Carl Chinnery is one in a million.
Many Lee’s Summit residents already knew that about Chinnery, who has a reputation for community service and dry, deadpan wit.
But now it’s official.
Chinnery recently received the Distinguished Service Award from Rotary International for service to the Rotary Foundation. It is a competitive honor given to a maximum of 50 members each year among 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide.
“That’s what makes the award so outstanding,” said Kenny Harris, district governor for Rotary District 6040.
The award strictly considers a broad range of active service to Rotary causes and monetary donations aren’t part of the equation, Harris said. “You can’t buy this award,” he said.
The last time a Rotarian from the district was given the Distinguished Service Award award was in the 1980s, he said.
Harris said he loves Chinnery’s sense of humor and all the training he’s provided for presidents and district governors for the area’s clubs.
Harris said Chinnery has made presentations to hundreds of different clubs and conferences and also very active in Lee’s Summit. “He is Mr. Everything to the Lee’s Summit club,” Harris said.
Chinnery said he was totally surprised at getting the award.
“It was over the top,” Chinnery said with a typical jest. “Somebody told them a pack of lies.”
Chinnery is particularly motivated to work on one of Rotary’s goals, which is to eradicate polio.
A successful Lee’s Summit attorney, Chinnery was attacked by the disease in childhood along with four brothers. In 72 hours it took an older brothers life, all of them had to spend time in an iron-lung and live with long-term effects
“It affected my brain and my back,” Chinnery said tongue in cheek. He was serious about lingering ailments of his chest and back.
Chinnery said he’s made about 250 presentations about the importance of wiping out the disease.
Rotary’s PolioPlus Campaign has spent $1 billion on vaccinations and training health workers. Chinnery’s efforts have resulted in hundreds of thousands in donations for that effort.
“That guy, there’s just no end to what he’s done for Rotary,” said Bud Hertzog, a founding member of Rotary Club of Lee’s Summit.
Hertzog said Chinnery has passion for what Rotary is all about.
“Not only does he talk a good game,” Hertzog said, “He does it, he leads by example.”