East Lansing Rotary Honors Gary Olson, Dr. John Dunn and Dr. John Seita

East Lansing Rotary annually honors members of our community who, through their professional and personal lives, make a lasting contribution to our community. This year we recognized three outstanding individuals: the late Gary Olson, Dr. John Dunn and Professor John Seita.

Gary Olson


Recently our community lost a great leader, big thinker and Rotarian, Gary Olson – a member of the Lansing Rotary Club. The East Lansing Rotary chose to honor Olson posthumously with a Vocational Excellence Award. 

Gary Olson held a Masters in Economics from MSU and was the Director of the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency. Yearly visits from Olson to the East Lansing Rotary Club were always a highlight as Olson helped us understand the current economic situation. 

We are proud to count Gary Olson as a friend and fellow Rotarian!

Dr. John Dunn

The Albert White Community Service Award goes to one of our own: Dr. John Dunn. A long time member and a semi-retired ophthalmologist Dunn talked about his philosophy of service. “It is a simple phrase that propels me into service —May I help you?,” said Dunn. That phrase, taken from his father, highlighted the compact that we make when we provide service. We ask permission to help and we help only until we are no longer needed.

Dunn shared a story about Red Cedar Elementary student, a young boy from Southern Sudan that he was helping to learn to read. “Samir was 7 years old and struggling with English. For almost a year we worked together, taking turns writing out answers to problems. One day Samir kept on going –because he could. He no longer needed me,” claimed Dunn triumphantly and tearfully.

At East Lansing Rotary Club we are moved by John Dunn’s quiet generosity, a true leader by example.

Professor John Seita

Professor John Seita was also a recipient of a Vocational Excellence Award. Professor Seita teaches in the School of Social Work and has created a very special program called FAME which helps college students that have come out of the Foster Care system adjust to college life. Seita himself is a graduate from the Foster Care system. He gave credit for his success to his team of colleagues. “I believe in the importance of making a difference one by one,” said Seita.

Congratulations to John Seita and thank you for being such a great role model!

Rotary Club Grants for the 2011-2012 year

The East Lansing Rotary Club is proud to support our community through service.  This Rotary year, we contributed over $7,000 to some great programs in our community.  Below is a list of our grant recipients.

Women’s Center of Greater Lansing
Purpose: To help in the training of counselors 

Girl Scouts
Lansing Regional Center
Purpose: To provide scholarships for scout camp.

East Lansing High School Junior/Senior Activities 2011-2012
Purpose: To help support the post prom party.

City of East Lansing/Robert Landick, M.D.
Purpose: To help fund the installation of Park Benches along the walking trail in the Northern tier of the City

East Lansing Public Library
Purpose: To help fund the needs of the library.

Haven House 
Purpose of Grant: To help fund a new boiler.

Back Pack Project
Purpose: To fund the purchase of food for the project.

East Lansing Firefighters Honor Guard
Purpose: To help defray the cost of training people serving in the Honor Guard.

Parkwood YMCA
Purpose: Camp PA-WA-PI Scholarships

American Cancer Society-Relay for Life
Purpose: Relay for Life

Michigan Dyslexia Institute
Purpose: Camp Starlight Scholarship(s)


Student Excellence Award Recipients

Today we were pleased to award three East Lansing High School students with our annual Student Excellence Awards.  These awards are given to students who have shown great improvement over their high school career, and who have been nominated by their advisors for the award.  Congratulations to this year’s award winners!

Pictured above: EL Rotary President Tim McCaffrey, Crystal Branch, Amar Dzomba, La’She Embry, and Rotarian Kristin Shelley.

EL Rotary Vocational Awards

Every year our club gives an award to one or several people in order to recognize the work they’re doing in our community.  Here is some information on the this year’s recipients:

Dr. Fred Tinning, Ph.D.
Dr. Tinning holds 3 degrees from Michigan State University a BA in Business/Marketing/Economics; an MA in Rehabilitation Counseling and Counseling Psychology; and a Doctorate in Philosophy for Education and Rehabilitative Counseling Psychology. His list of accomplishments cover 16 pages of awards, recognition and accomplishments. Dr. Tinning is also a Board Member of the Nyaka AIDS Orphan School in Uganda, a project spearheaded by Jackson Kaguri (past EL club president) and supported by the East Lansing Rotary. 

(Kaguri & Tinney)

Jack Ebling
Ebling is a 40 year resident of the Greater Lansing area, has two degrees from Michigan State University and spent 25 years of service to the community as a beat writer and sports columnist for the Lansing State Journal. Over the years Ebling has received 21 state and national writing awards and is a three time recipient of the Michigan Sportswriter of the Year award. Ebling has authored five books and two more on the way this spring. Ebling has taken his knowledge of sports to the airwaves on a local sports talk show and he is the co-founder of the Greater Lansing Sport magazine. Ebling has also broadened his reach by making a service trip three years ago to the Nyaka AIDS Orphans school in Uganda. He describes his experiences in Uganda as life-changing. 

(Kaguri, Ebling & Pat Boog)

Rotarian of the Year

Congratulations to John Saltzgaber for being selected as our club’s “Rotarian of the Year.”

As you know, John has been very active as our 50th Anniversary General Chairman. He also developed and coordinated the Playground in the Park Art Contest and has been working tirelessly on the park rebuild project and the celebration event. John also originated and coordinated the Haven House Thanksgiving Dinner project.

Our thanks to John for his great example of “Service Above Self.”

Jim Bonfiglio Named Club Hero

On Saturday June 4th, the Rotary District Conference recognized Rotarians at the Rotary Heroes Dinner. East Lansing Rotarian Jim Bonfiglio was among 26 honored in the district. Jim Bonfiglio is always ready to serve. He has chaired the Community Service Committee for several years. Under Jim’s leadership, the committee has continued to Club’s Community Grant Program, the Vocational Excellence Awards and our Vocational Visit Program. During his tenure on the Community Service Committee a Student Excellence Award Program was established as well as a plan to recruit students to participate in Rotary Youth Leadership Award Program. Jim has also taken on the assignment of obtaining and maintaining licensing, setting up locations and recruiting volunteers for Charity Poker fund raisers, which have become very successful. Jim is currently active on the Playground In the Park Remember the Park/Revive the Park project as a member of the construction steering committee. He truly is always serving!