Rotary International President, Barry Rassin
The people who know me best — my family — know that my passion for Rotary is boundless. They also know that I don't expect them to get involved in Rotary the way I have. It's a choice that's up to them. But I must admit, I can't help smiling when I see them making the right choice.

At the end of the Toronto convention last year, my 12-year-old granddaughter turned to me and said, "I'm inspired to do something. What can I do?" Naturally, I did what any other Rotarian grandfather worth his salt would do: I asked her if there was an Interact club in her school. When she discovered there wasn't, she attempted to set one up. Unfortunately, her principal had other ideas, but we should not be deterred from helping Rotary youth programs whenever we can, because their value is beyond question.

Take Rotary Youth Leadership Awards as one example. It transforms young people into more confident, focused individuals with a better understanding of the world around them — changes I was pleased to see in my 16-year-old grandson after he participated.

My family is just the beginning. Everywhere I go, I meet people of all ages whose lives have been changed by our youth programs. They tell me how, five or 15 or 25 years ago, Rotary Youth Exchange taught them a new language or introduced them to a new culture. Their eyes light up when they talk about how New Generations Service Exchange helped them advance in their career, or about how membership in Rotaract first ignited their passion for giving back to the community.

Rotary's programs for young leaders extend our ideals of service, friendship, and leadership development beyond the doors of our clubs to hundreds of thousands of young people each year. And when we serve with and for those young people — as sponsors, project partners, and mentors — it brings out the best in us, and it brings out the best in Rotary.

May is Youth Service Month, and there are many ways your Rotary club can celebrate. Sponsor an Interact club or Rotaract club, and your Rotary club will give young people in your community the tools they need to take action, become leaders, and gain a global perspective. Team up with your local Rotaract club for a service project. Get to know the participants in Rotary's programs for young leaders and share their stories with your community. You'll find more ideas in this year's Rotary Citation brochure, located under the Awards section of the Member Center at

This month, let's Be the Inspiration to the young leaders in our communities by mentoring them, engaging them, and working side by side with them on meaningful projects. It's an investment in their future and in the world they will live in after we're gone. And it's work that will forever enrich their lives, and our own.

District Governor Blaine Johnson and his wife Jessie
Minnesota may have its Great Minnesota Get-Together, but District 5580 celebrated the Great Rotary Get-Together at our District Conference in Minot. It was wonderful to see so many Rotarians from across the District. We had fun, we experienced first-hand what makes Rotary so special and important, and we made an impact in not only the community of Minot, but in the lives of so many future Rotarians.

The District Conference Committee, led by Kevin Black and Jen Guidinger, did an absolutely amazing job. They even held off on the April blizzard until after the conference concluded! Key note speaker Clinton Romesha awed those in attendance with his heroic account of the attack on Combat Out Post Keating and his extraordinary service not only to his country, but to his team of soldiers in B Troop.

Evan Burrell kept everyone engaged and entertained with his Rotary Superhero mantra, providing not only a great keynote on Rotary’s relevance in today’s landscape, but also educating those in attendance on social media and creative ways to promote Rotary’s public image.

Congratulations to all award winners. Our passion for Rotary is contagious, and recognition of that passion is well deserved. Special accolades to District 5580’s Rotarian of the Year, Holly Anderson Battocchi, a distinguished Rotarian and ShelterBox Superhero.

Check out the great article by Bemidji Rotarian, Joe Czapiewski, “Staying Motivated – Rotary District Conference.” Joe highlights the benefits of conference attendance in his blog, The Wood Pile. Pictures and videos from the conference can be seen on the District 5580 Facebook page.

The family-friendly concept was new to us, and change can be a little scary. We didn’t have any past success to point to and say this is going to work. But it did. In fact it was a tremendous success. We had the opportunity to share Rotary with what really is the next generation of Rotarians, our own children and grandchildren. Our clubs all do a great job focusing on youth in our communities, and this was a great way to include youth in who we are and what we do. I believe in leading by example, and what better example than experience Rotary together as a family. We are better together.

