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Hagerstown Rotary-Sunrise member 'blown away' by award

August 19, 2008|By JANET HEIM

Kathy Harple thought she was headed to a Rotary Club of Hagerstown-Sunrise weekly meeting just like any other. She took her place at the Friday morning breakfast meeting as she has for the past six years.

Harple knew she would leave this meeting at Always Ron's on a high note because it was the annual meeting at which five nonprofit organizations would receive foundation awards from Sunrise Rotary.

What she didn't realize was that during the meeting, she was going to be presented with the club's first Distinguished Service Award.

"I had no idea. I was blown away," Harple said. "My first thought was I should have dressed up."

Harple, the club's fundraising committee chairwoman, has chaired the Sun Rises over Rotary Dinner and Auction for five years. She also has produced the club's weekly newsletter with the support of Tri-State Printing Inc., her employer of 23 years.

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"This was a unanimous committee decision. There was no question that Kathy should receive this year's award. She always steps up to the plate with willingness and graciousness," said Jim Marshal, chairman of the Sunrise Club Service Committee.

Through her work at Tri-State Printing, the Hagerstown resident has been involved with the Washington County Chamber of Commerce and met Mary Anne Burke, who recruited her to join Sunrise Rotary Club.

"It's probably one of the best things I've done. I get more joy and satisfaction ... they do so much good stuff," Harple said. "I want to make sure everyone knows what a great club it is."

This year, Harple has a co-chair for the auction, a fundraiser that is easy to coordinate because club members are quick to jump in and help, she said.

Harple, 55, said she is grateful her employer is understanding about her community service.

"They do support me in all the things I do. They know what a kick I get out of it," she said.

A native of Washington County, Kathy Waugh grew up in Funkstown and graduated from South Hagerstown High School in 1971. She married Tom Harple 34 years ago and the couple has a grown daughter, Dayna Gregory. Both often are recruited to help with Kathy Harple's community service projects.

In addition, Kathy Harple has been on the board of the Washington County Arts Council for two years, which she describes as "near and dear to my heart."

She has long been drawn to the arts, and had plans to study commercial art and graphic design at the Pittsburgh Institute after high school. Her plans changed when her grandmother died.

Instead, she puts her eye for design to use as graphic design/prepress director at Tri-State Printing.

The arts are put into play for the Harples with their shared love for music. The couple goes to blues jams on weekends, where Kathy plays acoustic guitar and sings, accompanied by Tom on harmonica.

"Blues and music is a big part of our lives. We spend a lot of time with that," Kathy Harple said.

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