Toastmasters International offers growth and personal development opportunities worldwide. Focused around club meetings, members improve their public speaking skills through impromptu speeches, prepared speeches, and written and oral evaluations of the prepared speeches. Leadership skills are developed through leadership training programs and through experiential leadership opportunities serving at the club, area, division, district, or international levels. Please visit the Toastmasters International website for more information about Toastmasters International.


“We build new clubs and support all clubs in achieving excellence.”


District 28 was formed in 1947, and was honored that same year by a visit by founder Dr Ralph Smedley to club #404 in Grand Rapids, MI. The District originally consisted of Toledo, northwest Ohio, southwest Ontario west of Chatham, and the entire State of Michigan. District 28 grew, and in 1958 the District was divided to create District 62, which encompasses most of Michigan and Lambton County (Sarnia) in Ontario. The current District 28 alignment includes Toledo and northwestern Ohio; southeastern lower Michigan, including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Monroe, and Lenawee counties; and Essex and Chatham-Kent Counties in southwestern Ontario. From a total of about 40 clubs in 1958, the District has grown to include 109 clubs as of July 1, 2008. District 28 has produced two International Presidents, as well as several members of the International Board of Directors. Through August 2008 we have achieved Distinguished District status or better 19 times, and earned the Excellence in Leadership award in 2000, 2006-2008 (for three or more successive years as a Distinguished District). We achieved Select Distinguished District status in 2007-2008. In 2006, District 28 became the first in the world to create its own Strategic Plan to complement Toastmaster International requirements. The Plan received the endorsement of World Headquarters and the suggestion for other Districts to take a similar approach. The District has hosted the International Convention once, in 1956. We have been honored with Presidential visitations on several occasions, including Tom Richardson in 1988-89, Neil Wilkinson in 1994, Len Jury in 1998 and Gavin Blakey in 2002. Presidential citations have been awarded to Charles Mohr in 1978, Harry Merigian and Robert Lathrup in 1983, Ben Hambrick in 1985, Judson Fisher in 1991 and Bill Moylan in 2003, and most recently, Ellwyn and Marilyn Albee were awarded a joint Presidential Citation in 2008 at the International Convention in Calgary. District 28 members have competed in the World Championship of Public Speaking at least seven times, bringing home the championship once as follows:

  • Joe B. (Last name unknown) 1953 (Approximately)
  • David Holmes 1956 (Champion) Anthony Wayne Club #1380
  • Jim Butler 1967 (Third Place) Maumee Valley Club #1637
  • Frank Smith 1972 (Second Place) Anthony Wayne Club #1380
  • A. David VanEcke 1980 Northwood Club #1329
  • Don Sarbacher (Year unknown) (Second Place)
  • Art Heeman (Year unknown) Northwood Club #1329

The following members competed in and won the Region VI Evaluation Contest (no longer held):

  • Bill Moylan
  • Debra Wiertalla

District 28 members have also been recognized for other achievements. In August 2008, Ellwyn and Marilyn Allbee were awarded a joint Presidential Citation at the International Conference in Calgary. Past District awards (no longer presented) established in honor or memory of prominent local Toastmasters include the John Little Award, the Robert Lathrup Award, the George Gorday Award, and the Judson Fischer Award. District 28 currently presents a number of awards to clubs and others, some named for past District officers. These include:

  • The Chris Hiller award (club with greatest percentage increase in membership)
  • The Harold Eastman award (club with most new members)
  • The Unsung Hero Award (presented to a non-District Officer who does a lot of things “behind the scenes”)
  • Toastmaster of the Year (presented to a non-District Officer who has been prominent in District activities)
  • Area Governor of the Year (presented to the Area Governor with the most successful performance)
  • Division Governor of the Year (presented to the Division Governor with the most successful performance)
  • The Communication and Leadership Award (presented to a prominent non-Toastmaster)