Our own Michelle Lavallee was recently recognized as one of nine “Rotarians of Distinction” for District 5610, which encompasses nearly 1,800 Rotarians in a four-state region.
Ina Winter, 2019-2020 Governor for Rotary District 5610 and a member of the Hot Springs, SD Rotary Club, recently announced the recognition.  Lavallee, was selected for this honor because of a level of service to the organization and to the community of Sioux Falls that was so outstanding that it deserved special recognition.
"These Rotarians make me proud to be a Rotarian,” said Winter. “Rotary is an organization with lots of heart for caring, and many hands to do good in the world.  Our District 5610 Rotarians of Distinction exemplify exquisitely our motto, 'Service Above Self'."
As members of a service organization, all Rotarians contribute to the betterment of their communities and practice the organization’s motto of “service above self”. However, Lavallee’s contributions were at such a high level that they were recognized by leadership of the District.
“Michelle has long been a leader in our city, our state and now in the lives of our most vulnerable children.  We are grateful for her Rotary leadership over the years,” said Jessie Schmidt, 2019-2020 President of the Downtown Sioux Falls Rotary Club.
Rotary District 5610 Assistant Governor Shelli Masek nominated Lavallee for this recognition and included this text in her nomination:
“Michelle Lavallee was president of the Downtown Sioux Falls club in 2016-2017. She was part of the team responsible for a three-year undertaking redesigning the club's committee and leadership structure. She offers her talents to her club as moderator for candidate forums and for large club planning meetings. Notable accomplishments as president include:
  • Expanded criteria for membership classification to include Thought Leader
  • Increased female and ethnic membership
  • Supported Harmony South Dakota, Sioux Empire Network of Care and Arc of Dreams
  • Increased brand visibility with Facebook Live Streaming, new branding materials and refreshed website
Michelle also lent her talents to district leadership when she assisted in the formulation of a district-wide membership survey for the purpose of directing the district into the future.  
In 2018 Michelle was asked to join the gubernatorial ticket as the candidate for lieutenant governor. She put aside her life-long political affiliation and joined the campaign. This is a true example of service above self. 
Most recently, Michelle was named Chief Executive Officer of Children's Home Society, the first woman to serve in this position in the 127-year history of the organization.
Michelle truly embodies the heart of Rotary in everything she does. She practices the highest ethical standards in her public and private life and is truly a Rotarian of Distinction.” 
Congratulations Michelle on this wonderful recognition!