The Noontime Rotary Club of Marco Island announces Spirit of Marco Award recipients

Submitted, Marco Eagle

The Noontime Rotary Club of Marco Island has announced the names of the 2017 Spirit of Marco Island award recipients. The honorees are: Scott and Jayme Lowe, Gayle Thawley, John DeRosa, Louise Russell and Bruce Graev.

Left to right: Patrick Thawley, Pat Rutledge, Ed Pointer, Gayle Thawley, Brenda Rhinehart, Diane Wetjen, Kim Barry and Jane Watt. Rutledge of the Noontime Rotary Club presents Thawley with the 2017 Spirit of Marco Island Award certificate.

Scott and Jayme Lowe were both caught by surprise with their selection at a recent YMCA gala fundraiser held at Hideaway Beach. Tarik Ayasun, the president-elect of the Noontime Rotary Club of Marco Island, made the announcement in front of nearly 150 guests.

The Lowes were recognized for their contributions to both the Marco Island Charter Middle School and the YMCA. Scott Lowe, the CEO of Physicians Regional Healthcare System, is a director of the school board, and Jayme Lowe generously volunteers her time as the school’s nurse. Both also serve on the board of the YMCA.

Thawley was also completely taken by surprise when a group of Rotarians, led by Pat Rutledge, made the announcement of her selection at Marco Island Academy. Jane Watt, president of the Marco Island Academy school board, Melissa Scott, the school’s director, and school board members Brenda Rhinehart, Dianne Wetjen and Kim Barry joined in on the surprise.

Thawley is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island, a past board member of the academy and is very active in many community organizations. She volunteered her time to be a grant writer for the academy, as well as the Kiwanis Club. In addition, she helped create the educational theater for the Historical Society.

DeRosa was taken by complete surprise, too; he was at a recent Knights of Columbus social held at the San Marco Catholic Church parish hall when a group of Rotarians made the announcement of his award selection in front of a group of approximately 80 people. 

DeRosa is involved with numerous community organizations: he serves as a board member of the Kiwanis Club; warden with the Knights of Columbus at the San Marco Catholic Church, where he also serves as an usher; board member of the Marco Island Police Foundation; board member with the Senior Softball league; and former president of the Italian American Club. DeRosa also co-chairs the very popular Kiwanis Car Show.

Left to right: Gwyn Steiner, Louise Russell, Pat Rutledge and Linda Sandlin. Rutledge of the Rotary Club of Marco Island presents Louise Russell with the 2017 Spirit of Marco Island Award Certificate.

Russell was volunteering at the reception desk of the Marco Island Historical Museum when a contingent of Rotarians, along with board members and staff of the museum, joined together for the announcement of her selection as a Spirit Award honoree.

Russell was recognized for the countless hours that she commits to her work as the docent coordinator at the museum. In addition, she volunteers at the Bargain Basket and is also a supporter of the Liberty Youth Ranch. Rutledge, former president of the Historical Museum, noted that Russell is a true unsung hero who selflessly gives her time and energy without any expectation of recognition.

Graev, an active volunteer with the Noontime Rotary Club, was enjoying his lunch at a recent rotary luncheon meeting when his name was announced as a recipient of the 2017 Spirit Award.

Graev was acknowledged for his years of service to the community through his volunteer and leadership positions with numerous organizations: he is the president of the Marco Island Historical Society; a founding member, board member and vice president of the Cultural Alliance of Marco Island and Goodland; and serves on the board of the Center for the Arts. He is also a very active member of the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island, and served as 2014-15 president of the Noontime Rotary Club of Marco Island. 

The six recipients will be recognized at an awards dinner on April 2 at Bistro Soleil. For more information and tickets, contact Al Diaz at 239-438-5285 or