All Abilities Playground Update

December 10th, 2016

A donation for the Rotary All-Abilities Playground by Lyle and Sandra Froese, members of the McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club, will honor daughter Janet Nelson and her children Nathaniel and Allison Tinglov.

The family presented a check for $4,000 to be added to a previous $1,000 gift for a total of $5,000 to Juli Smith, President of the McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club at the club’s weekly meeting on Wednesday, Dec 7. A plaque with the names of the honorees will be placed when the playground is built and dedicated in late 2017 at Bonnie Wenk Park in west McKinney.

Lyle, Sandi and Janet are educators who have worked with children and teens, including those with special needs. Janet is currently a school counselor at Wolford Elementary School in McKinney. Sandi, who retired as a Sherman ISD school administrator, is self-employed as a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor in McKinney. Lyle, who is also retired, was a former Director of Curriculum and Instruction in the Sherman ISD and Region 10 ESC.

Nathaniel and Allison attended McKinney schools K-12 and are graduates of McKinney High School. Allison is currently in Zug, Switzerland as a Rotary Youth Exchange student.

The Rotary All-Abilities Playground is a joint project between the McKinney Rotary Club, McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club and McKinney Sunset (satellite) Rotary Club, and will be constructed and maintained by the city of McKinney.  It is estimated to cost $560,000 upon completion in 2017. The amount raised to date is over $418,500.

For more information or to make a donation, e-mail Juli Smith, President of the McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club at (, Steve Mitas, President of the McKinney Sunrise Rotary Foundation at (, or Daniel Kistner, President of the McKinney Rotary Club at (

Volunteer Opprotunity

April 16th, 2016

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McKinney Sunrise/Sunset Rotary Flag Wavers Wins MEF Spelling Bee

February 27th, 2016

In a thrilling back and forth spelling contest between Independent Bank’s Spelling Team and the McKinney Sunrise/Sunset Rotary Flag Wavers, both teams were deadlocked and declared co-winners of the annual McKinney Education Foundation annual Spelling Bee to raise money for college scholarships!

Congratulations to “Team Bilyeu” Jenna Bilyeu, Jack Bilyeu, Amy Kate Bilyeu and alternate Mickey Bilyeu, who represented McKinney Sunrise and Sunset Rotary Clubs with an awesome performance! Photos will follow in another e-mail. Check us out on Facebook.

And, many thanks to the McKinney Education Foundation for raising thousands of dollars for college scholarships for our MISD students.

team bilyeu

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Rotary Youth Exchange Students Interviewed at McKinney High

February 20th, 2016

End of the Year Awards Presented at McKinney Sunrise Rotary Officer Induction Banquet

June 20th, 2015

Larry Offerdahl:  Service Above Self Award to  incoming President given by outgoing President Steve Mitas.  Congratulations!



Juli Smith: Service Above Self Award with outgoing President Steve Mitas.  Very well deserved.  Congratulations!

pres elect


Chuck Koehler:  Rotarian of the Year!  With outgoing President Steve Mitas. Very well deserved! Congratulations!

rotarian of the year

Steve and Laura Froese received Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship Award

April 15th, 2015
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Steve and Laura Froese received Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship Awards at Hollister Rotary Club on March 30, 2015.
Steve and Laura Froese, who were married in 2009, are very much a part of the Branson and Hollister, Missouri, communities.
Laura, who is employed as a data entry and intake assistant with the Cox Health Systems, is also in the cast of the Shepherd of the Hills outdoor pageant.  She is the daughter of Paul and Lola Ash of Kimberling City.  Laura, who grew up in St Louis, is receiving the Paul Harris Fellowship award because of her work in health care services and as a talented musician, she exemplifies the ideals of Rotary for “Service above Self.”
Steve Froese, has been a professional musician since the age of 18.  He holds a BS degree in Applied Sciences with a major in Music from the University of North Texas.  Steve is a private drum teacher and a professional musician who plays for six shows in Branson; Red, Hot and Blue at the Clay Cooper Theater; Take it to the Limit Eagles Tribute Band; Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey Tribute Band; Ronstadt-Browne Tribute Band; Credence Clearwater Revival Tribute Band; and Bon Jovi Tribute Band all at the Tribute Theater across from the Titantic.  Steve grew up in Sherman, TX and lived in Ft Worth before moving to Branson in 2007 to play drums for Penny Gilley at the RFD Theater.  He is the son of Lyle and Sandi Froese of McKinney, Texas.  Steve is receiving a Paul Harris Fellowship award because his work as a musician exemplifies “Service above self.”
Submitted by Lyle and Sandi Froese, McKinney (TX) Sunrise Rotary Club, District 5810

