The name of a Gardendale legend lives on, several years after she passed away.
The Gardendale Area Rotary Club has named an award after Martha Wilson, who was a key member of the club before she died in 2008, and was owner of Wilson’s Florist, which is still operated by her family.
On Wednesday, the club honored Lewis McDonald as winner of the Martha Wilson/Rotarian of the Year award. He is the fifth recipient of the honor.
“I’m bowled over,” said McDonald, who did not know he was the recipient until Rotarian Sharon Burton called his name. “I never expected it.”
McDonald said he was honored to be associated with Wilson because she was a “pillar of the community” who was heavily involved in Rotary activities. He has been a member of the Gardendale club for 10 years, serving as treasurer most of that time.
Burton said McDonald goes above and beyond, and “does not know the meaning of no” when asked to do something for the club or the community.
Wilson was the first woman to join the Gardendale Area Rotary Club, according to club members. The organization originally excluded women.
“We wanted to have some way to honor her memory because she did so much,” said Burton, who was last year’s winner of the Martha Moore award. “We wanted to give it to someone who had the same characteristics she had. They have to have character, willingness to be able to help and exhibit ‘service above self’ [the Rotary motto].”
Winners of the award are voted on by former recipients. The past winners, in order, are Gary Bailey, Richard Bradley, Nita Mordecai and Burton.
“If you win that award, you’re a giver. That’s what all Rotarians should be,” said Gardendale Area Rotary President Aaron Box.
Also on Wednesday, the club swore in its new slate officers for 2012-2013. In addition to Box as president, they are:
• President Elect Steve Garrett
• Secretary Jimmy Cockrell
• Treasurer Sharon Burton
• Sergeant at Arms Mike Jefcoat
• Membership Chairman Robby Townes
• Service Chairman Jeff Rasbury
• Foundation Chairman Randall Young
• Public Relations Chairman Leenise Gaddy
• Club Administration Chairman Kent Howze
• Speaker Program Chairman Kenny Clemons
• Food Chairman Will Hardman
• Interact Chairman Lee Weinman
• Interact Co-chairman Martin Uptain
• President Elect Nominee Jimmy Cockrell
• Immediate Past President Mike Jefcoat