Rotary Club of Paducah president Dee Dee Whittaker passed the gavel Wednesday to Randy Bridges, the club's next president.

A Paducah native and state representative, Bridges has been involved in Rotary Club for about 10 years, including time spent on the club's board of directors. He is a real estate broker and developer.

"I'm honored and humbled because I see so many -- with the heritage of our club and everybody out there -- there's so many more people that are better qualified than me," he said. "But for them to put that trust in me, it's overwhelming."

Bridges' term is effective July 1.

At Wednesday's meeting, Whittaker's last as president, she thanked Rotarians for their volunteer efforts, announced an award and capped off some of the year's accomplishments. She said Rotarians have inspired her and called it an honor to serve.

"Every year, the Rotary International president and the committee choose a new theme and I just loved this year's theme, 'Be the Inspiration,'" she said. "I think we've embraced that and embodied that and we did a great job of living out that theme this year. I want to thank you, every Rotarian in this room."

One of the meeting's highlights came when Whittaker announced Ralph Young as Rotarian of the Year and presented him with a plaque. Young's volunteer efforts include work on the board of directors, District International Committee, serving as chairman of the grants committee and numerous Rotary projects.

Young said he likes to see the club's giving translated into something good in the world.

"Through these Rotary projects and Rotary International, we do a lot of good things across the globe," he said. "That's kind of where the bottom line is. It doesn't all stay here. It goes to Uganda. It goes to Mexico. It's gone to Zambia. It's gone to LBL (Land Between the Lakes). It's something we're really proud of."

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