2020 Float Riders and Outwalkers
The Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee Inc. presents “Hope Connects the World” as the theme of our January 1, 2020, float.
The seven sustaining Districts each sponsor a walker for the Float.
President, Rotary International, 2019-20
Decatur, Alabama Rotary Club
Mark Daniel Maloney, is a member of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA.
“The clubs are where Rotary happens,” says Maloney, an attorney. He aims to support and strengthen clubs at the community level, preserve Rotary’s culture as a service-oriented membership organization, and test new regional approaches for growth.
“With the eradication of polio, recognition for Rotary will be great and the opportunities will be many,” he says. “We have the potential to become the global powerhouse for doing good.”
Maloney is a principal in the law firm of Blackburn, Maloney, and Schuppert LLC, with a focus on taxation, estate planning, and agricultural law. He represents large farming operations in the Southeastern and Midwestern United States, and has chaired the American Bar Association’s Committee on Agriculture in the section of taxation. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Alabama State Bar Association, and the Alabama Law Institute.
He has been active in Decatur’s religious community, chairing his church’s finance council and a local Catholic school board. He has also served as president of the Community Foundation of Greater Decatur, chair of Morgan County Meals on Wheels, and director of the United Way of Morgan County and the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.
A Rotarian since 1980, Maloney has served as an RI director; Foundation trustee and vice chair; and aide to 2003-04 RI President Jonathan Majiyagbe. He also has participated in the Council on Legislation as chair, vice chair, parliamentarian, and trainer. He was an adviser to the 2004 Osaka Convention Committee and chaired the 2014 Sydney Convention Committee.
Prior to serving as a district governor, Maloney led a Group Study Exchange to Nigeria. He also served as Future Vision Committee vice chair; Foundation training institute moderator; Foundation permanent fund national adviser; member of the Peace Centers Committee; and adviser to the Foundation’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Schools Target Challenge Committee.
Maloney’s wife, Gay, is an attorney in the same law firm, and a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Decatur Daybreak, Alabama, USA. Both Mark and Gay are Paul Harris Fellows, Major Donors, and Bequest Society members.
RI President 2019-20 “Gay and I had the tremendous honor of riding on the Rotary float in the Rose Bowl Parade. Many thanks to Wade Nomura, the chair of the Rotary Rose Bowl Committee, and the entire committee for such a grand float. It was great to have Optimist International contribute to the success of the float and for their president Adrian M. Elcock to join us. The amazing float earned the Tournament Volunteer Trophy Award. What a great day to represent Rotary!”
Decatur Daybreak Rotary Club
Gay Blackburn Maloney is a member of the law firm of Blackburn, Maloney, and Schuppert, LLC in Decatur, Alabama, practicing in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, and business law. She is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. She attended Agnes Scott College, later serving as a Trustee of the College and as President of its Alumnae Association. Agnes Scott College has recognized Gay as a recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Alumnae Award for Service to the Community. At Vanderbilt Law School, she was the first woman to serve as the President of the Student Government. She is past President of the United Way of Morgan County, the Junior League of Morgan County, the Parkway Medical Center Board of Trustees, and the Morgan County Bar Association. Long committed to young women and girls, she has also served as a Girl Scout Leader. She has been awarded the Athena Award by the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce and the Girlfriend of the Gala Award by the United Way Women’s Leadership Council. A Rotarian since 1996, Gay is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Decatur Daybreak and a former Assistant Governor. Most recently, she was recognized by the Rotary Club of Decatur Daybreak for her dedication to the club in membership growth. She has three daughters, Phyllis, Margaret, and Suzanna, a son-in-law, Blake, and is a grandmother to Patrick and Peter. Gay is serving Rotary as the partner of Mark Daniel Maloney, President of Rotary International for the Rotary year 2019-2020.
Optimist International President 2019 – 2020
Club of Barbados, Bridgetown Optimist Club
Adrian Elcock is a businessman and Director of the Elcock Group of Companies in Barbados.
He graduated from Pace University in New York with a degree in accounting, majoring in public accounting. After graduating, Adrian worked a number of years with Arthur Andersen, one of the world’s largest auditing firms, before returning home to join his family business.
