GLADWIN COUNTY – The Rotary Club of Gladwin held their annual picnic, a celebration of their year of “service above self” in the local communities as well as internationally. They celebrated at the Beaverton Ross Lake Park near the new Rotary Splash Pad project that completed it’s phase one production in September 2019. The rotary celebrated the accomplishment and knows there is more work to complete, as they move forward with their second phase of fundraising. Some of the many projects accomplished include Little Free Libraries, Global Handwashing in the schools, Community Food Trucks, Crutches for Africa, Christmas Kindness, Love Light Tree, Gladwin Young Life, international Water Sanitation Project, Gladwin Sports Banquet, and more. 

During the award portion of the picnic, the 2020 Step Up Award was presented to Dirk Presidio. Dirk joined Rotary June 9, 1998 (22 years) and has served as the chairperson for the Rotary Sports Awards since rotary continued them after the Gladwin Lions Club disbanded. His dedication to this event for the area students is immense; Dirk did not want COVID-19 to stop these students from this valuable recognition from the Rotary Club. He organized with the schools in order to provide video coverage of the coaches giving awards to the students. This award highlights the athletes who represent good character, leadership, and team player, and these are all ideals that Dirk himself displays every day.

The 2020 Rotarian of the Year Award was presented to Rev. Karen Blatt. Karen Blatt joined Rotary on Dec. 15, 2000 (19, almost 20 years). Rev. Blatt set the example for “service above self” with her volunteerism at The Helping Hands Mission as a board member, food distributor, cashier and her advocacy of the Gladwin County area. Rev. Karen’s vocational service to not only her congregation, but the community as a whole, is to be valued. She offers her hand and heart in fellowship as a humanitarian to those in need everywhere.

Heath Kaplan was announced as this year’s Rotary Community Partner of the Year. City of Beaverton Manager, Heath was the rock to the Splash Park Project. His enthusiasm and knowledge was invaluable to the completion of the project’s initial phase. When the equipment was delivered ahead of schedule, in order to prevent any delay in the construction of the park or any additional shipping costs the city, Heath was willing to advance the rotary the funds necessary to pay for the shipment and installation and allow the rotary to reimburse the city as funds become available. 

Heath’s word and faith in the Rotary Club is what guided this decision. As the project manager/general contractor for the splash park, his city workers did a lot of the preparation work alongside the contractors to prepare the grounds.

The Rotary Rising Youth Leadership Award was presented to Sydney Compton of Beaverton. The Rotary Club was honored to give this leadership award to Sydney. As a Rotary Youth Experience Representative and an advocate for Rotary among students in Beaverton, she had always been enthusiastic, and her love for rotary shines through her in actions. Now as she has earned the crown of Miss Beaverton, she will have a stronger voice for the Beaverton community and her rotary family will stand behind her with pride as she serves.

The Gladwin Rotary Club also formally, in person, re-inducted Kelly and Jolene into their club. 

Past Gladwin Rotary President, Yvette Keast offered a statement on her time as President and the support she had along the way. 

“As I complete my second term as President of the Rotary Club, I want to thank all of you for your continued support as we undertook many substantial projects in our area and beyond. Al, thank you for your calm demeanor and sharing your past experience wisdom with me. Joyce, thank you for always having the answers to my questions or finding it out for me. Whether it was an email of support, and hand on the back or a direct conversation, I appreciate each of you for your contribution to my terms as Rotary President. I cannot say this has been a solo lead for me as we are all community leaders and the team atmosphere we share for the continued success of rotary is why we are able to accomplish the great projects. Now as the gavel is passed to Dr. Karen Moore, it is my hope that I can be as helpful and supportive of her as you have been for me. She has an enthusiasm for rotary that is contagious, and I look forward to her success, because her success is our club success. We welcome our new President, Karen Moore and we look forward to another year of community service in our area.”

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