And you may have noticed a few flamingoes floating around the conference as well. There is a story behind that. It started with an article in the Rotarian Magazine by RI President Barry Rassin reflecting on the one flamingo that was going against the grain in a photo of him and his wife, Esther. That flamingo became the champion of change, the one willing to try something different and not just follow the crowd. Doing things the way we have always done them is easy. Doing what everyone else is doing is easy. Neither approach requires much thought.

Sometimes there are justifiable reasons to continue doing what we do – it’s successful, it’s engaging, it’s relevant, it’s the right thing to do. But all too often we plagiarize rather than asking ourselves “Why?” Why do we do it this way? Why do we continue to do it this way? Why is this still relevant? Good leaders will ask “Why.” Great leaders refuse to accept “Because we have always done it this way” as an appropriate response.

Many of us at one point or another probably asked a parent for permission to do something that our parent didn’t agree with. We justified our request with “Everyone else is doing it,” and we probably received that timeless adage “If everyone else jumped off a bridge are you going to do it too?” Of course this question isn’t asked to invite an answer, but to interrupt an unreasonable request with the kind of logic that evades most children. But the truth of the matter is that if everyone else was really jumping off a bridge, your child probably would too. That is human nature; that is group mentality.

So take Mom’s advice, and be the one kid that doesn’t jump off the bridge when everyone else does. Be the Rotarian that doesn’t buy into the status quo without a good reason. Be the club president that stands strong on the bridge and refuses to let everyone else jump behind the same tired old service project that hasn’t been relevant for decades or the fundraiser that is well past its shelf life. Be the Flamingo of Change.

Fargo-Moorhead PM Rotary Club Sponsors SkyDive Challenge for ShelterBox!
We're partnering with Skydive Fargo to offer a group tandem sykydive challenge for ShelterBox USA at the West Fargo Airport on Saturday, June 15. The Challenge is open to everyone 18 and older!

More Info at

If online payment is not accepting credit cards, please email your name and contact info to and you'll be added to the registration list and notified as soon as it is up and running. Limit of 10 Skydivers.

-$50 Registration Fee (Non-refundable) includes bragging t-shirt and photo

By: Joe Czapiewski, Bemidji Rotary Club. Reprinted with permission and accessible here.


Whether you’re a volunteer or are working for a living, it’s important to stay motivated and knowledgeable about the work you’re doing.
For many folks, attending a workshop or conference not only gets you out of the house or office, it can put you in touch with other people who are interested in the same things. Some of those folks will have some great experiences or knowledge to share. Being there might just give you that jolt of new ideas and energy you’re looking for. Maybe you can even share something back!
In late April, 2019, I traveled with our Rotary Club President and two foreign exchange students to the Rotary District 5580 Conference in Minot, ND.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Rotary, it’s a worldwide community service club. If you are familiar with other service clubs like the Lions, the Jaycees, Kiwanis, Sertoma, etc., you get the general idea. Each type of club has its own focus and history, but they all are great at bringing people together to accomplish something bigger than themselves.
This post will capture how that can all come together in a conference setting, which is a great professional development tool for just about anyone. So while we’re talking about one specific conference, look for the common lessons that are repeated at thousands of conferences and workshops around the country every year.

I’ve been a member of the Bemidji Rotary Club for a number of years – we meet every Monday for lunch, like clockwork! (Let me know if you want to visit.) One of the things that draws me to Rotary is the combination of impactful local service (we’re pretty good at building playgrounds) with awesome networking and a strong standard of ethics (called The Four Way Test).



The theme of this year’s conference was “Honoring Our Roots. Embracing Our Future.” What a great theme for a 110 + year-old organization that continues to build its membership and impact!
While visiting with other attendees, I asked them why they came to conferences like this. Thank you to those of you who put up with my pestering! Some of the more common response themes are listed below.
A few folks at this conference had been regular attendees for over 25 years!!! As you can imagine, many people there were thrilled to reconnect with folks they had become friends with over the years. Quite often those conference acquaintances had expanded into true friendships, with travel, project collaboration and more built in.
As I quickly found out, those same folks were also excited to meet me – a newcomer! Doing my best to let my introvert side take a break for the weekend, I did what I could to start putting names with faces and hometowns. If you were there and are reading this, please be patient!
For anyone interested in building their woodpile in their community or vocation, networking is a critical skill. Attending a conference is networking in hyperdrive. Do it well, and every time you turn around, you may be meeting someone who just might change your world!