Adrian gives a significant amount of his free time to a number of social and civic organizations and is currently serving on a number of Boards, including:
- St. George Anglican Church, Parochial Church Council; Optimist International, International President 2019 to 2020; Optimist Club of Barbados, Bridgetown, Treasurer; Optimist Club of Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Member; Barbados Gallery of Art Trust Trustee
- In previous years he served his country by sitting on a number of Governmental organizations, including:
- Fair Trading Commission of Barbados, Deputy Chairman;
- Barbados Tourism Authority, Chairman;
- Child Care Board of Barbados, Director;
- Barbados Conference Services Ltd,
- Dear Trading Commission
He is married to Ann Wallace-Elcock, a Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and they have a 12-year old daughter, Sanaa, a high school student.
Adrian has been an Optimist since 1998 and he has served in the following offices:
- 1999-2000 Triple Distinguished Club President
- 2001-2002 Distinguished & Outstanding Lieutenant Governor (Caribbean District)
- 2005-2006 Distinguished & Outstanding Governor (Caribbean District)
- 2006-2007 Credentials Committee Member
- 2007-2009 Governance Committee Member
- 2010-2011 International Vice President (Southeast Region)
- 2012-2013 Membership Committee Member
- 2014-2015 Audit & Finance Committee Member
- 2015-2018 International Board of Directors
- 2018-2019 International President-Elect
- 2019-2020 International President
In addition, Adrian is a Certified Club Builder and a Certified District Trainer
Adrian has also served in numerous club and district committees and positions and he is a proud Caribbean District Life Member.
He is especially proud that he has been an integral part of every single new club building effort in Barbados, Trinidad, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis and St. Lucia. In many of these instances, he has deferred the Builder of Excellence commendation to other members who were never BOEs, and as such, the records of OI only have him as the BOE for three (3) clubs.
To date, he has also sponsored 45 members into the Optimist Family.
Barbados Central Optimist Club
Ann is an engagement partner within the Assurance group at PricewaterhouseCoopers East Caribbean. Ann is a graduate of Pace University in New York where she obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Ann is the banking engagement leader within the East Caribbean firm and has led and has extensive experience in providing audit, accounting and related services to banking and other financial services clients in Barbados and the Caribbean. In her time at PwC she has served in several capacities, including Head of Change, Methodology leader and Partner responsibility for Independence. She also served as a member of the Board of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Caribbean Region Limited and is currently serving as the Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Barbados and the East Caribbean and also has additional responsibility for Independence. Ann started her career with the PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York office before relocating to Barbados.
Ann is a founding member of the Optimist Club of Barbados Central. She is also a member of the Barbados chapter of the International Women’s Forum. She is passionate about the support of young women in her community.
Ann is a proud wife and mother of one daughter.
District 5810 – North Texas
Garyson County Rotary Club
William (Bill) Dendy joined Rotary in 2000 and served as Rotary District Governor in North Texas 2016-17. During his tenure as Governor, District 5810 led the zone in new members. Additionally, the North Texas District was recognized as a top district for public relations in the paired zones. Foundation giving also increased and overall Foundation contributions increased by over $1 million. District events, including the governor’s installation, RI convention, Foundation 100th Birthday Party, and the district conference saw major increases in attendance. Bill believes that membership, public image, Foundation giving, and attendance are all tied together, and that Rotary should be a fun and positive experience.
International events and service projects surged, as the 2016-17 district conference included five different service projects in Cozumel and Jamaica. They were spearheaded by clubs already familiar with the needs of these communities. Sharing the need with other clubs within the North Texas District has led to more ongoing projects. During his governor year, Bill traveled to Africa to fulfill a ten-year District goal of providing education for girls in Malawi. Additionally, he led a group to Cuba to provide humanitarian aid.
Bill is excited to share Rotary with the world as well as with fellow Rotarians. He has produced paper newsletters, monthly video updates, and held monthly district roundtable meetings open to all North Texas Rotarians. Rotary District 5810 was featured on local television news, radio, and in multiple newspapers. Bill also represented his District at the longest running Rotary public relations event-The Rose Parade-where wearing a kilt of his family tartan he marched alongside the Princesses-Award-winning Rotary float.
