2014-2015 ROTARIAN OF THE YEAR
Michael R. Townley
Club member and secretary/treasurer Michael Townley poses with District Governor Mel Kevoe after accepting the Rotary District 7510 F. S. Mathewson Rotarian of the Year Award at the 2014-2015 District Conference in Atlantic City.
In 1982, Rotary District 7510 established the Rotarian of the Year Award to recognize and honor those Rotarians in the district who have, over a period of time, best exemplified Rotary's motto of "Service Above Self." The first recipient was Past District Governor Fay S. Mathewson, a fitting honor for a man who gave so much to his club, to his district, and to Rotary International.
To further recognize Matty's positive and long-lasting impact on the District, the award was thereafter given in his name.
Earning this award is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a Rotarian by the District. Without exception, every Rotary Club in the District has an opportunity to nominate a member who is worthy of this honor. A committee appointed by the District Governor meets and selects the Rotarian to receive this distinguished award which is presented at the District Conference every the spring.
The committee makes their decision based upon, but not limited to the following:
- Rotary Club Offices/Positions/Activities
- District Offices/Positions/Activities
- International Offices/Positions/Activities
- Service to the Community
- Honors and/or Awards received
- Other important data that is submitted
The 2014-2015 process was reportedly a difficult one due to the number of quality nominations. One outstanding individual with an incredible record of Rotary service did become the choice of the committee.
- Club Secretary/Treasurer
- Past President of their club
- Past Director of Community Service, Club Service, and Vocational Service
- Produces their club’s award winning newsletter
- Manages the club’s website
- Great club photographer
- Served on nearly every committee in their club
- Spearheaded nearly ALL of the club projects, including:
- Community shelter dinners
- Dictionary Project
- Wine Tasting Dinner
- Pedals for Progress
- Homes of Hope
- Student of the Month Project
- Scholarship Program
- Fundraising at Rutgers Baskeball
- Interact Club at North Plainfield High School
"This Rotarian is considered the 'Club’s true cheerleader,' the glue that holds his club together, and a catalyst that keeps Rotary Service alive in his community," read the award poresentation. "He is a recipient of the Club’s 'Service Above Self Award' and of the 'Club President’s Award'."
Service to and recognition by District 7510 includes both past and current staff positions:
- Assistant District Governor in 2009-2011
- Editor of the District’s Newsletter
- District Secretary
- Paul Harris Fellow seven times, six presented by district governors
- A mentor to many Rotarians
One club member wrote “This person is an incredible human being who exemplifies SERVICE ABOVE SELF. He joined Rotary in 1984 and his spirit, character and leadership make him a Rotarian to be admired and appreciated.”
He served his state and country in the N.J. National Guard. His hobbies include stained glass repairs, and repair and maintenance of an historic/classic vehicle, a 1937 Chevrolet pickup truck. He is a loyal fan of the NY Giants – no matter how they perform.
He and his wife Janet have been foster parents to 25 foster babies and adopted the 25th child in 2001, their son Jack. In his spare time, he enjoys spending lots of time with his grandchildren and with his camera.
"I am sure that Matty Mathewson would be very pleased to learn that a fellow Rotarian from his Plainfield Club is being recognized here tonight," said Dave Briedinger in presenting the award.