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Rotary Club chooses 'Distinguished Citizen of the Year'
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ELLINWOOD — Gerald "Jerry" F. Menges was named "Distinguished Citizen of the Year" at the Ellinwood Rotary Club’s Sweetheart Banquet on Thursday evening. He is the 35th award winner.

"The person who submitted this nomination feels Menges is worthy because he is honest and hardworking and who loves God, family, country and city with the highest of right standards," said Rosie Joiner, Rotary Club selection committee. "He is always there when needed."

Menges is married to his wife Gerry, and raised nine children, and has 26 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren. He is a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus, American Legion and VFW as well as the Chamber of Commerce and After Harvest Festival.

Menges came to Ellinwood in 1952 with the Sisters of St. Joseph to handle the maintenance of the Ellinwood District Hospital."One of his legacies is the beautiful oak trees at EDH," Joiner said.

He and his wife moved to Ellinwood in 1954. Somone in their family was continuously in the Ellinwood School District from 1958 to 2010.

After the Sisters left the hospital, Menges opened his own business in Great Bend. In 1971, he went to work for Barton Community College and retired 20 years later. In addition, over the years, he began renting to patrons, tables, chairs and large tents.

"The Rotary motto "service above self," describes the character of our new "Distinguished Citizen," said Joiner. "Anyone who knows him knows the Rotary Four Way Test is the way this honorable man lives his life. The Four Way Test is: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships? And will it be beneficial to all concerned."

The club presented its first Distinguished Citizen Award in 1976, explained Joiner. Members are looking for that special person who really exemplifies the spirit of Ellinwood.

The selection committee members were Rosie Joiner, Larry Panning and Kent Roth.

The Mystic Blues from Ellinwood High School provided entertainment.

Also, Peter Marcus, Rotary Club’s district governor spoke. "There has been a Rotary Club here since 1917," he said. "Every Rotarian believes in service to others, and lending our hearts and hands wherever we can.

"It is phenomenal the different projects we are doing," Marcus said. "Big hand to you folks for what you’ve done."

Past "Distinguished Citizen" recipients who were present were also recognized.