Sarah Stanley – Camp RYLA Experience

November 1st, 2014

Camp RYLA: Day 5

            Darkness surrounded us. Only the faint orange glow of torches lit the path. The smell of smoke filled the hot night air. We walked hand in hand toward the flickering flames of the campfire at the end of the path. The end was near. Suspense and anticipation wrapped around us like a heavy coat. Emotions overwhelmed us all.  My chest felt like a cinder block was pressing hard against me making it difficult to breathe.  Suddenly, without warning, my vision blurred from the tears pooling in my eyes. I couldn’t control it. The tears broke free and poured down my face. As I looked around, I noticed that no one had been spared this break down. We all looked the same: tear stained cheeks, puffy eyes, and red faced. Little did I know this was only the beginning of what proved to be a life changing moment.

My mind drifted away while I stood by the campfire. I had travelled a long road to get to this moment. After going through an application and interview process, I had been selected to receive the Rotary Youth Leadership Award, or as we called it RYLA. At the time, I didn’t understand what made it so special. It was just a leadership camp. But now, looking around the campfire at the faces of the people I met, remembering the experiences we had shared during the week of camp, and realizing the unbreakable bonds that we had formed in such a short amount of time, I finally comprehended the magnitude of this experience.

Listening to others share their stories and memories of the week forced me to reflect on my own experience as a RYLA camper. I had formed a brotherhood and sisterhood with the twenty-three other high school seniors in my cabin group. On day one of camp we were strangers thrown together in unfamiliar surroundings, forced to work together as a team. During the course of the week, we shared laughter and tears, heartaches and celebrations, victory and defeat. We brought out the best in each other and accepted the worst. Our team of twenty-four was woven together like the squares of a quilt, each one unique and dependent on the other to complete the whole. They taught me what true friendship was about- acceptance.

Sniffles could be heard in abundance. Our circle remained unbroken as the campfire burned hotter and higher. Without losing the grip of the hand of the person next to me, we slowly sat on the grass. The stiff, achiness of my body reminded me of the week’s activities and challenges. During RYLA I did things that I had always believed impossible for me. While I’ve always danced, I had never considered myself an athlete. Growing up I was teased by peers, and told by teachers and classmates that I couldn’t do what others could. I developed a fear, a fear of failure and embarrassment. Invisible barriers stopped me from taking risks and trying new things. Yet, there I sat. The barriers had come down. Sitting there looking at the faces of my encouragers and supporters, I could only muster sobs. These were the people that taught me to believe in myself and I could achieve anything, and I had. I climbed a rock wall, completed a ropes course, scaled a wall, played rag ball, and even broke a board with my hand. RYLA and its campers gave me self-confidence.

Stepping out of my comfort zone, I looked deep inside myself and found the courage to speak. I managed to choke out just a few sentences. “I love you guys,” I said. “You’ll never know how much you mean to me or what you’ve given me.” Overwhelmed with the reality of all that I had experienced that week, I couldn’t get another word out. How could I express the magnitude of what I felt? How could I explain that I would never be the same? RYLA had changed my life.

The campfire signaled the end of Camp RYLA 2014. As the flames were extinguished, I was sad to see the week come to an end. However, I knew this was also a new beginning. I realized that I was not the same Sarah Stanley that had come to camp at the beginning of the week. I grew and changed. Confident, risk-taker, and brave had never been words that I used to describe myself. Now I embrace these characteristics and more. Perseverance and determination are now part of my persona.  I have become a young lady with purpose.

