Source: Sherman Publications

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Warnke takes over as Rotary Club prez

by Andrew Moser

July 13, 2011

Now wielding the iconic bell and gavel for the Rotary Club of Oxford is the group’s new president Bob Warnke. Photo by D. Moser.
Oxford Rotary has a new commander-in-chief.

Businessman Bob Warnke will be assuming the role as president of the Oxford Rotary Club for the upcoming year.

Warnke is the owner and president of Warnke Tool, located on Metamora Rd. in Oxford Township, a designer and manufacturer of tools, jigs, fixtures and special machinery.

Warnke said he was nominated to be Oxford Rotary's president by his peers.

This is the first time Warnke has served as president during his 18 years with the Rotary Club.

"You have the responsibility to direct the Rotary Club," Warnke said. "There are various committees on the Rotary Club that do various projects; each project has a leader, and as president, you are responsible to coordinate the leadership of all those different entities, from the international ministries to local benevolence with the high school."

Warnke will be aided during his time as president by the guidelines set by Rotary International.

"It (responsibilities) varies with presidents and everyone does stuff a little different, but...there are some pretty good guidelines laid out by Rotary International as to how to do the things you are supposed to do," Warnke noted.

Warnke said Oxford's rotarians are active within the community.

"Everything that comes into Rotary goes out in a type of benevolence," he said.

According to Warnke, the club offers money to students whose grades are below average as an incentive for them to bring their grades up.

"They can get into the Strive program and earn cash incentives by raising their grades up, and it is amazing to see how some of those kids can do when they get a little cash incentive," Warnke said.

Warnke noted the Rotary Club gave away $4,000 in incentives last year.

In addition to the incentives, a few rotarians go once a month to speak to the students in the Strive program.

Oxford's Rotary Club has helped out the Oxford Public Library by partially furnishing the library's "Rotary Room." The group also holds a yearly car show during Celebrate Oxford, directs traffic during parades and sells newspapers.

Along with local projects within the community, there are various projects within the district and internationally that Warnke can choose to become a part of.

"You have a myriad of things the Rotary Club is supposed to do," he said. "You don't have to do them all, but you pick various projects and Rotary does those projects."

In the past, Oxford's Rotary Club has participated in a project geared towards digging wells. Instead of sending money, the Rotary sent over a couple of hand-drilling well units in order for the group to drill multiple wells.

Warnke is hoping to continue participating in an international project feeding breakfast to kindergartners in Jamacia.

"A lot of the kids would go to school in the morning with an empty belly and they didn't do well in school because of that," he said. "You heard many times that if a person isn't fed, they can't do as well. So we took on the project last year, and we are going to continue to do it again this year.

Warnke noted his goal during his time as president is to grow the number of rotarians in Oxford's club.

"A few years ago we were up to 50 some members and we spun off a club in Lake Orion, which took some of our members," Warnke said. "So our membership is down a little bit, but we have a bunch of enthusiastic people in Rotary, and one of my goals as president is to increase that membership."

"We hope to solicit people within the business community and within the professional community around Oxford," he added.

Rotary International is the world's first service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide.

Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace and eradicate polio under the motto Service above Self.

Warnke said in order to become a member of Oxford Rotary, one has to be a local professional or business person.

For more information about Rotary, visit www.district6360.com.