Bill is a Foundation Major Donor and a member of the Paul Harris Society, White Hat Society, and Bequest Society. He was honored as District 5810 Rotarian of the Year in 2012. Bill is a member of American Mensa and a private pilot. Professionally, Bill is an attorney, CFP and CPA in the wealth management profession. His wife, Lisa, is an attorney and Rotarian who has served as club president, secretary, treasurer and Group Study Exchange Leader. Their children, Benjamin age 17, and Larkyn age 6, have grown up with an extensive Rotary family.
District 5240, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Kern Counties
Thousand Oaks Rotary Club
Karen Furnari served as President of the Rotary Club of Thousand Oaks from during the 2018 – 2019 term and currently serves as the Immediate Past President, and Chair of the Membership Committee.
She joined Rotary International in 1995 and became a member of the Rotary Club of Thousand Oaks in May 1997.She was bestowed the honored as New Member (Rookie) of the Year 1997-98 and Rotarian of the Year 2003-04.
In 2006, she graduated from the Master PRLS and was District 5240 PRLS Coordinator.
From 2002-2004, she designed and introduced the Four Way Test Essay Contest into our club and became our club’s Vocational Chair. She was also the District 5240 Four Way Test Contest Chair and the District 5240 Vocational Chair for 2005-2006. She spoke and trained on Vocational Service at several District seminars (Assembly, Mid-Terms, etc.) as well as several other Rotary clubs in Ventura County.
In 2013, Karen was appointed to our club’s Membership Committee and initiated a program for our New Members, to assist them in the process from being inducted to receiving their Blue Badge. For that effort, Karen was awarded the Mike O’Beirne Award in June 2014 for her innovation and commitment to Rotary and our club.
In 2016, she was awarded the Mary Claire Slais Award for “Service Above Self” to the club for my continuing membership retention efforts.
Recently she was the Chair for Family of Rotary and was elected as PEN in 2016.
Karen considers herself a Rotarian for life. Her Rotary “moment” came in her first year, in the Downtown Ventura Club, when she was awarded a Paul Harris Fellow for organizing and planning a special Valentine’s lunch and program for all five area clubs. Since then, the service, camaraderie and special friendships she has formed have filled that part of her that always yearned to do more.
I was one of the walkers. It was overwhelming to be given the opportunity (my husband had died a month earlier, and a Rotarian friend who had won the raffle to be the walker had to go out of town, and she and the club chose me to replace her.)
As always, even when you meet up with a lot of Rotarians that you don’t know at 4am, it is still a great experience from the first handshake. From then on to the start of the parade, it became almost an out of body experience. When we turned the corner onto Colorado Blvd., to see the amount of people in the stands made me gasp, and then cry. I felt surrounded by humanity at its best. From then to the end, just seeing little kids and their parents so happy to see all of us made my heart soar. When we neared the end, I was so sad it was over.
However, I will treasure that morning, and the dinner before, for the rest of my life. For anyone considering doing this, it will be a time you can relive over and over. When I yelled Happy New Year from Rotary to the crowds, they yelled right back – “We Love Rotary!”
The TV stations captured me, a lot, at the beginning as we came around and I saw the grandstands, so high. I covered my mouth and began to cry — I was just overcome with how many people and how they all made me feel. (I am the blonde on the camera side near the back).
We would love to have anything to present to our club during our weekly Zoom meetings. We are looking to fill a normal program time – 25 minutes so anything you can send is great. If it comes after restrictions are lifted, we will show it at a regular meeting.
Thanks for everything – the Float Committee was outstanding!
District 5810 – North Texas
Grand Prairie Metro Rotary
Beverly Grogan is a Dallas native and now resides in Grand Prairie. A graduate of Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Arlington, she began a long career at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in a variety of Marketing and Training positions. She took early retirement in 2000 and began a second career as Vice President–Events at the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce. 5 years later, she was hired by the City of Grand Prairie Parks Department where she served as Special Events Coordinator. She recently retired from there after a successful career of staging years of popular events, including Prairie Lights, a drive-‐through Christmas park which won national recognition.
