Friday, March 16, 2018

Stan Welchel Passes On

With much sadness, we must report that Stan Whelchel passed away on Wednesday, March 7 at the University of Iowa Hospital. 

His funeral will be on Saturday, March 17 at 2:00 at the St. Timothy Lutheran Church at 1 Thelma St. in Hudson, Iowa. Visitation is one hour before the service at the church.

Stan was a high school biology teacher in the Waterloo schools. He was recognized with many awards for his teaching but he received his greatest rewards when his past students say things like “He inspired me to appreciate science as my teacher . . . He was one of my most influential teachers because of the service ethic he instilled in me.”

As a Kiwanian, Stan was always there to work with people. He was proud of being a Marine and every Veteran’s Day he would read a military poem or make a presentation about the military. One time he shared his research and stories about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Another time he told us of the Story behind the National Anthem.

Rough Riser members remember Stan.  They described Stan as “A good friend and loyal Kiwanian”; “A sweet soul”; “Always there with a ready ‘hello' and welcome to everyone”; “A gentle Marine and lover of America”; “A faithful and loyal Kiwanian”; “My favorite Marine and a patriot; always interesting to talk to.”; and  “An honorable man”.

Stan Welchel was a good man and he will be missed by all.

Memorials may be directed to the Hudson Education Fund (The Stan and Tedi Whelchel Scholarship Funds).  Condolences may be left at

Belonging to Kiwanis Rough Risers is Good for your Health!!

I was just watching a TED Talk entitled "The Secret to Living Longer May Be Your Social Life" by Dr. Susan Pinkerton. During her 16-minute presentation, Dr. Pinkerton shared the top 10 predictors for living a longer life. Some were expected but their placement was surprising. Some of the factors were enlightening.

As you might expect, lowering one's blood pressure or "being thin and in good shape" were on the list but they were in the bottom 4. Cutting out smoking and boozing took positions 3 & 4. The most interesting rankings were #1 and #2 which included Social Integration and Close Relationships.

Dr. Pinkerton describes Close Relationships as your best friends. These are your friends who will take care of you in a pinch. She described Social Integration as how much you interact with people as you move through your day. This may include talking with the barista who makes your coffee. It may include talking with your neighbor or the lady who walks her dog by your house every day. Most importantly, it includes belonging to social or service club. These interactions are the strongest predictors of how long you are going to live.

So it appears that being involved with Kiwanis where we connect with friends, colleagues and total strangers can have a greater impact on our lives than just feeling good. It can lengthen our lives so that we can have more time to serve the community and connect with others.

It can now be said that belonging to:
Written by Leigh Zeitz

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

When Will YOU Greet for Kiwanis Rough Risers?

Yes.   It is always wonderful to see your friends greeting you at the door when you arrive for our Kiwanis meeting at 6:25 on Wednesday.  

Ever wonder how these wonderful people get selected for this honor?  Well, believe it or not, there is a secret list where each of our members have been aligned with a magical date. This roster will direct who receives this wonderful opportunity and when.

You can always read Jim Larson's wonderful notes that he distributes each week.  He will inform you of all the wonderful news that was shared and events occurred at each meeting. Most importantly of all, he will end his message with a reminder of who will be greeting next. 

But what if you have other commitments and want to ensure that you don't miss your opportunity to GREET?  You need a schedule for your planning.    HERE IT IS!!!

     7      Tom Reisetter
   14      Greg Stefanich
   21      Nick Teig
   28      Gene Traetow

   11       Leigh Zeitz
   18       Lynn Barnes
   25       Dennis Bergeson

     2      Emily Borcherding
     9       Dan Conklin
   16       Reece Conrad
   23       Alan Czarnezki
   30       Gery Deaver

     6       Dean Dreyer
   13       Terry Duncan
   20       Stan Engel
   27       Bob Erickson

More to come in June, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

New Ideas will be Shared in our Programs this March

March 7th - Business Meeting

March 14th - Cory Hinke from Dahlstrom Enterprises will share some of the interesting projects that Dahlstrom will be doing over the next few years.

