Club Information

Welcome to the Best Club in the Universe!

Downtown Las Vegas Rotary

Service Above Self

We meet Tuesdays at 12:15 PM
Hugo's Cellar Restaurant
202 Fremont St., 4 Queens Hotel
Las Vegas, NV  89101-5606
United States
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Stories
Our annual Big Game boards are now available on line for the "Big Game" - you know the one being broadcast on TV on February 5th.  You can by as many $20 squares as you want for your chance to win $250 per quarter.  Just sign on at www.runyourpool.com, enter pool number 50082 to pull up Downtown Las Vegas Rotary's site.  Set up your account, select your squares and sit back and enjoy the game.  It's that easy.
Our annual Holiday party held at the home of Past Pres Albert Guida and Laura Schmitt was another one for the record books!  With a feast of scrumptious Ham, Turkey and all the fixings, an outstanding wine assortment provided by our Trader Joe's wine guru, PDG Roy York, and everyone dressed in their most festive attire, we remained in the Holiday spirit all evening.  A new tradition may have just begun this year as our host PP Albert decided to let us try our hand with beer pong.  Our four teams showcased their ball throwing skills, with one team emerging victorious!  It was a wonderful evening and a special thanks to Albert & Laura for opening their home.
 
We held our 4th annual Adopt an Airman this past week, as we hosted nearly two dozen Nellis and Creech military men and women.  With most of these service members unable to return to their homes for Thanksgiving, from as far away as Haiti and as close as Arizona, this has proven to be a wonderful time to bring them into our Rotary "home" and share a little fellowship and lunch.  Four Queens Owner Terry Caudill stopped by to give a special welcome to our guests and express his gratitude for their service.  Past Pres. Michael shared the history of his father's outstanding military career and then invited our guests to share their own military stories.  Each was asked for one of their scariest moments during their service, and they ranged from giving their first briefing to the Base Commander, to enlisting altogether, or waiting to hear if friends had survived a helicopter crash, finding out they had been deployed and finally writing the retirement orders for mentor Lt Col. Petty.  Some of their best experiences were attending basic training, have a father pin on the airman stripes at graduation, graduating tech school, being deployed and even serving TDY in Florida.  These young men and women were very appreciative of the special lunch held in their honor and we are all most grateful for their unselfish service to our Country.
 
For more than a dozen years our Club has been a special part of the Thanksgiving celebration at Kermit R Booker Elementary School on one very special Tuesday each year.  Partnering with the Alexander Dawson School, we provide a full Thanksgiving meal for over 575 children, from pre-k through fifth grade and give them a sense of community caring and love.  This has become one of our most favorite events, allowing Rotarians, family and friends to spend a little time with some very deserving children.  Our beloved Turkey, Past Pres. Lane Kay, is always a hit and brings huge smiles to all the faces, big and small.  Whether it was serving up the dressing, mashed potatoes and turkey, passing out the milk, or cutting the turkey and buttering the rolls, everyone found a connection with the kids.  The kids were generous with their hugs of appreciation as they left the cafeteria with bellies full and spirits lifted.  We also provided nearly 100 lbs of food for the weekend back pack program, which provides food for many of the kids who go home to very little. We will have the photos soon from our photographer Tonya Harvey, who donates her time each year for this event.
 
 
Perfect timing for our program as we were preparing to support Nevada's first official Military and Veterans Appreciation Day on September 10th and hold remembrances for the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Our speaker, Retired Colonel Steven Seroka, aka "The Colonel," served as Chief of Staff for the United States Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, leading a staff of more than 11,000 across 22 states before retiring in 2014.  His retirement has allowed him to now spend his time advocating for Veterans.  He said these are "people who voluntarily step out of their community to serve their country, and step out of the military to return to the community."  To exclude these highly trained men and women from the workplaces in our community is a loss for everyone.  A Veteran is someone who has worn the uniform of the US Military, the most respected institution in the US according to a Gallop Poll in 2015.  They are highly trained during their military career to serve and work together as a team and to be victorious.  Enlisting as young as 18, these dedicated individuals are responsible for the care of millions of dollars' worth of equipment and the safety of all who serve with them.  Nearly 1,000 Veterans come out of Nellis each month, many seeking employment.  With the stigma of extreme PTSD, homelessness and not being capable of giving orders, only taking them, the job market is a long reach away.  The culture in the civilian workplace, versus the military organization, can also make it hard for Veterans to fit in.  Colonel Seroka suggested that our Veterans should be considered for some of the highest positions in the corporate ladder, given their intense training and desire to succeed.  With inclusion of our Veterans in the hiring process, solid on-boarding to integrate them into the work place and giving honest feedback, it is a win-win situation for everyone.  You can learn more about our speaker or contact him for more information about employing Veterans at The Colonel
It was with great pride that our Club inducted its third new member of the year.  Greg Ferrante, standing beside his wife Megan and his sponsor PP Michael, was sworn in by Sept. Pres. Paul Bell.  Greg has been at a few of our socials and been actively attending our Club to get to know more about us.  He owns an IT support and web design/technology company, working alongside his wife, who he considers as his most important partner, especially since "they get to work together every day."  He has been considering a Rotary membership for some time, and we are thrilled he has chosen our Downtown Club as his home.  Welcome to the family Greg & Megan!!
 
