Utah Rotary District Governor Linda Sappington of St. George Rotary says there was never any doubt who this year’s Rotarian of the Year would be!
From March 2020 when Paul Summers of the Bountiful Rotary Club said YES to an assignment to organize a committee designed to champion some of the 11 tribal communities in Utah Rotary District 5420, the DG just knew he was the right choice for this important annual recognition.
Awarded to only one Rotarian each year who stands out in “service above self” and has a demonstrated commitment to the Four-Way Test, the Rotarian of the Year is also seen as an outstanding member who has made significant contributions to the mission and operation of his/her club; to one or more avenues of Community or International Service on the district level; and, who is highly visible in promoting Rotary in actions and involvements.
During 14 months of the RY2020-21 pandemic, this dedicated Rotarian and his 17-member committee, have stepped up to meet needs for food, water, hygiene and cleaning supplies and firewood in tribal communities disproportionately struggling with COVID-19.
Under his direction, representatives of the NAIC have begged, borrowed, cajoled, scavenged, pleaded, scrounged, organized and delivered many, many thousands of pounds of supplies to those most in need in the Beehive State … and have plans to do more.
In short, notes the DG, “Paul has taken the Native American Initiative well beyond my expectations.”
This Idaho farm boy is a graduate of the University of Utah with a degree in Civil Engineering who worked twelve years for the Utah Division of Water Resources as his first employer. In his second career he worked another twenty years on water resources-related projects with JM Montgomery Consulting Engineers.
He joined SL Rotary Club in 2003 and was active in Club 24 until his retirement in 2006 when he and his wife Helen served a mission in Alaska for their church. After their return home, he joined the Bountiful Rotary Club where he has served as club president, chair of the club’s foundation, as membership chair and has been a contributor to the success of Bountiful Rotary’s Coats for Kids Car Show.
In 2016, DG Shaun Michel asked him to serve on the district level as Lt. Governor for Membership, a position he held for three years before taking on this major effort. It is expected the NAI will continue to meet reservation needs after the pandemic is just a paragraph or two in world history books. Certainly, Rotary’s efforts to assist tribal communities are expected to change as other needs and projects are identified, especially as related to any of Rotary International’s 7 areas of focus.
Congratulations, RY2020-21 Rotarian of the Year Paul Summers.