Rotarian of the Year

Rotary President Jim Geeslin presenting Rotarion of the Year Award to Dean Whiteside.

Rotary member Dean Whiteside was named Rotarian of the Year for the Terrell Rotary Club during a ceremony on Thursday, July 26. 

The Rotarian of the Year award is designated to a member who clearly stands out in demonstrating “Service Above Self” and having a principled commitment to the Four-Way Test. A nominee is also an outstanding member who has made significant contributions to the mission and operation of the club and to one or more avenues of Community of International Service, according to the Rotarian of the Year guidelines. 

“I am proud to be a part of the Terrell Rotary Club and to be named Rotarian of the year is both an honor & a surprise.  As a member of the local Rotary Club these many years, I have had the privilege of being associated with many of Terrell’s committed business, community and civic leaders who have shared their time, talent & treasure to make Terrell an awesome place to live & work,” Whiteside said. 

Whiteside joined Rotary in 1987. Whiteside joined the Rotary club because he was familiar with the club due to his mother, Linda Whiteside, being a piano player for the Terrell Rotary Club since the 1970’s. 

“I always had some familiarity with what the club was about. I was invited to join back in 1987 by a coworker who was a long time Rotarian. I knew the merits of the club “service above self” so I knew it would be a good association to be associated with,” Whiteside said. 

Whiteside said the most enjoyable aspect about Rotary is having the opportunity to visit with other business and civic community leaders from the community during lunch on Thursday’s and organizing informative programs.

“It’s a good opportunity to be an active part of the community,” Whiteside said. 

Whiteside was Terrell Club Secretary on various occasions for over 12 years. He was also member of the Board of Directors in various roles through time. He was president of the Rotary Club in the 1993. 

“I’ve had an opportunity to be a long term member of the club and have many opportunities to be active in all the different functions that the club does and the programs that they do,” Whiteside said.

All Rotarians are guided by an ethics statement “The Four Way Test” which was adopted in 1943 and asks these four, simple questions “Of the things we think, say, or do: Is it the truth, is if fair to all concerned, will it build goodwill and better friendships, will it be beneficial to all concerned.” 

Locally, the Terrell Club was chartered on Dec. 1, 1920 and through its long history has been a mainstay in the Terrell community.  Many local Rotarians have been active in the building and development of the community. Since inception, the club has been fortunate in attracting and retaining many good, dedicated members - for it is the members and their contribution to the Club and the community that has made Terrell Rotary a success. 

Currently, Terrell Rotary Club’s single and most financially rewarding fund raising project is the Flag program.  Members of the local club in partnership with the Terrell Lion’s Club place Unites States flags in and around the Terrell neighborhood yards for a fee on four holidays each year – Memorial Day, Flag Day, July 4th, and Veteran’s Day.  Funds raised support youth related activities including, scholarships for at least two local high school students to attend the District 5810 Camp RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Association), to sponsor the TISD “Four Way Test” debate contest, support the TISD High School Interact Club as well as other student and community Rotary related local activities. 

Scholarships - Since 1997 when the flag project began, Terrell Rotary has awarded nearly $200,000 in scholarships to deserving Terrell area students.  Notably, the Terrell Rotary Club has the longest ongoing relationship with the TISD High School for providing scholarships to graduating seniors, a tradition that began in the 1950’s. 

Annually, in conjunction with the Terrell Chamber of Commerce Membership Banquet, the Terrell Rotary club sponsors “The Community Service Award”.  An award in recognition of a recipient, from the community, that, through time, has exemplified Rotary’s motto of “Service above Self”. 

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