Day Meeting Minutes - 5/18/21

Mick opened the meeting at the Pyramid Event Venue at 12:15pm and led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance followed with the Four-Way Test.


Gene, Jim, and Steve Hasel

Student Rotarians

Happy Bucks

  • Tonya Olson - Thanks Pam S and Sandy Whisler for the keep covid out campaign over the school year.  Pam also helped set up the vaccine clinic last friday
  • Jim W - You can trust the fact that if you have been vaccinated, you are very unlikely to get covid or spread it.  His mother is done with her 17 treatments.  The 20th is his wife, Deb's birthday.  She is turning "X years old."  
  • Tara T - Received the "Women at the Wheel" award, which is a national award in her field.
  • Gerard - Ate at pyramid on saturday and had a great time.  Scholarship awards on Sunday and Quentin received a rotary scholarship, among others


Jim W - paper

Mick - paper



CLUB BUSINESS - Announcements and committee reports

  • Birthday Raffle Winner- Mick 
  • Joker Draw - Jenn
  • Donation requests received from the city band
  • Paul Harris Fellow Award #8- Tom Vinz
  • Assembly next week - no noon meeting
    • 5pm at the Grist, 6pm for the presentation
  • Week 2 introductions from Bella Mendoza and Kaylee Raymond
  • Amy - should rotary be in the town and country day parade?
  • Scholarships were awarded
  • Cleanup on hwy 89 just north of lake mills, tomorrow night (wednesday) at 5pm
  • Playground - we are ready to submit the grant to the district.  We got a quote from the vendor so the project is moving forward.  The community foundation has stepped up to donate $10,000 to this project.  The lake mills market also donated $7,000.  The current project is valued at $40,000 with potentials of growing further
Presentation of Honorary Rotarian to Gene Hasel - by Greg Renz and Jenn Christian
Video of the meeting with the program:
Slideshow presentation
Text of Greg's Speech:
This takes me to my good friend and our fellow Rotarian Gene Hasel who was living our motto SERVICE ABOVE SELF long before he joined Rotary.
I’ll start with a bit of background. Gene attended a one-room schoolhouse (HARVEY SCHOOL) from grades 1-6, then went to grades 7+8 in the basement of St Paul’s Church. He then attended Lake Mills High School. Now, for those who have known Gene, you may be shocked to hear this. Gene was the most painfully shy and bashful student throughout high school. I know, right. Who would have guessed? Gene and his wife Betty met in high school. She was his friend’s sister. This September Gene and Betty will be celebrating their 71st wedding anniversary. Their two sons are with us today, Jim and Steve. Gene and Betty have been blessed with five grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. Hopefully I have that right.
Now, onto Gene’s farming career. His father had emigrated from Germany to the US, not speaking any English. They began farming back when horses were used and Gene became adept at driving a 3-horse hitch in the fields. They purchased their first tractor just prior to WW2. It had to be hand cranked to start and had three speeds: Slow, Slower, and Ridiculous. Gene was an FFA student and became their treasurer. (Here begins Service Above Self)
Gene took over operation of the farm when his father retired, milking around 20 cattle. He became a member of AMPI (the American Milk Producers Incorporated), which was the largest farm co-op in the world at the time. He ran for and was elected as a director of the board, so he could better serve our farming community. Notice a trend—More Service Above Self. As the director of AMPI for this region for twenty-five years, he traveled the country to conventions and meetings, serving as a lobbyist for the dairy industry. This bashful small-town farmer would become a gifted speaker, speaking in front of hundreds at national conventions and meetings. He was invited to a formal dinner with Senators and President Reagan at the White House. —Gene had no idea what to do with the assortment of silverware in front of him. —I’m not sure I would have. This is our own Lake Mills version of Mr. Smith goes to Washington with Gene Hasel taking the role of Jimmy Stewart. Pretty darn impressive.
By serving the dairy industry in this position, Gene was at the forefront of farming technology. At one time there were 40 farms in the area. Sadly, most failed over the years with only a few left. So, why did the Hasel Farm survive when all these others were going under? I believe it was Gene’s curiosity about evolving farming technologies and his willingness to adapt and expand with the times. His refrain to his sons when deciding about updating was that it was time to get the ball rolling.
In 1936, the farm milked around 20 cattle. Over the years, the farm went from milking these 20 cattle to 31, to 50, to 90, to 250, and today milking 450, with a total herd of 900. Now, a computerized robot feeds the calves—and the cattle are monitored through a computerized system that tracks their movements. Their planter has a GPS system to efficiently plant crops. I’m just in awe of the history Gene has lived. That farm has come a long way from the horse-drawn days. When Gene had turned 65, he turned over operation to his sons, Jim and Steve.  
