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Board and Mission

Mission Statement

Charitable according to the tenets of Rotary; To provide sustainable educational and humanitarian items to improve quality of life and health to those in need throughout the world. To solicit funds, contributions of service, property, educational, humanitarian and related items required to accomplish the foregoing purposes, and to carry on any other activity incidental to, necessary for, or related to the accomplishment of these purposes.

Board of Directors

PRESIDENT: Darrell L. Ward DIRECTOR: John Lapointe
DIRECTOR: Jim Benshoof SECRETARY: Edwin Gage
TREASURER: Melanie Grayson


Darrell L. Ward – President

Darrell Ward Photo
Business owner in Muskogee, OK. area in the automotive & construction industry 1979 – 2009.

2009 – present real estate sales. Member of Rotary Club of Muskogee 2010 – present, past president 2014 – 2015. Currently serve on two Rotary District 6110 committees; Water & Sanitation & MSNI Board of Directors. Have been involved in water projects in Venezuela, Belize & Nicaragua. Founded SAFE WATER PLUS(+), INC. a 501(c)3 non-profit in September 2015 to continue a water filtration project started by the Rotary Club of Muskogee.

Jim Benshoof – Director

Jim Benshoof Photo
Jim is a retired traffic engineer, who owned his own consulting firm for 23 years. He is married, with four adult children and five grandchildren, and lives in Crystal, Minnesota. He has been a Rotarian since 2002, first as a member of the Hopkins, MN Club and currently as a member of the Crystal – New Hope – Robbinsdale, MN Club. During his years in Rotary, Jim has had a particular passion to support international projects, especially programs that assist children and families. He has provided leadership for projects in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Guatemala. Jim is excited to apply his energy to assist development and completion of projects to provide safe water through SAFEWATER PLUS(+).

John Lapointe – Director

LapointeJohn Lapointe has 37 years of experience in the field of water and wastewater treatment. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Operations from Iowa State University. His career includes performing water and wastewater regulatory services for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Department of Health, designing municipal water and wastewater treatment systems while working for various consulting engineer firms located in Iowa and Minnesota, and designing industrial water and wastewater treatment systems.

John is active in the American Water Works Association. He served as Chair of the Minnesota Section of AWWA from 2005 to 2006.

John served on the Rotary District 5950 Safe Water Plus Committee from 2000 to 2005. He received the Rotary International prestigious “Service Above Self Award” in 2010 for his leadership on Rotary District 5950 Safe Water Plus projects. John’s expertise will be a tremendous resource to Safe Water Plus (+) as the non-profit organization seeks to provide safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities to the underprivileged people of Nicaragua.

Edwin Gage – Secretary

Edwin Gage Photo
Graduated from the University of Oklahoma (BA 1963 and JD 1966). Attorney in private practice in Muskogee, Oklahoma since 1976. Was Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Okahoma from 1970 to 1976. Served on active duty with U.S. Army JAG Corps from 1966 to 1970. Retired from U.S. Army Reserves as Lt. Col. Been a member of Muskogee Rotary since 1972 and served as its president in 1985. Serve as Board of Directors of Muskogee City-County Port Authority.

Melanie Grayson – Treasurer

MelanieMelanie Grayson is the Accounting and Human Resources Manager for Advantage Controls, a Muskogee manufacturing firm, where she has worked for more than 10 years. She attended the University of Oklahoma, becoming a licensed nursing home administrator and graduated with highest honor from Bacone College. Melanie is the wife of William, the mother of 3 and grandmother of 2. They all enjoy traveling together as a family.