Paul Harris Award Goes to Larry Forsyth

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Larry Forsyth was honored with the Paul Harris award during the Rotary Club’s Charter Night. It is the highest award the club and Rotary International has to offer.

By Sue Moore

“If you need something built, Larry Forsyth is your man,” said Skip Knowles as he introduced the member receiving the service club’s highest honor for the year.

“He gives back to the community and to Rotary every day as a volunteer who quietly goes about helping others.”

Forsyth’s forte is building something for others in his workshop. He built the sturdy benches that grace the community pavilion. He designed and built the fake windows that hang on Aaron’s Music building on Liberty Lane east. He designed and built a Santa mailbox for Christmas in the Village. He built the stand for the grist mill wheel in the Historic Village.

As a mentor in Strive the last four years, he has helped four high school seniors through a few tough times. He has worked on the set committee backstage for the Club’s Showboat performances. Earlier this year, he performed the ultimate volunteer task, taking on directorship of the newly minted Showcase presentation, Vicksburg Rotary’s big fundraiser. He has been a singer, dancer and actor on the Showboat stage over the years.

Forsyth was president of the club in 2014-15, secretary before that and a member of the board for five years. “I enjoy helping people,” Forsyth said. “My in-laws, Arle and Margaret Schneider, were big influences on me to get involved in the community. My first experience 20 years ago was helping with Flower Fest where volunteers were asked to take one flower bed downtown, plant the flowers and keep it weeded. That’s how I met Danna Downing, who later recruited me to join the South County Community Services (SCCS) board.

“I took about a year to figure out what I wanted to do after retiring from Pfizer in 2007. I got most of my projects done and since I don’t like to be inactive, decided it was time to get back into Rotary where I had been a member some years before,” Forsyth said. His latest project is helping the club with its safety program, helping disabled folks keep their homes up to code and in safe condition.

Forsyth has helped with the community garden when they needed fertilizer and dirt moved because he loves to bring his tractor into the village and keep things tidied up. He has helped with clean up each spring in the Historic Village when the service clubs get together.

He also drives the South County van to take people to their appointments. “This is more of a benefit to me as these are genuine people who have had bad luck or misfortune in their life. My wife Tina and I once took a Schoolcraft girl to an appointment with an Ann Arbor doctor to have her arthritic hands fixed. I also get a good feeling when we help youth with free tennis shoes in the back-to-school Bonanza that SCCS sponsors along with Generous Hands,” he said. “My connection with the families through SCCS is very gratifying.”

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