Springfield Rotary Club honors commitment to community service

This year's Roarty Club awards went to Susan Jaye-Kaplan and NBA Hall of Famer Spencer Haywood.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hundreds of people came out to the Basketball hall of fame on Friday to celebrate two people who have focused on helping others. The Springfield Rotary Club teamed up with the Basketball Hall of Fame to present their “Service Above Self Awards.”

These awards go to someone in the local community and to a national basketball figure for their community service. This year’s awards went to Susan Jaye-Kaplan and Spencer Haywood.

Jaye-Kaplan has distributed 500,000 books to third and fourth graders over the last 8 years. “I know other people in this community who do tremendous amount of work that I work with,” she said. “Volunteers, teachers and educators… they’re equally as deserving. I’m very grateful for this.”

Haywood is a member of the Basketballl Hall of Fame Class of 2015 and has traveled the country speaking to youth groups. “We need to really focus in on community work,” he told 22News, “and keep doing all the things that we’re doing to keep our great country in this light that we have it in.”

The award’s name is inspired by the Rotary Club’s motto: “Service above self.”