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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Rotary Club of Naperville names 10 new Paul Harris Fellows

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Today members of the Rotary Club of Naperville hosted the annual Paul Harris Awards Luncheon during their weekly Thursday meeting held in the Pavilion at Meson Sabika.

Gerry Cassioppi, current chairman of the Paul Harris Fellow Recognition and Rotary Foundation, provided a brief description about the honor as he recognized both new and longtime recipients. The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation. Many Rotarians are multiple Paul Harris Fellows.

Paul Harris, founder of Rotary in 1905, is recognized by the fellowships honoring his name. Established in 1957, Paul Harris Fellowships “show appreciation for and encourage substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study, the precursor to Ambassadorial Scholarships.”

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Ever since, it’s become tradition for Rotarians throughout the world to support the Foundation by honoring others outside of Rotary membership in avenues of service including club, international, vocational, community and new generations.

Ten community members became Paul Harris Fellows during ceremonies today. One by one, the Paul Harris Fellows accepted with resounding words of humility and appreciation as each one was in the spotlight for making a difference in the community.

“We have a habit of giving people attention when they don’t want it,” quipped Rotarian Tonia Khouri as she helped recognize the dedicated community members.

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Rotary Club of Naperville President Liz Zienty; Mike Barbour; Mary Lou Mastro; Greg DeGeeter; Annmarie Siwik; Paula Mueller; Georgia Winson; Bettye Wehrli; Warren Dixon, Jr.; Seth Brady; Eric Matway (for Joel Weinberger) and Rotarian Gerry Cassioppi, Chairman of Rotary Foundation Committee.

 2014 Paul Harris Award Nominees

Annmarie Siwik – Club – Annemarie is truly an inspiration for community service! She is both a leader and a champion for Naperville. Her contributions include a year as chair of the Naperville Chamber of Commerce during a pivotal transition for the organization; significant involvement in Ribfest; contributions to American Cancer Society fundraisers, and most recently her appointment as a Naperville Riverwalk Commissioner – all of that along while juggling personal demands and managing to educate and motivate a gang of otherwise boring CPAs at DiGiovine Hnilo Jordran & Johnson. Nominated by Rotarian Mary Lynn Hoffer.

Mike Barbour – Club – Mike is available as an active and passive listener to those who have served in our military; he has “been there” and understands. That compassion sets him apart–and as a result, calls him into action. He has a relentless drive to make a difference in the lives of those men and women who have already given so much. He has been a key supporter for Operation Support Our Troops, the American Legion, and the annual district-wide Rotary Coat Drive for our veterans. Mike is truly an individual who exemplifies service above self and does not seek recognition for his good work. Nothing seems to give him greater joy than helping another veteran or military family. Nominated by Rotarian Warren Dixon III.

Bettye Wehrli – Community – Bettye is a real community player. She has served on the Century Walk Corporation board of directors for 18 years. While strictly a behind the scenes person, she never looks to steal the spotlight. When she takes on a task, Bettye will attend to it and complete it effortlessly. Bettye has also been involved with the Daughters of the American Revolution, Naperville schools, the Naperville Public Library board. You almost cannot attend an event in Naperville that she is not either attending or supporting with 100 percent effort. Nominated by Rotarian Brand Bobosky.

Mary Lou Mastro – Community – Mary Lou has been a community leader actively involved in advocating for increased community awareness of mental illness. While at Linden Oaks, her leadership resulted in the development of the nationally recognized Mental Health First Aid Program. This unique program trains school personnel and community members to identify and respond to early signs of mental illness and substance abuse disorders. This is just one example of how she transformed Linden Oaks into a highly regarded regional resource that serves as a beacon of hope for many people struggling with significant mental health concerns. For her vision and focus on improving the quality of life in our area, Mary Lou Mastro is eminently worthy of a Paul Harris Award. Nominated by Rotarian Frank Slocumb

Georgia Winson – International – The International Service Committee of the Rotary Club of Naperville has worked with Ms. Winson for the past several years to obtain the medical equipment and supplies that make up the shipments that we send to our foreign projects. She has gone beyond normal requirements on many occasions to assure the successful completion of our projects. Ms. Winson leads the Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach that collects, refurbishes, and redistributes used medical equipment. This equipment is still useable and a welcome improvement to hospitals and clinics in developing countries, and sometimes this is the only equipment they do have. Nominated by Rotarian Carl Schumann

