Visit any of the 50 Rotary Clubs between Kewanee and Collinsville, Illinois, for the next year or so and you might just run into Mason City’s own Dave Knieriem. The ex-mayor and long-time Rotary member will be installed as district governor for that organization June 28 in Havana.

Knieriem joined the Mason City Rotary in 1997. “I didn’t know anything about Rotary, but I’d heard their motto, “Service above self.” After 20 years in the military, I believed that.

“My wife, Bonnie, is that way too. She’s a Rotary member also.”

The first Rotary Club was formed in Chicago in 1905 as a way for professionals to share ideas and form friendships. Today Rotary is an international non-profit organization with 1.2 million members focused on having a global impact in the six major areas of promoting peace; fighting disease; providing clean water; saving mothers and children; supporting education; and growing local economies. Rotary is especially committed to the eradication of Polio – a goal that may not be far off.

Locally, the Rotary meets Tuesdays at noon at the Do Drop Inn. Mary Caldwell is the current president – a position that rotates year to year. The roughly twenty members perform or supports numerous community service projects including sponsoring Prairie Harvest Days, providing insurance for community events, and providing college scholarships.

Dave and Bonnie Knieriem travelled to Sidney, Australia this month to attend the annual Rotary International Convention. Bonnie was honored to sing as part of the Rotary International Choir. “She had to learn songs in French and Spanish,” Dave notes.

Knieriem urges anyone with a passion for service to consider Rotary Club membership. “I don’t think any group does it better,” he says.