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Rotarian of the Year: Volunteer extraordinaire culls top honor

By Staff | Jul 25, 2013

Louise “Weezer” Murphy has no intention of slowing down as a Cape Coral Rotarian.

While the 74-year-old may retire from her full-time job one day, she will not retire from the club.

“I will still go every week,” Murphy said of the group meetings. “I will still contribute.”

And she does contribute. Murphy has been on the board of directors – twice – has served as the sergeant at arms, chairs the Lighthouse Committee and coordinates the Festival of Arts Committee for the Rotary Club of Cape Coral, to name a few things. Since 2007, she has attended every meeting.

Lighthouse members take people with visual impairment for rides on their personal boats.

Murphy’s unselfish giving of time, passion and enthusiasm recently earned her a special recognition.

She was named “Rotarian of the Year” at the installation of officers banquet July 13.

“She’s been a member of our club forever. Any time there is a project, she’s always involved,” newly installed president Nancy Kratt said. “She just goes above and beyond when anything goes on.”

“Everyone appreciates her efforts,” she said.

The club’s official photographer, Murphy was taking photographs at the banquet of the various award winners when the emcee introduced the Rotarian of the Year award and began to describe the recipient. Waiting for the winner’s name to be called, Murphy was shocked when they told her to come forward.

“I almost started crying,” she said. “I was very surprised.”

Murphy could not recall the last time that the club recognized a Rotarian of the Year.

“I didn’t think I was any more special than any other member,” she said.

“I’m very very humbled by it,” she said.

According to Kratt, the award has not been given away for the past few years.

“It’s something that can be given out each year,” she said. “We have not always done that.”

“There was no one more deserving,” Kratt added, of presenting it to Murphy.

Murphy first joined the Rotary Club of Cape Coral in 1999. At the time, she was the special events director for the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral. In 2004, Murphy switched over to the Rotary Club of Cape Coral Goldcoast because the afternoon meetings were more in line with her schedule.

In early 2006, she rejoined the downtown Cape group for the morning meeting schedule.

“I wanted to be part of the Art Festival,” Murphy said. “I’d done special events for many years.”

She cited the people and projects as reasons for her level of interest and involvement.

“Our club is very project orientated. The people I was involved with and the projects we did kept me wanting to come,” Murphy said. “The quality of people that belong to Rotary – such giving people.”

The projects range from the local level, to ones like giving away free dictionaries in the Bahamas.

“These intentional projects and local projects that we do are very rewarding,” Murphy said.

“We are able to do a lot of things,” she said.

Rotary plays a large part in Murphy’s life.

“I have many many friends, but my Rotarians are so special to me,” she said.

The motto of Rotary is “Service Above Self.”

The Rotary Club of Cape Coral is one of three clubs that meet within the city. The downtown group meets at 8 a.m. every Wednesday for breakfast at the La Venezia Ballroom, at 4646 S.E. 10th Place.

For more information, visit the club’s Web site online at: www.capecoralrotary.com.