The magnitude of what RYLA had done for me, as well as the rest of the campers, was indescribable. While I had participated in RYLA all week, I did not fully understand the impact it would have on my life until campfire. Sitting around the campfire with my new friends, my new family, was the climactic part of the week, the moment were everything came full circle. These people who were strangers to me just days before, who came from totally different worlds, led totally different lives, had become some of my best friends. They were like my new family. After only a few days we had formed a special irreplaceable bond that usually takes years to build.

I came to Camp RYLA hoping to make friends and become a better leader. I achieved both of those goals. More importantly, through Camp RYLA, I became a better person. I gained self-confidence and a sense of determination. As a result of my experiences with RYLA and the epiphany I had at our final campfire, I now know that I can not only live in this world, but that I have what it takes to make a positive difference in the world.

Interact/Rotaract District Leadership Seminar In McKinney

September 16th, 2014


McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club Installs William P. Smith, Jr. as President

June 24th, 2013

When the sun went down at the Vineyards of Mitas Hill near Melissa on June 15, the stars of Rotary came out for the installation of the Rotary Club of McKinney Sunrise’s 20th President, William P. Smith, Jr..

Honored guests included the Immediate Past District Governor Sandy Forster and her spouse Bud Carmichael; incoming District Governor Ean Sullivan and his wife, The Reverend Jan Sullivan; District Governor-Elect Bill Dendy and his wife; and District Governor Nominee Larry Webb and his wife. All are current officers of Rotary District 5810.

The club also has two Past District Governors and First Ladies who include Mrs. Connie Yeager, wife of Col. Paul Yeager (deceased) and Judge Nathan White and his wife Wanda. Also attending were Assistant District Governor Peter McClellan and his wife. Mr. McClellan belongs to the McKinney Rotary Club.

The event was hosted by Steve and Sherie Mitas and Tim and Lisa Kocsis who began the evening with cocktails on their pool patio and a buffet dinner catered by Market Street. Club Service Chair Phyllis Davis and Cheryl Smith, wife of the incoming club president, were in charge of arrangements.

Outgoing President Gary Taylor, who is an official with United Supermarkets of Lubbock and a former manager at Market Street in McKinney, opened the meeting after dinner by presenting numerous awards to cap his year of service. He and his wife Rhonda and son Zachary reside in McKinney. He presented attendance certificates to members who had perfect attendance this past year and awards to the outgoing club officers who served during his term. The price of Rotary is attendance and “service above self.”

District Governor Ean Sullivan installed the incoming officers and directors for 2013-14. They are William P. Smith, Jr., President; Gary Taylor, Immediate Past President; President-Elect Steve Mitas; Jeff Caserotti, Vice President for Fundraising; Dennis Snavely, Secretary; Judge Weldon Copeland, Treasurer; Phyllis Davis, Club Service Director; Dr. Tom Parker, Community Service Director; Pamela Zeigler-Petty, International Service Director; Gene Sera, Vocational Service Director; Dr. Sandi Froese, Youth Services Director; Fred Bahrenburg, Rotary Foundation Chair; Bill Bilyeu, Sergeant-at-Arms and Gary Taylor, Webmaster and Sentinel Editor.

Immediate Past District Governor Sandy Forster presented two Paul Harris Foundation awards to two non-Rotarians for their exemplary service to the McKinney community. A Paul Harris Foundation award is one of the most coveted awards in Rotary that honors a person with a $1,000 donation to the Rotary Foundation for global humanitarian programs.

Janet Froese Nelson has been a public school educator for more than 24 years having served for 5 years as an elementary teacher and for the past 19 years as a school counselor in the McKinney ISD. She has a Masters degree from Austin College and is currently a school counselor at Wolford Elementary School. Ms. Nelson exemplifies the selfless service of our community’s public school educators. Her award was sponsored by her parents Drs. Lyle and Sandi Froese. The second Paul Harris Foundation award was presented to Zachary Taylor, son of Gary and Rhonda Taylor, for his service to the club’s flag lease program. His PHF award was sponsored by the McKinney Sunrise Rotary club. Zachary was also recently awarded a Rotaract scholarship from the club. He is a sophomore at Collin College and is an accomplished musician and computer programmer.

