The Rotary Club of Hayward Area, a service organization composed of a broad cross-section of the community, has awarded a non-member one of Rotary’s highest honors: the Paul Harris Fellow distinction.
On Wednesday, April 20, Rotarians gathered to recognize Hayward’s Linda Graham, owner of Beehive Botanicals and longtime community volunteer. Graham was attending the meeting to speak about her role with the People’s Free Store, which operates at 8558 County Road K south of Hayward.
The presentation of a Paul Harris Fellow recognition is the Rotary Foundation’s way of expressing its appreciation for a substantial contribution to its humanitarian and educational programs. The recognition is named after Rotary’s founder, the late Paul Harris, a Chicago lawyer who started Rotary with three associates in 1905.
Edward Haugen, president of Rotary Club of Hayward Area, noted Graham joins a remarkable company of people throughout the world, all recognized for their commitment to Rotary’s motto of “Service above Self” to benefit local and international communities. The Paul Harris Fellow designation was also presented to Rotary member Lucy Malcolm, president-elect of the club.
Rotary member Don Semler introduced Graham, stating that “she’s done more for this community than anyone else I can think of, as she truly cares about giving back to our area and is always willing to help in any way she can.” Among her contributions, Semler noted her role on the Northwoods Humane Society Board, the Humane Society Thrift Store, the LCO Boys and Girls Club Board, the LCO Boys and Girls Club Field of Honor, the Hayward Community Food Shelf, Hayward Community Schools, Hayward Foundation for Educational Enrichment, the First Lutheran Church, the Elizabeth House, Salvation Army, Sawyer County/LCO Economic Development Corporation Board and much more.
Graham said she is honored to be named a Paul Harris Fellow. “I come from a family that believes in giving back and I am honored by this recognition,” she said. The People’s Free Store is yet another example of Graham’s community involvement. Born out of an idea during the pandemic, the store has a strong partnership with the Humane Society’s thrift store. Graham noted that though space is limited at the Free Store location, they regularly post information about free furniture and other items using social media, as well as when perishable food is available. Some 30 to 55 people visit the Free Store each day.
Those interested in learning more about the People’s Free Store should call (715) 699-2465. The Rotary Club of Hayward Area meets twice monthly and members participate in a variety of local community events as volunteers. Those interested in membership may contact Haugen at (715) 699-4949. (Originally published in the Sawyer Country Record, Wednesday, May 4, 2022 | Section 5A)