Rotary District Awards Ceremony


When most people join a club like Rotary, you get exposed to the things your club does – its activities, its practices, and its norms. By attending the conference, I quickly realized just how much more was going on behind the scenes.
I learned a couple of things. One was that our meetings and activities were fairly typical for Rotary clubs. It’s important to know that we’re pretty much in line with best practices and aren’t doing a bad job making a community impact, either. We also had a chance to compare ourselves against the other clubs with all of the awards that were handed out. Fundraising awards, service awards, and overall impact awards – gives us something to think about for next year!
The other lesson is that what our club does, plugs into a larger organization. Our recruitment, dues, and project partnerships directly impact the success of Rotary on a larger scale. This was quite evident when I attended the District Business Meeting. Officers were elected, budgets were passed. Goals were set for the next year. None of that would be possible without our local club’s efforts – and quite possibly vice-versa!
How does that compare to the organizations you’re involved with?


Rotary Keynote Speaker Evan Burrell

Oh, man, did this conference hit the jackpot! They landed a young(ish) Rotarian from Australia named Evan Burrell to be our Keynote speaker. Evan’s made a worldwide name for himself as a “Superhero” of Rotary, including being on the cover of the Rotary magazine. First off, his speech hit all the buttons – funny, enlightening, emotional, and motivating.
What really made his speech work, though, was how it pulled everything together. I feel a little better equipped, and a lot more comfortable, to take what has been truly great about Rotary for the last century and make it work even better in the next.
That sort of “big picture” motivation is a key benefit of a conference. Time after time, when I asked attendees what makes a conference memorable for them, it was about the speakers. A good one will make the whole trip much more worthwhile.



Sgt. Clinton Romesha, Medal of Honor Recipient


I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the other keynotes at this particular conference. Clinton Romesha is one of only four living medal of honor winners from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His talk was spellbinding! His story doesn’t get more personal or motivating. And buying his book, Red Platoon, afterwards as a gift was so worth it. Thanks for the signature, Sgt. Romesha, my veteran buddy will appreciate that (after I get done reading it)!
Throughout the conference, there were a wide variety of breakout sessions. Each of those sessions had something for someone. While I may have been motivated by hearing about how one club was working to impact their community’s youth, another person may have had their eyes opened about another club’s recruitment strategies.
One of the nice things about a service organization like Rotary is that each club has a chance to mold its programs around what its membership wants to do. Sometimes, though, you don’t even know what might be possible until you see something that sparks an idea. Conferences can turn those sparks into wildfires!
It’s not that different, really, than an Association of City Clerks or any other type of conference. In that case, every city operates differently, within certain bounds. Find those new ideas that can impact your role or community and make it happen!


Rotary Exchange Students


One of Rotary’s big successes is its Youth Exchange program. Our club hosts one inbound and one outbound student every year. The countries students come from and go to vary every year.
It’s a heck of a program! The conference is THE place where the impact of the student exchange is most obvious – all the kids are there, they cement what will likely be lifelong bonds between them, and they do a great job motivating the adults!
That’s only one program out of many. Thankfully there are folks that want to get the story of their own programs out there, to share their successes and lessons with other clubs. You never know when that one idea will motivate someone new to join in, and then another, and suddenly your program’s impact is magnified beyond your wildest dreams.
Do you have a better idea now of just how many positives can come out of attending a conference? Networking. Professional Development. Big Picture. Motivation. What’s not to love!?
You know, I used a lot of words in this post, and I only scratched the surface! Maybe I’ll have to have another post on all the fun stuff, like the “Roarin’ 20’s” gala, or the Carnival night, or the informative poster sessions, or the fundraising auction, or the humbling memorial service. So much packed into three short days!


