The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 28, 2013

Sunrise wins top district award from Rotary


DANVILLE — People who serve in Rotary clubs aren’t trying to get recognition — but it’s nice when they do, a member said.

“We’re very pleased that all of our hard work paid off,” said Judy Story, a member of the Danville Sunrise Rotary Club. “It’s a good motivator to keep going.”

Danville Sunrise won the Rotary Club of the Year plaque for clubs with 40 and fewer members. The award was presented at the annual Rotary District 6490 conference in Normal.

Also, John Alexander of Danville was one of 11 people to win the Governor’s Excellence Award.

The district includes 55 clubs in 25 counties of East Central Illinois, from the Illinois River east to the Indiana state line, and from Dwight south to Vandalia.

Sunrise also won a presidential citation, and was honored for being a Star Club (along with the Hoopeston Rotary) and new 100 Percent Paul Harris Fellow club. Also, Thomas R. Byrket and Robert Muirhead were recognized for having more than 50 years of membership.

Rotary District Gov. Gordon Bidner of Carlock, who presented the awards, said last week, “They’ve had a well-rounded year. I’m most proud of their achievements. They’ve just done a great job.”

Bidner said the Rotary Club of the Year award has been presented in the past, but this is the first year that it was split into two categories — one for smaller clubs and one for larger clubs. The Normal Rotary Club won in the category of a club with 41 or more members.

“We have a lot of smaller clubs and we wanted to give them an opportunity,” Bidner said.

The district governor sets the criteria for the Club of the Year award, including: must have a net gain of at least one member; must be involved in the effort to eradicate polio; must donate an average of $100 per member to the Rotary International Foundation; must have a presidential citation; must have a New Generation focus; must have a district grant for a community project; and must be involved in district activities.

Story said Sunrise gained four new members. Each member of the club gave $123.08 in Annual Giving, the club gave $1,808.78 to the Polio Fund, and the club is 100 percent Paul Harris (founder), which means $1,000 from each member was given to the Paul Harris fund over a period of time.

Sunrise also received a District Simplified grant for books for East Park Elementary School library and for classroom supplies for the Environmental Educational Center classrooms at Kennekuk County Park.

“Fulfilling the criteria shows the Sunrise Rotary Club is a club of members who believe in Rotary’s motto of Service Above Self,” she said. “The Sunrise Club gives volunteer hours and financial help to the Danville and surrounding community and to world wide projects.”

“We’re not in it for the recognition,” Story said. “We want to do something for the community and the world.”

Bidner said of Alexander and his award, “He’s just a quality individual.” The governor’s award is given to those who risk more, dream more and expect more than others, he said.

Also, Alexander is serving as a district committee chairman in Annual Giving.

As for Sunrise being active on the district level, Bidner noted that a past district governor was Wes Rush of Danville, who led the polio effort for many years. Also, Story has been an assistant governor.

Gaining four new members is significant, as well, he said; there was a net gain of 36 members among the 55 clubs.

Besides Sunrise, Danville has two other clubs, the Rotary Club of Danville with president Amy Hoose and Downtown Rotary with Jennifer Dixon as president. There’s also a Rotary Club in Hoopeston, with Greg Anvick as president. Danville Sunrise’s president is Chuck Kasper.

Those are active clubs that are doing a lot of good things, Bidner said, adding, “They’re good clubs making a difference.”

Story said Sunrise, which has more than 30 members, does a lot of projects, such as helping Faith in Action and supporting an orphanage overseas.

Bidner said, “This district governor thinks they’re special.”