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Sunrise Rotary Honors Six Change Makers

Westport Sunrise Rotary awarded Paul Harris Fellowships to six Westporters whose contributions exemplify Rotary International’s motto of SERVICE ABOVE SELF during a breakfast meeting on Friday, June 1 at Birchwood Country Club.

Rotary was the world’s first service club. It was founded in Chicago in 1905 by Paul Harris and three friends. The name “rotary” comes from the early practice of rotating meetings among members’ offices.

The six honorees were:


Gavin was honored posthumously for his 14 years as an active Sunrise Rotarian and for his long and significant contributions to Westport. He served on Westport’s RTM, its Board of Finance, and chaired the Selectman’s Maintenance Study Committee. As a senior executive with Colgate Palmolive he was active in several global business organizations. Gavin delighted in sitting on the rear deck of his home on the Mill Pond, looking out and identifying the variety of birds who also called the pond home. He passed away earlier this year at the age of 74.

Gavin was presented by Nick Clarke.


Andy is a General Partner of Carl Marks Management Company, a bankruptcy and distressed investments fund manager. He serves on the boards of Achievement First, UPenn Graduate School of Education, Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, ConnCAN and those of other non-profits. He is also Board Chair of the Charter Oak Challenge Foundation and Achievement First Bridgeport Academies.

Boas founded the Charter Oak Challenge Foundation in 2000 to provide better education for disadvantaged Bridgeport area students, to provide college scholarships and to support other area non-profit organizations. Boas also started the Achievement First Bridgeport Academy, a public charter middle school, and a K-3 charter school in Bridgeport.

Boas was introduced by club member Eileen Flug.


Dan was a senior executive in the computer industry and member of many boards. His is past president of the Westport-Weston United Fund and of the Library Board of Trustees; board member of The Hole-In-The Wall Camp; chair of the Library Building Committee and the Staples Building Committee; member of the Westport Country Playhouse Building Committee and member of the recently formed Downtown 2020 Committee.

Kail was introduced by Tom Lowrie.


Bill Mitchell is vice chairman of Ed Mitchell, Inc. Among his long list of contributions, Mitchell is a past President of Westport Rotary, he was a Deacon at Saugatuck Congregational Church, Honorary Chair of Interfaith Housing Association (now Homes with Hope), and a board member of St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Sacred Heart University and the Jewish Home for the Elderly. He is a former member of the Levitt Pavilion Arts Committee and a member of the YMCA Board of Trustees.

Photo by Hal Levy

Mitchell was introduced by Sheila Keenan.


Barbara is a PhD, a former faculty member at Harvard Medical School and researcher at Colgate-Palmolive in New York.

As President of the Board of First Night Westport/Weston, Barbara was instrumental in revamping it to keep it viable and enjoyable. She is also Chair and Founder of Westport’s Make A Difference Day and Vice President of the Breast Cancer Survival Center.

Ms. Pearson-Rac was introduced by Bill Meyer.


Dr. Paul Spiekermann was a tropical medicine specialist who worked in Malaya, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, as well as in the Americas. In “retirement,” as a Rotarian for over twenty years, he has a long list of Rotary sponsored international projects to his credit.

Among the life changing programs he headed up are bringing well water to a village in Benin, furnishing and equipping a school in Tanzania, schooling for AIDS, cancer & accident orphans in Thailand and providing artificial limbs for land mine amputees and braces for polio victims Cambodia.

In 2008 Spiekermann received Rotary International’s highest honor, the Service Above Self Award which “exemplifies humanitarian service with personal volunteer efforts and active involvement in helping others, through Rotary, on a continuing basis.”

Dr. Spiekermann was introduced by Dennis Wong.

Paul Harris Society Honorees

In addition, club members Arlo Ellison, Charles Haberstroh, John Hendrickson, Mario Sa’Cuto and Eric Zeilinski were honored as Paul Harris Society members for their committments to donate $1,000 each year to Rotary.

Club President Eric Zeilinski called this breakfast “our way of recognizing these Westport residents for their outstanding volunteer community service. The Paul Harris Fellowship embodies the worldwide motto of Service Above Self and is the highest award Rotary gives to individuals.”

Rotary International is comprised of more than 1.4 million people in over 32,000 clubs in nearly 200 countries. Sunrise Rotary meets Fridays at BobbyQ’s Restaurant, 42 Main Street, Westport at 7:30. All who are interested are invited to join us for camaraderie, a buffet breakfast, a timely speaker – and out by 9:00. More information can be found at: .

Roy Fuchs