"Roarin' 20's" Gala


If you have a chance to attend a conference or workshop, whether as a member of a volunteer organization or for professional purposes, I highly recommend you do so. Go at least once a year if you can, just to recharge your batteries.
If you’re a boss or board member struggling with the sending people due to cost or lost time, it’s ok to be careful planning for it and selecting the right event. Just don’t miss the opportunities your people will bring back to your organization!
Editor's Note: This was Alison Frye's speech to her own Rotary District Conference the weekend following the Rotary District 5580 Conference. Reprinted with permission. 

My moment of inspiration tonight is about the Flamingo challenge.

Back in December, the Rotarian magazine cover featured a picture of our President Barry and his wife Esther with a flock of flamingos walking past.
The cover received a lot of love on social media, and people began to attend rotary events wearing flamingo swag and tagging Barry in the pictures. A few weeks ago, a couple of Rotarians, Blaine Johnson and Evan Burrell were in a party store and filled their arms with tacky flamingo items and tagged Barry in the picture.
Barry then replied with this Facebook post issuing the flamingo challenge.
What about if we set out for a #FlamingoChallenge whereby we each have to challenge ourselves to a change. My #FlamingoChallenge is to take up bicycle riding so I can ride in the End Polio Now race. I start July 1
Because what Barry was trying to capture in the challenge is best reflected by that one Flamingo in the picture who is heading the complete opposite direction from the rest of the members in his flock.
Sometimes we need to go in a completely different direction to make life even better. That’s what the flamingo challenge is about.
Rotarians all around the world commented on his post with their own personal goals. Things like exercising more and eating healthy. Some wanted to travel to a new country and others wanted to explore more about their own country.
It’s also no surprise though because Rotarians are People of Action, some of the Flamingo Challenges were Rotary related. Things like finding new projects to participate in, attending an international convention, or stepping up to serve in club or district leadership.
All of these things...great examples of the Flamingo challenge.
So, even though I might not always be the most serious in the room (okay, I rarely am), I want to offer a more serious perspective of this challenge tonight.
Sometimes the change in our lives we really need to make is not in what we are doing but in what we are thinking. The biggest Flamingo Challenge we could take on is really getting rid of the emotions that are useless, unproductive and painful. Things like pride and selfishness and insecurity or jealousy (or maybe I just aired my own laundry list).
Imagine how impactful our organization, our Rotary clubs, would be if there was no more comparison of the leaders before and after us?
If there was no jealousy for other’s success in Rotary, but instead unwavering support?
Submitted by: Greg Carlson, Bismarck Farwest Rotary Club
Rotaract clubs will now be considered a part of Rotary International, as opposed to a program of RI, following a vote by the Council on Legislation, the official governing body of Rotary International, in April. 
Past District Governor Thomas Riley of the Fargo-Moorhead AM Rotary Club has represented District 5580 at the Council on Legislation since 2016. 
By a vote of 381-134, the Council approved the measure acknowledging Rotaract clubs in the RI Constitution and Bylaws and elevating Rotaract clubs as an important member of the Rotary International family. Rotaract clubs will continue to have their own standard constitution but will receive greater support from Rotary International.
"We need to be an inspiration to our young partners, so they will continue doing the great service that they do," said RI President Barry Rassin, who became the first sitting Rotary International President to propose a measure to a Council on Legislation. He declared, "This sends a strong message that they are truly our partners in service."
Rassin stressed that many of the other aspects of Rotaract clubs will remain the same. Rotary clubs will still sponsor and support Rotaract clubs. Rotaract members will also not be considered Rotarians, and will retain their own unique club experience. The measure simply broadens the definition of membership in Rotary International to include Rotaract clubs. 
Through this partnership Rotary will learn more about Rotaract and improve the support and resources offered to help Rotaract grow. As Rotaract members become our partners in service, Rotary can better track their impact and expand our reach. 
In the same way that Rotary Clubs are members of Rotary International and Rotarians are members of their respective clubs, Rotaract Clubs will become members of Rotary International and Rotaract club members will be Rotaractors and not Rotarians.
In other actions, the Council approved a measure proposed by the Rotary Club of Cloquet in District 5580, allowing meeting make-ups to be filed within one year, rather than within 14 days. The Council also authorized the Board to pursue changing Rotary International's status to a section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization under the US Internal Revenue Code.
Submitted by: Alicia Helion Belay, Fargo-Moorhead AM Rotary Club
Mark your calendars! We need you on September 17th as we celebrate the beginning of this initiative! Continue reading to find out how your club can participate to serve indigenous pregnant women across five states!
The Fargo-Moorhead AM Rotary club is thrilled to announce the approval of Global Grant 1980712, Group Prenatal Care Training for Indigenous Women. In a unique opportunity presented by having United States and Canadian clubs in our district, the Thunder Bay (Fort William) Rotary Club has joined us as an International Sponsor Rotary Club Partner to form an intra-district global grant. For this grant, $102,022 was raised from 39 entities. Eight countries contributed along with over 12 Rotary Districts! Once the initial amount was raised, a match from the Rotary Foundation World Fund was confirmed at $79,964, for a grand total of $181,986.
The project partners with five health centers/organizations serving indigenous women in five states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Montana), the March of Dimes, and the University of North Dakota.
The nearly $182,000 grant will provide training, financial support, technical and data assistance, and collaboration opportunities for the five partner organizations, allowing them to develop group prenatal care for indigenous pregnant women in their communities.
Group prenatal care is an evidence-based intervention that can reduce preterm birth—the number one cause of infant mortality—and improve many outcomes for the pregnant mothers, such as increasing breast-feeding initiation, reducing smoking, etc. Group prenatal care is consistent with native culture; for example, ‘talking circles’ allow everyone to contribute to a conversation with everyone’s voice being valued, which is similar to the format of group prenatal care.
Pictured above: Jodi Henry is showing a craft she hopes to make with the groups of prenatal women. 
All Rotary clubs across the district—and beyond!!!---are invited to join us:
  1. Join a diaper drive to provide diapers to the hundreds of women's babies that will be served by this project.
  2. Come in person to Fargo, ND on September 17 for the kick-off event. Meet the partner sites and celebrate with traditional dance, meet-n-greet poster presentation, and a meal. 
We will follow up with you in June to tell you more about the diaper drive and provide more details about September 17. For now, please ask your club members if they would like to join us in celebrating—in person or with diaper contributions!—and we will be in touch soon.
Contact us for more information at Alicia Belay, or 701-799-9414.
Submitted by Larry Morrison

