Brad Ledwith makes way for longtime Rotarian Peter Anderson

Published in the July 9-23, 2014 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Staff Report

Photo by Marty Cheek  Outgoing  Rotary President Brad Ledwith presents the club’s charter to incoming President Peter Anderson.

Outgoing Rotary President Brad Ledwith presents the club’s charter to incoming President Peter Anderson. Photo by Marty Cheek

As the outgoing president of the Rotary Club of Morgan Hill, Brad Ledwith sat with his daughter Brooke and laughed uproariously as he listened to the friendly, light-hearted ribbing he received at his “debunking.” An annual tradition the club holds at the end of June when the leadership passes to the next president, the debunking for Ledwith took place June 25 at Morgan’s Cove, the pirate-themed home of Rotary Club member Rich Firato.

Club member and debunking organizer Steve Schwab opened up the festivities with a few jesting remarks about Ledwith’s one-year term as president:

“Having fun was one of Brad’s major goals for the year. He had a couple of other goals but nobody really knows what they were. I don’t think he mentioned them once until the (Rotary Club) meeting last week when the year was over and that made them easy to achieve. Wait a minute, I gotta take a minute to text Brad. Oh, by the way, if any of you want to text or look at the Internet or listen to music on your iPhone during this skit, that’s fine and dandy. Because we can do both at once. Brad taught us how to do that.”

The debunking featured about 20 minutes of various skits acted by Rotary members reflecting Ledwith’s character and life history including his love for the San Diego Padres baseball team and his time in college. Each scenario was separated by a Greek chorus-style musical number featuring Rotarians Charles Musich and Roger Malech (playing Stevie Wonder).

Ledwith said he enjoyed every moment of his Rotarian friends poking gentle mockery at him.

“I’ve seen these debunkings for 13 years and you always kind of go, that’s an inside joke, but they create this out of love for the president,” he said. “And it was so much fun to make fun of me and the idiosyncrasies that I have. It really was a great time celebrating the year. It’s a lot of hard work during the year, but when you look back at it, it’s a great time.”

Ledwith said that the best part of being in the Rotary is working together on projects that benefit the Morgan Hill community.
“If you’re that kind of a (generous) person, this is the group that’s fun to be with,” he said. “Being able to have fun and serve our community is the best thing.”

Among the club’s accomplishments during Ledwith’s term as president is the installation of a new playground at Nordstrom Elementary School and a new bocce ball court at the Centennial Senior Center.

One of Ledwith’s favorite projects was providing high quality dictionaries to all the third graders in the Morgan Hill Unified School District. The club received 750 thank-you letters from the children.

“They remember who gave them the books,” he said. “We’ve created a brand in Morgan Hill and third graders remember us.”

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The new president of the Rotary Club of Morgan Hill is Peter Anderson, a long-time member whom Ledwith calls a “fantastic individual” who will do “fantastic things” with the club.

“The Rotary experience of working together to build a better world is punctuated by individual moments that linger forever in our memories,” Anderson said. “The cherished moments of our various Rotary experiences are made possible only with the generous and long-standing support of the entire Morgan Hill community. Businesses and individuals alike have regularly come out to support and enjoy our fundraising events, such our recent Dazzle dinner show and our August golf tournament.”

The annual debunking of the outgoing president reflects the jovial spirit of the club, he said.

“I don’t think we’ve ever been big on solemnity when it comes to recognizing good deeds of anyone in the club, no matter how good the deeds might be,” he said. “We have an intense, foregone respect for each other, so spreading accolades on any one individual borders on the mundane. We all would much prefer to have fun by accentuating and exaggerating individual idiosyncrasies or leadership styles that we’ve all enjoyed putting up with throughout the Rotary year. The debunking is always one of the most enjoyable parties in the Rotary year.”

Marty Cheek

Marty Cheek

Publisher at Morgan Hill Life
Marty Cheek is the publisher of Morgan Hill Life and Gilroy Life. He is also the co-author with Congressman Jerry McNerney of the book Clean Energy Nation: Freeing America From the Tyranny of Fossil Fuels.
Email: marty@morganhilllife.com
Phone: (408) 782-7575
Marty Cheek