The Vermillion Rotary Club gathered for its weekly meeting at the Freedom Forum on the USD campus at noon on Tuesday. After a lunch of lasagna, bread sticks and salad, the meeting was opened by President John Prescott.
Our opening songs were "Red River Valley," and "Wild Irish Rose," led by Joe Edelen with Jack Noble on the piano. Guests were introduced and it was announced that our local Rotary Club has received its 503(C) 3 classification from the Internal Revenue Service.
Since several folks have been apprehended during the past couple weeks for criminal activity in Vermillion, Police Chief Art Mabry reminded us all to make sure that doors are locked and keys removed from vehicles.
After several friendly fines were levied by Sergeant at Arms Al Pravacek, the president introduced our program for the day, Mr. Noel Hamiel, who spoke about the South Dakota Foundation, an organization dedicated to founding and supporting local city foundations across our state.
Noel Hamiel worked in the newspaper business for 35 years, ending as publisher of the Daily Republic, the Mitchell newspaper. He spoke of many of his experiences as a newspaper man, including going door to door in Vermillion to solicit subscriptions to the Yankton Press and Dakotan.
The fact that Mr. Hamiel has a great love for South Dakota becomes very apparent when we realize that after retiring from the newspaper business, he soon took on the task of traveling South Dakota to help the 65 city foundations raise money for the good of their own cities.
The state association serves the local associations by providing help in dealing with government issues and investing their funds to help them grow. A portion of the profits of each city association is given to the city foundation each year, while other profits are used to increase the capital investment in each city's fund. The results have been everything from a new city swimming pool for Britton, to support for the Vermillion Sesquicentennial Celebration.
The South Dakota Foundation was begun in 1987 during the administration of the late Gov. George Mickelson, who dedicated $2 million of the governor's special fund to help raise a matching $5 million given by William McKnight to found the foundation. A local heavy supporter of the Vermillion Foundation has been Young Moore. While there are 65 towns and cities in South Dakota with foundations, the State Foundation oversees 450 funds for them and various other philanthropic groups in the state.
We thank Mr. Hamiel for an informative and helpful presentation that raised the awareness of all in attendance Tuesday concerning this important enterprise, the South Dakota Foundation. Our meeting was closed with the traditional singing of the first stanza of "My Country 'Tis Of Thee."