Schneider bestowed with district governor honor
LE MARS — Le Mars Rotary member John Schneider became the 2022-2023 Governor of Rotary District 5610, in a pin passing ceremony June 28, at the Rotary Club of Le Mars annual banquet at Willow Creek Golf Course.
On July 1, Schneider assumed the volunteer post of Rotary International District Governor. As governor, he coordinates the community and international service projects of the 40 clubs in District 5610 encompassing all of South Dakota, northwestern Iowa, southwestern Minnesota and northeast Nebraska. Schneider will serve through June 30, 2023, and will visit with all the Rotary clubs in the district during his year in office.
“It’s an honor to begin my term as District Governor by visiting each club in District 5610,” said Schneider. “Every club offers a unique set of experiences and goals for the year that adds a great deal to the district as a whole, and I look forward to hearing about each club’s plan for the coming year.”
At the banquet, Schneider gave a PowerPoint presentation to introduce himself to those attending. It is one of the tools he will use as he visits clubs in the district.
Schneider is a fourth-generation farmer on his family farm in northwest Iowa, near Le Mars. His great-grandfather emigrated from Denmark to homestead their century farm. He has been raising pigs since the age of 10 as a 4-H member with the exception of the years he was a student at Iowa State University where he earned a BS degree in farm operations and became a member of Alpha Gamma Rho social/professional fraternity. Growing up, he was active in FFA in high school and was elected as a State FFA vice-president his senior year in high school.
In addition to his lifelong career in pork production, Schneider served a term as Plymouth County Supervisor. He has also spent most of the last 20 years in the banking industry as an agricultural loan officer and as a real estate evaluator.
Strong Community Involvement
Schneider has been a Rotarian for 35 years and values the opportunity to live life through “Service Above Self.”
His community involvement extends beyond Rotary including activities with the local chamber of commerce, economic development board, 50-year member of the Le Mars Municipal Band, church, historical museum and agriculture organizations. He has served as president of the Le Mars Rotary Club twice and has for 10 years managed the club’s drug store ice cream shop at the Plymouth County Fair. He was also Assistant Governor for Area 9 and was District Conference Chairman in 2017.
Schneider and his wife, Carol, have a daughter and son and five grandchildren, all living in Iowa. They enjoy traveling and visiting places of historical interest including railroad and model railroad sites.
A Commitment to Rotary
Schneider said in the last 10 to 15 years, he has changed from being a Rotary member to being a Rotarian.
He said that journey was a lot about him understanding the Rotary world outside of the local club.
“They do fantastic things. Rotary Foundation funds have helped around the world with polio eradication,” he said.
There are seven areas of focus: promote peace; fight disease; provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; save mothers and children; support education; grow local economies (especially in third world countries); and protect the environment.
Bringing Hefty Goals
Building membership is an important aspect of growing the Rotary clubs in communities, according to Schneider.
“I think the most important thing in our district is to build membership, and that also includes trying to help clubs survive,” he said. “For example, we have a club in Aberdeen that hasn’t met since COVID started, and we’re trying to get those people to get back together and meet. We can’t do it for them, but we’re encouraging them to get together.”
He also looks at building the RotorAct Clubs.
“The original purpose was for young adults, college age to 30. A lot of these were educationally based centers, at universities or colleges,” he said.
The district is working to start a RotorAct Club at Augustana in Sioux Falls and reactivate those in Brookings and at the School of Mines in Rapid City.
“COVID killed them as kids couldn’t go to classes, they couldn’t go to meetings either. So with the active students graduated, we’re kind of starting all over again,” he said.
Rotary International also changed the rules in the last year, taking away the 30-year age limit, so now young members are able to stay in the RotorAct Club.
“Previously it was when you turn 30 you joined a Rotary Club in your area,” Schneider said.
He added having the Rotary Club actively involved in its community is important.
He cited the Rock Valley Club has a huge presence in the community, as well as the club in Mapleton which offers activities.
Thankful forthe Leadership
Schneider has been involved in district activities for several years, and credits his predecessor, Doug Lind, as giving him good training to take over the District Governor position.
“I’ve been in training for two full years. Fortunately our District Governor 2 1/2 years ago, invited me into the loop to be part of the district leadership meetings, because I was an assistant governor prior to this,” he said.
The Schneiders will begin their travels to clubs in South Dakota the first week of July.
Schneider is one of only 535 Rotarians worldwide serving as District Governor this year. He has served as the president and on numerous committees of the Le Mars Rotary Club.