Albion Rotary Club’s Shelley Mawhorter, left, presented Marilyn and Bill Emmert with the club’s Citizen of the Year award.

ALBION — Sometimes, you can tell a lot about a couple by their vacation.

Not what they did or where they went, instead, how they reacted to it.

About 30 years ago, Bill and Marilyn Emmert went to Hawaii, a long anticipated getaway for the rural Albion couple.

So how did the Emmerts like their vacation in paradise?

“It was supposed to be our dream vacation,” Marilyn said. “It was OK, but we didn’t bring home any lasting memories of it.”

The next year, the Emmerts took another trip — to Jamaica — to build churches.

That’s what the Emmerts, who share their philanthropy locally as well as abroad, are like.

The Albion Rotary Club recognized the Emmerts as its Citizens of the Year at a recent Rotary meeting.

“We thought we were there to give a talk,” Marilyn said.

“I fully did not expect that,” Bill said.

The Emmerts were nominated by Albion Lions Club President Stan Jacob.

“Bill and Marilyn go about their lives quietly, without a lot of ‘show,’” Jacob wrote in his nomination letter. “They have devoted time and effort as well as financially. Each is a worthy nominee. I see them as a dynamic benevolent couple.”

According to the nomination letter, Marilyn has been involved in: Habitat for Humanity, working on builds internationally as well as homes in Noble and LaGrange counties; works with the Noble County Community Foundation on multiple projects; an active, helping member for the Albion Lions; works as a Spanish helper at Central Noble Elementary; and is a former member of the Noble County Pork Producers.

Bill served three terms on the Central Noble School Board, was a member of the 4-H Beef Show Committee, serves on the Arc Noble County Foundation board; Junior Achievement board; works with Pilot House in Albion; has done playground work at the elementary school; chairs and is principle organizer of “Common Ground” for the food reserve bank. Bill has also worked for a Noble County Ag Cooperative project that has raised more than $300,000 to help people in foreign countries help themselves.

The Emmerts are also the guiding force behind the new recreation center being planned west of Albion.

“If the Albion recreational center project that has been initiated by Marilyn, with some assistance from Bill, comes to fruition, it will be a legacy type project,” Jacob wrote.

“I enjoy it,” Bill said of the couple’s philanthropy. “It takes so little for us to do it, and it means a lot to (others).”

“It’s fun,” Marilyn said. “You have energy to do the things you like to do.”

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