Ten year old Lexi Eng was perhaps our youngest speaker ever, and what an inspiration she was! Lexi was born prematurely at 24 weeks, weighing just over a pound.  The doctors gave no hope for her, but her parents never gave up.  While Lexi does have a profound hearing loss and suffers from cerebral palsy, she is one amazing youngster.  She is going into fifth grade at Hayden Elementary School and is on the cheerleading squad.  She loves the typical games, Barbie and hanging out with her family.  Lexi is part of the No Limits for Deaf Children started by Kathy Buckley 20 years ago.  With a No Limits school now in Las Vegas, Lexi and her mom, Lisa, wanted to bring awareness to us about the great work this organization does to help those who are hearing impaired to live a normal life through tutoring, speech lessons and the theatrical program designed to help children not only speak, but listen.  As Lexi told us, "No Limits teaches me that I CAN DO IT!"
 
Membership Chair John McInerney recently attended the District 5300 training which had a focus on growing membership in Rotary.  Much of the information wasn't new, but perhaps it's time to see and hear it again for the first time.  There is so much we can all do to keep our clubs vibrant and growing.  This Organization, with its roots and growth in the US, now trails behind India and Asia in growth.  It is considered very prestigious to be a Rotarian in those regions.  Remember when you joined and you felt that extreme pride as a new member?  Maybe it's time to bring it back and inspire other outstanding leaders from our community. 
 
Ask yourself if our Club is serving everyone in our community - whether it's ethnicity, culture, male or female, or profession.  Building our clubs doesn't just come from inviting someone, but getting to know them through the organizations they belong to.  If you consider that 40% of people have never heard of Rotary, you can bet you have a good opportunity to not only entice someone to check out Rotary, but also make a friend or business partner.  The first ten seconds of the conversation is all you have to make a good impression.  Practice how you will present not only Rotary, but what being a member of the Best Club in the Universe really means!  And, just because they can't join our Club, doesn't mean they won't be a perfect fit in another local club.
 
Statistics show that 30% of potential members join for the friendship, and 38% stay in Rotary for the very same reason, as well as service within their communities.  Business networking falls far down the list.  15-25% of new members leave within their first year because they didn't feel like they fit in.  Engage everyone through active committee participation, social events outside the club and purposeful interaction at club events and luncheons.  Share Rotary!
 
 
According to the Mob MuseumDick Charlesworth is one of the most prolific slot cheats in Las Vegas history.  Dick was in his fair share of trouble when he was young and had run away to California.  His father convinced him to come home and work together to get on the right path. Gaming in his family went back to his grandfather's days when he installed the first poker machines in service stations in California after the depression.  Dick's father owned the first Stardust Casino in Tahoe in 1956 before gaming was big.  His dad entertained some of the biggest cheaters and hustlers in gaming, which allowed Dick to learn the tricks of the trade. He thought their lifestyle was glamourous and was just what he wanted.  As Dick's skills grew, he, and later his wife and another couple began their long career in slot machine rigging and cheating.  Armed with magnets and new mother boards, they would trick the machines into paying out large jackpots in nearly every gaming town in the US.  He was very close friends with Benny Binion, who kept him out of some trouble, and apparently new former Mayor Oscar Goodman during his days as mob attorney in Las Vegas, but wouldn't go much into that relationship.  He never served time for the cheating, but the Feds were able to lock him up for 5 years of a 15 year sentence, for taking illegal monies across state lines.  And a little trivia, cheating became a gross misdemeanor in the 60's and ultimately increased to a felony in 1974.  You learn more about Dick here
Membership Chair John McInerney was been busy!  Our Club welcomed another new member to our family during the month of August, which just happens to be designated as Rotary's Membership month.  Jane Armstrong, accompanied by her husband Bob, her sponsor Larry Goldstein and Membership Chair John was inducted by August Pres. Teresa and became the newest member in the world!  Jane moved to Las Vegas in 1990 and in 1996 left her position with Sprint to become a licensed REALTOR in Southern Nevada, now with Signature Real Estate. She hasn't looked back. She is very active in the community with our veterans and active duty military and was formerly a long-time member with the Summerlin Rotary Club.  Welcome Jane & Bob!
 