Beverly joined Grand Prairie Metro Rotary in 2002, and has served in a variety of offices, including Club President in 2006-‐07. She has served in a variety of District Roles including Assistant Governor, Service Project chairman, Child Identification Chairman, Events Chairman, and Dream Team. One of her favorite jobs was being on the faculty of Rotary International Leadership Institute (RILI). She served as Chair of that group, and as RILI was changed to Rotary Engagement and Leverage, became a co-‐developer and facilitator of that Leadership Program. She is a Benefactor, Bequest Society member and a member of the Paul Harris Society. Her club awarded her the Star award in 2016.
Beverly is extremely involved in her community, serving on several charitable boards through the years. Currently she serves as Board member of Children First Counseling center, UTA’s Christian campus Center and Board Emeritus of Dallas Children’s Theater.
She was given the Woman of Distinction award and President’s award by Soroptimist International for her community service, and the same organization presented her the Spirit of Volunteerism Award in 2019. In 2014 the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce named Beverly ‘Citizen of the Year’.
Beverly is looking forward to this year of serving her District 5810 as Governor, hoping to meet more Rotarians that, like her, want to make a difference in our world.
“I had a magical time participating in the Rose Parade Committee experience.
To be a part of every part of construction, from filling water vials, to de-leafing roses, to work in the flower shop hunting for a particular color of gerber daisy, to actually placing flowers on the float was a dream and a great experience for the entire Texas delegation.
Then to be part of Penelope’s Posse and to ride on the float was such an honor. I hope to keep up with all of my new friends as we now have a “forever connection.” What a special way to ring in a new decade with such a great Award winning Team. Thanks to everyone for making dreams come true.”
District 5320 – Orange County CA from Anaheim to Newport to San Clemente
Long Beach Rotary Club
Born and raised in Vestal, New York, Gregory Haeseler attended SUNY Alfred Ag & Tech to get his Associates Degree. Greg then moved to Southern California in 1980 to get his 4 year degree at CSU Dominguez Hills. At that time, Greg worked full time for Bateman Eichler, Hill Richards (a brokerage firm based in L.A.) and went to school at night, completing his degree in 1985. During that time, Greg met his wife Martha at a church in Torrance and married in 1984.
Greg began his career as a financial advisor in 1988 and is now working for a major financial services firm. In 2003, Greg joined the Rotary Club of Long Beach and has been an active Rotarian since. He is a past-president (2012-2013) and has served in many capacities both with the Long Beach Rotary Club and with District 5320. Some of his duties include serving as club’s Foundation Chair, the District’s executive team, the District’s membership chair, and most recently chairing the District’s Foundation Dinner.
Greg and Martha have a daughter who is in her first year at Western Colorado University in Gunnison. When not busy with work, his community involvements, and his family, Greg enjoys playing golf and studying theology.
District 5300, Southern California-Southern Nevada
La Verne Rotary Club
Susan Cross Hume is the Assistant Superintendent of Business Services of the Bonita Unified School District. She has been a school district CBO for 20 years. She started her professional career in public accounting at Vicenti, Lloyd and Stutzman, CPAs.
Mrs. Hume is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona (bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Accounting emphasis). She holds her CPA (Certified Public Accountant) license from the State of California, and is also a CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) and a CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant).
Mrs. Hume is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the California Society of CPAs, the Institute of Internal Auditors, and the California Association of School Business Officials. She is a board member and the treasurer of the Alliance for Schools Cooperative Insurance Program (ASCIP), as well as Treasurer and United Methodist Women Board representative for David and Margaret Youth and Family Services.
A life-long Methodist, Mrs. Hume is active in her church, Claremont United Methodist, serving on the finance committee, convener of her United Methodist Women circle, and Sunday School teacher. Mrs. Hume is also the treasurer for Kimball Boyd Coburn Ministries. She recently came off of the Board of the International Christian Scholarship Foundation after 18 years, serving 2 terms as president.
Mrs. Hume is also a member of La Verne Rotary.
Susan is married to Ed, and has two grown children, Eddie and Janet. They live in a 1917 craftsman home in old town La Verne, where they are active in the Historical Society and La Verne Heritage.
