Gordon Quick (center) and his wife Juanita receive the Meritorious Service Award from Rotary international representative Leigh Higenbotham of Vancouver, BC. The University Place couple was honored Friday, June 20 during a meeting of the Lakewood Rotary Club were he has been a longtime member and past president.
Gordon Quick has received the Rotary International Citation for Meritorious Service, one of the most prestigious awards presented by the million-plus member international service organization.
Quick and his wife Juanita, residents of University Place, have made 11 trips around the world as Rotary volunteers, primarily teaching teachers. Their journeys have taken them to Thailand, Russia, Fiji, Mexico, Jamaica and Latvia; several times to Thailand and Russia.
Spending at least three months on each of their teaching trips, the Quicks were able to not only help teachers gain valuable background information and training but also to change their opinions of America and Americans.
After one trip to Russia, a student, Tanya, wrote them ‚ÄúYou‚Äôve changed my opinion about Americans. I didn‚Äôt like your country because of many books I‚Äôve read and many films I‚Äôve seen ‚Ä¶. But now I can see it‚Äôs not right to accuse American people. Rulers often make mistakes and Russian government and any others aren‚Äôt exceptions. I had an opportunity to understand it when I met you. Besides, you said you belonged to average Americans. This modesty touched me and showed that most Americans are like you. So I can‚Äôt dislike the country with such people.‚Äù
To recognize his contributions to the world through his Rotary volunteerism, Quick received the Citation for Meritorious Service at the Lakewood Rotary Club meeting June 20. The citation was presented by Leigh Higinbotham of Vancouver, BC, Zone Coordinator for the Rotary Foundation.
Higenbotham said the Citation for Meritorious Service is awarded to only a very few people in the world of Rotary each year. ‚ÄúThis is not an award for financial contribution,‚Äù the Rotary Foundation representative said in making the presentation, ‚Äúthough the Quicks clearly sacrificed much in making these excursions.‚Äù Quick donated the small stipend that Rotary gives volunteers back to Lakewood Rotary to use in matching grants. Each time he returned from his experience, he orchestrated a matching grant to the place he just left. These routinely amounted to well over $150,000 as he used his donated stipend money, Lakewood Rotary funds and Rotary International contributions (matching grants) to raise the total amount.
Quick is a retired teacher and administrator from Clover Park Technical College. He earned his doctorate from the University of Nebraska, and is past president of the Lakewood Rotary Club, going on to lead one of the largest districts (more than 80 clubs with over 5,000 members) in the Rotary world as District Governor in 1993-94. Juanita also taught school and served as a principal before retiring.
Gordon and Juanita Quick are shining examples of the Rotary motto: Service Above Self. But it is their personality, their success in touching the hearts of their students, which will pay dividends for years to come around the world. As Tanya from Russia continued in her letter, a letter much like many others the Quicks received through the years, ‚ÄúYour souls are open to people and can give them kindness.‚Äù Meritorious Service, indeed.