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Rob Martin receives Rotary Distinguished Service Award

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Chinook Enterprises CEO, Rob Martin, plays key role in community leadership.

Rob Martin’s first experience with Rotarians was in 1969 as a 15-year-old Scout Leader with the Boy Scouts. Rob recalls asking a local Seattle Rotary club for money to buy Christmas presents for a group of Cub Scouts with disabilities. The club obliged.

Several years later, a 21-year-old Rob Martin attended his first Rotary meeting as a guest of his father-in-law. The experience of seeing a group of successful businessmen all in one place, with a mission of helping others made a life-long impression on Rob’s young mind.

Shortly after Rob founded Chinook Enterprises in 1980, he was invited to join the Burlington Rotary and jumped at the opportunity. “Back then I needed to be close to business people who could advise me on the road ahead, people I trusted. But I had little understanding of Rotary’s tremendous global impact for good. It’s what continues to keep me actively involved to this day.”

Throughout his 36-year tenure as a Rotarian, Rob has held a vast number of leadership roles including the highly regarded District Governor position. In spite of all this, Rob was recently caught completely by surprise when he was awarded The Rotary Foundation Distinguished Service Award.

The official award was presented by Past District Governor Bill Robson, who explained that the Award is the Foundation’s highest service recognition and is given to Rotarians who have demonstrated exemplary service to the Foundation. Recipients must have received the Citation for Meritorious Service four years prior to be eligible for this award.

“To be one of only 50 Rotarians receiving the award each year, from the 1.2 million Rotarians around the world, is absolutely incredible,” said Beverly Harrington, Burlington Rotary President. “Rob’s continued leadership has made a significant impact both at the club level and world-wide.”

Part of Rotary’s uniqueness lies in the fact that Rotarians reside in every corner of the world. This enables people-to-people connections that make it possible to tackle such ominous projects like the eradication of polio and quick response to world disasters.

“Essentially Rotary has its heart and arms wrapped around the world thanks to Rotarians like Rob,” stated Harrington.

Today Rob has become one of those ‘trusted advisers’ he sought out years ago. “Being an active Rotarian requires an ongoing investment of time and resources, but I can confidently say that I have received more than I have given. So much more.”

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