March 21st - Joe & Afton Swanson of Swanson Performance will share their stories about drag racing.  They have experienced drag racing from both the driver's seat and from a mechanic's perspective so it should be an interesting program.

March 28th - LuAnn Alemao will speak on healthful eating. LuAnn is an engaging speaker who speaks about food, nutrition, etiquette, conduct, skills, and abilities. She has hosted a public-access TV cooking program, "Get Fit," filmed in her own kitchen since 2002. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Dr. Lyftogt Took Us on a Civil War Journey

The residents of Cedar Falls are not cognizant of the rich Civil War history we have here and the important role Iowa's citizens played in the Union’s victory.

Former UNI History Professor and local author, Ken Lyftogt, presented his love of local lore of the 2 extremely active Federal Military Regiments of B Company 31st Iowa and K Company 3rd Iowa. Throughout all of the major Civil War battle campaigns, Iowa soldiers took an active combat role and were instrumental in defeating the enemy. The war’s bloodstained battlefields are peppered with headstones from the fallen Iowan hero soldiers who gave their last full devotion. They came from Cedar Falls and surrounding communities. One-fourth of the Union casualties at the Shiloh Battlefield were Iowans. 

Dr. Lyftogt even gave a lively discourse on a little-known fact about a battle that took place on Iowa soil.  In this Keokuk battle, ill-prepared raw Union recruits used their zeal of patriotism to defeat the enemy and deny them a foothold in the Upper Mississippi Valley. 

Kiwanis always has great and informed speakers and Ken was a shining star and was given high accolades!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dale Provides a Bird's Eye View Through his Incredible Photos

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - We never knew just how talented fellow Rough Riser and former Waterloo Educator, Dale Waack, was with a camera.  He’s a serious hobbyist and the photographs that Dale presented during his lecture, showed him to be a shutterbug extraordinaire!  

Dale specializes in photographing fowl. He shared stills which showed a wide range of vivid colors, hues and balance of subject matter.  It made the attending Kiwanians gasp in wonderment.  My favorite was the sequence of an eagle catching fish out of the Mississippi River. It was flawless and patriotic.  This presentation showed us that Dale has a unique, keen eye and aptitude of an emerging natural history artist of note.  

Dale, you missed your calling!  Well done!

Written by Lynn Barnes

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dr. Melissa Reade Shares the "Leader in Me" Program

Dr. Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Director of The Leader in Me program in Cedar Valley Schools shared a new approach to raising students level of responsibility in school. This student development program is currently available in 17 area schools. It has shown great promise in better equipping today’s students better equipped for tomorrow's  workforce.  

“Leader in Me” is based on Dr. Stephen Covey’s, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” which presents an approach to succeeding in life by aligning oneself with a simple set of attitudes. These will help develop leadership abilities and soft skills that are needed in the work environment and also in society.  

The program empowers the students to make the most out of their gifts and talents. Following these rules can help a learner accomplish a shift in her goal paradigm that can lead to meaningful lives for their employers and themselves.  The student feels confident in areas of communication, leadership, planning, and then taking the initiative.  The businesses will notice a higher caliber work ethic attributes in these young people as they come to work for them.  After going through the “Leader in Me” program, it’s such a win-win that the learned skills are synergized to create greatness!

Written by Lynn Barnes and Leigh Zeitz

Saturday, February 10, 2018

What Do You Remember about Our Service Projects?

We ALL have the Fever.

We have been serving the Cedar Valley for 37 years.  We have built many things and supported many people. Unfortunately, our records are not complete so we are asking you to share what you remember. 

You have watched the video and lived a Kiwanis Life.

Click on this link and fly to the Rough Risers Memory Archive. Add your memories along with the approximate year when it occurred. Let's reconnect with our history.

Follow this link to our Memory Archive

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Remember the Historical Rough Risers Video from our 30th Anniversary in 2011?

It has been a long and fruitful life for the Cedar Falls Kiwanis Rough Risers. In 2011 we celebrated our 30th birthday with a big party at Hartman Reserve Park and creating a wonderful 15-minute video.

Sometimes it is fun to review our past events and this video provides an opportunity for members to tell stories about where we have been and where we will be going. This video includes photos, stories and interviews with past and present members.

