Posted by Samuel Azinger on Jul 10, 2021
Our annual Changing of the Guard was a great success.  We successfully got rid of our 2020-21 leadership, and ushered in our 2021-22 leadership.  What more could you ask for. Keep reading and you'll find out. 
We'll start off on a serious note. Some of the greatest honors we have in Rotary are the annual awards, and this year did not disappoint. Connie Pukaite was invited under a guise that may or may not have violated the first part of the four way test, but the lie was necessary to preserve the surprise, which she most certainly was when she was awarded an Honorary Paul Harris Award. Above Connie is pictured receiving her PH+6!
Connie also did not disappoint when she spoke, which despite being completely surprised seemed like a rehearsed oration. If there's one thing that everyone could take away it is that what Rotary and Rotarians all over the world are doing is preserving and creating a future that most will not live to see.  It's impossible to not feel inspired when Connie is in the house!
Tim Vertz was also presented with an Honorary Paul Harris. Tim does so much for our community, including with his role in our club, his role as an Assistant District Governor, his role with the Chamber, and his initiative with the Concordia Business School. Stan Smith presented Tim with this honor, and we're all in agreement that Tim's achievements are truly deserving of this recognition. 
Jenne J.C. Hohn was honored with the Service Above Self Award. The club's gratitude for the role Jenne has stepped into and the incredible job she has done is very deserving of this award. Thank you Jenne for everything you have done to support our club and moving it toward the future. 
Finally, our Rotarian of the Year award was presented to Ellen MacFarlane, who is also an amazing person and integral part of our club. Ellen is always a Rotarian first and foremost, and fills in every gap in the club. Thank you Ellen for being amazing and for everything you do. You are an inspiration to us all!
With the first picture of Sam Azinger, we can be certain this story is about to stop being serious and start being just a little bit silly.  Pictured above, Club President, Heather Mader made it official that Sam Azinger is now a Past President, a title held by less than 100 people who have been members of the club. 
Heather Mader also surprised Sam with the Sam Azinger Award for Being Awesome, which Sam was truly honored to receive.  After all, it's the first time someone has named an award after Sam Azinger that was not Sam Azinger.  Speaking of, Sam Azinger also presented the Sam Azinger Awards to those who donated more than $100 to the Rotary Foundation in the Rotary year.  The Sam Azinger Awards were presented for the 3rd year in a row, and each year he has presented more and more awards.  This year there were 18 recipients, and frankly it took too long to pass them out, so that's probably the last year we'll see those. 
Before all of that serious stuff, Sam provided the Year in Review, and of course took the opportunity to present the not so serious awards, including presenting John Rosing with the First Place plaque for having the best bracket in the NCAA tournament for the benefit of the Rotary Foundation.  In first place John also received a Paul Harris award, but the plaque was definitely the highlight (not).
Maureen O'Leary was presented with the Rotary NCAA Tournament Runner Up Plaque which she hesitantly accepted, but will never be able to discard without Sam finding out.
Karl Hertz accepted his Second Runner Up plaque, which he must have thought was pretty cool, although it's kind of a rare occurrence when you can award Karl with something new. After all, he's achieved as much as most could dream of. 
Just some extra pictures of everyone gathered before the event. What a great group and a great time. Thanks to everyone for participating.