Fortuna Noon Rotary readies for annual scholarship fundraiser

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

Hundreds will soon gather at the Fortuna River Lodge for the annual Rotary Scholarship Dinner where they will recognize this year's scholarship recipients. The annual dinner will take place on Thursday, May 23, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

A prime rib and chicken Kiev dinner will be prepared by CC Market and will include an array of side dishes.

This annual event raises the much needed funds to support over a dozen High School Scholarships. In addition, Fortuna Noon Rotary shares one Ag Scholarship with Ferndale High School. This year recipients will be receiving $16,000 in scholarship funds.

"This dinner and our efforts reflect our commitment to education," current Noon Rotary President Tom Herman said.

"Phil Nyberg and I started the major community projects fundraising with the help of our wives Gwynna Morris and Melinda Nyberg," longtime Rotarian David Morris said of the club formed in 1926.

During that time, Nyberg was chairman of the Major Project Committee and it focused on one large community improvement project fully funded by the Rotary.

Some of the projects originally funded were a gazebo at St. Luke's, the restroom building at Rohner Park, and sheltered bus stops for local school children.

"We have always tried to sell 200 tickets and give back to the residents who come out to the night's festivities through cash and non-cash prizes," Morris said. "Today, we still carry on the fundraising event, but focus the money toward our local youth in the form of scholarships."

Rotarian Dennis Hazelton said Fortuna Noon Rotary Club honors the top 5 percent of the graduating class of Fortuna High school with an Awards Night Dinner, where several thousands of dollars in scholarship monies are awarded.

"We have also awarded $100 U.S. Savings Bonds to the top 8th grade graduates in the eight schools that support FUHS to encourage excellence and citizenship," he said.

The night's events will start with an assortment of hors d' oeuvres and a no-host cocktail bar, compiled by Beverage Plus.

There are always shrimp with an assortment of sauces accompanied by oysters fresh or straight off the barbecue -- a tradition for the event.

One of the night's highlights is the mingling of the FUHS Interact students and scholarship recipients with the guests. This is a time for those who work hard to support our youth to introduce themselves and get to know those dedicated hard working students.

In addition to interacting with attendees, the Interact and scholarship students will be selling raffle tickets for one of many drawing throughout the evening offering prizes ranging from cash to computers.

"This program is close to my heart," said past Interact Advisor Rotarian Alan French. "My wife's grandfather, who was always the greeter in Rotary, provided one of the original scholarships known as the Percy Newell Scholarship. The Bill Jameson Scholarship is a four-year renewing scholarship and he was the only district governor from our club."

Current Interact Advisor Rotarian Maureen Lackey said the scholarship fundraising dinner it is "just a slice" of what we actually do as Interact.

"We did a blood drive at FUHS where any child over 16 could donate blood," Lackey said. "We provide all the goodies for after donation and kept the event running smoothly."

The group also set up containers in the classrooms for "Pennies for Patients" and raised $950 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Interact students can be found at many Rotary and community events providing assistance.

The dinner will have silent and live auction, which are the major funding for the scholarships.

Dinner tickets are drawn for cash prizes and recipients do not have to be present to win.

"Rotary is a group that gathers together as members of our community to raise money to improve the human condition," Herman said. "We support education and work locally and nationally to help bring peace, end hunger, provide clean water, eradicate disease, and provide a sense of community."

"Rotarians want to give back to community and the world and this program promotes just that in our members. It is a great organization that is made up of community members who have the desire and drive to do promote those qualities," Herman said.

Fortuna Noon Rotary meets every Thursday at noon at Hunan's in Fortuna. For more information or to obtain tickets, email

Photo by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

Pictured are the 2012 Fortuna Noon Rotary scholarship recipients. The top 5 percent of the FUHS Senior class are honored with a $1-2,000 scholarship award.