Seth Brady – International – Seth has been a valued member of the Naperville Central Social Studies Department for over a decade, and strives to bring the world to his classroom. Seth has helped our students realize that they are part of a global community. Seth established a program to contribute to an organization that provides micro-loans to individuals and assists students to organize fundraisers and decide how and where the monies should be distributed. He voluntarily applied and was accepted for a program that sent him to Indonesia for an entire month to learn about their religion, education, financial system, and live in their country; he shares his learning with students at NCHS. Nominated by Rotarians Dan Bridges and Julie Carlson

Warren Dixon, Jr. – New Generations – Warren is a former Vice President of the SS. Peter and Paul Athletic Association, where he coached both basketball and track for many years. He received the “NYFL Coach of the Year” in 1988 and has coached for more than thirty years. Warren, Jr. is a role model, exemplifying the best attributes of an elected official through honesty, professionalism, and fairness for everyone. He was known for the integrity with which he approached his duties and public service to the people of Naperville, DuPage County, and to countless civic and community organizations. With the unanimous consent of the Members of the DuPage County Board, a Resolution of Accommodation was presented to Warren on December 13th, 2013. Nominated by Rotarian Rachel Ossyra.

Paula Mueller – New Generations – Paula is a science teacher at Neuqua Valley who has served an invaluable role for the school and district. She has provided board leadership of a holiday gift drive with NVHS staff and students over the past 15 years with Alliance for the Children. Thousands of Appalachian students have received winter toys, clothes, supplies and more importantly hope for all those years. Thanks to her, last year, gifts, boots, clothes, and winter coats were provided to four different elementary schools in District 204…and that’s only her volunteer work! Paula also serves on many school and district committees to enhance the curriculum for our students and elevate our teacher’s professional development. Nominated by Rotarian Jason Altenbern.

Greg DeGeeter – Vocational – Greg DeGeeter of Dean’s Fine Clothing for Men & Women is a silent philanthropist with a tremendous heart who has dedicated his life work to Naperville. Greg raised his family here, attends church here, employs local members of the community in his family run and owned company, and has the distinction of probably being one of, if not the longest standing same family-owned and operated retail store in Naperville. Greg never seeks recognition, instead he actually shies away from it. Greg has supported Little Friends, serves on the Board of the Heritage Foundation, Naper Settlement, and always supports Soles for Souls through Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center. Nominated by Rotarian Alma Jones.

Joel Weinberger – Vocational – As a board member at DuPagePads, Joel Weinberger has created new and innovative fundraisers to assist families and individuals to end homelessness. Through his example of “service above self”, Joel’s passion and leadership have inspired his employees at Continental Motors Group to take initiative on their own to volunteer monthly at DuPagePads’ overnight shelter sites. Moreover, in support of DuPagePads, the employees at Continental Motors have recruited a large group to volunteer for the Exchange Club of Naperville’s Ribfest, organized food drives at Thanksgiving, and purchased holiday gifts for the families in DuPagePads’ Permanent Supportive Housing program. Eric Matway accepted for Joel WeinbergerNominated by Rotarians Christine Jeffries and Carol Simler.

The Rotary Club of Naperville, established in 1941, is one of four Rotary clubs in the city of Naperville. Every Rotary club is a different size with different goals and projects in the same of “Service Above Self.” Naperville Rotary clubs are members of Rotary District 6450 and Rotary International.

The Rotary Club of Naperville meets weekly at 12:15PM for lunch on Thursdays in the Pavilion at Meson Sabika.

For more information, visit the Rotary Club of Naperville.

The other three Rotary Club of Naperville meet at different times in order to attract members at times convenient to their schedules.

Rotary Club of Naperville/Sunrise meets at 7AM Fridays at Naperville Country Club.

Rotary Club of Naperville/Downtown meets at 4:44PM Wednesdays at Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House in the Main Street Promenade.

Rotary Club of Naperville/South A.M. meets at 7AM Tuesdays at Springbrook Golf Club.

For more info about Rotary International, visit www.rotary.org.

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