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Ocean Springs

Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 12:00 PM
Ocean Springs Yacht Club
100 Front Beach
Ocean Springs, MS  39564
United States of America
District Site
Venue Map
May Newsletter
May 16, 2017
Home Page Stories
It is with a heavy heart to announce that we have lost one of our members, Russell Thompson, over the weekend.  Russell was was very involved in the Rotary Club of Ocean Springs, serving two terms as a Past President.  He always brought insight and discussion to our weekly meetings and provided words encouragement and support to Club leaders and members.  Russell will truly be missed.   
In lieu of flowers, the Club will be making a donation in Russell's name to the United MSD Foundation (Warriors for Willow); a cause Russell spoke of frequently in many of our meetings.  
Additional information can be found at the link below.  
Our prayers and condolences go out to Russell's family.  
Stephen Songe
Club President


This Friday, 9/4/2020, Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Ocean Springs joined the Backpack Buddies of Ocean Springs to pack food bags providing weekend meals to help meet the needs of hungry children.  The Club is happy to support such a great program that directly benefits residents in our community.   
Funding for the Program comes via donations from various local organizations and individuals.  100% of the proceed go to the purchase of food.  If you are interested in helping out with a monetary donation, click to make an online donation directly to the Program. 
Pictured from left:  Rotarians Lisa Greenberg & Landon McCarty
Pictured:  Rotarian Landon McCarty
Pictured:  Rotarian Lisa Greenberg
On Friday, 8/28/2020, Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Ocean Springs assisted the Backpack Buddies of Ocean Springs with packing food bags.  Just under 100 bags were packed and sorted for weekend delivery to local children.  The Program provides weekend meals to help meet the needs of hungry children when other resources are not available.  The Club is happy to support such a great program that directly benefits residents in our community.   
The program's funding comes via donations from various local organizations and individuals.  If you are interested in helping out, click to make an online donation directly to the Program.  All proceeds are used to purchase food items for the bags each week.  And the more available funding, the more children can be added to the program.  
If you have questions regarding the program or how you can help, contact Stephen Songe, Club President, (228) 233-3170 or
Pictured from left: Rotarians Stephen Songe, Georgia Storey & Tee McCovey
The Rotary Club of Ocean Springs have partnered with the Backpack Buddies of Ocean Springs.  The Backpack Program helps meet the needs of hungry children by providing them with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food to take home on weekends and school vacations when other resources are not available.  

How it Works:  Teachers and school counselors identify students who would benefit from the Backpack Program. Then the food bank is given the number of children in need at the school. The children’s identities remain anonymous to the food bank, donors, and their peers.  With the help of volunteers, the food bank prepares the bags of food, which are placed discreetly in children’s backpacks on Friday afternoons for them to take home over the weekend.  Over the past 3 weeks, Club Members assisted the Program with packing bags of food in preparation for delivery.  

How you can help: 

  • $135 will sponsor a child for an entire school year. Click to make an online donation directly to the Program. 
  • Volunteer to help pack bags for the program.
  • Become an advocate. Many are unaware of the severity and extent of child hunger in our communities. By promoting the program, you can help spread the word about child hunger and the ways we work to alleviate it.
If you would like more information about the Backpack Buddies Program, or would like to help, contact Stephen Songe, Club President, (228) 233-3170, or
Pictured from left:  Rotarians Sherri Johnson, Kimberly Boling & Jacki Thornburg
Pictured from left: Jill Taylor, Backpack Buddies Program Director & Rotarian Tee McCovey
Pictured from left:  Rotarians Michelle Wilson, Stephen Songe & Jacki Thornburg
Pictured from left;  Rotarians Sherri Johnson, Jacki Thornburg & Kimberly Bowling
Pictured from left: Rotarians Leah Snyder, Tee McCovey & Lisa Greenberg
The Club's annual Pancake Day, originally held in April but postponed to July 29th, has been cancelled. With the uncertainties of COVID-19, and for the safety of those in our community and club membership, we felt it best to cancel this years event. This event is a fundraiser for our Scholarship Program and other service projects supporting the local community. We understand cancelling this event will impact these programs later this year, but your safety is more important. We appreciate those who support Rotary and our local service projects by making online donations via the "donate" button above. And we look forward to seeing you in April 2021 for a day of fun and PANCAKES!!
Pictured from top left to bottom right; Sandy LeBatard, Stephen Songe, Jacki Thornburg, Maria Martinez, Dan Flanders, Kimberly Boling, Sandy Cox and Henry Furr.  Not pictured but a contributor to the committee; Dave Philo. 
The Ocean Springs Rotary Scholarship Program awards scholarships to local high school seniors.  The program consists of reviewing several applications and identifying applicants for in person interviews.  Scholarships are then awarded to qualifying students.  The situation with COVID-19 hit just as the review of applications started.  To get around the meeting constraints of the virus, committee meetings were conducted via video conference.  And today, the committee spent the morning interviewing 9 students between the two local high schools via video conference.  The interviews went better than expected.  Committee and students did a great job considering the circumstances; no technological issues, and some very good questions and answers. 
The committee did an outstanding job in this unprecedented environment and completed the application reviews and interviews on schedule.  Scholarship award winners will be announced in the coming days.  But we wanted to acknowledge the time and effort of the committee members to complete the program, providing much needed scholarships to local students.  
The Rotary Club of Ocean Springs would like to welcome our newest Member, Daryl Holley, President FPC of Ocean Springs. Daryl was inducted into the Club at our March 4th meeting. Welcome Daryl!!

