SYCAMORE – The thought of a young person going hungry makes Sally Bruch cringe.
Feeding children who are starving is a passion for Bruch, which is why she decided to join the Rotary Club of Sycamore in 2009. Bruch, a certified financial planner for Bruch Financial Advisors, LLC., said she also joined to give back to the community.
“I know that sounds kind of cliche, but the community has been very supportive of my business,” Bruch said.
The 56-year-old Kirkland resident became a secretary a year later and three years after that was named the John W. Ovitz Rotarian of the Year on June 19. The award came as surprise for Bruch, who said she hadn’t been in the club long enough to earn the honor.
“I felt like I was kind of too new,” Bruch said. “We have members in this club that have been here for more than 40 years.”
The John W. Ovitz Rotarian of the Year award is given to the recipient who exemplifies the motto of the club, which is service above self. Brian Adams, sergeant-at-arms and public image chairman for the club, said Bruch consistently went above and beyond the call to make sure the club ran smoothly.
“If you ever worked in any organization, you need one person who can hold it together, and that is Sally,” Adams said.
The award recently was renamed after John Ovitz Jr., who was the longest-serving member of the club with 60 years of membership. He died in April.
Adams said Ovitz was a man who devoted his life to the community. His wife, Jane, presented the award to Bruch.
As secretary of the club, Bruch was in charge of keeping minutes of club and board meetings, registering new members and keeping track of attendance. Like other members, she would do things that wasn’t in her job description, including updating computer files.
“I don’t feel like I did that much over and above anybody else,” Bruch said.
But Bruch said she was honored to be singled out from about 85 other club members. The club is friendly but only started accepting women during the 1980s.
“Women are a huge part of our group now,” Bruch said.
Some of the club’s projects include providing scholarships for Sycamore High School students. Both students and residents also have a chance to be recognized by the club monthly and have $100 donated to a charity of their choice.
The club also participates in international projects, such as setting up wells in Africa that produce clean, fresh water for people.
“It’s not only the community,” Bruch said. “[The Rotary Club] is making a difference in the world.”