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Rotary sets new local honor

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By John Barnhart

    The Bedford Rotary Club has a history of combining fundraisers with honors, according to David Herrick, the club’s president. The fundraisers generate money for various projects.

    Herrick said in past years they had “Roatary Roasts.” These were events where they recognized some individual and sold tickets to the events.
    Later, they switched to sports, recognizing high school seniors for combined athletic and academic achievement. Herrick said this year marks the 15th year they have done this, but they dropped the fundraising aspect of it.
    This year they are starting a new program that will combine both a fundraiser and an honor. It’s called the “Bedford Ambassador Honor.”
    Starting this year a Bedford Ambassador will be selected annually. Herrick said the goal is to select people who display “service above self,” Rotary’s motto.
    Cheryl Nester came up with the idea and is serving as chairman of the committee running the fundraiser.  They are looking for people who tend to fly under the radar of public attention — the people who do positive things that most folks in the community never hear about.
    “These are people who are not going to promote themselves,” she said.
    The Rotary Club is casting a wide net. These people may be volunteers. They may also be government employees, such as teachers or government officials, who routinely do things “above and beyond the call of duty.” Nester said that they want to, over the years, recognize different facets of service.
    The fundraising part comes with the nominations. They are asking people to make nominations and the $20 fee for making the nomination is the fundraising part. Ed Wennerstrom, the club’s secretary, said that 100 percent of all money that comes in will go to Rotary projects. He said that whenever Roatary holds a fundraiser, the club’s members cover all the expenses involved.
    Nomination forms can be downloaded from the club’s Web site, www.bedfordvarotary.com or they may be obtained from any Bedford Rotary Club member. Questions may be e-mailed to bedfordrotaryclub@gmail.com. Each nomination must include a 74-word essay on why the nominee should be chosen.
    The deadline for making nominations is March 15. The committee will select the winner and the top three nominees will be invited to a dinner on May 23, where the winner will be announced.
    “They won’t know who the winner is until that night,” Nester said.
    Nester said that local merchants will be asked to donate gifts that can be used to make up a gift basket which will be presented to the winner.
    Herrick said that both the Bedford County Board of Supervisors and Bedford City Council will make proclamations recognizing the winner. The Rotary Club will also ask the winner to participate as Bedford Ambassador in a couple of community events, including the Christmas Parade.
    “They get to ride in a red convertible,” said Wennerstrom, who is providing the vehicle.