In 2015, the Rotary Club of Hudson established the Jimmy Sutphin Award to recognize a deserving Rotarian or Hudson Community leader who most closely reflects dedication to the “Service Above Self” Rotary standard.

This year, that award goes to Lani Banner, coordinator of the Hudson High School service learning program.

The initial recipient was Jimmy “Inky” Sutphin, a friend and colleague of both the Rotary Club of Hudson and the Hudson community. Sutphin was universally loved by local citizens who benefited by his communication skills and empathy for all he encountered. The award has not been bestowed again since then.

The Sutphin Award once again recognizes a local leader who has made a difference in so many lives in our community. The criteria for consideration of an individual for the award include:

• Is actively involved in the Hudson community(not necessarily a resident);

• Exhibits the general objectives of Rotary in his/her personal and business life;

• Exhibits the ideals of the 4-way test in his/her personal and business life;

• Demonstrates leadership qualities;

• Makes a significant impact on the overall community;

• Demonstrates creativity and initiative;

• Demonstrates responsibility and dependability; and

• Doesn’t have to be well known, but could be an “unsung hero” doing good deeds throughout the community.

Banner, as coordinator of the Hudson High School Service Learning program sees social studies and English incorporated with actual on-site community volunteering. The program has expanded from 25 students in its first year in 1998 to the current class size of 90 seniors.

The Rotary Club of Hudson has consistently provided financial support to service learning through its foundation and has participated in volunteer community projects and classroom discussions with the students. Service learning’s purpose is to:

• Go beyond the Hudson “bubble;”

• Step outside the student’s comfort zone;

• Change preconceived notions of classmates, groups or ideas;

• Cultivate joy and gratitude;

• Encourage civic activism; and

• Foster compassion and empathy.

An example of the Service Learning activities led by Banner is the contemporary policy projects where students work in groups to problem solve pressing community issues through research, creative presentations in front of Rotarians and in classroom dialogue as expert witnesses.

Another example is the Random Acts of Kindness research and presentations of findings and recommendations by student project teams. Banner and the Service Learning staff of Jamie Kosmin, Marty Bach and Brittany Amiet teach with a notable love of and commitment to the development of understanding and compassion in their students with the hope that they will go forth and contribute to the betterment of society.

Banner, as a leader and educator, exemplifies the Jimmy Sutphin standard of making a difference in the community, both present and future. Congratulations and thanks to Lani for a job well done.

Rotary members are People of Action applying leadership to solving social issues, tackling community challenges and finding lasting solutions to the world’s systemic problems.