Western Iowa Tech Community College

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

PRESS RELEASE: Denison Rotary Club honors CCMH, outgoing president

(Denison, IA) – The Denison Rotary Club held its Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 27, 2021.  Among the agenda items, George Blazek was honored for his year of service as Rotary Club president in  2020-21. Dan Schaffer, Denison Police Chief, was then installed as the president of the Rotary Club for  2021-2022. The Rotary Club also named their Paul Harris Fellows for 2021. The Paul Harris Fellow is the  highest honor that can be bestowed by Rotary. 

Among those honored as Paul Harris Fellows, the medical providers and frontline staff at Crawford County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) were so recognized. Typically an award that is given to individuals, the award for CCMH staff was the first group Paul Harris Fellow in the Denison Rotary Club’s 55-year history. 

Tom Gustafson, chairman of the Rotary committee for Paul Harris Fellows, noted the CCMH  medical providers and frontline staff put themselves in harm’s way everyday during the COVID-19  pandemic. Gustafson noted this heroic effort was made on behalf of all the residents of Denison and  Crawford County and did not go unnoticed by the community. He said the Rotary motto, “Service Above  Self”, epitomized the daily efforts of CCMH staff. 

Gustafson went on to offer his personal thanks, and those of the entire Rotary Club, for the daily sacrifices made by CCMH staff in caring for patients with COVID-19. Dr. John Lothrop, Chief of Medical Staff at CCMH during the pandemic, and Patrick Stevens, CCMH Director of Cardiopulmonary Services, accepted the award on behalf of all of the CCMH staff and thanked the Rotary Club for the recognition it provided to the unsung heroes of the pandemic.

George Blazek, outgoing president of the Denison Rotary Club, was also honored as a Paul Harris Fellow for his leadership of the Rotary Club  during a very trying time in the club’s history.

Rotary International established the Paul Harris Fellow recognition in 1957 to encourage and show appreciation for those individuals who have made substantial  contributions to individual clubs and communities. The Denison Rotary Club has awarded over 100 Paul  Harris Fellows in its history. As a consequence, the club has also donated over $100,000 to the Rotary  Foundation in support of the eradication of polio, clean water wells in developing countries, and many  other projects. 

Many notable figures have been named Paul Harris Fellows, including U.S. President Jimmy  Carter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, U.S. astronaut James Lovell, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez  de Cuellar, and polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk. 

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