Project Gaia Co-Founder and Executive Director Harry Stokes was presented the 2013 Eisenhower Humanitarian Award by the Rotary Club of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for his leadership of the global clean fuel initiative Project Gaia, Inc.
The award’s significance goes beyond just its namesake. President Eisenhower was actually the first to receive this award more than four decades ago in California, and less than ten individuals have been honored with it since. The award was re-established in Pennsylvania in 2002 by Gettysburg Rotarians in honor of the 103rd anniversary of Eisenhower’s day of birth.
While Eisenhower is remembered as a WWII general and a stern leader, the award reflects President Eisenhower’s equally committed interest in making the world a better place. Harry accepted the award with a speech at the Rotary luncheon about PGI’s mission, as well as its successes and challenges over the years.
Harry, who won the high-level World Bioenergy Award in 2012, said of Project Gaia, “If we continue to make the progress I think we will, one day we will have a world class organization right here in Gettysburg.”
Upon acceptance of the award, Harry became a Paul Harris Fellow, an honor from Rotary International for those who have made a “tangible and significant assistance for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.”
For his achievements, Harry also received citations from the PA House of Representatives and Senator Richard Alloway II, with the message that, “the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania congratulates Harry Stokes upon his richly deserved recognition; affirmatively states that he is a shining example of community spirit whose many contributions are worthy of deep gratitude and respect.”
Perhaps the most humbling moment for Stokes was a personal letter from Susan Eisenhower, President Eisenhower’s granddaughter and political consultant, commending Harry for representing Eisenhower’s ideas about service work in a tangible way. The letter read, “What I have heard of Project Gaia reminds me that visionaries with a practical bent can change the world–are changing the world.”
The award serves to recognize an individual’s outstanding humanitarian service and positive influence to the betterment of humanity locally or globally.
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