Rotary Club of St. John Honors Nine with Paul Harris Fellow Award

Rotary District Governor Diana White, center, poses with Paul Harris Fellow Award honorees (left to right) Paul Kessock, Bruce Munro, John Fuller, Joan Birmingham and Lee Fuller.

Rotary Club of St. John honored several of its own members as well as supporters of the organization with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award during the club’s meeting on Friday afternoon, February 18, at the Westin Resort and Villas.

Harris and three business associates founded Rotary International in Chicago in 1905 and the awards in his honor were established in 1957 as a way to thank members’ humanitarian efforts. To qualify for the Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary members must donate at least $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation, which is the organization’s humanitarian and charitable arm.

The Rotary Foundation is the largest humanitarian effort in the world, explained District Governor Diana White, who attended the St. John Rotary Club meeting to bestow the Paul Harris Fellow lapel pins, certificates and medals on honorees.

“Every penny that goes to the Rotary Foundation is accounted for,” said White. “There are not many foundations in the world today that can say that.”

Community members who embody Rotary International’s ideal of “service before self” are also eligible for the award, White explained.

A total of nine Paul Harris Fellow awards were issued by Rotary Club of St. John, but only five of the recipients were able to attend the meeting. Rotary member and club past president Joan Birmingham was awarded her seventh Paul Harris Fellow for donations.

Sharon Coldren, also a Rotary Club of St. John member, was honored with her first Paul Harris Fellow Award. Rotarian Catherine Fahy was granted her second Paul Harris Fellow Award while fellow member John Fuller was granted his seventh.

Fuller’s wife, Lee Fuller, was honored with her first Paul Harris Fellow, after her husband made a contribution in her name, explained White.

“Behind every great Rotarian is a saint, and Lee has been a saint,” said White. “The contribution made in your name will contribute to world peace.”


Rotary Club of St. John member Gerianne Kotas was honored for her years of service and for spear-heading the group’s literacy projects, according to White.

The group’s current president Bruce Munro has continually risen to the challenges of leading the club, White explained.

“Bruce has risen to many challenges this club has had and lived up to Rotary’s motto ‘service above self,’” said the district governor.

Former St. John Community Integration Team chairperson Helen Simon was honored with the Paul Harris Fellow to mark her dedication to the community, according to White.

“As a community leader in so many facets of life, her work has made St. John and the world a better place to live,” she said.

As an organizer of Rotary’s main fundraiser, Flavors of St. John — which supports the group’s scholarship fund — Paul Kessock embodies the spirit of community service, White explained.

“His unstinting service to our club in bringing Flavors to a new level of excellence has shown his dedication and service above self,” said the district governor.

Rotary Club of St. John meets each Friday afternoon at the Westin Resort and Villas at 12:30 p.m. Group members are also considering hosting a Coral Bay satellite meeting on weekends.