Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 20, 2018

Rotary Club announces winners

Jul 24, 2017
Rotarian of the Year, Denise Erpelding; Bill Sitler Rotary Community Service Award, Bob Ruppert; Scholarship winners, John Dillon aand Alexis Turner.

The Washington Rotary Club has awarded an annual Community Service Award since 1953. Since 2007, the award has been named after Washington businessperson, Rotarian, and philanthropist, Bill Sitler, who exemplified the Rotary motto of “Service above Self.”

Bob Ruppert is the 2017 Bill Sitler Rotary Community Service Award winner. Ruppert joined Rotary in 1988 and was named Rotarian of the Year in 2002. In Rotary, he has coordinated working the volunteers at the County Fair entrance gates, as well as being the leading Rotary Turkey Dinners ticket sales leader for many years. In the community, Bob attends and serves the United Methodist Church and served on the Washington County Hospital Foundation board, where he also sold a lot of tickets to the WCHC Pork Dinner fundraiser. Bob has volunteered at the WCHC since 1996, helping to bring mail and other services to patients.

To recognize Bob’s work, Rotary awards him $100 for him to donate to the charity of his choice, for which he selected the Salvation Army.


The 2017 Rotarian of the Year award goes to Denise Erpelding, a past Club president in 2011. Denise is the chair of the annual Rotary Turkey Dinner, a counselor for Rotary foreign exchange students, and always there to step up to the plate to help when needed. She works at Horak Insurance, and co-owns Archer Appliance and Electronics with her husband Kevin Erpelding. She receives recognition as a Paul Harris Fellow with the Rotary International Foundation.


The Washington Rotary Club has been awarding scholarships to local high school students since 1964, and the first recipient was Illa Mae Earnest.

In 2017, Washington Rotary Club is pleased to announce three scholarship winners, each receiving a $1,000 award.

Reid Basten is the son of the Sue and Tom Basten. Reid plans to attend the University of Iowa to major in science teaching and chemistry. He participated in Rotary Youth Leadership Award camp in 2015. He was in the National Honor Society, 4-H, Peer Helpers, Speech, and Drama, as well as playing basketball and soccer. He volunteered in Washington Spring Clean-UP, and in his church youth group. He works a part-time job.

John Dillon is the son of Ron and Karen Dillon. John plans to attend Central College to major in business management, and will play college football. He was in the National Honor Society, Boys State, and BPA, as well as participating in football (academic All-State), basketball, and soccer. John did community service and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, Hospice Run, annual Tree Giveaway, Blair House repairs, and participated on church youth mission trips, and Carver Hawkeye clean-up crew. John also works a part-time job.

Alexis Turner is the daughter of Eric and Jennifer Turner. She plans to attend ISU to study architecture and design. Alexis was the Vice President of National Honor Society, participated in student congress, Peer Helpers, BPA, attended Girls State, as well as participating in volleyball, track, dance team, and Dance Marathon. She volunteered for numerous school activities including Camp Invention, youth girls volleyball camp, snowball classic, and working concession stands, She has worked several part-time jobs in high school.

In addition, Washington Rotary Club is awarding the annual John Prochaska Rotary Service Award, which includes a $200 award. This year’s awardee is Aaron Vittetoe.

Aaron Vittetoe, son of Don and Alicia, plans to attend ISU to major in Ag Studies. Aaron was in the National Honor Society, and FFA, volunteered for many community activities, worked a part-time job, and played baseball and golf in high school. He attended Rotary Youth Leadership Award camp in 2014.

The funding for these scholarships and awards comes from club fundraisers, such as the annual Rotary Turkey Dinner, which will be held again on Monday, Sept. 11, Rotary thanks the community for supporting it each year.

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