From the Apopka Rotary Club
Way back on December 23, 1957, in Bradenton, FL, Earl Nelson joined the Rotary Club at the urging of his boss at the Manatee County Extension Office. Nearly 60 years later and after 58 years perfect attendance at the Rotary Club of Apopka, Nelson gave a Paul Harris Fellowship in honor of his great-grandson Reed Arnold Knudsen.
Paul Harris Fellowships fund Rotary International work around the world and are part of the funding of the 100-year-old The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. Nelson, one of the family members that operated Nelson’s Roses in Apopka for decades, even facilitated the gathering and delivery of over 10,000 pounds of books to Ghana, Africa in 1995 after he discovered the lack of educational opportunities there. He worked over a decade at the club’s Apopka Fair and flipped thousands of pancakes at the club fundraiser held at football games. He initiated an auction at the club. Nelson has emulated Rotary’s motto Service Above Self as he participated in every club service project physically possible. In 1997, he was named Rotarian of the Year for the entire five-county district and of the club in 1995.
At the Apopka meeting April 13, 2017, young Reed was named a Paul Harris Fellow (PHF). His great grandmother Floride C. Nelson pinned Reed while his mother Linda Knudsen, Nelson’s Insurance, held him. His certificate was presented by club president and PHF Deborah Perez, a club member since 20 October 20, 2011.
Earl’s son and Reed’s proud grandfather, PHF Bryan Nelson, former Florida State Representative and current Orange County Commissioner, has been a Rotarian since November 1, 1982. Bryan Nelson, owner of Nelson’s Insurance in Apopka, proudly watched the presentation. Of course, the toddler thought the box the pin came in was the best part of the luncheon.
Rotary International brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.22 million plus members of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 205 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Visit rotary.org to make donations to Rotary International’s global efforts. Rotary International clubs focus their efforts in six areas: promoting peace, preventing diseases, providing access to clean water and sanitation, enhancing maternal and child health, improving basic education and literacy, and helping communities develop.
Rotary District 6980 of Florida consists of 49 Rotary clubs in five Central Florida counties; Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, and Sumter of approximately 2,000 business and community leaders. Inquiries may be made to RotaryClub@USA.com, RotaryDistrict6980.org, and Facebook.com/District6980.