Lockport Rotary Club's Paul Harris Fellows recognized

 The Rotary Club of Lockport celebrated its Paul Harris Fellow awardees, three contributors who exemplify the Rotary motto "Service Above Self," on Nov. 16. From left are: Club president Tracey Farrell, award recipient and club member Shelley Unocic, award recipients Chris Krieger Sr. and Sue Capell, Rotary District Governor Scott Marcin and Lockport Rotary Foundation chair Aaron Carlson. (Contributed image)

The Rotary Club of Lockport held its annual Paul Harris Award luncheon on Nov. 16 at Simply Em. Forty people celebrated the service of three Paul Harris Fellow awardees.

Paul Harris, a business leader in Chicago, worked with others to found Rotary, an organization of individuals dedicated to service above self, in 1905.

Following singing of the national anthem led by Jackie Davis and the invocation by Rev. J. William Hardy, the group was welcomed by club president Tracey Farrell. Aaron Carlson, foundation chair, shared accomplishments of the club including a video from South Africa of Jason Torreano, executive director of Inkululeko, who thanked the club for the donation of tablet technology for under-resourced schools to use with remote learning and connecting with tutors around the world. David Kinyon, past president and past Rotary Foundation chair, described the progress by the club in rehabilitating the Market Street chain of parks along the Erie Canal.

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Rotarian Steve Cotton presented a Paul Harris Fellow award to Sue Capell, executive director/CEO of Youth Mentoring Services of Niagara County, an organization that assists young people and their families in achieving their highest potential. Capell spent 30 years in public education as a teacher, school psychologist and school administrator before moving to the non-profit world.

A recording of presenter Rotarian Paul McAfee, who is currently teaching in Singapore, was played prior to the presentation of a Paul Harris Fellow award to Chris Krieger, Sr., co-founder of WNY Heroes, a veterans’ assistance organization. Krieger, who gave a decade of service to the United States military, works tirelessly to provide the support, assistance and resources — financial, physical and emotional — that veterans need following service to their country. The organization’s goal, as well as Krieger’s own goal, is to ease the transition from combat to civilian life, and eliminate the hardships and complications that too many veterans continue to experience in America today.

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Rotarian Julie Coy presented a Paul Harris Fellow award to sister Rotarian Shelley L. Unocic, executive director and general manager of arena operations at Cornerstone CFCU Arena. A four-year member of the Rotary Club of Lockport, Unocic was recently elected vice president of the club. She has been active on the Rose Sale Committee and the Giving Committee. Using her strengths in grant writing she helped strengthen the grant application used by the club. She assisted with service projects including highway clean ups, Salvation Army volunteer Red Kettle holiday collections, the Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive, meals for Lockport CARES, turkey roasting for a Salvation Army dinner and riding in the Pedal for Polio fundraiser for the past two years.

Unocic's active participation and support for many organizations helped strengthen the relationships and need for Cornerstone arena within the greater Lockport community. During the Covid lockdown in March 2020, Unocic collaborated with Sue Capell and Youth Mentoring Services of Niagara County to begin “Step Up,” a school-age child care program for children of essential workers, now referred to as a “Virtual Learning Center” (VLR). The partnership was recently recognized by The American Red Cross of Western New York when both agencies received the WNY Real Heroes Community Service Award.

Unocic has become an avid amateur cyclist having pedaled more than 2,700 miles in 2021 including the 550-mile Empire State Ride benefitting Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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Also honored were Rotarians Paul Lehman, Kevin Roth and Michael T. Tomaino for Paul Harris-level financial contributions to the Rotary Foundation this year. Previous awardees, acknowledged in the program in the absence of celebration in 2020-2021, were David Kinyon, Richard Mullaney, Rhodes Palmer, Ellen Schratz, Eric Connor, Steven Cotton, Gina Guido Redden, Jane James and Maureen Wendt. Previously presented for 2021-2022 were Aaron Carlson and Cynthia Cotten.

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