Paul Harris Award Speech

by Jim Morita

during the

Evening of Harmony

on October 17, 2003

 

 

Dr. Camilo Uy and I are honored to serve you as chairpersons of the Paul Harris Committee.

 

Just to give you a little history on the Paul Harris Award, We initiated this annual recognition as a response to Rotary awareness based on our philosophy of Rotary Four Ways Test.

 

This award was established as a way of redirecting our thinking of what was right and continues to be right about supporting for the wide range of humanitarian and educational programs that enable Rotarians to bring hope and peace throughout the world.

 

In selecting this year's recipients, our Paul Harris Committee reviewed files of candidates nominated at large from our membership.

 

As a member of the Paul Harris committee, I can assure you that the selection process was thorough. Of more than 15 candidates nominated, we have chosen Helen Reisler and Edward W. T. Gray, III They were both former president of our club. They represent the very best of the Paul Harris award recipients for this year.

 

What are the measures of great leadership? Someone has defined it this way: "Reason and judgment are the qualities of a leader". Helen and Ed are eloquently representing that category;

 

After my presentations, Dr. Camilo Uy will present posthumously a special service award to Father Michael Judge, a chaplain of the New York Fire Department, died in the line of duty of September 11.

Now, I would like to ask Helen, Ed and Dr. Uy to come up to the podium to join with me for the Paul Harris Awards presentations:

 

Before the presentations, I would like to share with you their remarkable achievements for the humanity:

 

Helen Reisler will go down in history, not only as the first woman president of the Rotary Club of New Fork, but as the President who was unexpectedly faced with the greatest challenge - an unprecedented terror attack on our own city.

 

Without a second thought, Helen knew what she had to do on that fateful day of September 11. She rose to the occasion, taking the leadership in a most commendable and awesome way.

 

Her focus became threefold -- inspire team spirit in our own club members, giving immediate aid to victims and rescue workers, and coordinating money contributions for the neediest.

At the same time, she insisted that all activity be communicated, daily, to the world through our own "up to the minute" website.

 

Helen, personally, received over 400 e-mails from Rotarians around the globe, and answered them well into the nights, encouraging contributions to the "Disaster Relief Fund" which she set up with our NY Rotary Foundation.

 

This Fund accumulated over 1.5 million dollars, and more importantly was distributed in a timely fashion to a variety of needy people.

 

Our successful accomplishments with the leadership of Helen prompted Rotary clubs throughout America to invite Helen as a guest speaker.

 

She has traveled, on our behalf, to all over the America and where she proudly spoke the heroic deeds of The Rotary Club of New York.

 

NOW, I have the honor to present Helen Reisler the Paul Harris Award.

 

Now for Edward Gray, III.

 

Ed joined the New York Rotary Club in 1993. Between 1993 and 1999, he has served as Chairman of many committees. He has served as president of our club for the year 19992000. During that year he managed our club's financial success, and brought the club budget into balance.

 

Ed was very active in the humanitarian causes; most credited support was his humanitarian aid to the Ivory Coast through the initiative of our club's international division.

 

Another remarkable result was under his leadership he was awarded the Annul District A ward for highest percentage of Paul Harris fellows in our district.

 

During his presidency, he also received the Rotary International Award for outstanding efforts in the Four Avenues of Service.

 

For the humanitarian sector, during the year 2000, he has established a private charitable foundation in conjunction with a Swiss Family.

Through this foundation and under the auspices of our club's foundations, he gave grants to Gift of Life for 3 years to save 3 children's lives.

 

Ed also gave funds for polio eradication for which h e received a Rotary International Certificate of Appreciation from the president of our Rotary

International

 

Currently, Ed is serving as a trustee of our club's foundation.

 

On behalf of our Paul Harris Committee, I hope you will also regard this award as a symbol of our gratitude to both of you, your outstanding achievements for the humanitarian principle.

 

Now, I have the honor to present the Paul Harris Award to Edward T. Gray Ill.