District 5300, Southern California-Southern Nevada
Pasadena After Hours Rotary Club
Brenda grew up on a farm outside of Xenia, Illinois and met her husband, Greg, in high school in Flora, Illinois. They both graduated from the University of Illinois, then got married in 1981, and moved to California in 1985. Brenda has been a librarian at Glendale Community College since 1991, the same year she and Greg moved to Pasadena. She has a masters degree in Library Science from UCLA and a masters degree in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Brenda is associated with the Rotary Club of Pasadena After Hours where her husband, Greg, has been a member for many years. Brenda has attended several Rotary International Conventions, many District 5300 Conferences, and participated in numerous Rotary service projects over the years. She enjoys being involved in and supporting Rotary’s many humanitarian projects worldwide, especially the End Polio Now initiative. Brenda and Greg are charter members of the Legacy Society and Major Donors with The Rotary Foundation.
Brenda is excited to participate as a “walker” in the Rose Parade, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As a long-time Pasadena resident, this is an especially meaningful opportunity and she looks forward to a memorable New Year’s Day, walking the parade route with the Rotary Rose Parade Float. Greg is a past treasurer of the Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee and he and Brenda are float sponsors. Greg will serve as District Governor for Rotary District 5300 in 2020-2021 and Brenda looks forward to sharing the adventure with him.
Welcome to New Year’s Day 2020 in Pasadena!!
- Jennifer McGrew-Thomason
- Thank You Note From Jennifer
- Jennifer's Comments About Her Experience
District 5340, San Diego and Imperial Counties
El Centro Rotary Club
Jennifer McGrew-Thomason was born & raised in the Imperial Valley, South Eastern California. This area is located on the border of Arizona & Mexico. Having grown up in a farming community she is well-acquainted with the work involved in vegetable and wheat crops as well as cattle production. Her folks wanted to round out her education as a young girl; thus, she has experience harvesting onions, chopping wood, sorting asparagus & herding cattle on horseback from field to field. She definitely learned the importance of a strong work ethic!
Jennifer was in the 4-H program from the time she was old enough to join. While in the program until she graduated from high school she participated in many community projects as well as raising sheep & steers. Her love of community involvement & education has stayed with her and has been a 4-H community leader for the past 10 years and thoroughly enjoys “Boyz Cooking”, trash cleanup, county wide bike rides & 4-H BBQ fundraising. Not to mention Feeder Calf meetings & fair judging days.
She attended Hope College in Michigan for 2 years & then transferred to Northern Arizona University, where she graduated with a degree in Social Work. Upon graduation, Jennifer immediately was offered a job at Valley Convalescent Hospital in El Centro, CA. She committed to 2 years & then worked for a local Hospice Agency for 2 years. She was then asked to work at an Adult Day Health Care Center in Brawley & then another in El Centro. From there, she worked with a local physician to find property in the city of Calexico, obtain all necessary licenses, procure nurses, physical therapists & recreational equipment. Within 6 months, Alegria Adult Day Health Care center was in business & growing like a weed! She managed the program for 12 years with an average of 100 participants.
Jennifer & her husband, Bryan, are stalwart advocates of a good education. He is the Superintendent of Imperial Unified School District. They both encourage further education with each of their staff members and all they meet. With Bryan’s support, she served on the El Centro Regional Medical Center hospital board for 7 years (serving as president for 1 year) & assisted with starting the ECRMC Foundation. She has been an El Centro Chamber of Commerce board member and loves working on the Ambassador Committee. She has been a member of the PEO sisterhood & has assisted with fundraising and turkey donations to the homeless. She also took on the adventure with her Mother, Patty, in opening a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly in 2007. Heart & Hand, Inc. is a thriving business & encompasses the Assisted Living Home as well as serving families who want to remain in their own homes.
Jennifer comes from a line of Rotarians. Her Grandfather was Past President of the Susanville, CA Rotary Club. Her Dad is a Past President of the Rotary Club of El Centro. She & her husband, Bryan, are both members & among the family there are 5 Paul Harris Fellows.
Jennifer didn’t realize the depth of Rotary when she was invited to join. Yet she has immersed herself well. Her activities within the scope of Rotary continue to grow:
She has been active with the STAR reading program for many years, sharing the 4-Way Test with 4th graders once a month. Her willingness to sit on the floor with kids and answer “real questions” has made her time with the students memorable for many of them.
