Rotary International District Governor Thomas H. Ripperda, right, congratulates retired Centralia physician Dee C. Boswell upon Boswell’s receipt of the Rotary International “Service Above Self” Award.
Dr. Dee Boswell Receives Prestigious National Award from Rotary International
Dr. Boswell was surprised with the Service Above Self Award at the Rotary District 6510's annual District Assembly in Carterville on Saturday. Boswell is one of only 150 of the 1.2-million Rotarians worldwide to receive the award this year. He called it a humbling experience.
Boswell was nominated by District Governor Thomas Ripperda. He says the award is given to those who have done exceptional service locally and internationally to make the world a better place. Ripperda cited Boswell's work as a former District Governor and in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Rotary's charitable arm, the The Rotary Foundation. Ripperda says Boswell's involvement in Rotary's signature project of working to eliminate polio has inspired others. Boswell has both raised funds and given the life-saving polio vaccine drops to children overseas.
Boswell says Rotary has become a big part of his life during the past 30 years since he was first invited to attend a Rotary Club meeting in Centralia. One of his best memories was attending his first Rotary International Meeting in Rome in 1985. "That meeting is one of the most inspiring things I have ever attended. That's when they made the decision to eradicate polio. They had a lot of opposition and a lot of skepticism. The perseverance and dedication of the people in Rotary is absolutely incredible," said Boswell.
Boswell says at the time 350,000 children were stricken with the disease in more than 125 countries each year. Last year, the disease was confined to three countries and fewer than 250 new cases. Boswell reports they are on target to eradicate polio by 2018.
Boswell was part of the delegation that went to Cuba two years ago in an unsuccessful attempt to re-establish the Rotary there. Over the years, his family hosted a large number of youth exchange students in their home. Boswell is also proud of the local club's work in establishing and making continual improvements in the Rotary Ballfield complex.
Ripperda says District 6510 is blessed to have Boswell to represent the work of Rotary. He adds Boswell has also served his community on the Centralia School Board and as a member of the board of trustees of Kaskaskia College. Ripperda says Boswell has truly placed service above self.
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