The Star-Herald

Mars Hill Rotarian named Harris Fellow

MARS HILL, Maine — Rena Kearney of Mars Hill was presented a Paul Harris Fellow award with certificate, pin and medallion by Mars Hill Rotary President Edward Wright at a recent Rotary Club meeting.   

Kearney has been a Mars Hill Rotary Member since 2010 and became the club’s treasurer shortly after, and continues in that office.  She is involved in many activities within Rotary including the annual Golf Tournament, Samaritan’s Purse, Purple Pinkie, the Guatemala Project, Mars Hill pageants, raffles, annual car hop supper, annual turkey dinner and activities within the Rotary 7810 District, to name a few.  

Kearney is involved in many community activities including the Mars Hill Food Cupboard, the Homecoming Committee, is a church pianist and treasurer for the Bridgewater Baptist Church for 45 years, a member of the Retired Teachers Association, as well as a council member for the town of Mars Hill.  She is also a substitute teacher and tutor for SAD 42.  She exemplifies Rotary’s motto, “Service Above Self.”

Rotary established the Paul Harris Fellow recognition in 1957 to encourage and show appreciation for substantial contributions to what was then the foundation’s only program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study, the precursor to Ambassadorial Scholarships. 

The first Paul Harris Fellows included past Rotary International director Allison G. Brush, who served during the 1937-38 Rotary year, and longtime treasurer Rufus F. Chapin, both for donations made in 1946. Mrs. Adan Vargas was the first woman to receive the recognition, for a gift made in 1953. Mrs. Harry L. Jones was the second, and one of only five people recognized for contributions actually made in that inaugural year. 

Early Paul Harris Fellows received a certificate of recognition. In 1969, the foundation unveiled the first Paul Harris Fellow medallion at the Rotary Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii. Japanese metal artist Fiju Tsuda created the piece under the direction of former Foundation Trustee Kyozo Yuasa. Today, Paul Harris Fellows receive a certificate and pin. They are also eligible to buy a Paul Harris Fellow medallion. 

Rotarians have a tradition of supporting the foundation by honoring others. Ida LeTulle Taylor became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1978 when her husband, Vann Taylor, who was serving as a district governor, made a donation in her name in honor of their 34th wedding anniversary. The gift also made her the 25,000th Paul Harris Fellow. 

The number of Paul Harris Fellows has now exceeded the one million mark.

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