Golden Boy: Harold Armstrong Achieves 50 Years of Perfect Attendance

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Golden Boy: Harold Armstrong Achieves 50 Years of Perfect Attendance

by Ted Streuli

On June 4, 1974, Richard Nixon was still president, although Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein published “All the President’s Men” that month, and Nixon wasn’t president much longer.
That same month, singer Alanis Morisette was born in Canada, shortstop Derek Jeter was born in New Jersey and Harold Armstrong became a member of Club 29.

He hasn’t missed a meeting since.

“He is a humble person, he is a loving person,” Rev. Jonathan Clinesmith, the pastor at St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Midwest City said in 2022. “He is a strong person, but he always uses his strength in a good way, on behalf of others.”

That might have been what Tom Denner saw in Harold, too. The gregarious Tom was an active Rotarian who traveled extensively with Harold for work and took Harold along to meetings, including a memorable visit to Club 1 in Chicago.

“He was a frontman’s frontman,” Harold said. “He gave me such a good impression of Rotary.”

That was all it took. Tom and George Brewer sponsored Harold, who quickly became an active member, then served on the board and soon became the Club 29 president.

Harold isn’t one to stand back and watch.

That all-in attitude made it easy for Harold to maintain his attendance, even at a time when makeups were required the same week as the missed meeting and online attendance wasn’t even a dream.

Harold recalled that when he joined, Frank Carr had just celebrated 50 years and Ed Leslie had about 60.
“I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever seen,” Harold said. “[My 50 years] not a world record or anything. It’s just a standard to try to reach. You have  to be intentional about it.”

Harold said active participation has allowed him to make the most of Rotary, forming relationships that led to opportunities. Among them was getting to know Wally Bonifield, a relationship that led Harold and Tom to co-chair the Easter Seals telethon. Harold, calling on his years as a radio personality, hosted the event on local television for 17 years.

“We raised a lot of money,” Harold said. “That was one of the things that Rotary allowed me to do. If people just try, they can make some wonderful relationships.”

That was merely a byproduct of Harold’s interest in the club. A successful businessman, he had plenty of contacts, but signing on to serve the community introduced him to a new set of friends.

“You want to make a difference, and you make a difference by taking part in an organization,” Harold said. “I never got into Rotary to use it as a tool; I didn’t need it. I did it more for the community activity.”

The year he served as club president he attended a Rotary International convention in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was the first time he or his wife, Linda, had been out of the country. Recently married, they made a honeymoon out of it.

“Linda and I will never forget our trip to San Paulo, Brazil, to attend the Rotary International Convention,” Harold wrote in his State of the Club Report for the June 28, 1982, OKC Rotary News. “The experience truly enriched our appreciation for the dynamic international significance of Rotary.”

During his presidency, 1981-1982, Club 29 had 379 members. That was before the classification system was loosened and before women could join; both changes fueled membership, and Harold tried to get acquainted with most of them.

Jerry Gamble, who served on the Club 29 board during Harold’s presidential term, said Harold exemplifies loyalty, integrity and kindness.

“He believes in the concept of community service, whether it’s his church or church foundation or CBC or the Rotary Club. He’s very dedicated to what he does. He believes in Rotary.”

Since joining, Harold has made a point of sitting at a different table each week, getting to know a different group of members.

“If I belong, I belong,” he said.

Harold Armstrong, a 50 year member of the Rotary Club of Okla. City, reviews a scrapbook from his 1981-82 Presidential Year. Harold achieved 50 years of Perfect Attendance June 2024

1 Comments for : Golden Boy: Harold Armstrong Achieves 50 Years of Perfect Attendance
    • Dick Hefton
    • June 10, 2024

    Wonder tribute to a “Mister Rotary!”
    Beyod Admiratin!
    This story we all need to know!

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