Pictured; Membership Chair, Nikki Johns (left), Daryl Holley (center), and Sheila Bennett, Member/Sponsor (right).
Members of the Club delivered dictionaries to the 3rd grade classes of Oak Park Elementary in Ocean Springs this past week.  Dictionaries are given to the students to keep as their own for use throughout the school year.  The students are always happy to receive their new dictionaries and to learn a little bit about Rotary.  
Club Members: Joyce Shaw (left), Amon Holcomb (center) and Lisa Greenberg (right).  
Please say Hello to the newest Member of the Ocean Springs Rotary Club; Georgia Storey, Director, Government & Community Relations with the Singing River Health System.  She was inducted into the Club at our January 22nd meeting.  Welcome Georgia!! 
Pictured; Georgia Storey (left) and Membership Chair, Nikki Johns (right). 
On Saturday, January 11th, Rotary Club of Ocean Springs was recognized at the District 6840 Mid-Year Check Up for its outstanding accomplishments for the 2018-19 Rotary Year when it received a "Rotary Citation." Accepting on behalf of the Club was President David Hoffman (center) and President Elect Stephen Songe (right). They are shown here with District Governor Bob Haeuser (left).
At our October 16, 2019 meeting, the Club recognized our 2019 RYLA Students (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards).  Participants are chosen from among local high school students for their leadership potential.  This year's 27th Annual Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program was held on Sunday, July 14, 2019 thru Friday, July 19, 2019, at the Solomon Retreat Center in Loranger, LA.   The RYLA camp is held each July for about 80 high school juniors sponsored by various Clubs within the District.  Sponsorship cost is $550 per student and our Club sponsored 7 local Juniors for this year's event.   During the camp, students discussed leadership skills and learned those skills through practice.  The event curriculum is organized through Rotary District 6840 and Counselors serve as current leaders within the District.  And those students who show exceptional leadership skills are invited back to participate as counselors/staff for the next event.  The students we sponsor were invited to our October 16th Club meeting to share their experience at the camp.  It is always a great feeling to see how RYLA makes an impact in these future leaders, and hear how the experience benefits them their entire life.  Congratulations to our 2019 RYLA Students!!  
Pictured from left to right:  Terrance Morgan, Alexander Whyte, Isabella Furr, Allanis Vallecillo, and Club President David Hoffman.  Not pictured: Hannah Smith, Joseph Taylor, and Erin Kirkpatrick
Our 2019 Rotary 5-K R.A.C.E. was another huge success.  And we could not have done it without our Club Members who volunteered their time to organize, plan and execute this year's event; especially Mike Streiff, who spearheaded the event.  We also would like to thank members of the Ocean Springs Interact Club and the Ocean Springs JROTC, as well as our Rotary Club Members for volunteering their time to work along the route keeping our runners safe during the run.  And our partners with the Ocean Springs Running Club for organizing the runners, timing and event awards.  
It's great to see so many people supporting the Rotary Club of Ocean Springs and their local community!! 
Rotary Club of Ocean Springs Members overseeing and organizing the volunteers who helped at this years' event.  
Ocean Springs JROTC Volunteers. 
Ocean Springs Interact and Club Member Volunteers.
Various Rotary Club Members volunteering their time at this years' event.  
 Rotary Club Member, Mike Streiff, Chairman of the Rotary 5-K R.A.C.E. out on the course organizing the event.  
A huge THANK YOU to those individuals and businesses who sponsored our 2019 Rotary 5-K R.A.C.E.  100% of the money raised, just over $20,000, goes towards programs that support our local community.  Programs like the Club's Scholarship Program, providing scholarships to graduating seniors from Ocean Springs and St Martin High Schools, and the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) Program where the Club Sponsored 9 local students to attend this years program.  Providing opportunities for our future community and business leaders is a big focus in our Club.  And we cannot express enough our appreciation of your support for these projects.  So.....THANK YOU!! 
Our 2019 Rotary 5K R.A.C.E. was held on Satruday, October 19th in Ocean Springs.  The weather was perfect and we had a great turnout of runners and volunteers to make this event another big success.  Photos of the event were posted to our Rotary of Ocean Springs 5-K RACE Facebook page:   The event raised just over $20,000 and the proceeds support the Rotary Club of Ocean Springs' Scholarship Program and RYLA Program, providing scholarships and leadership training opportunities for local high school students.  We appreciate everyone who came out to support the event, especially our sponsors.  100% of your sponsorship dollars go towards these great programs, which we could not do without your support.  If you missed this year's event, we start again in October 2020 and look forward to seeing you there!!  
The District Training Assembly for District 6840 was held this past Saturday, May 18th, at the Long Beach Senior Citizens Activity Center in Long Beach, MS.  2019/2020 President, David Hoffman and President Elect, Stephen Songe, along with ADG Joyce Shaw attended as representatives of the Ocean Springs Rotary Club.  Here we met our new District Leaders and discussed the strategy and goals for the upcoming year.  It was a very informative meeting and a good opportunity to meet the incoming Board Members of the other Clubs within our District.  

