Noontime Rotary announces first two recipients of Spirit of Marco awards


The Noontime Rotary Club of Marco Island recently announced that Jim Richards and Joe Swaja were selected as the first two recipients of the 2019 Spirit of Marco Island Award.

Richards was taken by surprise at a recent Marco Island Center for the Arts event when a group of Rotarians from the Marco Island Noontime Rotary Club made the announcement of his Spirit Award selection in front of a group of nearly 100 attendees.

Pat Rutledge of the Noontime Rotary Club presents the 2019 Spirit of Marco Island Award to Jim Richards. From left, Al Diaz, Gene Donofrio, Rutledge, Richards, Linda Sandlin and Mike Richards.

Richards is currently the president of the board for the Marco Island Center for the Arts; he is also a member of the Noontime Rotary Club of Marco Island, where he serves on the College Scholarship Committee. In addition, he is on the Board of the Marco Island Fire Rescue Foundation and the Marco Island Police Foundation. He is an avid community volunteer and supporter of many local civic organizations and events that include: YMCA, Meals of Hope, Christmas Island Style, Our Daily Bread Pantry, Marco Island Historical Society to name a few.   

Swaja was also taken by the surprise announcement in front of a large crowd at a recent Knights of Columbus Social at the San Marco Catholic Church Parish Hall.

Swaja is the current Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus; he’s a past president and current member of the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island, serves as the vice president of the Marco Island Police Foundation and also serves on Commissioner Donna Fiala’s Island advisory board. Swaja also serves on the board of directors for the Marco Island Civic Association in charge of governmental affairs and in the past for many years he served as the chairman of the Collier County Productivity Board. 

Joe Swaja  accepts the 2019 Spirit of Marco Island Awards presented by the Noontime Rotary Club of Marco Island. From left, Al Diaz, Durell Buzzini, Swaja, Linda Minozzi, Gene Donofrio and Al Schettino.

All of the honorees will be formally presented with their 2019 Spirit of Marco Island Award at the 11th Annual Spirit of Marco Island Gala Awards Dinner and Silent Auction to be held on Sunday, April 7, at Bistro Soleil.

Two additional recipients will be announced in the next few weeks.

This gala event recognizes individuals and organizations that are civically involved in the community through their contribution of time, talent and financial support to the community.

For more information and tickets for this event you may contact Al Diaz at 438-5285 or by email at