HomeCommunity NewsForty-Five Years of Hard Work Nets Horgan Paul Harris Award

Forty-Five Years of Hard Work Nets Horgan Paul Harris Award

SERVICE OVER SELF: San Marino resident Bob Horgan, a 45-year Grad Night volunteer, was honored at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens last Thursday by the Rotary Club of San Marino as an Honorary Paul Harris Fellow. PICTURED ABOVE, left to right, are Foundation Committee Chair and emcee Will Bortz; Rotarian Fred Sohl, who introduced Mr. Horgan; Honorary Paul Harris Fellow recipient Bob Horgan; and Bob’s wife, Kathi Horgan, who graduated from San Marino High School in 1958 with her husband. Mitch Lehman Photo

There were no surprises last Thursday afternoon at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens when Bob Horgan stepped to the podium as the most recent recipient of the Rotary Club of San Marino’s most prestigious honor. What you see is what you get with Horgan, which is quite possibly the highest possible praise.

“Now I know what a movie star feels like,” Horgan said in his typically understated delivery as he received a gold-framed plaque acknowledging his status as a Paul Harris Honorary Fellow.

The atmosphere at times resembled a grand opening from Hollywood’s days of yore, as friends and family members occasionally shouted out “We love you, Bob” and other exhortations. Along with the typical flock of Rotarians, the audience was populated by current and former Grad Night chairs, members of Horgan’s 1958 graduating class from San Marino High School and fellow constituents of what is known throughout town as the “Old Guard,” a group of about a dozen volunteers who continue to contribute to Grad Night long after their own children have received diplomas in Titan Stadium.

Bob Horgan said he felt like “a movie star” when he received the Paul Harris Award last week. Mitch Lehman Photo

Horgan is the longest tenured member of the Old Guard and is currently helping build his 45th set in Grad Night’s storied 63-year tradition. He began working on Grad Night in 1974—a full 10 years earlier than his first daughter graduated from San Marino High School—when a neighbor, Kathy Hunter, donned the cap and gown. Kathy was in attendance at Thursday’s luncheon, never knowing that a legacy she helped launch 45 years ago had led to the honoring of Horgan.

As is tradition at the Paul Harris luncheon, guests hear from a Rotary Global Grant Scholar, and Dr. Gaelen Stanford-Moore did the honors last Thursday. Stanford-Moore graduated from South Pasadena High School in 2008, the University of California, Berkeley in 2012 and is currently in her third year of medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she specializes in Otolaryngology and head and neck surgery.

Stanford-Moore spent a year at the University of Cambridge, England, on her Rotary-sponsored scholarship.

“Cambridge was the nitty-gritty, but I also had a lot of fun,” she said. A star soccer player at South Pasadena, Stanford-Moore carried her love of the sport back to its home. She mentioned that a friend had season tickets to the English Premiere League’s Leicester City club, which was in the midst of an amazing 2016 season that saw the Wolves shock the sporting world by winning the championship.

“I got to go to a game and he was flabbergasted that a girl from California would ever hear of Leicester City,” she said as the audience erupted in laughter.

A more serious tone was struck when Stanford-Moore spoke of studying in Kisumu, located in western Kenya, where 19% of the population lives with HIV. She said she wants to help fight head and neck cancer, which is prevalent in lower income and marginalized communities.

“I plan to continue as a global physician,” Stanford-Moore said. “And I recently joined the Fellowship of International Rotarian Physicians,” she said, eliciting a healthy round of applause.

Last Thursday’s was the 41st annual Foundation Luncheon, which recognizes volunteers of the community who have demonstrated long-term and unique contributions to San Marino, known in Rotary circles as “Service Above Self.” Will Bortz served as master of ceremonies.

The Rotary Club of San Marino’s Foundation Committee has raised over $1 million for the Rotary International Foundation. In part, member contributions have been used to provide recently graduated college students with a Global Grant Scholarship at the university of one’s choosing, at an amount no less than $30,000 nor more than $200,000. San Marino has had 27 of its applicants given this opportunity, who have studied at the London School of Economics, Cambridge and Oxford University, among many other world-class universities.

The Global Grant scholarship requires proven aptitude and demonstrated course completion in one or more of six particular fields of study that include peace and conflict prevention/resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development.

The Rotary International Foundation has also been successful in eliminating polio, and five other infectious diseases, from all of the countries of the world, except four. Rotarians worldwide have donated well over $1 billion in the quest.

Rotary was founded in Chicago by Paul Harris in 1905 and currently has 1.2 million members worldwide.

Also attending the event last Thursday at The Huntington were past Paul Harris Fellow honorees Barbara Bice, Judith Carter, Lois Matthews, Winnie Reitnouer, Dr. Allan Yung, Valerie Weiss, Aaron Weiss, John Morris, Dick Durant, Ivy Sun, Charlene Liebau, Lisa Link and this reporter.

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