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Florence Rotary Club awards its Citizen of the Year honor to Paula McPeake, a consummate volunteer

For 27 years, the Rotary Club of Florence has presented its Citizen of the Year Award to recognize an individuals for “service above self.” This year’s award went to Paula McPeake.

McPeake is the volunteer Ment2Be coordinator for Stephens Elementary School — and much more. She also has a mentee in the program and has become an important part of Emma’s life.

Dennis McEvoy and Paula McPeake

“Paula strategically meets with every adult who wants to be a mentor and finds their passions and skills, then matches them up to the right child. That way, lifelong relationships can be built,” said Julia Pile, Rotary member who nominated her. “A lot of her mentees have become part of her family and she has become a part of their family.”

Many people describe McPeak as a wise, thoughtful, and caring person. She is also a mother, grandmother, mentor and leader.

“My goal was to be able to work and serve free of charge,” McPeake said, “I guess that’s the definition of volunteering.”

Paula McPeake is also recognized for being an active member of the ELL (English Language Learning) program.

“She advocates for students both in and out of the classroom,” Dr. Randy Poe wrote in his nomination letter. “If you hear Paula talk about the program then you immediately know how passionate she is about these students.”

Pile, president of Stinger Media, ParentCamp, and vice-chair of the Boone County Board of Education, tells the story of how her own life has been directly impacted by McPeake. In 2019, Pile’s sister was nearing the end of her five-year-long battle with lung cancer and was in Florida by herself. Pile asked if anyone wanted to help her with the drive to Florida to bring her sister back to Perrysburg to be with the rest of her family. Paula McPeake was more than willing.

“She drove with me 14 hours on a Friday and 14 hours on a Saturday with my sister in the backseat.” Mrs. Pile said, “Paula showed her the love that she has for everyone.”

McPeake has impacted countless lives of children and adults.

Each June, Rotary Club of Florence accepts nominations from the public for the Citizen of the Year award.

A recording of this year’s presentation and past meetings of the Rotary Club of Florence is available on the club’s YouTube Channel.

Rotary Club of Florence

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