Evelyn Brandt Thomas Recognized as a Community Paul Harris Fellow
During our holiday party your Rotary Club honored Evelyn Brandt Thomas as our 2016 Community Paul Harris Fellow. Evelyn Brandt Thomas' selection recognizes her outstanding contributions as a businesswoman, philanthropist, and community leader. The selection committee noted that “Evelyn’s dedication to community service demonstrates a shared purpose with Rotary.”
Evelyn and her brother Glen started the family business over 60 years ago and developed it into Brandt Consolidated, Inc., a thriving agri-business that has helped family farmers across the world incorporate new technologies. She has shared her successful business strategies and inspired many young women and men in our community and beyond. She is a community leader who has made numerous contributions to educational, civic, and nonprofit organizations, including universities, 4-H Clubs, the Illinois Women’s Symphony Guild, Illinois Agri-women, Women in Leadership, Women Entrepreneurs of Central Illinois, Lion’s Club, Memorial Medical Center Foundation, Illinois State Museum Society, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, and Memorial Medical Center Foundation. She has been honored as the State Journal-Register’s First Citizen, the Association of Fund Raising Professionals’ Outstanding Philanthropist, Illinois Agri-Women’s Outstanding Woman in Agriculture, and received an honorary doctorate from University of Illinois Springfield.
Our Club made a donation of $1000 in her name to The Rotary International Foundation to name her as a Paul Harris Fellow. For twenty years we honored an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the community. The presentation was made at our annual holiday dinner on Monday, December 19, at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. Rod Buffington recognized her achievements and presented her with a Paul Harris Fellow certificate. President Karen Schainker and Selection Committee Chair Bonnie Styles presented her with her Paul Harris Fellow pin and medallion.
This recognition is named for Paul Harris, the Chicago lawyer, who started Rotary International in 1905. Rotarians across the country have established the tradition of supporting the Rotary Foundation by honoring others. Many notable individuals have been named as Paul Harris Fellows, including Mother Teresa, entertainer Pearl Bailey, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Astronaut James Lovell, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, and Dr. Jonas Salk. Karen Schainker, President of the Rotary Club of Springfield (Downtown), commented “We are honored to add Evelyn Brandt Thomas to this prestigious list.”