The farm has hosted The Watertown Agribusiness Club Dairy Breakfast which brought around 5000 guests to the farm and raised funds for FFA scholarships. Again, Service Above Self.
For entertainment, Gene and Betty enjoyed dancing at the Music Box in Johnson Creek and Turner Hall in Watertown. Gene served as president of the Lake Mills Square Dance Club.
And he helped form and served as chairman on the Town of Lake Mills Planning Commission. He’s been a life-long member of St. Paul’s church, serving as president of the elders and head usher. Again, Service Above Self.
Gene was always fascinated by aircraft. He took flying lessons and night courses through the UW Flying Club where he studied meteorology and navigation so he could pass the exam for his pilot’s license. Gene and a group of pilots in the area purchased an airplane together. It was kept across the highway from Gene’s farm. His friend Terry, who was also part owner, would taxi the plane to Gene’s driveway to wash it. One day, Terry was taxiing the plane back across the road to the hanger and was pulled over by the sheriff. Gene saw this from his house and got quite excited. He threw on a shirt and ran up to the sheriff. —What he didn’t realize was that in all the excitement, he had thrown on one of Betty’s blouses—Now, picture this. Here’s an airplane on the roadway with a sheriff’s car behind it, the sheriff standing next to the plane with his arms crossed, and a man in a woman’s blouse excitedly pleading his case. —Not something you might see every day—or any day for that matter. Gene’s been a member of the EAA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, joining when it was a small club and their fly-ins were held in Rockford. He continued attending the fly-ins up until a few years ago.
When Gene retired, he could have stepped back and lived a leisurely retirement. But, nope. That was not for him. Instead, he looked for more ways to serve. I have friends who when they retired from the fire department only wanted to kick back and relax. Sadly, some lose their interest and curiosity in the world and their world shrinks. Gene showed me how it’s done, selflessly serving others, expanding his world. What a great lesson for all of us. What an inspiration.
After retiring, Gene was able to follow his and Betty’s love of travel. Gene has been to every state with memories of eating Salmon on an Island in Alaska and enjoying a Luau in Hawaii. They spent winters in Texas in their motor home and celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary in a Chalet in the Swiss Alps. That’s how you retire.  
Now for his service to Rotary. Gene joined Rotary on June 24th, 1997. He had been coming to the annual Rotary Farm Recognition Day at the Cottage Hotel for many years before joining. He thought they were kind of a strange bunch. Founding member Homer Graper had encouraged Gene and other farmers in the area to come and enjoy the fancy meal served at the luncheon and to join the club. Over the years, many farmers have been members of the club. Gene is the last one.
After joining Rotary, Gene became very involved in club activities and leadership, attending the annual conferences, working at the concession stand well into his eighties, helping with the Post Prom Party, working the Egg Pan at our annual Rotary Brunch, and so many other Rotary events, always serving with enthusiasm. The man did not know how to say no. Gene was one of the members who put their time, energy, and sweat into building the Concession stand at Rotary Park. Yup—our members built it themselves. He served as president from 2006-2007. During his tenure as president, the club erected the signs at the edge of town that are still there today. More Service Above Self.
Seeing Gene helping at our fundraisers and events well into his eighties inspired me to serve the club in any way that I could. I realized this is how you stay young and vital, by selflessly serving others and never losing your curiosity. I have to add that I have never heard Gene utter a mean or judgmental word about anyone, always meeting everyone with a smile. I should add that he is a master storyteller.
Service Above Self. That would be Gene Hasel.

Meeting adjourned 1:00pm

Upcoming Events
2021-2022 Speaker Schedule
Jul 06, 2021 – Jun 28, 2022
Day Meeting
Pyramid Event Venue
Aug 17, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Day Meeting
Pyramid Event Venue
Aug 24, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Day Meeting
Pyramid Event Venue
Aug 31, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Day Meeting
Pyramid Event Venue
Sep 07, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Fall Concession Stand
Rotary Park
Sep 11, 2021 7:30 AM –
Oct 23, 2021 1:00 PM
Day Meeting
Pyramid Event Venue
Sep 14, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Day Meeting
Pyramid Event Venue
Sep 21, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Day Meeting
Pyramid Event Venue
Sep 28, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Evening Assembly
Pyramid Event Venue
Sep 28, 2021
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
View entire list
Russell Hampton
ClubRunner Mobile
Please add to your safe sender list or address book.
To view our privacy policy, click here.
102-2060 Winston Park Drive, Oakville, ON, L6H 5R7