Members of the Rock Island Rotary recently visited Friendship Manor in Rock Island to honor a fellow Rotarian.

Ardo Holmgrain, a retired engineer from the Army Corps of Engineers, joined the Rock Island Rotary in 1967 and served as president between 1988-89. He was previously honored as a “Paul Harris Fellow +7” in recognition of his generous donations to the Rotary International Foundation.

Holmgrain was an active member during his time with the organization. He was influential in the creation of the club’s lifetime achievement award, the A.T. Peara Award, named in honor of Absolom T. Peara. He was instrumental in founding the Rock Island Summerfest, an annual event previously held in downtown Rock Island and was named a “Friend of Rotary International,” in recognition of his financial commitment to Rotary philanthropy. He and his wife served as a host family for a visiting Rotary Youth Exchange student and sponsored their daughter’s participation as an outgoing exchange student to Australia.

L to R John Wetzel, David Parker, Sam Doak seated Fred Houlton, Ardo Holmgrain (photo courtesy Rock Island Rotary)

A group of Holmgrain’s closest friends from Rotary presented him with more honors at Friendship Manor. He received a Certificate of Recognition, listing his accomplishments and service in Rotary, as well as a pin honoring him for 50 years of perfect attendance at weekly Rotary meetings. He was also elevated to Honorary Member status. This is realized only by vote of the club’s Board of Directors, in recognition of a member’s commitment to the Club over their years of membership. It has been presented only a handful of times in the club’s history.

“Honorary Membership in Rotary is a privilege, which we believe you have earned,” said Eric Westphall, the incoming president of Rock Island Rotary. “As an honorary member, you are exempt from paying dues; you are entitled to attend all meetings and enjoy all other privileges in the club. I now present you with the lapel pin by which your fellow Rotarians and the public at large will recognize you as an honorary Rotarian. We trust that you will take the opportunity to continue to enjoy the fellowship of Rotary and assist our community in service through Rotary.”  Holmgrain, who turns 95 in February, thanked his guests and said, “I will proudly wear this pin and deeply appreciate the honor.”