7.6 Judy Rotary honor

Lee H. Dunlap/Staff

Layne Ragsdale (left) and Tiffany Watkins (right) pose with Boone County Regional Airport manager Judy McCutcheon after she received the Community Paul Harris Fellow Recognition award at the recent Rotary Awards Banquet and Paul Harris Fellow Dinner.

“We throw people out of perfectly good airplanes for money,” Rotarian Layne Ragsdale told the crowd during the Rotary Awards Banquet and Paul Harris Fellow Dinner.

Ragsdale is also a Boone County Regional Airport board member and enjoyed bragging on the airport and airport manager Judy McCutcheon.

“Our airport has become a transportation hub,” Ragsdale said. “Between the rental cars, the 45 base aircraft, the Fixed Base Operator, the commercial flights in and out daily by Southern Airways Express and just this week we had Black Hawk Helicopters stop in for refueling. It’s a chaotic place and Judy does a great job managing the chaos.”

“The airport has a $10 million economic impact on the community,” Ragsdale said.

Rotarian Jim Sprott, who is also the airport board’s attorney, was not able to attend in person, but recorded a message for the crowd.

“When our family moved here 33 years ago, I knew right then that the airport was a well-kept secret,” Sprott said. “We had a long runway and lots of space for growth and expansion. Now, our community has come to realize how important the airport is to the local economy. We have a lot of companies that wouldn’t be in this community without this airport.

“Judy McCutcheon has worked with multiply county judges and lots of quorum court members. She’s for this community.”

Then surprise was out. A shocked Judy McCutcheon was being honored as the 2019 Paul Harris Community Recipient.

Out-going president Tiffany Watkins laughed and said, “We have told so many lies — since January when we first began planning this event. But we got’cha Judy!”

The room gave them both a standing ovation.

During a 1917 Rotary convention, Paul Harris proposed an endowment fund that would eventually transform countless lives around the world. His initial endowment was $26.50. The Rotary Foundation began and now, the Foundation has used more than $4.7 billion for projects around the world. Individual club members strive to earn points and make donations of $1,000 to the Foundation to become a Paul Harris Fellow.

Each year, the Rotary Club honors an individual from the community who is not a member of Rotary, but still exhibits the spirit of service above self with the Paul Harris Community Recipient.

McCutcheon thanked the group and said she would accept the Rotary honor with pride. “It wouldn’t be possible without my partner, Steve Dillion, who is a tremendous airport maintenance director.”

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