SIOUX CITY — Over 175 Rotarians from three states are gathering in Sioux City for a two-day conference that features decorated Navy Seal Boyd Renner.
The Rotary Club of Sioux City will host members from 40 clubs from Northwest Iowa, Southwest Minnesota and South Dakota during the District 5610 conference at the Stoney Creek Inn.
Steve Harrington, chair of the 2022 Rotary Celebration Event, said it's been at least 25 years since the metro area has hosted the annual conference, which rotates between the cities in the district.
"This is a really big event," Harrington said. "We're so excited. This is a feather in the hat for Sioux City and Siouxland."
While in town, visiting Rotarians will be offered tours of various local attractions such as the downtown historic districts, the riverfront and the Public Museum. Sioux City Rotarians also will highlight major employers like Palmer Candy and Jolly Time Pop Corn, Harrington said.
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"We're going to really take advantage of promoting the community," Harrington said.
The convention, which began Thursday night with a dinner from the Plymouth County Pork Producers, also will include feature guest speakers and breakout topics on various topics, including Rotary International's continual efforts to eradicate polio globally. Since 1985, Rotary volunteers have helped vaccinate over 2.5 billion people.
Rotary also finances projects that provide clean water and sanitation, protect the environment, support mothers and children and promote literacy and economic development.
Another breakout session will focus on fighting human trafficking in Siouxland, Harrington said.
Additionally, the conference will help teach delegates on how to become better Rotarians and better serve their communities, he said.
Boyd Renner, who served for more than 23 years with the Naval Special Warfare Development Group before retiring, will be the keynote speaker at the dinner that starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center. The dinner is open to the public, and a limited number of complimentary tickets will be available at the conference registration table earlier in the day.
After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Renner completed 10 tours in Afghanistan and two tours in Iraq. He also was deployed in Albania, Sarajevo and to the Arabian Peninsula.
As a member of Seal Team Six, Renner was part of the second extraction team to search for Marcus Luttrell, the lone survivor of a 2005 Navy Seal mission in Afghanistan after the first attempt failed. Renner was the senior enlisted member of the team that recovered the bodies of his fellow SEALs killed during Operation Red Wings.
Today, Boyd is co-founder of Endeavor Life Sciences, a company that has patented a way to safely add DNA to a new or existing tattoo and jewelry. He is also currently the chief operations officer at FINAO Coastal Group in Virginia Beach, Va.
At 2 p.m. Friday, Renner is also scheduled to address students at Bishop Heelan.
"He's going to give life and leadership lessons," Harrington said.
The Rotary district conference concludes around noon Saturday.