In Rotary International, being a Paul Harris Fellow means different things in different areas of the world.
In the United States, being named a Paul Harris Fellow is in recognition of a significant donation to the Rotary Foundation.
The foundation helps fund Rotary International’s humanitarian activities, from local service projects to global initiatives such as the Rotary’s worldwide effort to eradicate polio.
Being recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow isn’t a rarity, but a rare occurrence surrounding the honor happened at a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Centerville: Three generations were honored as Paul Harris Fellows.
Rick Franklin, a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Centerville, and his son Max were presented with the Paul Harris Fellow by Past District Governor and Centerville Rotary Club member Bob Griggers.
Rick Franklin’s father, Julian, who had previously received the Paul Harris Fellowship through his home Rotary club in North Carolina, was on hand. The ceremony included first recognition of Julian Franklin, a 54-year member of Rotary. Julian then pinned his son Rick, who joined Rotary in 2004 and who in turn pinned his son Max.
Griggers said that the three generation presentation was the first he had ever heard of since joining Rotary.
“A lot of people do it, a lot of people go through Rotary and don’t do it. But to have three generations, that is something,” Griggers said.
Rick Franklin said that his son’s participation in the Paul Harris Fellow recognition was in part to teach him the importance of giving back to the community.
Max, who will be entering Veterans High School in the fall as a ninth-grader, has been active alongside his father with Rotary projects like distributing food to the needy.
The Rotary Foundation, which is funded in part by contributions through Paul Harris, is really an investment in others, Rick Franklin said.
“It comes back in grants to local projects, fighting polio and providing clean drinking water overseas,” Rick Franklin said.