Local Rotary Club president leads in trying times

Don Lackey

Port Isabel’s local Rotary Club recently bestowed an unprecedented heroism award to their outgoing club president, Don Lackey, for his selfless leadership in 2020, a most trying year for everyone.

Don Lackey, a local resident of Laguna Vista and Rotarian served as Club President from July 2020 through July 2021 – right smack in the height of the COVID 19 pandemic, making Club gatherings and service projects – which are the heart and soul of Rotary – near impossible.  “We resorted to meeting via zoom, like many other organizations, but it wasn’t the same and there was a time I remember thinking, said Lackey, “we could lose our club if we can’t find a way to get together soon”.  Don was steadfast in his leadership and faith that the club would stay together no matter what.  He found ways for the club to continue many of its traditional service projects in non-traditional ways.

Despite the pandemic the club was able to continue its American Flag program, its largest fund raising project, placing nearly 600 flags at homes and businesses on six flag holidays throughout the Port Isabel, Laguna Vista and South Padre Island communities.  Toward the latter part of the year, the Club successfully held its very first “Hackers and Slackers Super Fun Golf Tournament with celebrity host and former Astros pitcher Jose Guzman.  With funds raised through these two projects the club donated monies to three local food pantries on South Padre Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Heights, the local Boy Scouts, our local First Responder Endowment Fund, the local Blue Sunday organization for foster teens, and gave four scholarships to Port Isabel High School Seniors.

The club also continued its annual tradition of donating books for National Reading Day to the First Grade students at Garriga and Derry and Dictionaries to the Third Grade students as well.  For many of these children these are the first books they receive of their very own so it is a special and treasured project for the club members.

Of additional significance were the new WAVE stop benches that the Club was able to purchase and install, in conjunction with Port Isabel Public Works and the SPI WAVE Transportation Administration.  10 new and improved benches were placed throughout the Port Isabel and Laguna Heights area WAVE stops for improved and safer seating for the residents of those communities.

None of this would have been possible without the leadership, courage and perseverance of the Club’s President, Don Lackey. The club wishes to thank and honor him for his selfless service to others, the community and the world.