On Tuesday evening, Rotary Club of Lehighton recognized former Lehighton Borough Manager John Hanosek with the Paul Harris Fellow Award. The dinner took place at Lehighton American Legion Post 314.
Harris was a Chicago lawyer who started Rotary International with three business associates in 1905. The Fellowship was established in his honor in 1957 to express appreciation and recognition to a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives of Rotary – "Service Above Self." Today, Rotary International boasts more than 1.2 million members in over 33,000 clubs worldwide.
Presenting the award to Hanosek, Past District Governor Dick Wagner said, "Thank you for making a difference in your club and community and in the lives of less fortunate people throughout the world. You now join a family of well over 950,000 Paul Harris Fellows worldwide."
Besides several members of Lehighton Rotary Club, Hanosek joined other Paul Harris Fellows such as Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Anann, Prince Charles, Indira Gandhi, Luciano Pavarotti, King Hussein of Jordan, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and Pope John Paul II.
After Wagner presented Hanosek with the official certificate of the award, District Governor-Elect Paul "Budd" O'Malia hung the medallion around his neck. The final part of the ceremony saw Hanosek's wife, Joan, pinning his lapel with the emblem of the award.
Upon receiving the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award, Hanosek said, "I am truly speechless!"
A lifelong resident of Lehighton, Hanosek is a 1958 graduate of Lehighton High School. He went on to earn a degree in Civil Engineering from Penn State University and served PennDOT as Assistant District Engineer for 30 years.
After his retirement from PennDOT, Hanosek became Lehighton Borough Manager. Helping to obtain grants which amounted to millions of dollars, some of the projects that he oversaw include a new wastewater treatment plant, conversion of the former Lehighton Area Junior High School, upgrading of Lehighton's electric distribution system, working with Pool Pals to renovate Lehighton Baer Memorial Swimming Pool, and securing funds for the renewal of sidewalks in the downtown area. In addition, he was instrumental in rejuvenating the effort to have a hydroelectric plant constructed along Pohopoco Creek near Beltzville Dam in Franklin Township.
After 17 years, Hanosek retired as Lehighton Borough Manager – a total of 47 years in public service.
He has also been involved in community service through his membership in various organizations – including Rotary Club of Lehighton, BPOElks Lodge No. 1284, and the Knights of Columbus – both Damien Council No. 598 and Monsignor Agnello J. Angelini Assembly No. 971.
Hanosek currently volunteers as Secretary of Carbon County Municipal Authority – as well as three days a week at Blue Mountain Health System's Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital.
A graduate of SS. Peter and Paul Parochial School, he went on to serve his Parish as President of the Student Activity Association (the first parent-sponsored organization involved in fund raising for the school in early 1970s), member of Parish Council, member of the Finance Committee, and still today as Eucharistic Minister.
In his spare time, Hanosek enjoys history and international travel – especially to Austria and Germany.
The Hanoseks have been married for 46 years and have three sons – Joseph, James, and John. They also have two granddaughters – Meredith and Madison – and one grandson – John Andrew.
Lehighton Rotary Club also presented O'Malia with a $600 check for "PolioPlus" – a program designed to eradicate polio from the world. Thanking the club for the donation, O'Malia said, "We are 'this close' to our goal which was established in 1985 to permanently eradicate polio." The money was raised by the club at their recent Elvis tribute show and also through donations from Rotarians.
In her final remarks as 2009-2011 President of Lehighton Rotary Club, Barbara Belón thanked the club for the service that it has continued to provide to the community since the club was organized in 1921. This includes promoting literacy by annually distributing dictionaries to every third grade student in Lehighton and Palmerton Area School Districts in both public and parochial schools - as well as by annually sponsoring anessay contest for high school juniors.
Just as Lehighton Rotary Club donated and planted many of the trees in the downtown Lehighton parks, the club is also currently involved in a project to donate trees to tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri "as a sign of hope."
Belón then officially installed the club officers for the 2011-2012 term – President Erica Heery, Vice President Leon Morgan, Treasurer Michael Heery, and Secretary Patricia Stockhausen.
On behalf of the club, Morgan thanked Belón for her inspiring leadership and presented her with a plaque and "Past President" pin.
In her inaugural remarks as club president, Heery quoted 2011-2012 Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee, "We are the doers of our communities, the leaders, the ones who are most involved, who see the problems and have the means to find the solutions … We are a worldwide network of inspired individuals who translate our passions into relevant social causes to change lives in communities."
"As I stand here today as President of Rotary Club of Lehighton, I realize how true and significant these words are."
As the saying goes, "The difficult is done immediately. The impossible takes a little longer." According to Heery, "If we are to achieve the impossible, we have to have vision and perseverance. We must look past what we are doing right now to what we should be doing in the years to come. Then together, we will be able to 'Reach Within and Embrace Humanity.'" This is the theme for the 2011-2012 Rotary year.