Rosalyn Lester Receives the RI Distinguished Service Award for Ned Lester


Remarks from Henry Nickels, Monday night, May 1st at the Christiansburg-Blacksburg meeting. President Tom, Governor Chris, PDG’s, Fellow Rotarians and Guests. Peggy and I thank you for the privilege of meeting with you this evening, to present to Rosalyn the Distinguished Service Award, for Ned that was received just before Ned’s passing. I feel as if I may be preaching to the choir when I share with you a few of Ned’s accomplishments, which caused his peers to nominate for this important award. The Distinguished Service Award is presented to Rotarians who have already received the Award for Meritorious Service at least five years previously. Rotary International gives this award to no more than 100 Rotarians each year, worldwide. Ned was a man who loved his family, as well as his church, community, and Rotary in general. I think it fair to say that he loved Rotary because he spent over 48 years in this very club, and he walked the walk as well as talked the talk. I learned at Ned’s memorial service from Ike Eller that Ned was born into a large family in Lodi, Virginia and from Rick Furr that he was a persistent cuss when he wanted things done for his computer. I learned by observation that he loved kids, because he started and ran the Rotary Youth Leadership Program for over 20 years. He was a mentor for Skelton Scholarship recipients for several years, as well as active in the Group Study Exchange with Mexico as well as others. Ned was generous with his time as well as his treasure. He was a Major Donor, a Paul Harris Fellow, Paul Harris Society member, Sustainer, Skelton Fellow, and because he was so giving himself, he raised half million dollars for The Rotary Foundation during the year he served as Governor. Those of us who knew Ned well, knew that he was an avid golfer, and he played golf all over the world. He even belonged to the International Fellowship of Golfing Rotarians. I think golf and Rotary came in a close second to Rosalyn when speaking of Ned’s love. He lived his life as an inspiration to all of us. Ned set the example for giving, for kindness, for love and for graciousness. We are all richer for having known him and I was proud to call him friend. I will ask Governor Chris to present this coveted award to Rosalyn.