Seward Rotarian Chuck Matzke was honored by the Club as its first 50 year member and Jan Matzke was presented a Paul Harris Award during a special ceremony on February 10, 2021.
“He’s the first one in our Rotary Club!” stated longtime Rotarian Clark Kolterman when introducing Charles “Chuck” Matzke at Rotary on Wednesday, February 10, during which Chuck was honored for his fifty years of continuous membership in the Seward Rotary Club.  “Seward Rotary Club was established in 1925 and this is the club’s 96th year of existence, but we believe, and according to our records, Chuck Matzke has the honor of being the first member in the Seward Rotary Club to achieve the honor of fifty years of continuous membership in our Seward Rotary Club.”
Matzke joined the Seward Rotary Club, nominated and sponsored by his employer, Tom Wake Jr., when both were working at the Jones Bank in Seward. Matzke joined the Seward Rotary Club on February 1, 1971 and has even more years with the Rotary organization, as he had first joined Rotary while living previously in Pawnee City, Nebraska. His membership with the Rotary International organization is even more than fifty years!
Matzke and Jan, his wife, moved to Seward in 1970 to work as a loan officer at the Jones Bank in Seward.  He served as the President of the Seward Rotary during the 1978-1979 Rotary Club year and has held almost every office in the organization and served on almost all of the committees.  He has lived the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” and even now continues to volunteer and assist with club projects.  He is proud to be awarded the Rotary International “Paul Harris” award.  His most recent Rotary Club passion is the Rotary Club Dictionary Literacy Project, where he and his wife travel county wide, handing out the free Webster Dictionaries to area third graders on behalf of Rotary. They usually made special “dictionary” presentations, however, due to the Pandemic, the books could only be delivered to the school offices this year.
They have also hosted numerous Rotary International Group Study Exchange members from many countries across the globe and keep in contact with many of them.  Last year they participated in the Rotary Club Sister City Exchange at St. Lo, France, bringing the two clubs into Sister Club status.  He also served as the Rotary Chair for the Zambia project of Rotary International, raising funds locally to support the efforts of Rotary in Zambia.
Chuck is a Seward native, born and raised in Seward and attending St. John Lutheran School through third grade before his family moved to Lincoln.  His family then moved to Hastings and he graduated from Hasting High and began college at Hastings College.  He eventually transferred to the University of Nebraska and graduated from UNL.    He is the youngest child of the late, former State Senator Stan Matzke and his wife Pauline, with two older brothers and one sister.  He and Jan have three sons, Bill, Tom and Jeff, three wonderful daughters-in-law and seven grandchildren.  In June 2021, the Matzkes will have been married 57 years!

He was first hired to be a loan officer at the Jones Bank, eventually achieving the position of President of the Jones Bank, retiring after being the Jones Bank president for 25 years. While at the bank he was a member of the Nebraska Bankers Association and President of the Nebraska Chapter of the American Institute of Banking (AIB).   His wife Jan, was a longtime Seward Elementary and Middle School teacher for the School District of Seward and is also retired.
Chuck's volunteer efforts do not stop with Rotary, as he has been very involved with a host of community and civic causes over the years of residence in Seward.  Chuck was the President of the Seward Chamber of Commerce in 1974, serving on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for decades, as well as the Seward Community Development Corporation Board.  As that Board’s president for many years, Chuck helped attract new businesses and industries to Seward.
He is proud to point out that he promoted and organized the first Rural Water District in Nebraska in the Greater Pawnee City area, which assisted in eliminating many health issues of the area.  He has also served on the local Natural Resources District (NRD) Board. 
Chuck and Jan were Major Funding Co-Chairs of the new Seward Memorial Library Building Campaign and responsible for directing several major donors to assist in the development of the funds to build the library facility enjoyed today.  They were also active leaders in the consolidation and development of the new Seward Memorial Health Care Facility and funding co-chairs for the new Memorial Health Care Clinic - instrumental in seeing the facility raise the needed funds.  He served as a member of the Seward Planning Commission for many years and was elected and served as a member of the Seward City Council for four years from 1986-1990. Chuck currently serves as a member of the Seward Tree Board. 
