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Graffis inducted into Hall of Fame for Rotary district

Friday, March 30, 2012

A 47-year veteran of the Greencastle Rotary Club, Dr. Tom Graffis was honored, if slightly embarrassed, last weekend when he was announced as a member of the District 6560 Hall of Fame.
Of Rotary's 1.2 million worldwide members, very few can possibly take the organization's motto of "Service Above Self" more seriously than Tom Graffis.

As a 47-year Rotarian who remains one of the Greencastle Rotary Club's most faithful and active members, Graffis was an easy choice for the club's inaugural inductee into the District 6560 Hall of Fame.

Graffis does not see it exactly that way.

"That was kind of a surprise. I'm still a bit befuddled with it," Graffis said. "It was actually kind of embarrassing in a way. I could count on my fingers and toes all the guys in Rotary at district and every place else that were more qualified than I was for that."

But with each club in the central Indiana district honoring one member, others in the Greencastle club saw no better choice than Graffis. He has spent at least 17 years as the club secretary and several more years in other offices, including president.

"He has meant a lot to the club and helped keep the club going," Club President David English said. "He's been secretary of the club -- which is a thankless job -- for a long, long time."

He is a member of the Paul Harris Society -- a testament to his financial support of The Rotary Foundation.

"Tom believes in the motto of Rotary, 'Service Above Self,' whether it means getting your hands and feet ready or being able to support the Rotary Foundation," fellow club member Ginger Scott said. "He believes in all of that and he's shown that through his years of service."

Outside of Rotary, the retired dentist had a practice in Greencastle for more than 40 years. He is active in the Putnam County Community Foundation and is the current president of The United Way of Putnam County board.

The idea of a hall of fame is a new one to Rotary District 6560. However, the timing of last weekend's district conference in French Lick put it right in line with the NCAA Basketball Tournament, so a "March Mania" theme was chosen.

"With our theme chosen, we decided nearly every sports venue has a Hall of Fame and we asked the Rotary Clubs in our district to submit members from their club," District Governor Nancy Madru said. "These nominees were nominated by their clubs, for outstanding service and commitment to Rotary. So Tom was nominated by his peers in the Greencastle Rotary Club."

Perhaps it was accepting the award in front of everyone at the district conference that befuddled Graffis so much, but he sees the award for what it is.

"It's nice to be recognized by your peers," he said. "It's an honor, and I accept it for that. I'm not going to parade it around for everybody to look at."

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