The Rotary Club of Houghton surprised Ron Helman with a tribute to his 40 years with Rotary in December.  To celebrate Ron’s anniversary, around forty Rotarians, former Rotarians, friends, and family gathered over lunch to share memories and reminisce about Ron’s positive influences.
Many people in attendance shared laughs while they spoke about how Ron helped them become more successful through work on Rotary projects.  “Ron taught me how to inspire people to volunteer for things, the key is to flatter them first,” joked Carrie Richards, Houghton Rotarian.
 
There was a 13-year delay in Ron being able to join Rotary due to professional travel obligations and membership restrictions in Ohio, where he lived before coming to the UP.  In December 1979, Ron was the Executive Director of the MichiganTech Fund when he was invited to membership in the Houghton Rotary Club.  He was eager to join due to Houghton Rotary’s dedication to community service, to connect with local professionals who were making a difference, to promote MichiganTech and the MichiganTech Fund, and to support Rotary International’s good works around the globe.  In 2002-03, Ron served as president of the local club getting the opportunity to build leadership skills.  When Ron Helman was asked why he has stayed a member of the Rotary Club of Houghton for 40 years, he responded, “40 years of Rotary friendships have been a major lifetime plus.  I have been able to give back to causes important to me like the Gundlach Society and be involved in Rotary’s youth programs.”  Ron highlighted his involvement with rebooting the Houghton High School Interact Club as one of his proudest accomplishments during his Rotary tenure. 
 
Interact is Rotary’s high school version which encourages leadership development through service projects.  There are over 20,000 Interact clubs across the globe.  Locally, the Houghton High School Interact Club is celebrating its 7th anniversary.  This group hosts an annual Veterans Dinner to honor our local heroes and raise funds for local veteran causes.
 
Rotary is a service organization that values fellowship amongst the members; the fellowship was clear as everyone gathered to cherish Ron. “Ron is a great example of what it means to ‘show up’ in life. His high standard inspires our Rotary club to embody the same spirit,” Amanda Massaway, Houghton Rotarian.