East Central Illinois Region

Rotary eClub of Central Illinois holds charter ceremony in Hillsboro

todaySeptember 1, 2021 9

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Carl Affrunti of Springfield, a Paul Harris Fellow, awards his son Andrew Affrunti, also of Springfield, the honor of becoming a Paul Harris Fellow during the charter ceremony at the Opera House Brewing Company in Hillsboro on August 24. Affrunti is the current State’s Attorney in Montgomery County. JAKE LEONARD/HEARTLAND NEWSFEED PHOTO

While the Rotary eClub of Central Illinois has been an officially recognized club since June 29, the club held its charter recognition ceremony Tuesday night, August 24 at Opera House Brewing Company in Hillsboro and for those unable to attend via Zoom.

Krystal West of Nokomis, the club’s inaugural charter president for the 2021-22 charter year, welcomed 25 members to the ceremony. This included those who were attending remotely. West led membership through Rotary’s Four-Way Test before introducing immediate past District Governor Maura Donnelly.

During Donnelly’s remarks, she did announce that she will be serving as an advisor to the club. This is to help ensure the club’s longevity, helping out whenever necessary. Club longevity is important as this eClub is helping pick up where former in-person clubs left off. This includes former clubs such as what was in Nokomis and Pana.

Club vice-president and 2022-23 president-elect Laurie Lewis-Fritz of Chatham introduced District Governor Ryan Byers, also of Chatham, to make remarks. Byers was also present to install the officers for the 2021-22 Rotary year and all charter members. In addition to West and Lewis-Fritz, Hanna Turner of Troy and Matt McElroy of Collinsville were sworn in respectively as secretary and treasurer.

Ryan Byers, District Governor for Rotary District 6460, makes opening remarks prior to the installation of officers for the Rotary eClub of Central Illinois during a charter ceremony on August 24. JAKE LEONARD/HEARTLAND NEWSFEED PHOTO

Near the conclusion of the ceremony, Carl Affrunti of Springfield, a Paul Harris Fellow, nominated his son, Montgomery County State’s Attorney Andrew Affrunti, also of Springfield for the honor.

About the Paul Harris Fellowship

The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals contributing or had contributions made in their name of $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation.

The honor was established in 1957 to encourage and appreciate substantial contributions. Originally, these contributions were to what was then the Foundation’s only program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study. That program would later become Ambassadorial Scholarships.

The honor comes with a certificate and pin, with eligibility to purchase a Paul Harris Fellow medallion.

Affrunti joins a long line of notable figures who were Paul Harris Fellows, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, astronaut James Lovell, polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk, and former United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar.

Notable figures within District 6460 would receive an acknowledgment. This includes Andrea Wetzel-Darbon and Becky Schrage from sponsoring club Metro East Community Rotary Club. Other dignitaries in attendance are 2022-23 District Governor-Elect William Durall and Assistant Governor Bill Knake.

Outreach to new membership will include expansion to East Central Illinois within District 6490 in the coming months. Those seeking to join from either district are more than welcome to contact any member of the Rotary eClub.

This is a corrected version of a story published in the September 1, 2021 edition of the Nokomis Free Press-Progress.

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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.

Written by: Jake Leonard

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