Gavel handed over for new year of leadership in Rotary

Staff photo by Hannah LaClaire New Rotary Club of Nashua’s President Ian Bowker is sworn in by his predecessor, Deborah Novotny on Monday.

NASHUA – In a moment that Rotary Club of Nashua then-President Deborah Novotny called “bittersweet,” she gave up both her title and her gavel as she passed them to Ian Bowker, the newest president.

“It’s not easy to fill the shoes of a president,” Bowker said Monday night, “and there are a lot of them in this room.”

Bowker was officially inducted into the club in 2011 and was selected by his fellow members to become what Bowker said he believes is the 99th president of the club.

One of Bowker’s goals as president is to encourage membership to participate in more events, in addition to increasing public awareness. He called Rotary one of the “world’s best kept secrets.”

He plans to continue to sell Rotary trees, support Catie’s Closet and begin plans to celebrate the club’s 100th anniversary within the near future.

Staff photo by Hannah LaClaire Nashua Rotarian Bill Barry hands Leon Barry, Rotarian of the Year, an old club code of ethics on Monday.

Bowker thanked Novotny for her service as president, asking the crowd, “How can I follow that?”

And indeed, at the beginning of the meeting, a song was dedicated to her, with lyrics rhyming “she is our president” with “heaven sent,” and other reflections on the last year, met with much laughter and applause.

Leon Barry was named the 2018 Rotarian of the Year, described as “quietly charitable” and having performed many smalls acts of kindness.

Barry said the club is the greatest organization of which he has been part. Of the award and distinction he said, “I will cherish it very much.”

After the seated dinner and passing of the gavel, Bowker officially concluded his first meeting as club president, having discussed some of the previous initiatives and goals, while wondering, “What will this year bring?”

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or