Brent Thorne Wins Rotary International Award in FIVE Categories
Brent Thorne, a member of the Richfield Rotary Club for more than 30 years, was recognized May 2 with Rotary International’s Areas of Service Award. He is perhaps the only recipient of this award in Utah Rotary District’s 107-year history.
“Through your compassion, enthusiasm, and commitment to service you represent the best Rotary has to offer,” said Utah Rotary’s Immediate Past District Governor Linda Sappington, of St. George, during the presentation of this award. “We thank you for your dedication to the ideals of Rotary and congratulate you with this prestigious honor.”
With a nomination from a district governor, a Rotarian anywhere in the world can be honored for significant service activities in one, or more, of Rotary International’s five Areas of Service, including club, vocational, community, international and youth (also known as New Generations), “but it is rare to be recognized in all five,” Sappington said.
Brent Thorne served19 years as superintendent of the Sevier County School District. In his 19 years as a Rotarian he served twice as his club’s president and currently chairs the Richfield Rotary Foundation Committee.
Brent played a key role in building the Sevier Valley Center; served on the committee to change the Sevier ATC to Snow College – Richfield; established a 16-team invitational basketball tournament which brings teams and their supporters to Richfield; purchased and built two wheelchair swings – one at the Richfield Rotary Park and a second at Snow College in Ephraim.
He also purchased two Whisper Glide therapeutic swings for wheelchair users, installed at the Rotary Park and the Richfield Family Support Center. Brent also participates annually at the Memorial Day community breakfast with proceeds used to purchase U. S. flags for Richfield’s Main Street and the Veterans Memorial.
With amazing woodworking skills, he is recognized in the area of vocational service for hand turning, and assembling more than 500 small chairs, and finding sponsors to present the chairs to area military men and women serving in combat areas around the world.
In the Freedom Chair Project, he helped raise more than $50,000 for local military family support groups. He also created more than 50 laser-engraved plates for 30-year celebrations of Women in Rotary in Orem and Richfield, and has twice served as Utah District 5420’s Vocational Service Chair.
Internationally, HE helped start the first Rotary club in Tarawa, the capital of the Republic of Kiribati, in the central Pacific Ocean, where he and his wife Janis served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Brent established two endowed scholarships for students from Kiribati attending BYU-Hawaii; wrote three Rotary Global Grants for hydroponics as well as clean water and sanitation in Kiribati; and transported 70 donated computers and other equipment to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.
As a champion of youth, this Richfield Rotarian was instrumental in establishing three endowed scholarships for Native American students attending Snow College; helped establish Interact clubs, Rotary’s service clubs for local high school students; built a “rubber chicken launcher” for school and community events; and helped purchase and distribute paperback dictionaries to third graders in Wayne and Piute County schools and U. S. Constitution pamphlets to students in Sevier County.
In 2021, Thorne and Jack Hansen of the Lions Club did most of the construction on five elevated garden boxes that are being used at Central Utah Food Sharing in Richfield.