The Rotary Club of Minnesota Veterans, formed in October, aims to have veterans helping veterans. 
Eldon Tessman congratulated Army veteran Brittany Ritchie Sievers.

“People think of Rotarians as all older white men, but that’s not what it’s about, especially with this club,” said Tom Gump, one of the club’s founders and the district governor-elect for Rotary clubs in central and southwestern Minnesota. Gump didn’t serve in the military, but he came up with the idea of a veterans’ club after hosting a dinner for 200 veterans in July.

“I’ve been in Rotary for many years and I’ve never figured out a way to bring a bunch of new people in until now,” said Gump. “This is really filling a niche for both veterans and nonveterans.”

The club was chartered in October. Already its membership has jumped to about 40 people, including men and women from their 20s to 90s. The last meeting included attorneys, physicians, engineers, financial advisers and retirees. Some had served in the military for a few years, some for decades.

For all of them, the new club offers a chance to continue practicing the selfless service instilled in them in the military. The club’s three pillars are service, camaraderie and peace.

According to Rotary International, the club is the only one in the world for veterans working to serve other veterans. Membership isn’t limited to those with military experience, but the group’s service projects will focus on assisting vets.


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