Accompanied by Membership Chair John McInerneyPres. Teresa Hancox inducted the newest Rotarian in the world into our Club.  Scott Manchee has visited several Clubs in the Las Vegas valley since he and his wife Janice moved here from Alaska, where he was a Rotarian for 15 years.  He is a Paul Harris Fellow and led his former Club's Youth Exchange Program for five years.  As VP of Information for Westar Credit Union, he understands the importance of serving in the community.  What drew him to our Club?  He felt it was the best fit due to our energy and jokes! Scott presented Pres. Teresa with a fine bottle of wine (which she promised to share) and wine glass from his former Rotary Club of Glacier Valley, AK.  Nice touch Scott. Welcome Scott & Janice - we are thrilled to have you in the Downtown family! 
 
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Legendary singer and polio survivor Donovan Leitch, better known simply as Donovan, has joined Rotary in its fight to eradicate the paralyzing disease that afflicted him during much of his childhood.
 
Donovan contracted polio at age three in Glasgow, Scotland. The disease weakened his right leg and left it thinner and shorter than the other. Confined to his bed for much of his childhood, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer said his father would read him poetry.
 
In a recent interview with the Daily Express, Donovan said that listening to poetry piqued his interest in creative writing. "If I hadn't had that experience maybe I wouldn't have gone on to write and sing my own songs for the past half a century. "I feel strongly that having a disability in one area makes you explore others instead. That was the case for me after having polio," says Donovan, who recently became a Rotary polio ambassador.
 
Donovan went on to record several hit albums and singles in the UK, United States, and other countries. His top singles include "Mellow Yellow" and "Hurdy Gurdy Man." Donovan collaborated with The Beatles on songs including "Yellow Submarine" and has shared the stage with musical icons Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. "Having had polio never held me back as I got older. Although having one leg smaller than the other isn't much fun I could always get about without any trouble," Donovan says. "Luckily in the music industry everyone was only interested in my singing and playing and not the size of my legs."
 
As a Rotary polio ambassador, Donovan will support the Purple4Polio campaign, a collaboration between Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland and the Royal Horticultural Society. The purple represents the colored dye that health workers use during immunization campaigns to mark the fingers of children who have received the polio vaccine. "It was very easy to join this campaign because I had polio, and I wanted to tell everybody that it's almost eradicated around the world," Donovan says. "This is very important. I want to help with that last push, which is always the hardest. "
 
 
It's no surprise that members of the Best Club in the Universe can bottle the best wine!  Our members created an award-winning wine which won the Bacchus Award presented by Grape Expectations in Henderson.  In case you were wondering, Bacchus is the god of wine.  Our wine is available for purchase for only $25 a bottle. Contact aguidajr@guidaagency.lvcoxmail.com if you are interested in purchasing a few bottles.   It's outstanding!
 
It was with a great deal of gratitude that our Club was able to present Sage Dining's Ron Greenfield with his Paul Harris award.  Ron heads up the gourmet kitchen at the Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain, and has been our chef in charge each year for our Booker Thanksgiving.  Ron inherited the program when his Dawson predecessor left some years ago, and never missed a beat.  His team starts cooking the week before and prepares some of the most delicious food our Booker kids have ever tasted.  His behind the scenes coordination and preparation provide us with a seamless event every year.  Past Pres. Linda Bertuzzi has worked closely with Ron each year and was invited to do the presentation while his long-time friend PP Scott Stolberg pinned him. Congratulations Ron!
 
