The Groton Rotary Club honored two local volunteers with Paul Harris Awards at its weekly luncheon at the Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School. The awardees are Jerry Lokken, Manager of Recreation Services for the Town of Groton, and Jack Cervera, Dean of Students at the Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School.
Both Lokken and Cervera have distinguished themselves not only in their professional careers, but also in their commitment to giving back to the community.
The presentation of a Paul Harris Fellow is The Rotary Foundation’s way of expressing its appreciation for a substantial contribution to its humanitarian and educational programs. It is named for Rotary International’s founder, Paul Harris, a Chicago lawyer who started Rotary International with three business associates in 1905.
“Rotary’s newest Paul Harris Fellows are friends of the Groton Rotary Club,” stated Groton Rotary Club President John Scott. “.Both Jerry Lokken and Jack Cervera have helped the Groton Rotary Club in fulfilling its mission of community service in Groton.”
“Though neither live in Groton, both have made major contributions to our community in the past several years,” Scott emphasized.
John Silsby, a past president and Paul Harris fellow, presented Lokken and Cervera with the three emblems of appreciation given to a Paul Harris Fellow --- a certificate, a medallion and a pin.
Both Lokken and Cervera have been active members of Groton’s Annual Fall Festival Committee since its inception and both work many long hours at the event each year.
Silsby noted that both Lokken and Cervera are also active in organizing the Groton Holiday Lights Parade and are active members of the Groton Business Association (GBA) of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce and the Groton Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention (GASP) Coalition. “Their hard work makes Groton a better great place to live,” he emphasized.
Silsby recalled that Cervera helped the Groton Rotary Club form the Rotary Interact Club at Grasso Tech. He recalled that a few years ago when we were serving food at Fall Fest he worked with the club and the culinary class at Grasso Tech to prepare chili to sell. At this past Fall Fest, Cervera worked with the club to implement the Amber Alert Program. Besides providing students to help at the booth, he set up a training program for them and club members.
“When you attend Fall Fest and see the dozens of student volunteers helping everyone, you can thank Jack for recruiting them,” Silsby emphasized. “When you work with Jack, you can truly see how much he cares for the students at Grasso Tech.”
Silsby said that Lokken is also actively involved in the community. He noted that one of the greatest success stories in his own career as a Recreation Director was the development of the Tercentennial Legacy Playground at Poquonnock Plains Park in Groton. “Behind the scenes Jerry was a major contributor to its creation,” Silsby emphasized. “Besides helping to raise the $400,000 we needed to build it, he helped recruit volunteers to help erect it.” The Groton Rotary Club also supported this project through donations and volunteerism, he noted.
“Throughout his tenure with Groton Parks & Recreation, Jerry has steadfastly supported inclusionary programming and has spoken at national conferences telling professionals of Groton’s successes,” Silsby explained, adding he is also an active member of the Town’s Master Plan Committee and helped behind the scenes to implement the Eagle Scout Project at the community garden club.
“In becoming a Paul Harris Fellow, Jerry and Jack join a remarkable company of persons throughout the world, all recognized for their devotion to the ideal of good will, peace and understanding,” Silsby stated. “It is the goal of Rotarians the world over, and one that Jerry and John clearly share.”
The Groton Rotary Club is a community organization dedicated to the theme, “Service Above Self”, and welcomes new members. Persons, who are interested in joining the club, should visit the club’s web site at grotonrotary.org or contact a local Rotarian. You may also contact Club President John Scott by e-mailing him at email@example.com.