Le Mars Rotary amongst the elite
LE MARS — The Le Mars Rotary Club attained a special distinction at its centennial banquet on April 9, that of being a 100 percent Paul Harris Fellow Club.
Seven members were recognized as fellows at the banquet, with the awards presented by Rotary District 5610 Governor Dave Lorenz and local club president Chris Becker.
They are: Steve Albert, Peter Streit, Opal Anderson, Matt Washburn, Joel Johnson, James Klein and Debra Young.
“Congratulations to Le Mars Rotary, what a wonderful accomplishment, being a service to your community for 100 years,” Lorenz said. “Le Mars has always been a bright star in Rotary in District 5610 and can see the evidence of that tonight.”
After announcing the newest recipients, Lorenz said it was his pleasure to present one extra special award.
“Because the Le Mars club has achieved 100 percent Paul Harris membership, I am presenting tonight this banner to the Le Mars club and to President Chris. Congratulations,” Lorenz said.
The Paul Harris Fellow award recognizes an individual who has donated $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation or a combination given in that person’s name, Lorenz told the crowd.
“It was started in 1957 to show appreciation for people that gave money for good causes for Rotary,” he said. “I don’t have the exact number of Paul Harris Fellows, but I do know that in 2008, Rotary went over 1 million Paul Harris Fellows, so you can imagine what that number is at this point.”
The award is named for the founder of Rotary, Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on Feb. 23, 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas, form meaningful, lifelong friendships, and give back to their communities.
The Paul Harris Fellow honor was established in 1957 to show appreciation for contributions that support Rotary’s Annual Fund, PolioPlus, or an approved foundation grant.
Guest speaker at the banquet was Gregg E. Podd, past Rotary International president from 2015-16, and a past Rotary International Director, 2014-16.
He noted only 446 clubs in the over 35,000 have celebrated 100 years of existence.
He also said 3,623 of those 35,000 clubs worldwide are 100 percent Paul Harris Fellow clubs.
He shared about the continuing work Rotary International is doing to eradicate polio in the world. As of April 3, 2019, there were only nine cases of polio in the world, after a 1988 global polio eradication effort put together by Rotary International immunized 2.5 billion individuals around the globe.
“We must complete our promise to the children of the world,” he said.