On May 1, 2019, the Rotary Club of Ocean Springs Scholarship Committee chairman David Hoffman and his committee introduced the six students, all graduating seniors from Ocean Springs and St. Martin High Schools, who were awarded scholarships for 2019. Shown from left to right are President Jonathan Franco; committee member Henry Furr; committee member Kimberly Boling;  Amelia Prochnow (Ocean Springs High School); committee member Jacki D’Alexander Thornburg; Connie Schnarrs (St. Martin High School); Gavin Brandon (St. Martin High School); committee member Stephen Songe; Madeline Bui (St. Martin High School); Spencer Martin (St. Martin High School);  Chairman David Hoffman; Sadi Grace Smith (Ocean Springs High School) and committee member Wayne Westbrook.

On May 2nd, Members of the Ocean Springs Rotary Club spent the evening on the Betsy Ann Riverboat, watching a beautiful sunset while cruising along the MS Gulf Coast.  It was a great time for Members, family and friends to get together for one of our many social events.  
PANCAKE DAY is this FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2019, from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, at the Ocean Springs Yacht Club.  Tickets are available from any Rotarian for $5.00 prior to the event.  Tickets will also be available at the door on the day of the event for $8.00.   This is a fundraiser for our local Scholarship Program, helping High School Seniors with college tuition.  So come on down this Friday, have some awesome pancakes, meet some great people, while helping the local High School Seniors in our Community.  
On February 13, the Rotary Club of Ocean Springs presented the United MSD Foundation/Warriors for Willow with a $5,000 check to support efforts to fund research and clinical trials to find a cure for Multiple Sulfatase Deficiency (MSD). Willow Cannan, daughter of Rotarians Tom Cannan and Amber Olsen, was diagnosed with the ultra-rare disease in May 2016. Since Willow’s diagnosis, her parents have work tirelessly to connect with scientists and clinicians who are working to find cures or treatments for MSD. As part of this effort, they founded the United MSD Foundation. The Club’s annual fundraiser, 5-K RACE for Art, Community, and Education, helps fund donations made by the Club. Shown from left to right are Willow’s mother and Rotarian Amber Olsen, Mike Streiff, chair of the 5-K RACE, and President of the Rotary Club of Ocean Springs Jonathan Franco. For more information about Warriors for Willow and the MSD Foundation, go to

