Tom Weber has been a part of the Rotary Club for twenty years, Christy Xynidis recently joined. However, the two Port Orange-South Daytona Rotary Club Rotarians have one thing in common — both are Paul Harris Fellows due to their individual donations of $1,000 or more to Rotary International.
Xynidis achieved the level of Paul Harris plus 1 and Tom Weber, who has been with the Port Orange-South Daytona Club for 14 years, received a Paul Harris plus 8. Weber, who has been a Rotarian for 20 years, joined Rotary when he was working as a fire chief in Connecticut and wanted to have more interaction with businesses in the region.
Rotarians join the Paul Harris Fellowship through monetary donations with a minimum donation of $1,000. Each plus is a donation of an additional $1000.
These contributions go toward causes such as the eradication of polio, promoting literacy and education as well as providing clean water, adequate food and nutrition.
Fellows can also choose where they want their monetary donations to go. Weber said he usually decides to split his contribution with half going to local grants in the community that are matched and the other half going toward the fight against polio.
"We just don't give it away outside the community, we do a lot inside the community," Weber said. "There are two major things locally: high school scholarships and we also buy Christmas presents for about 250 foster kids every year."
Xynidis, who became a Rotarian last year, said she works with different philanthropic organizations but wanted to be able to do more in the community. When she learned about Rotary, and the causes the club supports, she knew this was where she wanted to invest.
"There are so many different avenues it touches, so, for that, it meant so much that I wanted to be a part of it," Xynidis said. "Their whole mission and the fact that 100% of what we donate goes to the cause, that meant a lot."