Posted by Roger Rollins on Jan 04, 2018
The "Athens Rotary Club Rotarian of the Year" is reserved for the club member who best exemplifies the fellowship and the ideals of Rotary as interpreted in the Rotary motto, "service above self". 
The 2017 Award was presented to Sarah Baker for her extraordinary leadership and enthusiasm while serving as Rotary Foundation Chair.  In particular, for her organizing an amazing indoor Yard Sale Fundraiser for the Rotary Foundation.
Recognizing the need for a big fundraiser, Sarah started planning early in 2017.  She announced to the Club in February that she had planned a Rotary Foundation Yard Sale Fundraiser for June 3rd and 4th!  This was not going to be an ordinary yard sale.  It was to be a large indoor yard sale and she would provide the venue.   It would take place at her farm about 4.5 mi SE of Athens on Angel Ridge Road in her large riding-horse arena.  Most items would not be priced, but the buyer would pay what they felt the item was worth to them. 
From mid-April she started collecting items for the yard sale donated by Rotarians and others and storing them in her horse arena.  Sarah sought support for the yard sale in the newspapers, with posters in store fronts, meeting with local leaders, businesses and other organizations.  On May 19th The Athens Messenger ran an article entitled “Not Your Average Yard Sale”.  The Rotary Foundation Yard Sale Fundraiser had become a huge Community Event. 
Sarah worked tirelessly from mid-April to the date of the event.  Collecting items to be sold, signing up Rotarians (and often their spouses) to work on the big task of sorting donated items and arranging items on the many display tables and clothes-racks for the sale.  And then there was the tearing down of it all after the two-day Yard Sale was over.  Many Rotarians and their spouses helped in the set-up, managing things at the two-day sale, and tear-down and clean-up after the event.
How much of a Community Event was it?  A Thank You message titled “It’s Amazing What We Can Do Together” appearing in the The Athens Messenger in early July listed 21 Businesses that made In-Kind Donations and 57 Businesses Whose Employees Donated Items to be sold.  On the day of the Yard Sale the floor of the horse arena was full of items.  Here is an album of photos taken on the first day of the Yard Sale.
This community effort made over $5,500 during the two-day event.  All proceeds will be contributed to the Rotary Foundation supporting their effort to eradicate polio worldwide.
Thank you Sarah Baker, and thank you Athens Community!