Under the leadership of Past President Frank Miranda, Jennifer started the Little Free Library program. She did this as the “Community Service Project” for the visiting students of the Rotary Summer Camp Youth Exchange Program. She organized the design, building & painting of 12 Little Free Libraries & continues to maintain them with the local Interact Clubs as well as with fellow Rotarians. Books are donated by fellow Rotarians & affixed with a label with the Rotary 4-Way Test on the inside cover of each book. Never did she think the need for this SERVICE ABOVE SELF project would explode into such success! Hosting for her Club is easy, whether it’s a Christmas Party, refurbishing Little Libraries, Interact meetings, a Highway Cleanup event or Rotarians-at-Work Day.
Jennifer is most proud of her family. With Bryan, they have raised 2 very nice young men. With the anticipation they will be independent & contributing members to society and whatever community they become a part of. Brad, a junior at UCCS in Colorado Springs was a participant of the Rotary Summer Camp & then spent a “Family to Family” exchange in Germany for 4 weeks. Mark, a senior in high school will be going to Northern Arizona University in August 2020.
Never did Jennifer realize the possibility of receiving the honor of participating in the Parade of Roses! Being able to represent Rotary and the wonderful work Rotary does is humbling. She appreciates Marta Knight, District Governor for recognizing her with the “Super Hero” award this past October.
Dear Fellow Rotarians!
What a whirlwind of a time!!
Thanks so much for including me in ALL of the wonderful festivities of the 2020 Rose Parade!!
Having met each of you has opened my eyes and perspective on many different issues/projects. I look forward to following up with some of you in the near future!
It is my sincere hope following my program at my club meeting, that El Centro Rotary will be more involved in the coming years.
With many thanks to all of the committee and those that welcomed me, thank you.
Rotary Club of El Centro
What a whirlwind of a time!! Thanks so much for including me in ALL of the wonderful festivities of the 2020 Rose Parade!! Having met each of you has opened my eyes and perspective on many different issues/projects. I look forward to following up with some of you in the near future! It is my sincere hope following my program at my club meeting, that El Centro Rotary will be more involved in the coming years. With many thanks to all of the committee and those that welcomed me, thank you.
Rotary District 5330 – Inland Empire, Southern California
Norco Rotary Club
Melanie Rice was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, graduated with a Masters from CSUF, taught high school English at Sunny Hills High School, was an Assistant Principal at Rubidoux High School and Principal at Rialto Junior High School.
Looking for a different challenge, Melanie opened a State Farm Insurance Agency in 1985 with the help of two licensed employees; she now manages her agency and Rotary responsibilities.
Melanie was invited to join Norco Rotary in 2002, and she served as President in 2005-2006. “Service Above Self” was the International Theme that year and it was plastered around the PETS classroom the year she did her President’s training. “Each time I walked into that room my heart felt joy, elation and purpose.” Melanie also served as a RYLA DGL in 2004-2005.
“A sense of joy comes over me just being in Rotary. I was blessed to have someone care enough to invite me to a meeting. There has been purpose in my life these last 15 years. I have been able to help others, given them hope and letting them know others care. There have been many new friendships, places to visit and blessed experiences. I have collected jeans for those in need, helped a single mother and five children, fundraised to support community projects, distributed dictionaries, read scholarship es- says, inaugurated two Interact Clubs, chaired District Events, held staf positions and attended most Rotary events. My passion is to help at risk youth throughout our District.”
“As important as Service is, the Rotary 4 Way Test is the moral creed I practice daily. What would our world be like if everyone believed in and practiced those four principles? Chairing the Rotary 4 Way Test Speech Contest has not only introduced me to the brightest students in the Inland Empire, but also introduced me to the dynamic Rotarians who accompany them to the contest. Every year our candidates present challenging and new topics to be judged by members of the Community. How lucky am I as a Rotarian to work with young people, help my community and support Rotary projects around the World!”
District 5280 – Los Angeles Basin, California
Hollywood Rotary Club
Melody St. John has been involved with Rotary throughout her entire life, from her days as the daughter of a Rotarian in South Dakota when women were not accepted as members. Today she utilizes her passion for youth programs and has been involved with Rotary Youth Exchange for over 25 years. She and her husband Paul have hosted over 22 students in their home from around the world. A member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Hollywood, St. John is involved in a number of Rotary District 5280 initiatives.
