Rotarian recognized with the highest rotary award

A longtime Terrace Rotary Club member was surprised with an award for his service to the community.

Art Erasmus was recognized with the Rotary International Service Above Self Award at the annual district conference earlier this year.

A longtime Terrace Rotary Club member was surprised with an award for his service to the community.

Art Erasmus received the Service Above Self Award at the rotary district’s annual conference in front of about 400 rotarians, friends and family.

The award is rotary’s “highest honour” and “recognizes up to 150 rotarians each year who demonstrate their commitment to helping others by volunteering their time and talents,” according to the rotary international website.

I was totally surprised,” said Erasmus, adding his daughter and brother came to the event.

Considering there are 3.3 million rotarians around the world, he “certainly wasn’t expecting to get it and still wonder why I got it.”

The award is based on projects rotarians do outside of their own district, said Erasmus, adding he’s been to Africa four times for rotary and will be going for a fifth time later this year. He’s raised money for other countries, helped to put in a water line in Africa, and has immunized children there, he said.

That’s why I guess I was eligible but I had no idea I was being nominated,” said Erasmus, adding he does rotary tasks here too. Erasmus has been a rotarian for about 30 years, and he joined simply because he was asked.

I do things for people and it gives me pleasure, and rotary gives me that in sort of a formal way,” he said.

I’m just totally flabbergasted by it and I feel pretty good but certainly I don’t do rotary work for rewards.

He added that it feels good “when you have people say ‘thank-you’ for something they couldn’t do for themselves that I could do for them.”

He’s not sure what he will do when he returns to Ethiopia, Africa later this year; the local rotary club there will organize what it wants done. Visiting rotary clubs provide financing and people to do the work, and Erasmus believes about 10-12 other rotarians will be going there too.