Martin Uptain is a giver.
He often works behind the scenes, but one of his favorite organizations recognized him publicly recently for his service.
On June 25, the Gardendale Area Rotary Club named Uptain as the Martha Wilson Rotarian of the Year. The award is named in honor of Wilson for her many years of service to Rotary and to the Gardendale community.
Uptain was surprised when Lewis McDonald called his name to come up and receive the plaque during the club’s weekly meeting.
“He is always involved,” McDonald said. “He never ceases to come up with ways to improve Rotary. He backs the organization as we all should.”
Uptain joined Rotary in 1996 at the invitation of Dr. Harold Day Jr.
He was elected president of the club in 1999, serving in that capacity until 2002.
In addition, he has served on the district level as assistant governor, secretary, training officer and twice as district governor. He has also attended four Rotary International conventions.
“I love Rotary,” Uptain said. “By myself, I can’t make much of an impact. But together we can make a huge difference.”
For example, he said, the 1.2 million Rotary members have worked together to almost eradicate polio worldwide.
The Rotary club also does work in the north Jefferson community, and Uptain volunteers at almost every service event and fundraiser that Rotary hosts.
“You can’t help but love what Rotary does. Their ‘service above self’ motto gives me chills,” Uptain said. “I’m not a leader; I’m a server.”