Several Breakfast Club Rotarians decided that the money from the George Sherman Memorial Fund should be used to build a Basketball Court at Hartnett Elementary School in Truxton, New York. George was a champion of local youth and his heart was in Truxton.

Until now the children in Truxton shot baskets on a rim against the school building in the parking lot. When ever a car came by the game would pause until the coast was clear. This seemed like the perfect project to immortalize George so the project quickly moved from idea to working plan to reality.

Brian Kenney, a Breakfast Club Rotarian and project manager for the Hayner-Hoyt Corporation, immediately took an interest. After drawing the plan and scheduling the project, he coordinated the club members and everyone pitched in with money, time, talent and favors to see this project come to life. What follows is a story in pictures of how it all went.

Who is George Sherman?

Folks who have been Breakfast Club members for a few years will remember George as an always happy caring fellow. He happened to be the spouse of one of our former members Nancy Sherman who at the time was an integral part of a growing club trying to find it’s way. He was also a very worthy and popular choice as our first appointed Paul Harris Fellow to an individual that was not a Rotarian.

For this group of people it’s hard to talk about George Sherman without mentioning our Golf Tournament. In fact for some of us, that’s our only connection.

To say that our Golf Tournament would never have launched without George is probably a stretch, but to say that it would run without a hitch and turn out to be an instant  then continued shining light on the circuit because of his efforts would be fact. Our tournament changed the way tournaments in our area were run by raising the bar. We proved that a well organized newcomer with a good idea can hit the ground running and we have to credit George and his tireless efforts in its development. From the organization, to the preparation, and the day of the event activities George gave his time and shared his experience and guaranteed our success.

Why would any non-member get so involved with a Rotary Club project that has nothing to gain from its success? Twelve years ago none of us knew who George Sherman was and in turn, we were all strangers to him. This is the true Rotary spirit that we all aspire to…Service above self. Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

We were not the only beneficiaries of Georges generosity, he gave his time and experience to many other worthy charitable tournaments and activities. He officiated Basketball, baseball, soccer and football, served as chairman and treasurer of his church and was forever active in church and community affairs. In fact during his tour of duty with the United States Air Force he served as Recreation Director at the Dover Air Force Base. He said his priorities were God, family, community and golf. It seemed clear that this was all a labor of love.

While all these deeds are great, what struck me most about George was his demeanor. Right to the bitter end of his struggle with Diabetes I don’t believe I ever saw George in a foul mood or down. He always had a good word and a smile on his face.

It is something special to be recognized by the Cortland Rotary Breakfast Club and be designated a Paul Harris Fellow, but it is extraordinary indeed when the honoree is a person outside the Rotary organization.

George Sherman was a worthy and popular choice for a Paul Harris Fellow and it’s only right that he would have been our first outside Rotary.

Nancy designated our club to receive donations in lieu of flowers and for that we are proud. Her only request was that we use the money collected to help out a youth or recreational cause, causes that George lived for and causes we want to be involved with. Giving is something George and Nancy always did well.

So then the George Sherman Memorial fund was established and donations in George’s memory were collected. After much research and deliberation the Club decided that a project in Truxton made sense since it was where George grew up and it was where he lived most of his life. The idea of a basketball court at the Truxton Elementary School (Hartnett Elementary) was decided on as the project and while it was a major undertaking for a small club, we are blessed with several quality people working in the construction business that had the connections, the resources and the smarts to tackle this complicated endeavor.

Everyone he touched dearly misses George. Sherman Court is our way of making a permanent and lasting tribute to a good friend and a dedicated community servant.

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