Rotarian of the Month

Celebrating excellence in service: Our Rotarian of the Month

Jack McKnight

Meet the inspirational origin of our Rotarian poetic tradition: Jack McKnight, the original Harrisburg Rotary Poet. Over 30 years ago, Jack, a World War II Infantry Veteran and Civil Engineer, began crafting whimsical poems to honor members for their Perfect Attendance.

His signature opening line, “This Rotarian of whom I speak…”, set the stage for his delightful 12-line verses, composed with a typewriter and a touch of gin-fueled creativity. Despite facing health challenges, Jack’s poetic prowess remained undiminished. When his speech was affected by a stroke, Rex Moran stepped in to read his verses aloud, continuing the tradition.

As Jack’s health declined, the idea emerged to use these poems to recognize exceptional service within our club. Rex Moran, seeing the value in Jack’s tradition, took up the mantle of writing the poems. Thus, the tradition of honoring a Rotarian of the Month was born, with the Club President and directors carefully selecting each honoree.

Through the years, the tradition has evolved, with occasional guest poets like Janice Jones and Judith Bretthauer adding their unique voices to the mix. Today, we proudly carry on Jack’s legacy, celebrating the dedication and service of our Rotarians month after month.