The Minnesota and South Dakota Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity (VOSH) chapters combined to go to Port Antonio, Jamaica on a voluntary eye care mission from Feb.24th to March 3rd, 2019.  The mission was led by Dr. Larry Morrison, an optometrist from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. 

The group of 29 included five optometrists and four optometric students from the Southern California College of Optometry. There were also opticians, optometric technicians and other volunteers. 



They were hosted by the Port Antonio Rotary club and supported by the Detroit Lakes Noon and Breakfast Rotary Clubs.  Through fund raisers we were able to purchase an ICare tonometer.  This instrument cost $2,930 and is used to check for glaucoma without using eye drops. We also use these funds to purchase reading glasses and Plano sunglasses.   Rick and Kathy Michaelson from the DL breakfast club and George VanDam, Gary Rosentreter, Brad Green, and Larry Morrison from the DL noon club also went with on the mission.



The mission was very rewarding with almost 900 Jamaicans examined and fitted with glasses and sunwear.  We worked for three days.  We did glaucoma tests on everyone over the age of 35 and internal retinal exams on everyone.  We diagnosed and treated several cases of glaucoma and other diseases.  Many referrals were made for cataract surgery.  We were able to take several prescription eye drops donated by Allergan pharmaceuticals with a retail value of $164,000.



The remainder of the time was great R and R doing bamboo rafting, snorkeling,  a trip to Reach Falls and enjoying the beach at Frenchman’s Cove resort where we stayed.  The food was great and the Jamaican people were wonderful.