What do you think?  Write your reactions and add some of your stories in the comments below.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Steve Wikert Shares his Vietnam War Adventures

Wednesday, January 31 - This week, retired Waterloo Schools art teacher, Steve Wikert, talked about his US Navy Tour of Duty Service during the Vietnam War. He was stationed at the Naval Support Facility in Danag, Vietnam.  

Steve talked about his jeep support patrols he performed to keep the peace in his jurisdiction during his rigorous watch shift.  The climate was hostile both in the brutal weather patterns and the local populace. Steve and his comrades at arms didn’t know who was friend or foe since the enemy used different rules of engagement as than the US soldiers and sailors. It was called guerrilla warfare.  

Rocket attacks were commonplace and death could and would happen swiftly without mercy. The local citizens would commence rioting at a moment’s notice.  He lived in a Compound called Camp Tien Sha. It was constantly subject to mass thievery by the locals.  

Steve said that what he learned the most through his wartime experience was to rely on his fellow Navy buddies. He has kept in touch with many of them and he now has a lifetime of camaraderie and he will never forget his fellow countrymen.

Written by Lynn Barnes and Leigh Zeitz

Sunday, January 28, 2018

February Programs Will Lead Us Forward

Feb 7
 - Business meeting - This is where we generate the big ideas and make the big decisions.

Feb 14 - Melissa Reade, Director of the Cedar Valley's "Leader in Me" program, will discuss the program’s recent progress as it has expanded into 23 schools in the Cedar Valley.


Feb 21 - Dale Waack will share his photography.  Dale is an accomplished
photographer known for his incredible photos of birds and other wildlife.  Dale is also a member of our Kiwanis Rough Risers club.

Feb 28 - Ken Lyftogt will present "Iowa's Role in the Civil War." Retired history professor is the author of numerous books about the Cedar Valley's involvement and impact in the Civil War.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Michael Davidson Shares the Girl Scout Story

Wednesday, January 25, 2018 - We were privileged with a visit from our former member – Michael Davidson. Michael is now working as the E-Mail Marketing Specialist with the Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois Girl Scouts – an organization that is 20,000 girls strong. 

Michael provided an enthusiastic speech on the dynamic scouting programs and high awards that prepare young ladies to grow into confident young adults. These scouting activities provide a host of opportunities to achieve big things through discovery. 

Michael shared his e-mail sales force marketing cloud and how he gets his message across the internet to garner donations to move forward scouting.  We chuckled on the use of his humor in the e-mail headers he sends to prospective clients.  

Well done Michael!  Come back soon.  We miss you and your humor!

Written by Lynn Barnes and Leigh Zeitz

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Baggin' Produce at the Food Bank

Leigh Zeitz, Jim Larson, Nick Teig, Dale Jansen, and Bob Ericson bag it for the day.
Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - After our meeting, a handful of Rough Risers visited the Northeast Iowa Food Bank in Waterloo to package food for households in Blackhawk County. We packaged 200 bags of onions and over 60 boxes of potatoes for distribution. We actively support the Food Bank throughout the year.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Reflections from the Home Team: Go the Distance

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - Former Cedar Falls Principal, Coach, and noted author, Dave Welter, came to our Cedar Falls Rough Risers Club to share some of the stories he included in his book of stories about his personal fight against cancer.  

These gathered stories show how a loving presence can impact our life worth living.  Much of Dave's journey has been supported by the Good Book. He said that a guiding theme, ”A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing,” (Proverbs 17:22) has provided direction to his life. He admits to having driven a rocky road but it has been worth traveling so others could know the way and how to cope.  

Dave shared a wealth of stories involving his connections with others who have experienced the death of a loved one or are fighting against adversities in their lives. Mr. Welter receives letters from students praising his example, help, and thanking him for being there to tell their stories. When he asks himself about the meaning of all this, he considers. John 12:7 where Jesus explained that “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”  

He read excerpts from his new book, “Reflections from the Home Team: Go the Distance.”  Dave said he gets peace – joy – love from all the people he meets in the doctor’s waiting room and gets their stories to share in his cancer journey.

