Grosse Pointe Rotary Club

Grosse Pointe

Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 5:30 PM
Grosse Pointe Yacht Club
788 Lake Shore Road
Grosse Pointe Shores, MI  48236
United States of America
Venue Map

Meetings will be held via Zoom until further notice.

Members will receive email invites each week.

Our Stories
Our presenter on the 17th was Mark Heppner, President and CEO of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House.
Mr. Heppner is very excited about the improvements at the Ford House, which includes a 48,000 square foot visitor center.  The center will contain a museum store, education classrooms, a destination restaurant called The Continental, with 80 indoor seats and 40 outdoor, and a grab-and-go food/beverage counter called The Speedster.  There will also be event space with the Lakeshore Room able to seat 200 people.
There will be two exhibition galleries. One will be permanent with film, photos, and letters about the Ford family.  There will be a focus on Edsel Ford’s car designs and his impact on the auto industry.  The second will be rotating, featuring local and national traveling exhibits. 
The second new structure is a 17,000 square foot administration building.  These new offices allow the staff to be separate from visitor areas. 
The renovations focused on sustainability with the buildings generating more energy than they use.  Both have solar panels and basins to collect and clean rainwater and the restaurant tables are made from trees that have been cut down on the property.
Mr. Heppner’s hope is to attract many new visitors while still satisfying the regular ones.  He is confident of a Spring, 2021 re-opening.  To learn more, visit
Dick Allison passed the Oil Can to Doris Neal-Van Tiem and Vince Van Tiem for their work with the community affairs committee and for being very hands-on with our service projects.
Our presenter on February 10th was Alister Chang.  Alister spoke to us about Working to Advance Literacy. (With assists from Nancy Riker and Willian Dent from DC Rotary Club and Cindy Eggleton from Brilliant Detroit. Pictured below.).
Mr. Chang is a literacy educator, researcher, and advocate.  He is a member of the DC Rotary Club and is on the DC State Board of Education.
His presentation began with a video about Wash and Learn pop-up learning programs in Detroit laundromats. Through an organization called Libraries
Without Borders, laundromats partner with local libraries, where librarians supply books and computers, read to the children, and do arts and crafts.  Wash & Learn in Detroit - YouTube
Mr. Chang’s idea is to promote literacy in creative ways.  Books, teachers, and a curriculum are all necessary, but there also needs to be outreach and relevancy.  The programs must appeal to the children/parents, and it has to meet them where they are and when they are available.  It can’t just be structured times at the local library. 
The DC Club is fortunate to have a trust fund to fund their activities, one of which is the annual handing out of dictionaries to every third-grade student in Washington D.C.   They are hand deliver at the schools which allows the teachers to incorporate them into their lesson plans.  Often, this is the first book these children have ever received so they are very excited.
The most effective way to bring children to grade-level reading is through one-on-one tutoring.  The ideal situation is ½ hour sessions, 2-3 days a week.  The DC Club is looking to work with an organization called Reading Partners to match Club members with students.
Fred Ollison passed the Oil Can to Dick Allison for all of his work on the community service committee, finding hands-on projects that are safe to do in today’s environment.
Frank Wilberding is one of six children born and raised in Grosse Pointe.  He attended St. Paul and then Austin High School before going to Notre Dame.
In his 20s, Frank struggled with different jobs, including one where he repossessed phones for AT&T.  He eventually stumbled into a career in advertising, working at J. Walter Thompson and Ross Roy for 20 years.  He found success in media planning and buying. 
Frank is married to Beth Konrad and they have two daughters, whom they raised in Grosse Pointe for 15 years.  They moved to Chicago in 2001 where Frank would expand his media research business and Beth would teach at Loyola University.
In 2008, Frank went into recovery due to addiction problems, which led him down a different career path.  At age 62, he started the process to obtain a masters in social work from Loyola.  He then began working for the Hazelden Foundation, counseling people to deal with their addictions before addressing any underlying mental illness.
Frank eventually started his own private practice and moved back to Grosse Pointe 4 years ago.  He continues to work with grief and addiction counseling and is on the board of the Family Center.  Beth is on the GP Farms City Council.
Frank sprinkled in many funny anecdotes, including his time in the National Guard and his obsession with baseball, which involved “stalking” Dave Rozema and attending the Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp at age 72.
Welcome out newest member Kevin Cox.  For all of his hard work as the faculty sponsor for GP South’s Interact Club, Kevin has been inducted as a honorary member.  Congratulations!
Our presenters on January 27th, Marie Horak and Adrien Carlier, spoke to us about surviving WWII and Working in the Belgium Underground
Marie Horak is the grandmother of Nina Gazel and Adrien Carlier is the stepdad of Jackie Dale.
Marie Horak
Ms. Horak remembers Jacob Levy coming over to her home in Germany because he always had candies and shoes for the children.  He would buy fertilizer from her family’s business.  The last time she saw him, she was told to never tell anyone he was at their home and learned much later that he was Jewish and that her father helped him escape to France.  The help her father provided was discovered and he lost his fertilizer business.
She also remembers at 14-year old polish girl who was taken in by neighbors and taught to speak German.  After the war, the girl came back to thank the community for their help.
Food was very scarce and rationed.  As the eldest child, she remembers going hungry as she prepared food for her younger brother.  She jokingly holds this against him to this day.
At one point during the war, her family was given 2 hours to pack and vacate their home.  It was difficult to know what to pack as they were put into trucks with no idea where they were going.  When they eventually settled, it was under extremely stressful living conditions.
Adrien Carlier
Mr. Carlier worked as slave labor in Germany as a 17-year-old.  Whenever the Red Cross visited the facility, the Germans would hide him because he was underage.  An injured German soldier working there befriended him and made sure the Red Cross found him at one of their visits.  This allowed him to return home to Belgium.  At the facility, he remembers that 282 Jews worked there at one point and then, one morning, they were gone.
His time in Germany destroyed his stomach lining.  A doctor’s successful treatment was to have him eat raw liver until he healed. 
He witnessed air combat where a plane was shot down.  He rode his bike to its location and transported the American pilot to safety on his bike. It was his understanding the pilot would work his way to Spain, and he hopes he made it.
One time, when the Germans were planning to enter Holland, he was able to cross the bridge to Holland to warn the people in the town of what was to come.  He succeeded in crossing due to his ability to speak German after watching two people get arrested.
These remembrances need to be shared so history is passed on and, hopefully, doesn’t repeat itself.
Mil Hurley, owner of A Southern Gardener, spoke to us about the Moross Greenway Project on Jan 20th.
The Moross Greenway Project is a non-profit working to re-landscape the seven median islands between Ascension St. John Hospital and the I-94 service drive.  It began in 2009 and, with six years of fundraising (goal of $600,000) and planning, ground was broken in 2015.
Enormous beds were created with 150 trees, 500 shrubs, and 10,000 perennials, that thrive in Michigan weather, being planted. Drip irrigation is being used until the plants mature and will then be removed.
There have been setbacks, such as the very wet winter that followed the initial planting. Plants were lost so the beds had to be raised to handle the drainage. 
There is a permanent art sculpture on one of the islands, but the rest of the artwork is rented by the organization and is rotated out.  All sculptures are for sale. 
To keep this beautification project going, many volunteers and donations are needed.  To maintain the islands, $40,000/year is required.  Volunteers help pick up trash twice a year and plant 500 daffodils every spring.  To volunteer, donate, or learn more about the organization and the art work, please visit
Up and Coming Speakers
Nina Gazel
Mar 03, 2021
vocational talk
Jessica B. Marcetti, CVA
Mar 10, 2021
Human Trafficing
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