Beyond the District, she is the Chairman of the multi-state high school Rotary Youth Exchange program (SCANEX) and works with over 100 students each year, placing them in the best situations here in the U.S. and abroad. She and her husband, Rotarian Paul St. John (LA5), are co-founders of the Rotary USA Train Tour and taken as of this summer over 1,000 exchange students on a month long train tour around the United States. In her professional life, St. John’s founded Video Tape Library, a stock footage image library, in 1984. The library has over a million images compiled from over 250 cameramen form around the world. Fun fact: Her library was used in beta testing for a fledgling website called“YouTube.”
Melody’s Rotary C.V.
2018-19 Presenter at Rotary International pre-convention for Youth
2012-18 Board member of NAYEN (North America, Canada and Mexico)
2010-19 Counselor at RYLA
2010-16 Co-chair of Angel City Celebration
2016-17 Co-chair for District Humanitarian Trip to Merida Mexico
2016-17 Chair of 321 Go to End Polio
2010-17 Youth Service Chair for Rotary Club of Hollywood
2015-16 SAG Community Service
2014-15 Chief of Staff to District Governor Elsa Gillham
2012-13 District Interact co-Advisor
2010-11 President Rotary Club of Hollywood
I had a wonderful experience participating in the Rose Parade. I have had the opportunity to decorate with our interactors and Youth Exchange students for more than 10 years and enjoyed each year. It gives me a great sense of belonging to something greater and being able to share with the world that “Rotary makes a Difference.”
District 5300 – Southern California-Southern Nevada
Arcadia Rotary Club
Richard Schulhof is CEO of the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia, CA, one of the nation’s premier botanical gardens serving over a half million people a year. Schulhof and the Arboretum are committed to public education, providing thousands of students with field trips and life science explorations. Schulhof has worked in public gardens for over 30 years. Prior to his moving to Arcadia he had been in charge of Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge, California and the Arnold Arboretum & Botanical Garden, Boston, Massachusetts. He brings Hope to the World by sharing the wonder of nature with visitors from Southern California and around the world. Richard, a member of the Arcadia Rotary Club and his wife Sandy are ready for the 2020 Rose Parade!
Riding on the Rotary Float was a remarkable experience of connection and celebration of service…definitely an ultimate Rotary moment! Many thanks for all you do for this wonderful program!
District 7680 – North Carolina
Mecklenburg County-South Rotary Club
Beth is a member of Mecklenburg County-South Rotary Club. She became familiar with Rotary through her husband, Rodney Holtzmuller, a third generation Rotarian and charter member of their club. Her inspiration to join Rotary was fueled by the desire to host youth exchange students as Rodney’s family had done for many years. While having dinner with a former exchange student from Germany who had lived with her in-laws, Beth asked Rodney to volunteer to host students. In reply, Rodney asked that she consider becoming a Rotarian. She took him up on his “ask” and is thankful for the enrichment to her life as a result of joining Rotary.
Beth has perfect attendance since joining Rotary. She is a graduate of RLI and served as club president in 2013-2014. During that time, her club earned the Presidential Citation, District Gold Club of Excellence, District Membership Growth Award and the District Club Service Award. Beth and Rodney are Major Donors, Paul Harris Society Members and Bequest Society Members. Beth served three terms as Assistant Governor working with seven clubs in the Charlotte area and was awarded outstanding Assistant Governor in 2016. She served as chairperson for the 2016 District Conference held in Asheville, NC.
In addition to youth exchange, Beth is passionate about Rotary’s drive to eradicate polio. She and her daughter joined the District 7680 inaugural Mt. Kilimanjaro climbers in 2012 to raise awareness and funds for ending Polio worldwide. Beth’s aunt and uncle died prematurely from the debilitating effects of polio. In January 2018, Beth spent two weeks in India, living with a Rotarian family in Chandigar and participating in a National Immunization Day (NID). Beth highly recommends Rotarians experience participating in a NID if an opportunity exists.
