Image Alison Brownlee


Reporter 'humbled' with Rotarian of the Year honour

by Mandi Hargrave/Huntsville Forester

Service club has place in family history

HUNTSVILLE - Many Rotarians have good leadership skills, but as a "born leader" it wasn't too surprising that one of the newest members of the Rotary Club of Huntsville/Lake of Bays was awarded the Rotarian of the Year honour.

Alison Brownlee joined the club in July 2011 and was tasked with being the chair of the new generation committee.

"She's very ambitious and she's also very caring," said John Davis, past-president of the club. "She's always happy to come out and be involved in fundraisers and things that we do. She's a born leader."

Davis said the vote this year for the honour was an interesting one as originally it was a three-way tie between himself, Brownlee and Debi Davis. Much to her own shock, Brownlee came out on top in the second round of voting.

"In a sense it's humbling because you go into Rotary as a volunteer, you're volunteering your time because you want to give back to the community and you believe in what the organization does locally and internationally, and then when you're given an award like this you're humbled because you don't really feel like you deserve it, you don't feel like you've done anything spectacular over and above what your other club members have done," said Brownlee. "But to be recognized by them, by those amazing people, it's really special and it makes you smile, but it also makes you feel like you need to work harder so you deserve those accolades they're giving you."

While Brownlee became an official Rotarian in 2011, the service club played a role in her life as she was growing up.

"Growing up, Rotary was an organization my grandfather always wanted to belong to," she said. "When he got in it was such a privilege as far as he was concerned."

Watching her grandfather dedicate his time to the club and community inspired Brownlee to become involved as much as she could while in high school and earned her community service hours, as part of the school curriculum, by assisting at various Rotary events.
So when she moved to Huntsville and was approached by Davis to join the club she didn't hesitate.

"I was so honoured even to be asked to join this organization that I know is so important around the world and has such a great impact on the community that I jumped at the opportunity," she said. "It's an organization that I respect and one that I'm glad to be a part of and any opportunity I could take to join it, absolutely."

Being named chair of the new generation committee made Brownlee appreciate the club even more.
"At that time I was the youngest member of the club and they put me in a leadership position," she said. "I wasn't being treated as this young, new person who wouldn't be given any responsibility and I'd have to watch how it was done, they were kind of throwing me in and seeing what I could do and giving me the opportunity to try new things and learn and make mistakes and fail at trying to get projects started and succeed at others."
Her enthusiasm for the club is ever growing and she looks forward to many more years of service.