Albion Rotary honors retired village clerk, outgoing club president

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Albion Rotary Club honored Kathy Ludwick, retired Albion village clerk/treasurer, as a Paul Harris Fellow on Thursday. She is pictured with Rotarians Don Bishop, center, and Bill Diehl.

This is the highest honor given by a Rotary Club. The Albion club will donate $1,000 in Ludwick’s name to Rotary International to be used for humanitarian work.

Ludwick was praised for her 32 years as a village employee, including 25 years as clerk/treasurer. She has been a volunteer with the Albion Strawberry Festival for all 29 of the events. Even in her retirement, she continues to help with the festival, serving as treasurer of the two-day event, which costs more than $20,000 to put on. Ludwick for many years coordinated the craft vendors.

The Rotary Club now is the main sponsor for the festival. Ludwick thanked the club for stepping up and leading the event.

Bishop has volunteered with the festival for two decades and he said Ludwick has been instrumental in the effort.

“She has been my mentor and go-to person for over 20 years,” Bishop said.

Marlee Diehl puts a Paul Harris Fellow pin on Bill Diehl, her husband and the outgoing president of the Albion Rotary Club. This is Diehl’s third Paul Harris award.

Diehl is a retired teacher and financial advisor. His wife also is a member of the Rotary Club and will serve as district governor in 2017-18 for 70 clubs in Western New York and Southern Ontario.

Mr. Diehl said the club tackled several important community projects in the past year in addition to the Strawberry Festival. A golf tournament raised $5,000 for a van for the Joint Veterans Council to take veterans to medical appointments. The Saint Patrick’s Dinner in March raised $1,633 for Rotary Interact to give to a community in South Sudan that is building a school and safe drinking water system.

Diehl also said the club secured funding for literacy projects in the Philippines and also locally with Head Start families.

The Rotary Interact leaders at Albion High School attended the Rotary meeting on Thursday. The Interact club started in Albion in 2000. Tim Archer, left, is advisor for the club that includes these student officers for 2015-16, from left: Elizabeth Goff, president; Meredith Patterson, treasurer; Matilda Erakare, vice president; and Vivian Rivers, secretary.

The Interact Club connects students to community service, including projects far from Albion. Besides the humanitarian work in the South Sudan, Interact has raised money to dig water wells in Peru, build a school for girls in Pakistan and help hurricane-ravaged Biloxi, Miss.

“We’ve done a lot with your help to touch our world,” Archer told the Rotary Club. “The world is full of places in need and we’re grateful to touch just a few of them.”

Karen Sawicz, owner and publisher of The Lake Country Pennysaver and Orleans Hub, was inducted as the new Rotary president for the next year.

Sawicz, left, is sworn in as new president by Carol Toomey, a newspaper publisher and a Sawicz friend from Concord, Mass. Toomey is a past district governor in Central Massachusetts.

Sawicz joined the Rotary Club in 1995 and served as president in 2002-03. Her father, the late Vincent St. John, also was a Rotarian.

This year’s theme for Rotary is “Be a Gift to the World.”