2019 Joseph M. Bryan Rotarians of the Year
Remarks made by Past President Bernie Mann, 2006-07, in presenting the 2018-19 Rotarian of the Year recognition.
I feel very grateful today for the chance to honor two of my closet friends. Thirteen years ago, our Rotary Club decided to do something brash and audacious — to build a Carousel as a gift to our community.
With only $89,000 in the bank, we signed a contract for $800,000 for the best Carousel made anywhere in America. In addition, we signed an agreement for $900,000 to build a magnificent building to house the Carousel.
Because of the lifetime experience in fundraising, Ray Covington took the job of getting the money. John Rosser because of his meticulous abilities took on the job of logistics.
As you can imagine, there were many setbacks and challenges, but the enthusiasm of John and Ray never wavered. As we approached our fundraising goal of $1.7 million, our builder told us that the cost of everything had skyrocketed — steel, copper wiring, and concrete. The building would now cost an additional $900,000. Jon and Ray’s immediate response was, “We will find the additional money.” They never compromised on the Carousel or the beautiful building that will house it.
Ray organized teams of people to go to non-Rotarians to contribute. John would often send 15-20 emails a day to make sure all the details of this project was copacetic.
For two years, every Wednesday, John arrived at club meetings early, set up his easel and answered questions about the Carousel.
We have been told that this is the largest project done by any Rotary Club in America. But that’s not important. What is significant is in less than 90 days, thousands of people will start enjoying the Rotary Club of Greensboro Carousel.
The leadership of Greensboro Rotary are honored to award its highest honor of the Joseph M. Bryan Rotarian of the Year to John Rosser and Ray Covington.
Each year, the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation honors the Rotary Club of Greensboro’s Rotarian of the Year with a Paul Harris Fellow in recognition of service of above self. Rotarian Joe Bryan was a long-time member of the Rotary Club of Greensboro.