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Clayton Rotary Club honors late member

By April Avison

Clayton County Rotarians honored a friend at the annual District 6900 Conference held over the weekend in Savannah.

"This week we lost a Rotarian that all of us know simply by the name of Maynard," said Tom Kent, past governor of District 6900. "If Maynard were here ? he would come in wearing a hat with a propeller on top. His theme was ?never grow up but always love each other.' We'll never forget Maynard."

Maynard Knestrick, a charter member of the Rotary Club of Henry County and a member of the Clayton County club until his death on May 3, was known for his work with the international students sponsored by the clubs. He and his wife Kay hosted 13 Georgia Rotary students.

One of the most moving moments of the weekend's events was when the hundreds of Rotarians gathered for the conference stood to applaud their friend.

"I thought about asking to observe a moment of silence for Maynard, but I think instead I'll ask for us to stand and cheer," Kent said.

Claudia Mertl of the Rotary Club of Clayton County, who will serve as district governor in 2005-06, also addressed the crowd in Savannah.

"My pastor said last Sunday that a belief is something we hold. A conviction is something that holds us," Mertl said. "We have a conviction that Rotary will change the world ? We are united as one. We are Rotarians, and together we can make a difference."

Clayton County picked up awards for best club bulletin and best House of Friendship display.

Jared Brown of the Rotary Club of Clearwater, Fla., spoke about Rotary's work to eradicate polio. According to information provided by Rotary International, the PolioPlus program began in 1985. In 1988, the World Health Assembly challenged the world to eradicate polio. Since that time, Rotary's efforts and those of partner agencies have achieved a 99 percent reduction in the number of polio cases worldwide.

"We will go down in history as the greatest service organization primarily because of this one event, eradicating polio," Brown said. "Just 50 years ago polio was a dreaded disease right here in the U.S. ? What Rotary becomes tomorrow depends on what Rotary does today. I'm proud to be a Rotarian."

For more information about the Rotary Club of Clayton County visit claytoncountyrotary.org.