The Matzkes enjoy membership in the Seward Magazine Club, which Chuck served as president, and were very active and involved parents with all three sons and their various school activities, as well as supporting the summer sports programs and events during their boy’s years in the Seward School system.  They are longtime members of the Seward United Methodist Church and have served often in leadership positions, such as President of the Administrative Board and Foundation Board and on numerous other boards and committees to assist the church’s many missions and projects.  Chuck chaired the funding campaign for the Southeast Nebraska Scholarship fund and currently serves as one of the volunteers for the local Seward “Meals-On-Wheels” program.
Chuck served in the Nebraska National Guard in the early 1960’s as a member of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, second Battalion. 134th Infantry Regiment as an infantry officer.  He was Honorably Discharged from the National Guard and he currently serves on the Nebraska National Guard Historical Society Board.  He and Jan have been instrumental in raising over $550,000 to fund exhibits and projects at the new Nebraska National Guard Museum in Seward.  They were recently honored with the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Nebraska National Guard by Major General Daryl Bohac for the National Guard Association, acknowledging the commitment of the Matzkes to the Nebraska National Guard Museum since 2015.
While their number one hobby now is to support the many activities of their seven grandchildren, the Matzkes both also enjoy their passion to grow beautiful roses in their many rose gardens located on the corner of Seward Street and Columbia Avenue and hold membership in the Lincoln Rose Society.  In support of conservation, over the years they have planted hundreds of trees at their farm near Milford. Chuck also enjoys the hobby of woodworking, with many projects a testimonial to his expertise. 
Matzke was honored by the Club with mementos to commemorate his fiftieth anniversary of membership presented by Club President Brady Johnson.  Chuck reminisced over his five decades in Seward Rotary and thanked the Rotary Club members and his family present for the anniversary celebration -- stating that ”he looked forward to many more years of service to others.”
Letters of congratulations were read from Rotary District 5650 Governor Roxy Orr and longtime friends of Chuck and Jan that were unable to attend the recognition.  Special tributes and salutes were also presented to Chuck from fellow Rotarians Ken Schmieding and Max Wake.  The special day concluded with a commemorative cutting and sharing of his 50th Rotary Membership Anniversary in Seward Rotary Club Celebration cake to all present and a singing of “For He’s A Jolly Old Fellow!”
While Jan has never officially been a member of Seward Rotary, she has worked side by side with Chuck for 57 years and attended many, many local and District Rotary meetings, events and dinners, assisting with many of the projects of Seward Rotary. For her spirit of loyalty to the Club and the ideals of Rotary International, Jan was surprised with a Paul Harris Award at the same meeting, which had been sponsored by Chuck. 
“She has been such a gracious host to many of our international visitors-inviting many to stay at our home as guests and worked with me on a variety of Rotary Club Projects,” said Chuck.  “I have been a member of Rotary for over 50 years and she has been working with me on every project that I commit to for the Seward Rotary. She is my “sounding board” and I value her opinion and insight.  It is only right that she be awarded this high honor in Rotary to thank her and show how much I appreciate and love her!”  Seward Rotary Foundation Co-Chairs Jon and Bonnie Kruse made the award presentation to Jan.
“The Paul Harris Award recognition is one of the top honors of Rotary International, and is named in honor of the Founder of Rotary-Paul Harris,” said Jon Kruse.  “The award is presented to both Rotarians and non-Rotarians who live the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” and have demonstrated the true spirit of Rotary. A $1000 gift to Rotary International is also made to the Rotary Annual Fund, Polio-Plus Fund or Approved Global Grant projects. The sponsor for Jan’s award is her husband Chuck.  Jan has indeed served our Rotary Club and Rotary International, as well as the community of Seward and we thank and recognize her today with this honor!”
With Jan's award, Seward Rotary Club is associated with over 75 Paul Harris Awards.