Rotary to raise more scholarships with celebrity luncheon

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By Max Gun
Holt Journal staff writer

The Holt South Lansing Rotary Club will host its 10th annual celebrity luncheon to raise money for scholarships. The scholarships go toward Holt, Everett and alternative education high school seniors to attend college. The luncheon is on Feb. 28 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Texas Roadhouse, 280 E. Edgewood Blvd., in Lansing.

Debbie Keys, event coordinator for eight years, said giving back to the community is high in the Rotary Club’s mission.

“We’ve chosen to work hard on this event to give back to as many students as we can,” she said. “Our goal every year is to raise at least seven $2,000 scholarships. We could give less money, but we want to make a large impact. The students can use the $2,000 check in whatever way they feel necessary to enhance their education.”

Keys also said it is called a celebrity luncheon because local celebrities are servers. Former MSU football player T.J. Duckett, Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth, and WILX television anchor Jason Colthorp have been celebrities in years past.

Ted Terzian, a Lansing native who has missed only two celebrity luncheons since its inception, said he supports the Rotary Club fundraiser due to its hard work and determination to make a difference.

“It’s a great fundraiser. It goes to a great cause and I always bring three of my clients to introduce them to the luncheon and get them involved,” he said. “The Rotary Club does a lot of great work throughout the community and their main mission is giving back to the kids of the South Lansing and Holt areas, which is great.”

The luncheon also has several sponsors that help make reaching their goal possible.

Bob Vertalka, owner of Vertalka & Vertalka, Inc., an appraisal firm in Lansing, has served as one of the luncheon’s sponsors for five years.

“I sponsor this because I believe in education, and this scholarship helps students go forward with their education to attend college,” he said. “College is a threshold for employment, so without college, kids are going to struggle to find jobs.”

In addition to sponsoring the event, Vertalka said he buys four or five tickets each year and brings people from his company to introduce them to the event.

“I know that education has helped me in my career,” he said. “So I feel it is important to give back and give other kids an opportunity to have the education that I had.”

Keys said that 400 to 500 people attend the two and a half hour luncheon.

“It really has been a wonderful event,” she said. “We are a very small rotary club. There are only 26 members, and for 26 members to raise that much money in such a short amount of time is simply phenomenal.”

Luncheon tickets are $20 and raffle tickets will be sold for prizes. All of the proceeds will go toward the fundraiser. Texas Roadhouse is donating the luncheon.

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