NEWBERRY — During the Rotary Club of Newberry’s annual Rotary Awards Night, multiple Rotarians were recognized for their service to not only the club, but the community.
The first Rotarians recognized were those who received the Paul Harris Society Award. Rita Yarbrough, district chair of the Paul Harris Society, said every Rotarian has given at least $100 a year to the foundation, with some members giving more.
“We get over $20,000 a year, that money goes toward eradicating Polio. Did you know at one time there were over 1,000 cases a day, and this past year we’ve only had nine cases,” she said.
Many Newberry Rotarians are Paul Harris Fellows because they contributed at least $1,000, however to be a Paul Harris Society Member, a Rotarian has committed to give $1,000 or more annually. During the Awards Night three Rotarians were given the Paul Harris Society Award, Christina Pomeroy, Dale Mamele and Mike Reid.
The next award given out was the Rotarian of the Year award, Gordon Henry, treasurer, said this is the 21st Rotarian of the Year award to be given out by the Rotary Club of Newberry. This person is given the award because of their service to the club, and because they exemplify the Rotary motto, “service above self.”
This year’s Rotarian of the Year was Sam Hart.
“Sam Hart joined the Newberry Club February 1, 2013. Did not take long for Sam to display his leadership activities, this year he’s a member of the Programs and the Meals on Wheels Committee and he is our Sergeant at Arms,” Henry said.
Before Henry could sit down, he was also recognized and honored with the Newberry County Service Above Self Award. The award was presented to Henry by veteran Rotarian, John Rucker.
“Gordon and I go back, I think we joined Rotary about the same time, I have heard I’ve been in Rotary longer, but I’ve also heard Gordon has,” Rucker said.
Henry has been a member of Rotary Club of Newberry for the last 48 years, and has been an active member of the Newberry community during that time. According to Rucker, Henry arrived in Newberry in 1969 and started the journalism program at Newberry College the next year. In 1986, he became the director of planning at the college and in 1992 he became the associate vice president of the college.
He retired in 1996 from being a full time employee, but went back and became a part time archivist, until retiring completely in 2011.
“How many programs can you truly remember that have been presented to Rotary Club, really remember? One I remember explicitly, was given by him. He spoke to Rotary about the history of Newberry College, he edited a book, ‘God Bless Newberry College’ and he talked about the history of Newberry College,” Rucker said. “Most interesting thing I never forgot, what they found in the basement of the library, they found documents in the basement from the middle 1800s that had never been archived, just sitting in boxes.”
Henry has also been the treasurer for Newberry Rotary for a good number of years, so many in fact Rucker could not remember who came before him.
“He has been a tremendous asset to our community and to our club,” Rucker said.
Also during the night, it was announced that Rotary Club of Newberry received two awards. The Gold Award from the district governor, and the Presidential Citation. Past Rotary president, Kimberly Kitchens, said this achievement was not for her, but for the club.
“Our club has had a great year of fellowship and participation, we are leaving our club in a better place than when we began,” she said.