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Rotarian of the Year is 'honored'

When the time came for the Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club to name its Rotarian of the year for 2006, during a special "changing of the guard" meeting to install its new officers on June 22, Brad Green had no idea that his name was about to be called.

"I was totally surprised, humbled," he said, "and quite honored."

A native of Detroit Lakes, Green joined the Noon Rotary Club in January 1990.

In the years since, he has served on its board of directors and numerous committees, and was elected as its president for 1996-97. He also serves on the board of the Order of Rotary International Fellows.

But it was his work with Eyes on Jamaica, a program to set up an avoidable blindness clinic in Port Antonio, Jamaica, that Green felt was the main impetus behind him receiving the award.

"The reason why I joined Rotary was the international flavor of it," he noted. "My family has hosted five exchange students and several group study exchange team members."

In addition, Green said, he and his wife, Janet have had the opportunity to visit Rotary clubs in Spain, Jamaica, Mexico and Canada.

The Greens went with local optometrist Larry Morrison and his wife, Joyce, as well as fellow Rotarians Teri Lynn Nelson and Mary Otto to Port Antonio, Jamaica, to help set up the blindness clinic, in conjunction with the Rotary Club in Port Antonio.

"On our last trip, we saw about 1,600 people and handed out over 2,000 pairs of eyeglasses," Green said.

The eventual goal, he added, is to enable the clinic to purchase permanent equipment, which would allow them to set up year-round services instead of having thousands of people to see over the course of just one week.

The hardest part of the clinic visit, Green said, was coming to the end of the last day and still having so many people outside, waiting to get in.

This past May, Eyes on Jamaica held a successful fund raiser at the new Detroit Lakes resort, Lodge on the Lake, which raised $3,000 for the clinic -- to be matched by $11,000 from the International Rotary Foundation.

Another aspect of Rotary that Green finds appealing is the fact that it encourages involvement through required attendance at weekly meetings.

"We want active, involved members," he said.

Green's award presentation on June 22 was made especially sweet because it marked the same day that his wife, Janet, was officially installed as the club's new president.

"We're the first husband-wife team to both serve as president of the (Detroit Lakes) club," he said, "though we do have quite a few couples in our club right now."

Current membership in the Noon Rotary Club stands at just under 100. The group meets every Thursday at noon in the Detroit Lakes Holiday Inn. Among other projects, the group raises approximately $12,000 in scholarship money annually, for graduating seniors at Detroit Lakes and Frazee high schools as well as Minnesota State Community & Technical College-Detroit Lakes.

Brad, a graduate of Detroit Lakes High School with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, has been the supervisor of operations at Detroit Lakes Public Schools since 1990. His work involves supervision of building, grounds and transportation issues for the district.

"I'm able to use a lot of what I went to school for (in this job," he said. "My biggest project was the bond issue in 1995-96 -- we put $11 million into renovating the high school as well as Rossman and Roosevelt elementaries.

"We do have an excellent school district, and I enjoy working for it and helping to maintain the high quality that was already here before me, by providing the support services that enables (students and staff) to have a clean, comfortable learning environment."

Janet, his wife of 26 years, is the administrator of Emmanuel Community in Detroit Lakes, and a district supervisor for Ecumen (Emmanuel's parent organization). They have two children: Jackie, a senior majoring in food science at Minnesota State University-Mankato, and Tony, who will be a junior at St. Cloud State University this fall, majoring in construction management.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

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