Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

February 14, 2014

Busy day at Rotary

T. Waldmann-Williams

Knoxville — Exciting events happened at Knoxville of Rotary Club on February 12, 2014. 

First, Craig Mobley, Business Manager - Knoxville School District and Stacey Brewster, retired, received recognition for their monetary contributions to the Paul Harris Foundation.  Paul Harris Society members are recognized when they give an accumulative amount over time of $1,000 to an Annual Fund, PolioPlus, or an approved Rotary Foundation grant.  Former Rotary President Christine Buttell of Knoxville Hospital presented the awards.

Becoming a community leader usually starts with learning from a role model that you want to emulate.  Rotary President Jason Maasdam OD, Owner Eye Health Solutions, presented Pennie Sommar with the 2013 Rotary Club of Knoxville Dr. George H. Andrew Service Above Self Award. 

Ms. Sommar, Vice President - Iowa State Savings Bank, is the ninth recipient of the award.  Sommar generously offers her time and talents in our community by leading and participating in many activities and events for Rotary and community organizations such as the library, chamber, St. Anthony Church, Knoxville schools, Auld Park, Beta Sigma Phi Sorority Eta Lambda Chapter, and the hospital.  One of the events she started was the Sugar Plum Fairy Ball as a fundraiser for the library and it brings joy to her.  Pennie spoke lovingly of her father who was her role model. 

“I learned from my dad.  Although I didn’t understand why he was always gone when I was young, I learned that he continued to give back to our community because he was served by others.  He is my hero and role model.  There is nothing like community helping community.  I get so much from giving.  It’s my way of now giving back,” Sommar said.  

Finally, Principal Brian McNeill of Knoxville Middle School provided the program for the Rotarians.  McNeill is 2014 Knoxville Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year and Iowa Middle School Principal of the Year 2013.  He presented his rewarding journey of being recognized in Iowa and in Washington D.C. as Principal of the Year.  

Principal McNeill vetted the question “What did you bring back from Washington D.C. as a result of your recognition, “I learned that I can be an advocate for our educational system, that Knoxville school district is a leader in many educational areas, and that what we’re doing is being recognized by others.  It was a rewarding and humbling experience.”