A tally of the number of volunteer hours put into this mission was surprising.  There were 172 hours donated before the trip to sort, label, organize and box up about 4,000 pair of used and new glasses.  Another 754 hours in Jamaica with 29 people working 26 hours. The total man hours of volunteer time was 926.

Submitted by: Karl Everett, District 5580 Water and Sanitation Chair
We are working on a project to build a medical clinic for the Village of Tocopilla.  Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America.  Bolivia’s need for assistance is acute. Ninety-four percent of rural Bolivians live below subsistence level (income necessary to provide a healthy diet), with 63% having no access to medical care.
Tocopilla is a rural, isolated community that belongs to the municipality of Villa Tunari, located in the tropical plain region of the Department of Cochabamba in Bolivia.  The Health Post in the rural community of Tocopilla is a public health service that offers basic medical assistance to two communities with a total population of 1060 inhabitants.  Due to the municipality's insufficient resources, it cannot independently construct its own health establishment.
For this reason:
• The public health programs cannot reach this community, including government programs that benefit mothers and children.
• Some emergency situations result in unnecessary fatalities because there is no local help.
• Government equipment and support do not reach the community because of a lack of official infrastructure.
We have an approved District 5580 WCS Grant and commitments for $71,000 in money, and resources from several Rotary Clubs, Mano a Mano, and the Bolivian community to construct a medical clinic, but just need $5000 more to start the project.  Let me know if you can assist in helping fund this project so that we can begin construction of the medical clinic immediately.
Thanks Sincerely.
Karl Everett
District 5580 Water and Sanitation Chair
WASRAG Newsletter: Submitted by Karl Everett, District 5580 Water and Sanitation Chair
If you are going to Hamburg for the RI Convention, we have lots of WASRAG events to tell you about!

This year's World Water Summit is going to be a truly exceptional experience.  Our topic is "Achieving Lasting Impact" and joining us will be globally recognized WASH experts Dr. Patrick Moriarty (CEO of IRC-WASH) and Dr. Maria Elena Figueroa of Johns Hopkins University.  We are still putting the finishing touches to the agenda, but to see how the day is shaping up go to this link:  WWS-11 Agenda.  Tell your friends!  Space is limited and filling up fast REGISTER NOW!


We have an interesting venue for this year's Summit.  Hamburg's historic Chamber of Crafts building is conveniently located a 10-15 minute walk from the Hamburg Convention Centre.  The address is Handwerkskammer Hamburg, Holstenwall 12, D-20355.


And don't forget - at the end of the day we open the cash bar and you will have a great opportunity to share the day's experiences with our generous sponsors and Rotarians who share your passion for WASH!


But that's not all.  Here are some other WASRAG experiences you won't want to miss:

  • WASRAG's Annual General Meeting on Saturday June 1st.  The meeting will be held at the Hamburg Messe und Congress, Konference A Hall 3, Shanghai Room, from 08.30 - 10.00 am.  Coffee and muffins will be served! Please use this link to let us know if you plan to attend - we have to provide the Congress with numbers:  WASRAG's AGM
  • Rotary Convention Breakout Sessions:

Monday June 3, 1.00 - 2.30 pm:  Achieving Lasting Impact from WASH Programs and Projects.  WASRAG Chair Emeritus Ron Denham and an impressive team of WASH experts will focus on this important topic.

Tuesday June 4, 1.00 - 2.30 pm:  Success Stories of WASH in Schools.

Wednesday June 5, 1.00 - 2.00 pm:  Menstrual Hygiene:  Manage it Well.  Economic and cultural factors make it difficult for women to manage their menstrual hygiene, impacting the development of their life and vocational skills. Learn how to promote awareness and advocacy for health, hygiene, nutrition, Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH) and family & child care.

  • Be sure to visit us at the WASRAG Booth in the House of Friendship.  We'll be at Booth 4422.

