2012 Community Service Award – Brenda Brodie

The motto for Rotary is “Service Above Self.” The Downtown Rotary Club reserves its highest honor and award to a Non-Rotarian by recognizing one citizen each year that exemplifies this motto.

This year, Dieter Mauch, the Chair of the committee that selects the annual winner, presented the Downtown Durham Rotary Community Service Award to Brenda Barrowclough Brodie.

Ms. Brodie earned the honor for her work in founding SEEDS along with Annice Kenan in 1994 with a mission show people how to care for the earth, themselves and each other through garden based programs in inner city neighborhoods.

The full press release with all the details is available at this link.

While SEEDS is an important program it is only one of many things Ms. Brodie has been involved in. She served on the Board of Trustees of North Carolina Central University for 6 years including a term as Secretary.  She was on the Board of the American Dance Festival for 19 years and President in 1988. She served on the Board of the Durham Arts Council for 14 years and held various offices including President. She is still active with the SarahP. Duke Gardens.

With the Community Service Award, Ms. Brodie was also inducted into the Paul Harris Society and a $1,000 contribution is being  made in her name to the Rotary Foundation.

I first met Brenda casually at a Duke event back in the late 80’s and only found out later that she was married to Keith Brodie, the President of Duke. Frankly I was a little surprised about the connection because she is so unassuming, approachable and even humble, certainly not what I had expected of the president of a prestigious university.  Many years later I got to know her better when I moved to Forest Hillsand became a neighbor. But our most common bond was through another neighbor who became a close mutual friend.

This was a much better vantage point to observe the kindness and unselfishness of both Brenda and Keith and explains why she has quietly worked behind the scenes at SEEDS to help so many people.

I didn’t know before she was nominated for this award that her father had been a Rotarian for 50 years, but it is certainly no surprise because she so exemplifies Service Above Self.

Submitted by Jay Zenner

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