Beth would also like to see a cure for Alzheimer’s developed in her lifetime. Her mother passed away in 2013 after suffering with Alzheimer’s. Beth encourages generous contributions to CART to provide funds for cutting edge research in an effort to end Alzheimer’s.
Beth has been affiliated with Nationwide Insurance for 23 years, beginning her career as an agency owner. Currently she is a regional district sales manager for Nationwide. Beth has an undergraduate degree from Queens University and MBA from Winthrop University.
Beth and Rodney live in Charlotte, have four married children and eleven grandchildren ranging in age from one to 15. One special highlight of family life is the annual camping trip with her children and grandchildren. In addition to enjoying every moment spent with her grandchildren, Beth loves travel, and enjoys good food and wine especially when shared with great friends and family.
Rotary District 5330 – Inland Empire, Southern California
Rialto Rotary Club
Barry Joined Rialto Rotary in September of 2007. As a member of Rialto Rotary, he has served as President, Board Member, Foundation Chair and many committee positions. With his leadership, Rialto Rotary has risen to one of the elite clubs in District 5330.
During his years of Rotary Service, he has been a leader in the District 5330, He served as a Asst. Governor, Membership Assembly Chair, District Conference Chair, Foundation Gala Chair, District Foundation Board member, District A/V Chair and Chair of the Odouro Village Committee.
He is a Major Donor of the Rotary Foundation, Paul Harris Society Member, Member of the Fellowship of Cruising Rotarians, Member of the International Fellowship of Motorcycling Rotarians, Member of the Golfing Rotarians Fellowship and Disaster Network of Assistance Rotarians Action Group.
Barry Valdez is the President of H & B Services, Inc. a General Contractor from Southern California. He has worked in the Construction Industry for over 45 years, serving both the Residential and Commercial Sectors.
Barry is a motorcycle enthusiast, He rides a Harley-Davidson Street Glide Motorcycle. He is married to Marija and they have 6 Daughters and 10 Grandchildren. 6 members of Barry’s family are members of Rialto Rotary.
District 5300, Southern California-Southern Nevada
Altadena Rotary Club
Mike Zoeller is a native of Wisconsin, as is his wife Carol. Both graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Mike in Mechanical Engineering and Carol in Education and each received PhDs from Purdue (Mike) and UCLA (Carol). After moving the family to Southern California in 1973, Mike pursued a 20-year career at Pasadena-based Bell and Howell, Electronics and Instruments Group. After serving as Vice President and General Manager of the Instruments Division, Mike left the company to become President and owner of an Alhambra, California-based manufacturer of electronic components where he is continuing to enjoy his second 20-plus-year career.
Mike joined the Rotary Club of Altadena in 1986 and has served his club and District 5300 in a number of capacities, including Club President, Club Foundation chair for eight years, current chair of the club’s Projects Committee for many years, where he is actively involved in all aspects of the club’s projects organization and budgeting. He has also served as Chairman of two District Foundation dinners. As a polio survivor, Mike was President of his club the year Rotary International kicked off the drive to eradicate polio and he has been a long-time supporter of the Polio Plus campaign. Mike is a diamond member and benefactor of the Paul Harris Society.
In additional to his involvement in Rotary, Mike’s community service includes his roles as Board Chair of the San Gabriel Valley United Way and Board Chair of the San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Mike and Carol are 45-year residents of Altadena, where their children and grandchildren also reside. He is an avid golfer and enjoys the on-going study of his family’s genealogy.
“Happy New Year Rotarians!
It has been one of the most important highlights of my 30-plus rotary career to represent District 5300 and Rotarians throughout the world as a participant in the 2020 Rotary Rose Parade Float. The opportunity to meet RI president Mark Maloney and his wife Gay, along with Optimist International President Adrian Elcock and wife Ann and all the participating Rotarians from around the country was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
But for sheer emotional impact, turning the corner at Orange Grove and Colorado and seeing the sea of New Year spectators lining the street takes the cake. The gratifying crowd reaction of six miles of shouting “Happy New Year from Rotary” will be a vivid memory forever.
My sincere thanks to all of the members of the Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee who made the event possible. I can’t wait to see next year’s float – from the comfort of my living room – and recalling my thrilling day in the California sun with Rotary.”