annual Rotary/Kiwanis Golf Tourney.  He served as the Group Leader for the Group Study Exchange to Argentina and commented that he places a high value on attendance at Rotary meetings.  He personally has perfect club attendance for all his years of membership-49 years!  He also reflected on the many friendships gained as a result of Seward Rotary Club.
Trish Lindner (2003-2004) noted that she worked hard to increase the membership, as the club hovered around 35-40 members at that time and she wanted to increase the number of members.  The club grew under her leadership and she is happy to see a growing membership of 55+ at this time and proud to be one of the first female members of Seward Rotary.
Clark Kolterman (1983-1984) worked to establish a variety of community service efforts that continue today, such as  the Breakfast with Santa, the Children’s Halloween Costume Contest and July 4th activities.  Seward Rotary was recognized for its community projects by District 5650 during his administration.
Jon Kruse (1994-1995) commented that it was his father, Bill, who introduced him to Rotary and he enjoyed serving as the Group Study Exchange Leader to South Korea and serving as the Local and District Rotary Foundation Chairman.  He has helped the club raise over $90,000, with the Bahama Rotary Clubs to outfit hospital beds in the Bahamas and continues to promote the Rotary Foundation and work for the elimination of polio through Rotary’s  “Polio Plus!”  He has and still helps many work to become Rotary “Paul Harris Fellows,” noting that to date, Seward Rotary has donated over $100,000 to the Rotary Foundation, through the local “Paul Harris Fellow” program!
Erich Helge (1995-1996) was introduced to Rotary by his father-in-law, the late Wayne Tanderup.  In fact, when Tanderup was the District “Polio-Plus” Chairman, it as Erich who flew him to all the clubs by plane, promoting the Rotary District’s “Polio Plus” Campaign. As a result, the District far exceed their goal for “Polio Plus!”   He was also involved in the vote to allow women in Rotary, as it has been a “men-only” organization up to that point.
Jon Metschke (2012-2013) remembers moving the Rotary Club to the Civic Center, during the remodeling of the Jones Bank building.  The Club had always met at the bank, compliments of the Wake family, and it was a big change to move to the Civic Center for a year.
Shelia Beins (2001-2002) spoke on the support she received from the membership and the other leaders in Rotary, especially during the period of time, when she had to spend a lot of time with her son, who had been a major accident.  She missed many meetings and the others were happy to handle her duties, while she cared for her son and she was very grateful.  She too has been involved in a host of the local club projects and enjoyed the end results.
Max Wake (2002-2003) noted that he became involved with Rotary right after returning to the Jones Bank after college and has enjoyed the leadership and fellowship of the members of the Rotary Club.  He noted that he is proud that the Seward Rotary Club is growing and not following the current trend of many Rotary Clubs, who are losing membership.  He appreciates the work of the Rotary Club and enjoys many of the programs presented at the meetings.
Brad Perdue (2015-2016) enjoyed the programs and club sponsored events.   He shared several challenges and learning experiences he faced working the club’s Rotary International students. 
Following the reflections and discussion, Club President Elect, Anita Foor, thanked the Past Presidents for their insights and advice.  She is looking forward to an exciting year, with the beginning of the Seward Rotary Centennial year in 2025 and invited the Past Presidents to be the leaders of the Centennial push.
Discussion and brainstorming concerning the Rotary Club’s Centennial Celebration direction followed.  Seward Rotary Club was founded March 25, 1925.  It was noted that the centennial will be celebrated during the annual “Service Celebration” dinner, which will be held on Saturday, May 31, 2025 at Junto Winery.  Those in attendance were encouraged to consider and reflect on possible Rotary Centennial Projects for the approaching Club year.
The Past Presidents expressed their appreciation to Gerry Meyer, who hosted the event at the Nebraska National Guard Museum and tours of the facility followed the gathering.