We had an awesome Rotary turnout for the June & July Birthday Bash. The Rotarians who showed up for the Birthday Bash at the Andre Agassi Boys and Girls Club are still recovering after and high energy, laugh packed party with smiles flooding out the door. When the kids were asked if they wanted to hear a story or play a game, they told us they "just wanted to talk."  And talk they did!  Captain Linda Bertuzzi and her gang of Rotary volunteers spent the hour just talking, dancing, and goofing around with all the birthday kids. Our Captain even took a lot of frosting home on her clothes for a souvenir. Overall it was a great time, as always, and we can't wait to go back in September for the next party! 
 

Our club had an amazing week, we sure hope you did as well. We started off with a stellar meeting where we had our very own Linda Bertuzzi share her district presentation about polio and how it has impacted our youth. Her daughter Sarah and Robin's daughter Lauren spent the afternoon with us going over the impact the trip to India had on them. Thank you Linda for sharing this incredible experience.

Next, on Wednesday the 13th our club and friends gathered at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park for the Super Summer Theatre production of Memphis the Musical. We feasted on dinner before heading down to the grass to enjoy the show and what a show it was. If you haven't had a change to see this incredible performance please make a point to do so.

 

 

 
It was another hot Fourth of July, but that didn't deter thousands of parade goers from lining the streets to enjoy the sites and sounds of a good ol' fashioned patriotic parade. Southern Nevada Rotarians came together once again as balloon wranglers, marching just over a mile to the cheers and smiles from the crowds.  The Downtown Las Vegas Rotarians carried Crush the Turtle from Finding Dory, which coincidentally provided some temporary shade for the viewers, and prompted a few of the kids to spray the wranglers with water to help weather the heat. Thanks to Past Pres's Linda Bertuzzi and Robin Smith, along with Robin's daughter Lauren for showcasing our Club's patriotism.
 

Tuesday was a busy day with The Rotary Club of Downtown Las Vegas. We had a packed lunch with 5 visiting Rotarians and 4 guests joining us for a meal and to hear our incredible speaker share her story with us. As a club we also shared the finished wine bottle with everyone who couldn't make the bottling event. Please reach out if you would like to purchase this delicious vino prepared by TBCITU. For members who sell the bottles please contact Al Guida to secure your bottles as he is managing the inventory.

Featured speaker Suni Chabrow the founder of the Douglas J. Green Memorial Foundation spoke about her son and his journey in becoming the inspiration for this unbelievable foundation. The DGMF gathers food and funds to create care packages to be sent to the troops deployed all around the world. These packages are very special to the troops as they contain snacks, hygiene products and even hand written letters from schools around the valley thanking them for their continued service. Check out their Facebook page to learn more about their project and to stay up to date on events to support the cause.

 

http://www.douglasjgreenmemorialfoundation.org/

https://www.facebook.com/DouglasJGreenMemorialFoundation/?fref=ts

This past weekend we had our Annual Board Retreat and Club Social at Past President Jim Maine's cabin. The incoming board got a lot covered as we reflected on this past year and discussed our goals for the year to come. We look forward in seeing what incoming president Kevin Wool with bring to the club.

After the meeting our club gathered and had a social to fellowship and reminisce on the great things we accomplished in the year passed. Geoff Holmes managed the grill to give us some incredible tri-tip and juicy chicken. Other members brought some side dishes to give us a feast to snack on. Gathering for this anticipated event every year is a favorite of the club. We get the best of both worlds; first getting a lot accomplished with the board hard at work then getting to let lose and socialize with The Best Club in the Universe. Things are always better when we're together!

 

 
“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.” - Paulo Coelho, Brida
 
The Best Club in the Universe gathered last night for a fun yet productive evening bottling our wine at Grape Expectations. We had a powerful assembly line in motion as we knocked out over 250 bottles filling, corking, sealing, labeling and of course tasting. Our club was hands on in the entire process of selecting the type of wine, stemming the grapes, plunging the wine and lastly bottling. We all can't wait to open a bottle and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Such a great night with friends, family and fundraising.
 
