March 2, 2021 – Community Champion Award Presented

Erin Dickerson’s Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Christopher Morley once said, “If we discovered we only had five minutes left to say all that we wanted to say, every telephone booth would be occupied by people calling other people to stammer that they loved them.”  Lord, help us not to wait until our last five minutes, but instead to spend some amount of time each and every day to tell those around us (family, friends, or strangers) something positive and affirming.  Only You know how much of a difference it may make.


Shoes for the Shoeless Needs New Warehouse Space

One of the most important children’s charities in our community, Shoes for the Shoeless, is in desperate need of 1200-1500 square feet of warehouse space that is preferably climate-controlled to store their shoes and socks for children. They additionally need a place to park their two trucks, ideally just outside the warehouse. The space they have been using will soon not be available.

If you know of any space, please let Kris Horlacher and her organization know.

WDTN has a video and article about their need for a new location.

Committee Meetings

  • 3/17/2021, 6 PM, Tom Frazier Tee Off for Youth Golf 2021, Zoom hosted by Mike Bevis. Meetings in 2021 will be on Wednesdays on 1/13, 2/17, 3/17, 4/14, 5/12, 6/16, 7/7. Additional volunteers are always welcome. The golf outing will be held on 7/12/2021.
  • 3/16/2021, 6 PM, Monthly Board of Directors Meeting, Zoom hosted by President Debe Dockins

Community Events

Greg Griffin announced that the Easter Egg Drive through will be held on April 3rd, 2021.

Visual Arts Contest chairs Deb Saunders and Jane Fiehrer have sent out the invitation to art teachers at local schools so they can invite their students to participate.

Beth Duncan, chair of Centerville’s Got Talent, said she needs more volunteers to help with this committee. The contest will be for kids ages 4-19 that live or go to school in Centerville or Washington Township and will be participating in the event via videos they create of their talent.

Happy Birthday, Tim Clemmer

Today was Tim Clemmer’s Birthday! Bob Burkman led our choir in singing Happy Birthday to the Birthday Boy. Tim approved of our rendition. He was wearing a birthday hat before, during and after the celebration song! Have a great year Tim!

Our guest of honor today, Kris Horlacher, mentioned she has not been on a Zoom call where anyone sang, and she thought it was cool.

Community Champion Award, Kris Horlacher

Mike Bevis and Judy DeMarco, the co-chairs of the Community Champion Award Committee, presented the 2021 winner, Kris Horlacher. Kris is the Executive Director of the Dayton based non-profit Shoes for the Shoeless (S4TS) that she founded in 2010. Over 125,000 children have been served. They are a mobile shoe store with 2 trucks. Pre-COVID they used 500 volunteers per month.

Their mission is, “To provide new, properly fitting gym shoes and socks to local children in need.”

Their vision is, “Relentlessly pursue our mission so that no child endures the unnecessary physical and emotional distress that results from wearing socks/shoes that are grossly inadequate. We will strive to become a valued organization in our community, known for our devoted and caring volunteers along with our faith-in-action.”

A trauma nurse by trade, she had a passion to help children who did not have shoes and socks of their own.  She left her job as a nurse and started “Shoes for the Shoeless” in 2010.  Kris also provides correct fitting shoes and socks to area children in desperate need, delivering thousands of shoes each year.

Kris spent time with children in all sorts of circumstances but one day she looked at the feet of one of the kids she had been working with for a few months and suddenly realized his shoes were too small for his feet.

She quickly set out and discovered that due to the lack of money, ignorance or neglect, this was a huge problem for many children living in poverty.  She told a story of a boy who walked with a limp but insisted nothing was wrong.  When his feet were exposed, they were raw on the sides and his toes were growing on top of each other from wearing shoes too small all his life.  At that time, he was wearing a hand me down pair of size 12’s when he needed a size 15.

In Montgomery County, 40% of children live in poverty.  Most of them are in desperate need of shoes and socks.  Shoes for the Shoeless focuses mainly on helping local kids right here in our area.  Mad River, Huber Heights, Dayton and many more school systems in the area benefit from this program.  Kris is responsible for establishing an effective system to help children eliminate one of poverty’s most visible stigmas.

View videos about S4TS and their COVID experience here.

Kris Horlacher Remarks

Kris said, “Thank you for the award. It is great to hear about others who care about the need for shoes for children. I’m a nurse, but I started Shoes for the Shoeless as a Mom.  The biggest unmet need for children of poverty is correct fitting shoes and socks.”