We hope to see you in Hamburg!  If you have any questions about any of WASRAG's activities, please contact us at


Warm Rotary regards,


The WASRAG Operations Team


Nicholas Mancus (Chair)

Mike Colasurdo

Ron Denham

Chris Etienne

Mary Beth Growney Selene

Brian Hall

Julia Phelps

Ginny Ryan

Anna Shepherd   

Submitted by: Stacy Schaffer, Bismarck Farwest Rotary Club
Apply now for a Rotary Peace Fellowship!
Rotary Youth Exchange participants leave the program with a greater understanding of and commitment to international cooperation and peace. You can build on that with the skills and knowledge you’ll gain as a Rotary Peace Fellow. We’re now accepting applications for the fully funded Rotary Peace Fellowships that can help you make a greater impact on the world around you.

Apply now to become a catalyst for peace and conflict resolution.

Here are some resources to get started:

Candidates need to apply to their local Rotary districts by 31 May. Rotary districts have until 1 July to submit endorsed applications to The Rotary Foundation.   APPLY NOW!
Editor's Note: We are bringing back this section to honor the Rotary legacy of District 5580 Rotarians who have passed away during each month. Clubs are encouraged to send information and share reflections for inclusion in in "Cross Currents".
This month we remember Jack Olin of the Dickinson Rotary Club. 
Jack Olin

Jack Olin, a dedicated Rotarian who served the Dickinson Rotary Club for decades, including on numerous committees and as president in the mid 80s, passed away April 23 at the age of 87.


Jack joined the United States Army in December 1953 and achieved the rank of Corporal while serving in England and Germany. The ready mix business was a true passion for Jack from his military service through his retirement from Dickinson Ready Mix in 2001. Jack was devoted to his community.  He was a member of St. John Lutheran Church in Dickinson; serving on the church council.  Jack was a member of the Dickinson Rotary and Lions Clubs as well as the Elks Lodge and truly enjoyed his weekly dinners there with his family.  He was a member of the Badlanders Barber Shop Chorus, volunteered as a Boy Scout leader and served on the Board of St. Luke’s Home. His commitment to community carried over to the state level.  He was a co-founder of the North Dakota Ready Mix & Concrete Products Association. Jack represented southwest North Dakota in the State Legislature for eight years in both the House of Representatives and Senate respectively.  Jack was committed to water quality and helped bring water to southwest North Dakota.  He served on the ND State Water Commission, West River Diversion Committee, Stark County Water Resource Board, Dickinson Citizens Water Committee, Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, Associated General Contractors of North Dakota. Jack received many service awards including Career Achievement from NDRMCPA, Dickinson State University Blue Feather and Meritorious Service Awards, and Commodore Award from the North Dakota State Water Commission.


Among his many local and statewide service roles, Olin served on the State Board of Higher Education when Rotarian Jim Ozbun became president of North Dakota State University. Their friendship continued while Olin served on the NDSU president's advisory board. "He got me into Rotary,” Ozbun told The Dickinson Press. “He was my sponsor for Rotary in Dickinson." Olin served on the West River Diversion Study that would have transported water through a canal from Lake Sakakawea to southwestern North Dakota. At the time, Dickinson's water supply came from wells and Lake Patterson, a system that relied on adequate rainfall each year. Olin successfully ran as a District 37 representative during the 1973 and 1975 legislative sessions. "I was approached and asked to run and thought it was a way to make a difference," Olin told The Dickinson Press. Olin also made a difference by donating to the Rotary International Foundation as Paul Harris Society member.


We extend our deepest condolences, thoughts, and prayers to Jack's family, friends and the Rotary community. His full obituary can be accessed here.

AnnaMarie's Alliance Center
May 18, 2019
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Jun 01, 2019 – Jun 05, 2019
Jun 21, 2019
Jul 12, 2019 – Jul 14, 2019
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) Program
University of MN - Crookston Campus
Jul 14, 2019 – Jul 20, 2019
Jul 31, 2019
Oct 25, 2019 – Oct 26, 2019
Oct 31, 2019
Dec 31, 2019
Jan 19, 2020 – Jan 25, 2020
Madden's on Gull Lake
Apr 23, 2020 – Apr 25, 2020
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