The Club presents four major service awards, and these may be presented annually (or less frequently), as determined by the Club Executive Committee consisting of the Immediate Past President, President, President Elect and Program Vice President. The Awards are:

The Will J. Griswold Club Service Award, named after our Club’s founding president, a highly-respected citizen and attorney who came to Bellingham in 1903. He established a private practice in 1912, and help found our Club in 1917.  He is described as “a citizen of worth and has ever conformed his practice to the highest ethics of the profession”;

The David C. Morse Sr. Community Service Award, named after a Club Member who has served the Club faithfully for over 61 years as of his 91st birthday June 30, 2004, and who set a remarkable standard of community support, both financial and in terms of personal time and effort throughout his lifetime;

The Michael K. Mischaikow International Service Award, named after a Club Member who, as an expatriate of Bulgaria who had been subjected to the rigors of three totalitarian regimes there, and later, as an American citizen and a professor at Western Washington University, worked tirelessly in projects furthering international understanding and peace; and

The Karen W. Morse Vocational Service Award, named after a Member of our Club who became President of Western Washington University in 1994, and who is a leader in her field of chemistry winning several prestigious national and international recognitions,  and has been also selected to lead several higher education professional and trade organizations.

These awards are not based upon popularity or popular vote, they are awards for long-term service; accordingly, the committee is careful not to select a member for an award because of very recent service only.  Normally, because the awards are intended to recognize any exemplary Rotarian, the award should not be made to a current or very recent Club Officer, except when special circumstances (such as age, illness or relocation) dictate overlooking this caution.

Because these awards are unique to the Bellingham Rotary Club, and because they are given for a substantial period of service, they are the highest honors that the Club can give to its Members.


The Executive Committee shall announce at each of the Club’s meeting in April that written nominations are being accepted for the awards through April 30, however no “ballot” shall be created or distributed.  The Executive Committee may then take nominations submitted by any Member into account as they make the selection of the awardees.


Presentation of the awards shall be supervised by the incoming president at the annual “Changing of the Guard” meeting at the end of June or in early July.  The Award form shall be as determined by the Executive Committee.  Each Award presented shall represent a contribution of $1,000 to the Rotary Club of Bellingham Foundation.


Each award shall be made to a Member who has made an exceptional effort providing service in one or more of the following areas as defined by Rotary International:

CLUB SERVICE is defined by Rotary International as “Actions a Rotarian must take within a Club to help it function successfully”.  This includes a Member’s work on various accounting, Rotary district, fund-raising, reporting, public relations, newsletter, members’ social, membership, and similar committees or as an individual.  

COMMUNITY SERVICE is defined by Rotary International as “Comprising varied efforts that Rotarians make, sometimes in conjunction with others (e.g., another local Rotary or Rotoract Club or a Rotary District) to improve the quality of life within the Club’s or locality.”

INTERNATIONAL SERVICE is defined by Rotary as “Comprised of all things a Rotarian can do to advance international understanding, goodwill, and peace by getting acquainted with people of other countries, their cultures, customs, accomplishments, aspirations, problems -- through personal contacts, travel, and attendance at conventions, through reading and correspondence, and through cooperation in all Club activities and projects -- including those of The Rotary Foundation -- that will help people in other lands.”

VOCATIONAL SERVICE is defined by Rotary International as “Including promoting high ethical standards in businesses and professions, recognizing the worthiness of all useful occupations, and fostering the ideal of service in the pursuit of all vocations.  The role of the Club includes developing projects that help members contribute their talents to meeting society’s needs.  The role of Rotarians includes conducting themselves and their businesses in accordance with Rotary principles and responding to projects their Club develops.”  This Avenue of Service also recognizes work by Rotarians with an industry or industry association to promote ethics and practices therein in accordance with Rotary’s values.