When she started Shoes for the Shoeless (S4TS) she did a lot of explaining to people why the need exists. It is an unknown need. The few that understood it knew it is a big problem that no one was trying to solve. She is glad she did not know at the beginning how hard it was going to be or it would have seemed too difficult to get started.

Before starting S4TS she researched for resources to help with this issue and was surprised she could not find any existing resources. Nobody did what S4TS does in the U.S. before them. Now many organizations contact S4TS to learn how to start their own organization in their region.

Pre-COVID she was reaching 2000 kids per month and used 500 volunteers per month. They now use fewer volunteers and are reaching fewer kids, but they are working on getting back to normal levels of service. One method they use during COVID is to prescreen for need and have the children measured before arriving at a school. This is working for schools where there are 60-70 kids in need. However, in Springfield and Middletown, it is more challenging where over 400 students in a school have a need for new shoes.

They have also started setting up drive through services at schools where families have an appointment. This has also been successful. As many as 600 children have been served at a time. The downside to the drive through service is that many families do not have transportation at all, or it may not be available during the service times.

Children’s Hospital asked S4TS if there is a way to help get shoes for their needy patients. The solution S4TS created was to have a fully stocked shoe closet at Children’s. There are now 12 shoe closets in the community. Some patients are in the hospital so long that their feet grow and their shoes no longer fit. This is a huge expense for many families who are already struggling with their child’s treatments.

Food for the People

Shoes for the Shoeless pivoted last year to “Food for the People”.

Kris Horlacher knew last year that COVID was going to shut down schools. For many children, their only source for food is school. She told a school, if you give me 50 of your poorest children then she would figure out how to feed them. She did not know how she was going to pull this off, but she knew that the shoe distribution would be difficult. Within a few days they had a plan and then the COVID shutdown occurred. Not only were school shutdowns an issue, but the COVID shutdown caused all kinds of food distribution networks to shut down overnight because of the lack of volunteers who were staying home to keep safe. Beyond kids, this affects the poor as well as senior citizens. Kris said, “Remember at the very beginning of the lockdown that the message was if you go outside you are going to die. Or you were going to kill a family member if you bring the disease back to your home.”

Food banks and St Vincent de Paul called her to find if S4TS could help.

S4TS ended up helping far more than 50 families. From March 2020 to June 2020 they delivered 110,000 meals helping 3000 families. Check out this video, Food 4 the People Donates 6,800 boxes of Food.

Thank You Kris Horlacher

Thank you Kris Horlacher and your organization. You are very deserving of the Centerville Noon Optimist 2021 Community Champion Award. We have all been enlightened to the issues of shoes for the youth of our communities.

Background on the Optimist Community Champion Award

The “Optimist Community Champion Award” was created to help local citizens in the Dayton area recognize people within our community who play a major role in helping children and their families; they are our “UNSUNG HEROES.”

A person or persons is chosen who have made a difference either in the course of their jobs or in their lives or have had an extraordinary impact on children and their families.  These citizens often can be a public official, volunteer, concerned citizen, health or human service worker, business leader, teacher, coach and others.

Previous Recipients of the Optimist Community Champion Award

  • Lisa Tucker (Bill’s Donuts), the most generous person who is involved with this community and contributes to just about everything including our Build a Bear Events that we do every year at Dayton Children’s and sponsors many of our fundraising events
  • Randy Eldridge – former manager of Kroger’s who, over 30 years, donated to many of our fundraising events
  • Dr. Marc Colclasure, owner of Synergy Family Therapy Specialists, who works with special needs children and their families
  • Karen Chatman, retired Special Education Teacher from Centerville City Schools
  • Dean and Mindy Heyne, fostered more than 35 special needs children and adopted 5 special needs children themselves
  • Greg & Tiffany Moehl, who started the First Dawn Food Pantry in Centerville
  • Tonya Johns, started “Operation Prom Dress”
  • Janie Rice, 35 year Veteran nurse at Dayton Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Dept. making sure parents and families received the highest quality of care and preparing and educating the patient and family for upcoming bone marrow transplants and giving them the emotional support through the process

New Member Readings and Inductions

None this week.

Welcome Guests!

Guest NameGuest of
Kris HorlacherToday’s Speaker
Jonathan HaugeSpeaker’s Guest

Happy Bucks

No time for Happy Bucks this week.

Membership Anniversaries

No membership anniversaries this week.