Written by Lynn Barnes and Leigh Zeitz

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Creating a Place to Play Park for ALL of Us!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - Cedar Falls needs a park where kids of all ages and abilities can go to play. Chris Corkery presented an in-depth narrative about a million dollar project called a “Place to Play Park.”  

It is a unique park and playground for kids with special needs or handicap.  It enables them to enjoy the outdoors and have fun safely and with access that is adapted to their physical limitations to help kids enjoy independent play and fun.  

The playground will be specially landscaped with hard surfaces and trails for wheelchairs and walkers. A fence runs around the play area so everyone is safe and secure.  There are specially designed sandboxes, slides, and restrooms available for the kids.

Hmmmmm . . . They are looking for assistance in building a playground . . . wonder who might be able to help them? 😉😉😉
Written by Lynne Barnes and Leigh Zeitz

Monday, January 1, 2018

Novel Programs for January

We are beginning 2018 with a variety of programs that stretch from playgrounds to Girl Scouts and principals to veterans. 

January 3 - Business Meeting - We will have an opportunity to review the latest club happenings and meet in committees to make things happen.

January 10 - Chris Corkery will discuss the Place to Play project. Several Cedar Falls parents are working to build a playground which will be accessible to all children with disabilities so they can play with their non-disabled peers.  This is their website:  

January 17 - Dave Welter, retired principal at Holmes Junior High, will tell us about his new book, Reflections From the Home Team … Go The Distance.   

January 24 - Michael Davidson, former Rough Riser, will tell us about current and future projects of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

January 31 - Steve Wikert, a Cedar Falls resident and retired Waterloo teacher who served in Vietnam, will describe his service in the Navy during the Vietnam War.  

Working at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank

It is always satisfying to help other organizations help others.  We have a long history of working with the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. We have another opportunity to work with them in January to help sort and organize their inventory.

We will help them on: 

  • Wednesday, January 10 (8-11:30)
  • Wednesday, January 24 (8-11:30)
Written by Leigh Zeitz

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Mike Knapp Shares the Grin & Grow Story

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - At the last Cedar Falls Kiwanis Rough Risers Club, we had Mike Knapp, Executive Director of the Grin & Grow Pre-School provide a verbal tour of the benefits his program provides for young people of the Cedar Valley.  

Mike explained that Grin & Grow will be celebrating their 75thanniversary this year. For 3/4 of a century, hey have been serving kids from low income and at-risk families. Mike emphasized that Grin & Grow doesn't only provide daycare for the children, but they also give their families a hand in getting out of the vicious cycle of poverty and giving the kids a great boost forward in life.  They provide a very creative curriculum studies, but also provide social skills at well.  

Very well done, Mike.

This photo of Santa Knapp was captured after the meeting. Notice the Koveted Kiwanis Koffee Kup?

Written by Lynn Barnes and Leigh Zeitz

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Last Pop of the Year

On Friday, December 15, we prepared to complete our final kettlecorn popfest of 2017. Unlike other events, this popping took place over at Gery Deaver's house. After we popped the kettlecorn, we drove the bags of gold over to the school so they could sell them and fund their programs.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Stan Engel Shares the Story of his U.S. National Parks Tour

Wednesday, December 15, 2017 - One of our very own Kiwanian members, Stan Engel, shared he story of his Grand Tour of Ten National Parks covering 12 states, over 6800 miles, and over 31 days during last September!  Stan gave an enthusiastic talk on some of the most beautiful and untouched American real estate in the western United States. 

Originally Stan was going to his sister Pam’s wedding in Oregon and thought since he was going way out west anyway; why not do the national park tour and take in all the scenery in this once in a lifetime opportunity.  Stan and his lovely wife did it up right by getting a great cultural education and an up-front view of all the amazing natural wonderland not found anywhere in the world. 

Stan -- you made us Kiwanians green with envy!

Written by Lynn Barnes and Leigh Zeitz

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wrapping Things Up for Christmas . . .

