Category Archives: Member News

Remembering Tom

We are heartbroken by the sudden loss of our dear friend and Rotarian, Tom Davis, who left us on October 13th.

Orange Plaza was Tom’s last Rotary club, and we know how lucky we are. In nearly 40 years as a Rotarian, Tom Davis left his mark. He was the “tree guy” behind the Rotary Club of Villa Park, procuring the saplings given to grade schoolers in celebration of Arbor Day. Even after transferring to Orange Plaza Rotary, he continued to volunteer at Villa Park events and to stay in touch with good friends there. Tom supported youth programs, working directly with El Modena Interact, and kept us connected to international service, in partnership with the RC of Villa Park. For Tom, Rotary was a family affair and we were thrilled to welcome his daughter Kristen as a member. Tom opened his home to the family of Rotary as well, and we had a wonderful time celebrating the end of summer at his home with our friends. Thanks for the memories, Tom. We love you and will miss you!

A celebration of Tom’s life will be held November 21st at 11am at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Orange, CA.  A lunch reception will be held afterwards.

Speaker Series Entertains and Educates

Orange Plaza Rotary isn’t always on the go.  Sometimes, we take a break from our many service projects and sit down for food and drink with an interesting speaker.

Our Wednesday night meetings at Marie Callender’s are low-key and interactive, allowing us to get to know each other and our guests.  In the last month or so, we’ve had a great time with:

Marran, LynnDr. Lynn Marran – The founder of Children in Focus, a nonprofit organization that screens and treats children for functional vision problems that can interfere with learning. Over 30 optometry students have participated in training to detect these problems and more than 400 children have benefited from the program. Dr. Marran volunteers at local schools and shelters through Vision for Life and the Illuminations Foundation to provide eye care for the needy.




Chris Epting – Chris Epting, author of the new book “Teddy Roosevelt in California”.  Through firsthand accounts, speeches and rare photographs, author Chris Epting tells the story of a great and profound journey that had a lasting effect on conservation history and the National Park System.


Hope NelsonHope Nelson – This former Rotary Youth Exchange Student spent an incredible year in Emsdetten, Germany sponsored by the Rotary Club of Conroe, TX during 2007-2008. It was one of the most influential years of her life, where she “caught the travel bug”. Upon returning, she attended Texas A&M University and joined the Corps of Cadets, graduating in 2012 with a double major in International Studies and Russian, and earning a commission in the United States Army as a Military Police Officer.  Throughout her career, she has spoken at clubs throughout Texas and Missouri about the impact that Rotary Youth Exchange made on her life.

Davis, Kristen


Kristen Davis – Member Kristen Davis did a great job presenting “Let’s Talk Rocks” at the July 11th meeting. We had six kids in the audience, and a couple of them brought rocks to share with Kristen and ask for her professional help in identifying them. A trained geologist, Kristen has a large personal collection of rocks and minerals and takes regular “field trips” to find new specimens. Thanks for the “craft talk” Kristen!

Next up?  Rotary District 5320 Governor Ray Sanford.  Join us on July 20th!

A Rededication to Service

Orange Plaza Rotary celebrated another year of service over dinner with family and friends at Orange Hill Restaurant on June 24th. The club, which marked its 30th anniversary in March, completed numerous youth and community service projects during the the 2014-2015 Rotary year.

These projects and more will continue, under the leadership of President Tracey L. Curtis:

  • Mentor Meals – this partnership with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce matches at-risk high school juniors with adult mentors to discuss career and academic issues.  The program will begin its third year at El Modena High School in September.
  • Interact Leadership Program – also at El Modena High School, the Rotary sponsored Interact Club is open to all students on campus. Interact members provide service and support for numerous nonprofit events around the county each year.  Orange Plaza Rotary will expand its efforts with Interact this year, adding a mentoring and leadership skills program for student members.
  • Police Explorer Recognition – Orange Police Explorer Post 266 is a nationally-recognized unit, instilling discipline, self-confidence and leadership skills in its teen members.  Members of the program (a part of the Boy Scouts of America system) often struggle with difficult personal issues including poverty and the threat of homelessness.  Orange Plaza Rotary, in partnership with Orange Rotary and the Rotary Club of Orange North, will offer additional cash scholarships to assist Explorers as they continue in their studies and careers.

These and other service projects are funded by the Annual Orange Plaza Car Show, a premier Southern California event.  The 22nd Orange Plaza Car Show is scheduled for April 17, 2016.

At the club’s June event, Rotary District 5320 Governor Jim Paddock presented member Jack Sappington with a bejeweled pin in honor of Jack’s $5,000 donation to The Rotary Foundation. The Foundation manages donor funds, directing them into projects around the world to improve water and sanitation, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development in third world countries.

Orange Plaza Rotary is a network of neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world.  The club meets Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at Marie Callender’s, 307 E. Katella Avenue, Orange.  For more information, visit the club website:



Orange Plaza Recognized for Service Achievements

The Rotary Club of Orange Plaza received top honors in the “small club” category at the 2015 Rotary District 5320 annual conference.  The club received “firsts” for club service, vocational service, youth service and public image.

In presenting the awards, Governor Nominee Designate Ian Hicks singled out the club’s support of Elwyn California, an organization providing vocational training and job placement for the disabled.  Orange Plaza also builds vocational skills at the high school level through the signature “Mentor Meals” program at El Modena High School.  For continuing to focus on youth programs during this Rotary year, the club was also recognized for its “Book Doctor” project in partnership with its sponsored Interact Club at El Mo High.

These projects and more are publicized via the club’s active and redesigned website, its club Facebook page and the Facebook page dedicated to the Orange Plaza Car Show, the club’s annual fundraiser in the City of Orange.

Rotary Governor Jim Paddock presented the awards to President Tracey Curtis at the conference luncheon on May 2nd.

For more information about Orange Plaza Rotary, visit the club website or join them for a meal on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at Marie Callender’s, 307 E. Katella Avenue, Orange, CA.


New Member Joins the Party

Commercial real estate broker Lew Elliott was sworn in as a new member of Orange Plaza Rotary at the club’s annual holiday party, held at the home of Joe Colombo.

Lew was sponsored by Howard Glasser, who met Lew at the joint mixer thrown by the Orange Chamber of Commerce and four area Rotary clubs in October.  Lew joins the team just in time to help with the planning of the 21st Annual Orange Plaza Car Show, set for April 19th.




Rae Shirer Selected as District Governor 2013-2014

Orange Sunrise Rotary welcomed a dozen Past District Governors of District 5320 to a VIP reception on April 15th, where member Rae Shirer was announced as the Governor Nominee for Rotary year 2013-14.

The reception was originally intended as the club’s annual “thank you” event for sponsors, supporters and volunteers of the Orange Plaza Car Show.  The car show crowd mingled with Rotarians and enjoyed the terrific food and drink at PJ’s Abbey in Old Towne Orange.

Rae served as President of Orange Sunrise in 2006-07 and has been involved with District events since 2005, when her Rotary sponsor John Bouyer pulled her onto the District Conference committee.  She currently serves as the District Secretary.