Rachel GoetzMarch 2
Tim ClemmerMarch 2
Tim StullMarch 2
Greg FayMarch 3
Ryan FayMarch 4
Ralph YoungMarch 4

CNO Donations – 2013 through January 2021

Click here to see a summary of donations the club has made since 2013

Thank You Notes Received

Click here to see the Thank You Notes our Club received this week.

Sergeants at Arms

No Sergeants this week.

Zoom Meeting This Week

We had another meeting using Zoom. We will continue our weekly meetings via computer, cell phone or tablet for at least the next several weeks. Please join us and keep inviting guests.

Who can Attend Zoom Meetings?

Any member of any type of Centerville Noon Optimist can attend Zoom meetings. CNO 2.0, St Leonard’s and CNO full members or CNO monthly members can ALL attend.

Guests are also welcome. Please invite guests and introduce them if you like. Just share the Zoom link with them for that week.


In keeping with social distancing requirements – our CNO Meetings have transitioned temporarily to a online format using ZOOM.

Club Member Joe Madden was inspired to rewrite The Optimist Creed – so we give you now – The Corona Creed -with apologies to Christian D. Larson, Author of The Optimist Creed.

Links to Recorded Meeting and PowerPoint

An unfortunate technical difficulty resulted in the loss of this week’s meeting recording.

A Copy of this Week’s Meeting PowerPoint Slide Deck is here

CNOtes – January 7, 2020 – Community Champion Award Presentation

Phather Phil’s Prayer

Phather Phil did not provide a copy of his prayer this week – he said to tell all club members to come to lunch at noon and hear it in person!

Today’s Guests – WELCOME!

Sue Bicknell
Ann Christie
Jeff Danner
Brian Hogarth
Mike Kistler
Sybil Martin
Yvonne Petty
Jenell Ross
Andrea White
Ralph Young

All Photos from the Meeting are Here

Social Events

1/19/2020, 2 PM – Sunday, U.D.  Women’s basketball game followed by a group meal at the Spaghetti Warehouse. Tickets are $5.00 for the game and dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse is on your own. Sign up at lunch or contact Beth Duncan.

Optimist Community Champion 2019, Jenell Ross

Mike Bevis and Judy DeMarco discussed our annual Optimist Community Champion award.

Mike Bevis notes

Five years ago, we started our Optimist Community Champion recognition. If you are new to the club, you probably are asking what is a community champion?

It is the goal of your club and your committee to honor unsung and unrecognized citizens who have gone over and above to make a difference in our community.

These community leaders can be from any walks of life. They could be a coach, a neighbor, a mentor, a teacher, a businessperson, a doctor or even a member of our club.

Over the past years we have received numerous recommendations and have spoken with many worthy citizens in our community. We have found so many who are worthy of such awards, so we always have our work cut out for us.

Why do we recognize these worthy individuals? Well that is up to you…on your tables, you have forms where you can nominate the next honoree or pass it on to someone else. Make sure you check this out or go to the website and download one. There are many unsung heroes out there.

We are always searching for people who have given back. Ones who have touched someone. Someone who has gone over and above. A person who has provided hope and a positive vision to bring out the best in our community. We were looking for people who have dedicated their life or career to encourage friendship among all people or have encouraged the development of youth to advance the well-being of life in our community.

Judy DeMarco notes

We have been honored to find that there are a few special unsung members in our community who have been recognized as Community Champions.

In the past few years, we have honored the following community champions:

  • Lisa Elam Tucker, owner of Bill’s Donuts
  • Randy Eldridge, former manager of the Kroger Market Place
  • Marc Colclasure of Synergy Family Therapy
  • Karen Chatman, a special education teacher
  • Greg and Tiffany Moehl who started the First Dawn food pantry in Centerville.
  • Dean & Mindy Heyne foster parents for more than 35 special needs children
  • Tonya Johns who started Operation Prom Dress
  • Jani Rice a 35-year veteran nurse at Dayton Children’s Hospital


It is the goal of your club and your committee to continue to honor these unsung and unrecognized citizens who have gone over and above to make a difference in our community.

Tom Novak’s nomination of today’s recipient

This Club’s “Community Champion” Award is our way of reaching out into our community to recognize those who have stepped forward to also “give back” in their own special way.  Today, we recognize Jenell Ross as our Community Champion of 2019.

