This Week's Program: Col. Mark Vavra, 148th Fighter Wing Bulldog Mission Brief

Colonel Mark Vavra, Vice Wing Commander of the 148th Fighter Wing will be our guest speaker tomorrow morning and will share exciting details on 148th FW missions and what the future hold for our very own Air National Guard Base here in Duluth, MN.


Colonel  Vavra is responsible for assisting the Commander in organizing, training, equipping and maintaining combat-ready forces, and in leading the 148th Fighter Wing Headquarters Group to effectively support over 1,000 Airmen.
Col. Vavra began his military career in April 1987 when he enlisted at the 148th Fighter Wing as a law enforcement specialist.  His first duty assignment was as the Security Forces Operations Officer, where he assisted the Secret Service for Presidential visits to the wing. Since that time Col. Vavra has held numerous integral roles including  mission support officer, antiterrorism officer, force support squadron commander, military personnel management officer, Maintenance Squadron Commander, and Mission Support Group Commander.  Under his oversight, all of these missions greatly enhanced the U.S. Air Force’s capability to provide combat airpower to America's warfighting commands around the world.

Please use this new link that will work for all recurring meetings in 2021:

Meeting ID: 847 1418 9189
Passcode: 119791
Lincoln Park ChildCare Program Puts Grant to Good Use
Madison Nareski helps to operate a licensed family daycare called LPCFC Child Care, offering part-time, full-time and drop-in care 12 hours a day, five days a week. The organization strives to provide affordable, high-quality childcare for infants, preschool age and school-age children, especially those living below the poverty line. In July of 2020 the organization received the Parent Aware 3-star rating.
The $250 Harbortown Rotary grant was used to purchase games and STEM-based activities to benefit the students and maintain the quality of the program. "We believe children begin their lives by playing and from their play activities, they learn about the world around them and learn valuable skills to grow," says Madison Nareski, LPCFC AmeriCorps VISTA.
"We are grateful for the opportunity from Harbortown Rotary to be able to purchase STEM toys for our children! STEM toys encourage thought, independent thinking and improve cognitive learning." 
With the toys purchased Madison says that they will be able to provide their children with many more opportunities to play based on their interests and enjoyment.
Photo Credit: Madison Nareski
New Embroidery Options! Harbortown Logo Wear Available Now!
Show your Rotary pride loud and proud with new official Harbortown logo wear!
Thanks to Heather Salfer, who collaborated with John Cron to create the official Harbortown Rotary Apparel website.
Click on the link below, select your favorite apparel brand, use the newly branded Harbortown logo and place your order!  Prices vary depending on the brand you select.
NEW! Light colored embroidery options are now available for dark apparel. See photograph below for example of thread color.
Need a Zoom Speaker for Program Duty?
Looking for ideas for club programs as the weeks ZOOM by?  These may be challenging times, but they also provide a unique opportunity to enjoy club programs from speakers near and far using ZOOM!
Offering dynamic, informative, relevant, and entertaining speakers helps keep club meetings worthwhile and members engaged. Not to mention that an interesting topic can attract non-Rotarians to a meeting… friends and neighbors who could be potential Rotarians.
D5580’s Training Team is also building a list of club speakers and program ideas on a variety of topics, Rotary and non-Rotary. But we need your help to make sure this list is meaningful!
If your club has had a great program, or you personally have a recommendation for a speaker, please  click here to share your recommendation. 
If your club needs speakers for your meetings, look for suggestions on D5580’s list of Speaker & Program Ideas.  
Story excerpts courtesy of Cross Currents February Issue
District 5580 Conference: New Dates! April 26-May1 (Virtual)
For most of us, 2020 went down as memorable with some aspects truly challenging and other aspects richly rewarding in opportunities to serve and connect! As we start the New Year, our District Conference Committee, with the support of District Executives, has determined that due to the uncertainty of the safety of large group gatherings, the 2021 Rotary District Conference will be held virtually. We are hopeful that health officials will allow us to incorporate locally held in-person events in conjunction with the virtual district-wide meeting. 
Going virtual also allows a change of format using an approach similar to the Virtual RI 2020 Convention and makes our district conference accessible for ALL Rotarians in D5580. Our genuine hope is to have a very high percentage of our 2,550+ Rotarians joining in.  The plan is to expand the conference from three days to six days but limit the presentation and networking times to specific times each day, providing optimum opportunity for Rotarians to participate. 
Everyone on the planning committee is excited to deliver a truly outstanding conference and make it accessible to every Rotarian in District 5580. We already have some fantastic speakers lined up and cannot wait to share the agenda with you!
Story Courtesy of District 5580 Conference Committee
Upcoming Program Duties
During these challenging times during COVID, it has become an even greater challenge securing weekly program presenters. But this time also affords the opportunity of the ease of a Zoom presentation versus which can be a bonus for a busy presenter.
If you have an upcoming program duty (or if you are unsure, please check the upcoming duty roster) please be sure to secure a speaker and provide notice to Don O'Connor ( as soon as that speaker is confirmed. If you are unable to confirm a speaker who can present virtually, you could look at options for a Ted Talk, consider presenting yourself on a relevant topic or your business, or create some excitement for a community youth organization you are passionate about. It is your program, so think about what is interesting and engaging to you and share it with others!
Even during our virtual meetings, we want to present engaging content and make the meetings meaningful for those that are attending the weekly sessions. We've hosted several prospective members and we want to keep them coming back with great content.
If for some reason you are unable to switch duties with another member or you have simply exhausted all efforts to find a speaker, please notify Don no later than 3 business days before the meeting (the Friday before the meeting your program is scheduled) whenever possible.
Thank you for your help with this and thank you to all who are working hard to find engaging content for our upcoming sessions!
Upcoming Program Duties:
April 21: Service Project
April 28: Marshall Jr. Rotarians
May 5: Evening Fireside at Northland
May 12: Gary New Duluth Clean up (in place of morning meeting)
May 19: East or Harbor City Jr. Rotarians
May 26: Evening service project - Gary New Duluth Recreation
June 2: James Holton
June 9: Mark Erickson
Leave of Absence Procedure
There have been a number of questions during this time regarding leave of absence and the procedure for submitting a leave.  If you would like to submit a leave of absence, please visit the Harbortown Rotary home page under the Home Page Download Files section or contact to obtain the LOA form.
Below are guidelines regarding the Leave Of Absence process:
  • Leaves are not granted automatically
  • A leave of absence is granted by a majority vote of the Board
  • A leave can be granted only to a member who has no outstanding debts to the club
  • Career transition leaves are handled differently so please contact the club president or Jan for further details
  • A leave is granted for a specific period of time not to exceed three months
  • A member is still responsible for rotary dues and fundraising but not meals during the leave
Harbortown News
For news, announcements, event promotion social media, media releases and more, please contact Charity Johnson ( or 218-788-7288). 
Chloe Strand joined the Marketing/PR committee last fall and is taking on many duties related to Facebook posts, Member Spotlights and more. When communicating PR details, please copy both Charity ( and Chloe ( on relevant information.
For Scuttlebutt: If you are hosting the program speaker, please copy Charity on the speaker's name, organization and email. If you are the chair of a Harbortown Committee, please update Charity and Chloe on relevant information regarding grants and awards, meetings or news.   Charity will use this information to create more dynamic and engaging content to share with potential club members and on social media.
It is our goal to continue to share the good work that Harbortown Rotary is doing in our community, so your help and support is greatly appreciated!
Thank you!
Harbortown Rotary 2021
Russell Hampton
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