By Sue Moore
Laura Howard, a two-time past president of the Vicksburg Rotary Club, was nominated as its Rotary Hero of the year. She will be honored at the District 6360 annual meeting along with 46 Heroes from other clubs in Southwest Michigan at the district’s May gathering.
One of the criteria is length of service in the club and the impact that service has had on the club. In that, Howard excels according to Warren Lawrence, the only other two-time past president. “She is task oriented, accepts jobs readily whenever given an assignment. I know they will always be carried through in complete detail, with the task accomplished perfectly. She is a multi-faceted person, with lots of enthusiasm for giving back to her job and the community,” he commented.
Howard was the first women admitted to the club after Rotary International lifted the ban on women members in 1990. She moved up through the chairs to become the first woman president of the club in 2000, then served a second term in 2001/02. “There were a lot of changes at that time in the officers of the club, so they asked me to stay on one more term. The job was bigger than I anticipated but enjoyable, she said. She was selected as a Paul Harris Fellow in 2007, an honor the club bestows once a year on its most outstanding citizen.
She has been behind the scenes in the Rotary Showboat production every year since joining, serving on ticket sales, programs, advertising and ushering. For the last few years she has operated the spotlight for each performance.
Outside of Rotary she is the system director for Bronson Hospital’s ProHealth, Rehabilitation, and Vicksburg Outpatient Clinic. She started her career at Bronson Hospital 38 years ago and moved to its Vicksburg facility in 1985 as a social worker for the rehab unit, rising to oversee the entire Vicksburg operation.
As the face of Vicksburg’s United Way campaign for over ten years, she has steered the fundraising and allocations decisions, and served on the Greater Kalamazoo United Way board before it combined with Battle Creek. She also served on the Goodwill Board of Directors.