 
District Conference was the perfect destination this year hosted in the gorgeous San Diego, California. Our club had more than 10% of our members recognized for the dedication and hard work put into our local community as well as our global influence. Linda Bertuzzi, Robin Smith, Michael Woodfield and Roy York represented our club at Conference and were acknowledged for their passion projects. Past President Linda was celebrated for her continuous participation in Polio Plus and traveling to India to vaccinate the children from Polio for 5 years now. District Governor Randy Pote spoke on the strong emotion she holds for this project and encouraging family and friends to get involved. As chair of the Superbuild Committee, Past President Robin was given the Service above Self award for organizing and overseeing not three, but four separate home builds in April.  Many members of our Club travelled with her this year to support the program.  Outstanding Robin! Past District Governor and Past President Roy York was recognized for chairing and reinvigoration of the struggling Dan Stover Music Competition. A big thank you to Roy for continuing his love for this tradition and keeping it alive. Lastly President Michael Woodfield received the first ever Pars vs. Polio event award for raising over $63,000 for this project. Michael's heart went into this venture and it shows immensely through his success. No words could express the pride our club has for its members and the accomplishments we continue to tally up. A new Rotary year about to start, we can't wait to see what this year will bring. 
 

"If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse." - Jim Rohn

With District Conference fresh in our review mirror, our club has surely been humbled. The Rotary Club of Downtown Las Vegas received First Place in the district for Club Service. What an honor! We pride ourselves for the active members we collect and all the great things we enjoy doing in our community and around the globe. This award speaks to our heart and we are so very grateful!

Secondly President Michael Woodfield was recognized for his participation in Pars vs Polio and raising a whopping $20,000. A sincere Thank You to Mr. Woodfield for all he does for our club and for always standing out in the district.

We were honored with the presence of the kids from The League of Extraordinary Booker Students who came to enjoy lunch with us. With them was their fearless leader principle Mason who is always a treat to have as a guest. The school year coming to an end we wanted to celebrate the student's achievements one last time.

The great energy we had rolling through Hugo's Cellar continued as we heard from Dawn Prendes and her husband when they spoke about their dream, Henry's Place. Dawn shared her tragic story in losing her husband back in 2006 but inspired the club in the journey they took to accomplish everything they have. Before his death, Sgt. Prendes and his wife, Dawn, had dreamt of starting a camp to help the youth in the community he fought so hard to protect. Now that dream is well on the way to becoming a reality in the form of Henry’s Place, a beautiful 14-acre camp facility located in the foothills west of Cedar City, Utah. Thank you for sharing your story with us Dawn and we look forward to seeing your success in the future!

Check out their Facebook page to stay up to date on everything they are accomplishing

 
 
We couldn't have asked for a more perfect weekend to get out and give back with our annual Rotary at Work Day. A group of members went over to Easter Seals of Nevada and cleaned up The SNWA Award Winning Reflection Garden that our club built and continues to maintain. And as always we manage to make a party out of any event. Along with a number of members, friends and family gave up their Saturday morning to participate in beautifying the garden and giving back to the community. After our busy day Vice President Dan Stock visited our club to gift us a most generous thank you. Hearing how appreciated and valued the garden is warmed our hearts and fuels us to want this tradition to last and last. Check out the video to see our fun and productive weekend. 
 
 
Come rain or shine our Rotarians are always determined to complete their service projects. A team of Rotarians and their families ventured into Tacate, Mexico to continue the SuperBuild program in building four deserving families a home. Forget the farmers tan, this year the overcast provided for some cooler weather to labor in. The families chosen to receive these homes are active members in their community and have given back their time and efforts to their neighborhood. For some of these gracious families this is the first time they get to call somewhere their own, the first time they get to unlock their front door and no longer scrounge for shelter. This is what "Being a Gift to the World" is all about. Thank you to the number of members who gave up their weekend to hand deliver their time and energy to the families who have secured the dream of calling a place their home.
 
Being the Best Club in the Universe we must uphold that name and have the best party in the universe. With Rotary's name is bright lights high above on Fremont Street for all to see accomplished our goal. M.C. Mark Shunock kept the night entertained and the Moonshiners jazzed up the party. The best part, having Mondays Dark in Partnership with ServingHopeLV and Police Athletic League of Southern Nevada there to support our fundraising efforts and keeping the night about our community. With our silent and live auction we want to thank all who attended and bid in making our dreams a reality. If you missed out don't worry we have footage to prove the nights ecstatic energy and have no doubt we will be back next year to rock it again!