As the President of the Bob Ross Auto Group in Centerville since 2010, we might assume that this role may prevent her from actively involving herself in giving back to our larger community.  Those of us who had the opportunity to hear from her as our featured speaker at our 2.0 meeting in August of last year, know differently.

My introduction to Jenell’s generosity came thru her support of our Avenue of Flags program as one of our earliest subscribers, and the first of all the auto dealerships on Loop Road; then, at the beginning of last year, in a time of explosive growth of flags, (but still in need of additional flag-carrying vehicles), she responded to us with the use of a vehicle from her dealership – all 5 holidays.

I learned that she has been active in many community groups and community causes – too many for me to mention at this time, but they are best illustrated when, in 2018, the Presidents Club of Dayton presented her the Citizen Legion of Honor Award for her outstanding volunteer leadership. 

In 2010, she formed the Norma Ross Foundation to honor her mother after her mother lost her battle to breast cancer.  I hope she will share some thoughts on the efforts of that foundation which has raised over $300,000.

This past summer, when the tornado devastated our Dayton community, she partnered with the Red Cross and was at the forefront collecting and delivering items for those in immediate need. 

Jenell’s spirit of “giving back” continues to make a difference in the lives of many in our community – please give her a warm welcome.

Jenell Ross Acceptance Speech

Jenell Ross is President of Bob Ross Auto Group which celebrated 45 years of business in 2019.

She feels she was chosen for this award because of her parents. Her parents always had everyone in her family giving back to the community. She grew up thinking this is what everyone did.  Giving back and being involved in the community is part of life. She appreciates that she and her team can give back. The 100 employees of her company make it possible for her to have the time to give back.

She lost her mother Norma J Ross to breast cancer in 2010. Jenell started the Norma J. Ross Memorial Foundation. Their website is To date they have raised $350,000 for the American Cancer Society. The foundation also helps make breast cancer screening available for those who are under served.

She thanked CNO for the honor and she looks forward to working with CNO and the community.

Thank Notes sent to CNO

You can read recent thank you notes here.

CNO Donations 2013 through September 2019

Click this link to see a summary of the donations our club has made.

Over 50 years, we have donated close to $2,000,000 to our youth community. In the past 6 years, we have donated nearly $700,


Member Birthday
Ted Humphrey January 7
Laura Caschera January 8
Wilma Quarin January 8
Don Massie January 10
Bill Williams January 11
Jesse Gaither January 11
Jordan Feldkamp January 11
Candace Rinke January 11
Joe Soucy January 12
Rob Jones January 13

Membership Anniversaries

Member Month Day Joined # Years
Greg McAfee January 7 1/7/2008 12
John Speers January 7 1/7/2008 12

New Member Readings and Inductions

Name Sponsor 1st 2nd 3rd Reading or Induction
D Ralph Young Charlie Tapp 1st Reading
Jay Schindler Mike Bevis Induction

Sergeants at Arms

Member Infraction
Gary Smiga Picture in the paper at UD basketball game under the basket
Brandon Barrett For trying to pardon himself from future fines on last day of being a sergeant
Donna Huss For trying to pardon herself from future fines on last day of being a sergeant
Judge Long For helping Donna Huss and Brandon Barrett try to exempt themselves from fines on their last day of being  sergeants
Christine Balsan and Wes Cleaves For showing up at the lunch meeting 12/10/2019 when it was cancelled since the holiday party was that night
Chris McAlpine Letting his wife and children run out of gasoline
Art Hung Accusing sergeant Jay McAlpine of wearing a clip on tie
Gary Anderson For never inviting Jay McAlpine to a CNO lunch meeting
Doug Reno Left CNO holiday party early

 Happy Bucks! 

Member Reason
Dr. Dan Passidomo Welcomed a new grandson
Doug Reno Welcomed a new grandchild; He celebrated by buying a truck from today’s speaker Jenell Ross from Ross Auto Group
Cherie Gentry The Toys for Tots organization that she chairs went from helping 500 kids in 2018 to 2300 for 2019
Gary Hansen Finished Master Bedroom remodel after starting the project in April 2018
Gary Hansen 45th wedding anniversary
Jack Anderson Minnesota Vikings won their playoff game
Bob Burkman 57th wedding anniversary
Myron Rheaume Thankful for the Optimist Creed helping him through many relatives health challenges over the holiday season
Myron Rheaume Thankful for how much CNO gets to give away from happy bucks and fines
Myron Rheaume This spring at the original site of the first Optimist Club, the Great Lakes region will have their first regional meeting (CNO is part of this region)