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John Padbury -Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award


At a recent meeting of the Manchester Rotary Club, District Governor and Manchester Rotarian Richard Borden presented the Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award to Manchester Rotarian John Padbury.  In remarks made while describing John's lengthy association with Rotary, Dick noted he had difficulty identifying an individual in District 7890 who better exemplified the criteria as engraved on the award: "For extraordinary personal contributions and tireless fund raising efforts to assist the hungry and less fortunate citizens in our community".


John was a long time Rotarian in Stamford, CT where he wrote the Newsletter single-handed for 10 years.  His favorite project for many years was working with high school students in a junior achievement program.  He was awarded the Paul Harris in 1987.  Upon moving to Manchester in 1989 he joined the Manchester Rotary Club.


Born in 1916, John grew up 3 miles from Brunswick, Maine on a small poultry farm on a one lane, dirt road.  The house had no electricity, telephone, running water or indoor plumbing.   Tragedy struck the family in 1917 when an older sister was severely paralyzed by polio and was so weakened that she died in the flu pandemic of 1918.  Another sister suffered life-long affliction from polio.  John has been a long-time supporter of Rotary Foundation's highly successful "Polio Plus" program for world-wide eradication of this dreaded disease.


After six years in a one room school, John made the long walk each day to high school, taking a general education curriculum - not expecting to attend college.  Fortunately, a relative of the Dean of Bowdoin College, located in Brunswick, encouraged him to apply.  He was accepted and graduated from Bowdoin in 1939.  After four years of graduate school he was awarded a PhD in Chemistry from New YorkUniversity.  He had a very satisfying career of 43 years in chemical research with one company.


During recent years, John has made a commitment to raise funds to provide fresh milk for needy children in Manchester.  The "Rotary Milk Fund" was established and in 2006 $6,000 was raised through the generosity of Rotarians, residents of the Arbors Retirement Community, family friends and former neighbors.  Over $8,000 was raised for this same cause in 2007.  The milk is distributed at the Food Pantry operated by the Manchester Area Conferences of Churches (MACC), John's favorite charity. In addition to fund-raising, he serves on the MACC Board of Directors and volunteers each Tuesday in the Food Pantry.


Always interested in supporting education, John established, in memory of his late wife, The Muriel Padbury Education Fund with an endowment that will assist in educational programs and administered through the Manchester Rotary Club.  For several years he led a small team of gardeners to beautify the front of Manchester's WashingtonElementary School.  He has been an occasional participant in the Rotary reading program at that school.  For many years he has been at the Manchester Club's annual Mothers Day Pancake Breakfast, generally on the serving line, enjoying serving and chatting with the families. 


On March 16, 2006, he was the featured volunteer for the Friday newscast on Fox News.  He has been a participant in the Walk for Hunger to raise funds.  John also raises funds through his Church and The Arbors Retirement Community where he lives.   John attends the weekly Tuesday evening Manchester Rotary meeting, enjoying the friendship and camaraderie of his fellow Rotarians.


In presenting a plaque and clock, DG Dick Borden stated:  "John Padbury is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow, a tireless worker for the needy, a superb human being who truly cares about others and an exceptional example of a true Rotarian."





In the attached photo (L-R) are: District Governor Richard Borden, PHF John Padbury receiving the Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award and Past District Governor (1985-1986) William Rood, also from the Manchester Club.