President Gary presented two Rotarian of the Year Awards for exemplary service to the club to incoming President Bill Smith for his leadership to the club’s flag lease program and to Dr. Sandi Froese, for her leadership of coordinating youth services of Interact Clubs at Boyd and North high schools, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Rotary Youth Exchange inbound and outbound programs, and the Rotaract Club at Collin College. She holds a doctorate from Texas A&M-Commerce and was a former central office administrator for the Sherman ISD. She currently has a private practice in McKinney as a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor.

Known as Bill, the new president and his wife Cheryl moved to McKinney five years ago to be closer to their grown children and grandchildren. Bill is a Financial Representative for Northwestern Mutual with it’s home office in Milwaukee, WI. He has offices in Frisco and McKinney and has represented company for the past 26 years. He served as President of his previous Rotary Club located in Slidell, Louisiana; established the St Tammany Parish Education Foundation; served on the Slidell Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; and served 5 years on the St Tammany Parish Children’s Advocacy Center Board of Directors and as Chairman for 2 years. In addition to playing tennis in his earlier years and serving as the President of the Slidell Tennis Association, he is now an avid golfer. Bill’s theme for this year is “Do More Rotary–Have More Fun”.

The Rotary Club of McKinney Sunrise leases flags to subscribers in west McKinney to raise funds for college scholarships, local community charities and global humanitarian needs. The best known global outreach of Rotary International is the Polio Plus campaign in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization to eliminate polio in every country. The club meets weekly on Wednesday mornings for breakfast and a program at 7:30 AM at Eldorado Country Club in McKinney. For more information about the club’s activities and the flag lease program, go to

McKinney Sunrise Rotary Youth Exchange Student Going to France

July 22nd, 2012


A Bon Voyage party for Abigail Gibney, outbound Rotary Youth Exchange student from District 5810, was held at Stonebridge United Methodist Church on July 19 with the New Generations Committee of McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club as hosts. Abby is the daughter of Denis and Sharon Gibney, who attended the dinner along with her sisters’ Emma and Clare. Her sister Grace, who is now in college, is a former Rotary Youth Leaderships Awards participant.

Abby is a graduate of McKinney North High School where she served as the President of the Student Council and Historian of the Interact Club. No stranger to Rotary International projects, Abby’s leadership at her school raised thousands of dollars for Mary’s Meals and a kitchen in Malawi this past year. She will be a Rotary Youth Exchange student to France this coming school year.

Abby is the second outbound Rotary Youth Exchange student sponsored by the McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club. The club will also sponsor their first incoming Rotary Youth Exchange student from Germany who will attend McKinney High School this fall. Julian Wallmueller, from Kirchhellen, Germany, will be living with Bill and Jenna Bilyeu.

Jean-Daniel and Barbara Grimm, District 5810 GSE Team; Sam Zarro, Director of District 5810 Rotary Youth Exchange Program, and wife Peggy; Assistant Governor Peter McLellan; and District 5810 Governor Sandy Forster were introduced by Gary Taylor, President of McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club.

Jean-Daniel and Barbara Grimm gave a short talk on what to expect living in France. Sam Zarro provided background information about the Rotary Youth Exchange program. District 5810 will have 8 outbound students and 8 inbound students this coming school year. Rotary International has over 8,000 students from 170 countries who participate in the Rotary Youth Exchange program each year. The purpose of the program is cultural enrichment to promote peace and understanding among our brightest high school age students before they go to college. McKinney Sunrise Rotary presented Abby with club flags, pins and gifts to exchange for her year abroad.

Sandi Froese is the Director of New Generations Avenue of Service and Mark Lowe is the Chair of Rotary Youth Exchange program. Also assisting were Tom Parker, Director of Community Service, and Lyle Froese, past Assistant Governor, both of whom who will co-chair Interact and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards programs this coming year.