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Muncy Rotary honors award recipients

MARK MARONEY/Sun-Gazette Muncy Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow Award recipients gathered at the club Foundation recognition dinner at First United Methodist Church of Muncy. November is considered Foundation Month in Rotary and it is celebrating the sharing of Harris Fellow awards. Harris was the founder of the first service organization, Rotary, in 1905. Through the years of growth, a Foundation was created to do good in the world. It started with an initial contribution of $26.50 in 1917. It has continued to grow through contributions and in 1947, upon the death of Harris $1.3 million dollars was given in his memory by Rotarians. In 1957 recognition for contributions was initiated and it was named the Paul Harris Fellow award. The Foundation’s first form of donor recognition expressed appreciation for eligible contributions of $1,000. Later, additional recognition levels were created. Donors may also name another person as a Paul Harris Fellow by donating in his or her honor. In 2006, the number of Paul Harris Fellows reached 1 million. Additionally, the Muncy Rotary Club is only one of three in our Rotary District of 65 clubs to have the distinction of being a 100% Paul Harris Fellow club and has continued to maintain that status since receiving that honor in 2018.

Muncy Rotary Club recently celebrated the younger and older lives its members change and improve throughout the nation and internationally.

“Rotary Foundation belongs to each of us,” said Kelly Wike, a guest Rotarian and speaker for the evening.

The donation of dollars by Rotary Club members saves and changes lives, she said. It helps by continuing a tradition and commitment of doing good in the world — such as helping to eradicate polio, provide for the financial assistance and payment of surgeries and operations to restore limbs and repair hearts and those that restore sight to the blind and those with low vision.

On a local level, the Rotary Club helped in its backyard giving talented youngsters a boost by provided more than $5,000 to go towards musical instruments for students attending Muncy School District.

Juliana Mingle, president of the Muncy Rotary Club, introduced various guests for the evening. It was a celebratory night to honor Rotarians and non-Rotarians, alike.

Among those Wike, who teared up with emotion as she described how after several trips to India that she got to give life saving polio vaccination drops to children.

Rotary committed to eradicate polio in 1980 and in 1985 the Polio Plus program was developed.

Today, the Gates Foundation matches every dollar donated on a one-to-one basis for such immunization.

Rotarian Vicki Zimmerman discussed how individual club members become Paul Harris Fellows and how they get various types of pins.

The son of Dick Langer lovingly spoke of his father’s nearly 40-year commitment to supporting local projects and those across the globe and was a proud contributor to the Rotary Foundation.

Robert K.H. Mertz said what Rotary does is to make miracles happen. He spoke of experience one of those miracles by meeting a woman from Peru who was born into poverty and orphaned as a youngster.

Tragically, while in the orphanage a fire occurred that burned the crib she was in and she lost both of her legs.

The girl also had a challenge with her heart not working properly.

But through Rotary donations the woman told Mertz she has artificial limbs and was able through assistance of another charitable organization to have heart surgery, Mertz said.

“She thinks it is a miracle,” Mertz said, much to the delight of those listening at the dinner.

Other Rotarians were given their Paul Harris awards at the banquet as pictured. They are great givers of their community needs, including the popular Corvette Show on Main Street.

While the Muncy Rotary Club is relatively small in terms of membership, it remains one of the top three clubs in the Rotary Foundation in terms of giving based on the per capital numbers in the club compared to larger populated clubs.

The District 7360 Muncy Rotary Club meets the second, third and fourth Wednesday at Orlando’s Restaurant at 5:30 p.m. The club supports many student and community mini-and-large-scale projects as well as international efforts.

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