It was with great gratitude that the Lake Wylie Rotary Club presented the “Unsung Hero of the Year Award” to our Fellow Community Service Friend – Monique Boekhout on Thursday evening, May 5. She is originally from Belgium and has had a remarkable career and personal life that has taken her around the world. Through each chapter of her life, she has found ways to make a remarkable difference in the community in which she lives as well as in the lives of people half a world away.
With a degree in business, she started her career with Caterpillar in Belgium and grew into a position as the International Liaison between the USA, Belgium and the rest of Europe.
In 1987, Monique accepted a position at the World Bank in Washington, DC, working for the International Finance Corporation. She worked in the Africa Division, concentrating on feasibility studies of projects in then Zaire and Madagascar.
Once she and husband Bob relocated to Lake Wylie, she became equally active and involved in the local community, holding such positions as:
– President of the Lioness Club, opening and managing the Sweet Repeat Thrift shop that raises thousands of dollars each year for local charities
– Chairperson of United Way,
– volunteer and board member of CAAC,
– Secretary for Habitat for Humanity in Clover, SC,
– and board member of the “Good Folks” of York County.
– She has also served on the River Hills Community Association home owners’ board twice, as Director of Maintenance and as Director of Security.
Monique is also very active in her church. For seven years, she was the editor of the River Hills Community Church’s newsletter and started a Communication Committee. She was a member of the Missions Committee and Finance committee. She chaired the local Crop Walk and the Arts and Crafts Festival twice, as well as several other fund raising events.
Monique stayed active outside of her many charity projects. She enjoys gardening, fishing, traveling and sports, especially running and tennis.
For her 50th birthday, Monique wanted to do something special. In 2002, she decided to run the Chicago Marathon but wanted to use that event to kick off and fund raise for something truly remarkable. She founded the Kenya Orphanage Project to protect, nurture and educated children in Nairobi, Kenya, which you all were fortunate to hear about first hand just moments ago.
Monique’s entire life has been an exercise in creating a positive impact on the lives of those around her and even in the farthest reaches of the world. Her humor, enthusiasm and determination make her an ideal example of the spirit of service that is at the heart of Rotary. It is for this reason that we proudly name Monique Boekhout as “Unsung Hero of the Year Award” for 2016.