By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY —
The Rotary Club of New Albany will honor one of its own members Friday as community leader Jerry Finn will be recognized for his service to Floyd County.
The 19th annual Rotary Community Toast and Benefit Banquet begins with a reception at 6 p.m., as the event will be near Finn’s childhood home in Starlight at Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards’ Plantation Hall.
The Rotary Club titled the celebration a “Finntastic Evening,” as Finn was chosen for his contributions to Southern Indiana.
Finn’s daytime job is executive director of the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County, but he serves in several other capacities locally. Finn is a board member for Keep New Albany Clean and Green, serves as board president for the New Albany-Floyd County Education Foundation and is a board member for the Indiana Youth Institute.
Finn was chosen as a member of the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bi-State Bridges Authority, and he’s even called on to be a mediator from time to time, as he was tabbed last year to lead a series of talks between New Albany and Floyd County in hopes of solving the parks funding divide.
Finn said it’s an “incredible honor” to be selected by the Rotary Club for the Community Toast, as he added there are numerous people in Floyd County that could have been chosen instead.
“I don’t feel like I do any more than anyone is called to do in this community,” Finn said.
Past members of the community to be honored by the Rotary Club include business pioneer Joe Huber, professional golfer Fuzzy Zoeller and Guerin Inc. founder Sister Barbara Ann Zeller.
The 2011 recipient of the honor was Gary Libs, president of Libs Paving Co. and board director for Your Community Bank.
NA-FC Education Foundation Executive Director Tyler Bliss will serve as host of the event, and other speakers will take the stage including Finn during the Community Toast.
A portion of the proceeds from Friday’s event will go to a nonprofit or charity selected by Finn, and he has chosen the NA-FC Education Foundation. There’s not much more important to the future of Floyd County and the region than the instruction of youth, Finn said.
“I just think if we’re going to change our community, it has to start with our kids,” he said.
“I just want to make sure that I walk the talk ... make sure that our young people have leaders that they can look up to and be proud of.”
Faith and religion are important to Finn, as he said he’s far from perfect and needs guidance and direction.
“Every morning my prayer is that somehow I can make this world a better place,” he said.
The fellowship opportunities offered by the Rotary Club made it inviting for him to join the organization, Finn said. Partnerships are critical for developing a community and fostering economic development, he continued.
“Together we can do so much more than we can do alone,” Finn said.
Local businessman and Rotary Club member Greg Nash has been involved with different aspects of helping choose the toast honoree for several years. He said Finn has been considered for the award in the past, but this year “felt like the right time” to chose him.
“We felt like he’s always been deserving,” Nash said. “The Rotary motto is ‘Service above Self,’ and there’s really nobody that comes to mind that epitomizes that more than he does.”
Visit http://www.rcna.us/ for ticket information on Friday’s event.