In January, the Rotary Club of Ocean Springs presented the Ocean Springs High School Cross Country with a check for $1,000.  Cross Country Team members lead by Coach Tim Sayers provided their support and help with the Club’s annual 5-K Run for Art, Community, and Education (RACE) which supports local scholarships and charities.  Shown accepting the check from left to right: Cross Country volunteer Stopher Haug, Rotary President Jonathan Franco, Coach Tim Sayers, and Cross County volunteer Ann Whyte.

On December 12, the Rotary Club of Ocean Springs donated $700 to the Duchess Club’s annual Dolls and Toys collection for needy children. Shown from left to right are Rotarian and Duchess Club representative Natalia Diaz and Ocean Springs Rotary Club President Jonathan Franco.  The Rotary Club of Ocean Springs is a business and professional organization that supports about twenty local, national, and international service projects annually.

On Wednesday December 5, four business and professional people were inducted as members in the Rotary Club of Ocean Springs. Pictured below from left to right are Membership Chair and new member sponsor Michelle Wilson, new member Carolyn Moore, new member Katie Hudson, new member Tom Carlton, new member Ginny Dugaw, new member sponsor Joyce M. Shaw, and President Jonathan Franco.

Rotary Club of Ocean Springs meets at the Ocean Springs Yacht Club and is a part of Rotary International, a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.

The Rotary Club of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, donated $2,000 in March 2017 to the Livingston Parish Library system to help with flood recovery.  The Rotary Club of Ocean Springs is continuing to help with the flood disaster relief.  Ocean Springs Rotary member and District 6840 assistant district governor Joyce Shaw (pictured on the far right) has been instrumental in providing a voice for the disaster stricken Louisiana library system and its employees. 
On Wednesday, March 29, three business and professional people were inducted as members in the Rotary Club of Ocean Springs.   The new members were Brian Argo, Julie Schmidt, and Dr. Alex Blevens.  Pictured  from left to right are new member Brian Argo, sponsor Ben Smith, sponsor Nikki Johns, new member Julie Schmidt, sponsor Louis Peters, new member Alex Blevens, Membership Chair LaDana Singleton, and President Leigh Jaunsen.
The 2017 Rotary Pancake Day was again a rousing success.  Rotary had a great turnout from its members with most members pitching in to help.  For $5 anyone could get sausage, pancakes, and grits.  There were many pick up orders and also plenty of people eating at the Ocean Springs Civic Center.  Sherri Johnson also did an excellent job of organizing the boston butt sale which raised substantial funds. This event raises funds that Rotary reinvests in the form of scholarships and donations to various local charities. 
2016-2017 Rotary Theme
October 2020
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Past President
Public Relations
Youth Service
Donations / Pay Dues
Dr. Sexton, SRHS
Oct 21, 2020
Mayor Shea Dobson
Oct 28, 2020
City of Ocean Springs Update
Upcoming Events
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays:
  • Louis Peters
    October 4
  • Jillian Davis
    October 8
  • Ken Papania
    October 18
  • Marta Williams
    October 23
  • Deveaux Carter
    October 26
  • Amon Holcomb
    October 28
  • Wayne Westbrook
    November 5
  • Debbie LaPrad
    November 10
  • Doug Roll
    November 17
  • Dan Flanders
    November 21
  • Jim Sukiennik
    November 21
  • Stephen Deal
    November 30
Join Date:
  • Ben Smith
    October 4, 2016
    4 years
  • Nikki Johns
    October 4, 2016
    4 years
  • David Hoffman
    October 9, 2014
    6 years
  • Connie Moran
    October 20, 1999
    21 years
  • Dennis Cowart
    October 21, 1998
    22 years
  • Jerry Miller
    November 1, 1990
    30 years
  • Michelle Wilson
    November 12, 2014
    6 years
  • Ross Franco
    November 14, 2014
    6 years
  • Sheila Bennett
    November 30, 2005
    15 years
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