Although it's been in existence for a century, many may not know "Sertoma" is not a word.
Rather it is an acronym for SERvice TO MAnkind that reflects the primary focus of the organization -- to assist the more than 50 million people with hearing health issues and educating the public on the issues surrounding hearing health.
The international group was founded on April 11, 1912, in Kansas City, Mo. The Sertoma Breakfast Club of Sioux City was chartered in 1968. The Sertoma Noon Club of Sioux City -- which celebrated its 65th anniversary this year -- sponsored the Breakfast Club.
"Most members, like myself, got involved because we wanted to be a part of an organization that helps and serves others," explained chairman of the board, Don Herbold.
Since 1992, Communicative Disorders and Hearing Impaired Scholarships have been established. During 2010-11, Sertoma awarded 45 scholarships throughout the nation.
"The enthusiasm, satisfaction, friendliness and fellowship of working together to provide a service to mankind is most gratifying," Herbold said.
The Sertoma Breakfast Club has sponsored students to Camp Sertoma, a camp for deaf or hard of hearing students, as well as assisting with the purchase of hearing aids where the needs exists. The Sertoma Breakfast Club has cooperated with the Noon Sertoma Club in funding and building Sertoma Park in Sioux City.
The Sertoma Breakfast Club holds two fundraising event, Herbold explained.
"We host a Hunter's Breakfast on the opening day of pheasant hunting season," he said. "During the spring season, we hold a Gift and Goodie Auction."
In addition to Herbold, other officers are: Gerald Taylor, president; Paul VanderWeil, vice president-sponsorships; Mike Goodwin, vice president, membership; Russ Clifford, secretary; Jerry Houpt, treasurer; Paul Massey, sergeant-at-arms; Kathan Jager, publicity chairperson; Stan Ahrendt, fifth grade Declaration of Independence chairperson; and Steve Struthers, past Iowa governor.
"Each year, during Presidents Week, both Sertoma Clubs give all fifth graders in the Sioux City and South Sioux City schools a copy of the Declaration of Independence," Herbold said. "This has been done since 1947, with approximately 75,00 copies given thus far."
The Sertoma Breakfast Club's March 21 meeting will feature Robert Cooley with Hearing Dogs Inc., a nonprofit organization headquartered in Henderson, Colo., which specializes in the training and placement of hearing dogs with the deaf and hard-of-hearing throughout the United States and Canada -- free of charge.
The event is also free and open to the public.
"We thought this would be a perfect fit for our group and the Hearing Dogs group," said Taylor. "This meeting, we are inviting the public to attend."