Dowagiac Rotary Club welcomes new president, president-elect

DOWAGIAC — Thursday’s Dowagiac Rotary Club meeting marked the end of the Rotary year and the annual changing of the guard.

The club welcomed Victor Fitz and Walter Swann as its new president and president-elect during its weekly meeting.

Fitz will serve as president from July 2021 through June 2022, and Swann, as president-elect, will take his place as president in July 2022.

The duo will assume their duties next week in the stead of outgoing president Bob Cochrane, who conducted his last meeting as president by welcoming the new leadership into the fold.

“It’s been a great year on my part,” Cochrane said. “I’ve had a lot of fun, and I’m really excited about turning things over to Victor, Walter and whoever they choose as their officers  and having another great Rotary year starting next week.”

Several members spoke highly of Cochrane, who did his best to keep the club afloat during the ongoing
COVID-19 pandemic.

“I appreciated your enthusiasm and the way you kept us all engaged during a time when things really weren’t that easy, so thank you a lot,” said Rotarian
Mark Herman.

“Thank you so much for a year of fine service during a difficult time,” said Rotary secretary Jennifer Ray.

Fitz has served as the Cass County Prosecutor since May 2003 and previously served as Rotary president back in 2013. Swann is a former professional boxer and U.S. Navy veteran who spends much of his free time conducting boxing lessons and mentoring local youth.

While not physically present, Fitz attended the meeting via Zoom and is aiming to increase club membership from its current number of 36 members to 101 members by Jan. 1, 2022, to commemorate the club’s 101 years of existence.

To do that, Fitz will ask each member to bring two people into the club next year.

“We all know people who would be good Rotarians in our circle of life,” Fitz said. “It’ll be our job to engage that. …We’ve got a lot of capable people, I think that’s doable.”

Fitz also wants to emphasize what he calls the group’s OPP — member orientation, programming and projects.

“We want to work on orientation so that when we get these new members engaged as to what they need to know and how they can get involved so they can feel like part of the club and know what we’re all about,” Fitz said. “One of the great things about Rotary is that we’ve had so many good programs over the years and I want to continue doing that. With projects, we want to find a project or two that we can make Rotary known for locally again. In the past, we had the basketball tournament and some other things so we will find something that will be impactful.”

Swann was on hand for Thursday’s meeting and looks forward to working with Fitz and serving the club.

“I’ll do the best I can,” Swann said. “I’ll ask anybody for help that can help me. If I make a mistake let me know. It’s like I used to say when I worked in the Navy shipyard, if you’re not doing anything, you can’t make a mistake. I’ll do everything I can to make this work.”

Business

Event organizers, local dispensaries call inaugural Niles Cannabis Festival a success

Breaking News

Buchanan native Hannah Roberts takes silver in Olympics

News

PHOTO STORY: Inaugural Niles Cannabis Festival sells nearly 800 tickets

Cass County

Cass County Fair grand marshals are longtime advocates of the fair

Cass County

Fair organizers excited for fair after 2020 cancellation

Cass County

Fair guests in for a treat with main grounds entertainment

Cass County

COA’s Meals on Wheels program seeks delivery volunteers

Berrien County

Inaugural LIVESTRONG at the YMCA 5K to take place Aug. 7

Dowagiac

Purdue University Fort Wayne, SMC sign transfer agreement

Cass County

Van Buren/Cass District Health Department offering COVID-19 vaccines at the Cass County Fair

Berrien County

Law enforcement, state leaders warn residents to be aware of rental scams

Berrien County

Southwest Michigan thrift stores seeing sharp increase in donations

News

Niles Township approves document scanning project

News

Virtual archaeology lecture series ends with look into Chevalier family

Berrien County

Salvation Army welcomes new majors

News

Community turns out to raise funds for teen battling rare condition

Berrien County

Berrien County health officials urge COVID-19 vaccination for adolescents

News

New dog park, garden coming to the Niles Housing Commission

Dowagiac

Ascension to require COVID-19 vaccination for associates

Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg looking forward to inaugural art fair

Business

Niles Planning Commission approves special land use request for marijuana microbusiness

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: July 26-28

Dowagiac

Southwestern Michigan College’s accreditation reaffirmed through 2031

Business

Gov. Whitmer Signs Proclamation Marking July 28 to Aug. 4 as Buy Michigan Week