Tarpon Rotary hails restaurateur as top member for year
TARPON SPRINGS - Julie Russell, part owner of Rusty Bellies Waterfront Restaurant, has been named Rotarian of the Year for 2013 by the Rotary Club of Tarpon Springs.Russell received the award last month during the Tarpon Rotary's installation banquet of officers for 2014.Russell's extensive contributions to the club and numerous Rotary events influenced her elevation to member of the year, according to a Rotary press release. Those efforts included volunteering at the annual Rotary-sponsored triathlon in September and opening Rusty Bellies for a spaghetti dinner fundraiser in May.Russell has owned the restaurant in the Sponge Docks with her husband, daughters and son-in-law for eight years and is relatively new to the Rotary Club, having joined 2 1/2 years ago. But the contribution of her time and resources has helped the club achieve its goal of putting service above self, the press release stated."Rotary has given me far more than anything that I have done since I became a member," Russell said when asked about her Rotary service.Russell was named a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow earlier this year. The recognition is bestowed primarily to members who donate $1,000 or more to the Annual Programs Fund, PolioPlus or the Humanitarian Grants Program, according to the Rotary International website.