The Vermillion Rotary Club met on Tuesday at its usual venue in the Freedom Forum on the USD Campus. Following a roast beef lunch, the meeting was opened by President Dave Lorenz leading in the recitation of the Boy Scout's prayer. Song leader Joe Edelen led the club in singing "A Bicycle Built for Two," and "The Whole World in His Hands," with Jack Noble keeping us on tune with the piano. Several guests were introduced, and Sergeant-at-Arms Al Pravacek coaxed a few dollars from members for the privilege of reporting some recent good event in their lives. An offering was received for the Vermillion Food Bank.
Our program was introduced by Barry Vickery, and presented enthusiastically by Beth Davis, president of South Dakota Rural Enterprise (SDRE). With offices in Sioux Falls (P.O. box 802, 57101), SDRE is a voluntary organization that targets towns under 5000 in population for the purpose of helping them develop organizations and skills to develop and maintain healthy businesses in their communities. They also seek to develop community attitudes that will value community businesses and support their existence and growth. To carry out this program, SDRE works with community members with a four-point program, summarized by the acronym, CARE, CARE stands for 1) Creation of new businesses, 2) Attraction of new businesses, 3) Retention of current and future businesses, and 4) Expansion of present and new businesses.
In order to forward its program, SDRE has raised substantial funds to loan to local development organizations within rural communities. These funds which presently amount to about $4 million are not loaned directly to businesses, but to local community business funding organizations in order to assure that they will be used in the way community leaders themselves agree is best. SDRE is able to report that of eight South Dakota businesses that were taken into an SDRE program in February 2008, all are still in operation, and several have multiplied their business success. We thank Ms. Davis for an interesting and worthwhile program. Ms. Davis can be contacted at 605-978-2804. The SDRE Web site is www.sdrci.org.
Our meeting was closed with the usual singing of the first stanza of "My Country 'Tis of Thee."
Robert Grossmann, Reporter