Posted by Steve Lettau on Jul 07, 2021

Story by Bob Blazich, Photos by Dean Johnson

One of the highlights of the annual Changing of the Guard ceremony is the announcement of our club’s annual awards. This year was no exception. 

The first award announced was the Family and Community Service Award. This year’s recipient was Lucia Francis in recognition of her year-long series on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Lucia organized a monthly series of speakers and panelists who engaged our club members in thought-provoking Meaningful Conversations. In presenting the award, Connie Pukaite noted, “This Rotarian, with relentless dedication and persistent effort, connected our Sunrise Rotary to a wider community than we have ever connected to before.”

Dave Schlageter was awarded our club’s 2021 Service Above Self Award. Dave is one who consistently raises his hand when help is needed. He was active in this year’s Candlelight Walk in the Woods, he organized a fundraiser to help pay for the buckthorn-eating goats, he organized tree planting in the woods, and is chairing the club’s main fundraiser, Around The World, in fall. Dave has also been active in the community where he served as the President of Family Promise and trained as a volunteer EMT.

The highest award given by our club is the Paul Harris Fellowship Award. Recipients are nominated and selected by members of our club, and a donation of $1,000 is made to the Rotary International Foundation in their name. Recognition as a Paul Harris Fellow dates back to 1957 and includes past recipients Mother Theresa, Jimmy Carter, Boris Yeltsin, Pearl Bailey, and someone very close to Rotarians and our eradication of Polio, Dr. Jonas Salk.

This year, our club awarded two Paul Harris Fellowship Awards. The honorees exemplified the highest ideals of Rotary and demonstrated their longtime commitment to Service Above Self.

The first person honored was Mequon resident and non-member, Jeff Wenzler. In granting a Paul Harris Fellowship to a non-Rotarian, the recipient must have a demonstrated a sustained record of service to humanity and be respected as a leader in our community. In presenting the award, Brian Monroe stated, “Our PHF recipient not only embraces Rotary's motto of ‘Service Above Self’, but his local and international service work embraces all of Rotary's Areas of Focus.”

The second Paul Harris Fellowship recipient was our member Father Mike Shay. For Father Mike, this was his sixth Paul Harris award, but it was his first awarded by our club. In presenting the award, Lynn Streeter noted that, “Our honoree brings life experience, a commitment to ‘service above self’ and a deep knowledge of Rotary.”  His multiple Paul Harris Fellowship awards clearly reflect his many years of service as a Rotarian. 

The big surprise of the evening came when we learned that the event was being held on Father Mike’s 80thbirthday!! Luckily our member Rene Settle-Robinson was in attendance and entertained us all with her rendition of Happy Birthday Baby (Baba-doo, Baba-doo).