There can be few greater life achievements than being honored as “a gift to the world” in a personal letter by the president of a major international service organization.
That is what has happened to Derek Locke, a native of Plymouth, England, who has lived in the U.S. for 30 years. He was described by outgoing Rotary International President K.R. Ravindran as “an extraordinary example of how each Rotarian can make a difference.”
Derek recently was presented with the Rotary International “Service Above Self Award” by then-District Governor Wayne Brown Titus III in a ceremony in Kalamazoo, MI.
What has he done to deserve the honor? Quite a lot.
Derek has been a ShelterBox Ambassador since July 2010, a team coordinator for the Southeast Michigan Ambassador team, and a member of the ShelterBox USA Ambassador Council.
In addition, he recently returned from witkong on ShelterBox’s deployment to the area of Sri Lanka devastated by landslides, an effort that was not unusual for him.
During his years of unpaid volunteer work, Derek has compiled an astounding 38 weeks of service as a ShelterBox response volunteer in Peru, Nigeria, Lebanon, Paraguay, Mexico, Malawi, Chile, Nepal, California, and Fiji, as well as three separate deployments to the Philippines.
Rotary’s highest honor, granted to very few Rotarians worldwide, recognizes those who live up to the organization’s motto, “Service Above Self,” by volunteering their time and talents to help others.
In addition to this latest plaudit, Derek also holds five separate Volunteer Service Awards awarded by U.S. Rotary presidents.
Derek describes his introduction to the ShelterBox program in 2010.
“When I visited my parents in Plymouth, England, being so close to the headquarters, my family decided to visit ShelterBox. I learned much about the operation and was so impressed with what ShelterBox did and the way that they operate, I decided that I needed to do what I could.”
Alex Youlten, ShelterBox’s Community Development Coordinator who worked with Derek in Sri Lanka, says, “Derek’s actions really highlight the strength and potential of the Project Partnership between RI and ShelterBox. His commitment, passion, compassion and meticulous attention to detail are evident in all his work for communities around the world — helping to ensure the right response is delivered in the right way to those who need it the most.”