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - Every year, our Kiwanis Rough Risers club adopts a family for Christmas through the Salvation Army. This means that we raise the money, buy the presents, and wrap the gifts to put under their Christmas trees. This year we adopted two families.

We began by raising the money for the gifts. We "passed the envelope" around the room a few times to collect money from the members. Once we had collected the funds, specific members (and/or their spouses) volunteered to purchase gifts for each of the family members.  These gifts included specific items requested by the family members as well as gift cards to various stores.

Today, it was time to wrap the presents and deliver them to Santa.  This is always a fun day as we get to fold, crease, and tape paper around our gifts.  Below is a set of photos of our Rough Risers wrapping:

Friday, December 1, 2017

December will be Joyful!!!!

The best thing about December is that we get to share things with each other and with kids throughout the Cedar Valley. Our month begins with the wonderful Gift of Giving event. The rest of the month is filled with programs that share ideas and events.

December 2 - Gift of Giving
This is an annual event where we join together with the Cedar Valley JayCees to serve over 60 Cedar Valley youths. We meet at 6:30 AM at the UAW building in Waterloo. The kids arrive about 7:00. Adult members pair up with kids and we board buses to go to Blain's Farm and Fleet. Santa greets them at the door and the kids are given the opportunity to buy Christmas gifts for family members. There is a credit limit for each of them. After checking out, we return to Waterloo where they have breakfast and wrap their gifts. Their parents pick them up about 9:00 AM. A great time is had by all.

December 6 - Wrap Presents
This year we adopted 2 families through the Salvation Army. This is an annual event where members donate money towards purchasing gifts for the families. We will have a quick business meeting, but we will have much more fun wrapping the gifts.

December 13 - Stan Engel Cruises the Parks

This past year, our member - Stan Engel took a whole 6 weeks to travel the US with family. He visited relatives and National Parks. Today Stan will share the beautiful 
scenery and his amazing stories with us.

December 20 - The Mission of Grin and Grow Childcare Centers

Mike Knapp, Director of the Grin and Grow Childcare Centers in Waterloo, will share 
the mission of Grin and Grow Childcare Centers. We have been supporting Grin and Grow for over a dozen years.


December 27 - Round Table Meeting

Now it's time to sit and talk. We never know how many members will join our breakfast in the holiday season. Therefore, we just sit "round" our tables and share our lives.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Dr. Hayes Discusses Problems with Iowa's Laws

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - Today we were fortunate to have as our guest lecturer, Dr. Allen Hays, Emeritus Professor of Political Science.  He had been the  head of the Graduate Program of Public Policy at the University of Northern Iowa.  

Dr. Hays gave a very interesting and timely talk on taking action towards reducing the mass incarceration of detainees within the State of Iowa.  He discussed the need of reducing or eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing and tort reform.  

Beyond their term of incarceration, prisoners experience a lifetime of problems. Once a person gets into the criminal justice system and pays his/her debt to society; there still remains a stigma on the already adjudicated crime that brands the person to a life time sentence.  The end result is a high probability of that person returning to prison again and again.  

Dr. Hays is advocating more funding for mental health treatment programs, drug addiction treatment, training for law enforcement, for families in distress because of incarceration of non-violent offenders, and also seeking alternatives to the War on Drugs.

Thank you making us more aware of this issue, Dr. Hays.

Written by Lynne Barnes and Leigh Zeitz

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Selecting Future Acts for the Gallagher Bluedorn Center

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - For those not attending our last Cedar Falls Kiwanis Rough Risers Club last meeting, you missed out on a special and rare opportunity!  UNI’s very own Dr. Steve Carignan, Executive Director of the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center and his Associate Mr. Shawn Poellet, Assistant Technology Director/Audio & Video, invited our club to be a focus group for potential talented artists in the 2018-2019 season. 

The Gallagher-Bluedorn Peforming Arts Center had created a list of possible future performers and they wanted to get input from our Club representing the entertainment consumer market.  They showed short video clips demonstrating their performances and asked us to list our favorites. What a treat to see the different genres and offerings that included A-Listed Celebrities!  

Thank you Steve and Shawn;  come back soon!

Written by Lynn Barnes and Leigh Zeitz