Rotary president named Paul Harris Fellow

Published 1:02 pm Friday, April 26, 2024

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DOWAGIAC — A Dowagiac Rotarian was presented with one of the group’s most prestigious awards.

Rotary President Steve Zebell was presented with the Paul Harris Fellow Award Thursday at the annual Dowagiac Rotary Friends and Family Dinner at the Elks Lodge.

The Paul Harris Fellow Award, named after Rotary International Founder Paul Harris, is a Rotary award dating back to 1957 that recognizes individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 or more to the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. The Dowagiac club awarded its first Paul Harris Fellow Award in 1977.

Zebell has called Dowagiac home for more than 20 years. He works at Starks Family Funeral Homes and co-owns Rosy Tomorrows, 120 S. Front St., with his wife, Claudia. During his term as president, he has been hard at work engaging community organizations to spread the word about Rotary as well as working with the youth.

A skilled musician and vocalist, Zebell has sung with various local opera companies and choral groups and has served as a leader of five International music teams. In addition, Zebell taught music for more than 29 years in both public and private sectors.

Zebell and his family have helped build two schools in Zambia and have participated in several international mission trips. Since joining Rotary, he has been the driving force behind Rotary and Rotary Interact’s international project in Uganda, which has provided a Uganda community with a transportation vehicle as well as seeds to promote sustainable farming.

The project also assisted the community with ensuring that they had the necessary resources to provide themselves with proper medical attention and food.

“Our committee has been impressed by how (Zebell) has really embraced the Rotary motto, and has really taken the bull by the horns, basically and getting involved in Rotary,” said Rotarian and Cass County Circuit Court Judge Mark Herman. “Considering his relatively short involvement with Rotary, the recipient was a unanimous choice by our Paul Harris committee to receive the award because of his passion shown for service, both locally and internationally.”