Graydon attorney wins Rotary Club of Cincinnati’s highest honor

The Rotary Club of Cincinnati pulled a “This Is Your Life”-style surprise on attorney Richard LaJeunesse of Oakley as he was awarded Rotary’s 2022 Walter Emmerling Award. 

The award is The Rotary Club of Cincinnati’s top honor, recognizing someone who exemplifies the Rotary values of service above self, high professional and personal ethics, leadership and promotion of goodwill. LaJeunesse has been an attorney with Cincinnati’s Graydon, Head & Ritchey law firm for 42 years. 

The program honoring LaJeunesse included a lifetime of photos ranging from altar boy and magician through high school sports, degrees in journalism and law, and studies abroad both as a Rotary Scholar studying French, Dutch, German and Flemish languages and later combining his studies at Xavier University with a year at the University of Paris. 

Richard LaJeunesse and his wife, Madeleine, during the ceremony.

LaJeunesse speaks at least six languages and is able to help people in every one, said Mike Levally, who introduced the program. Longtime friends and family joined the program, touting LaJeunesse’s ability to identify needs and quietly meet them with creative solutions and a roll-up-your-sleeves enthusiasm, whether he was mentoring or hosting foreign visitors at his home or charming children with disabilities as a magician.

 In 2006, he received the John W. Warrington Community Service Award from the Cincinnati Bar Association. Within the Rotary Club, he has held leadership offices and championed international projects to bring clean water to Madagascar and improve schools in Ghana as well as doing hometown volunteerism from serving meals at Ronald McDonald House to planting trees. 

“He is able to see the positive in any person and any situation,” said longtime friend and co-worker Eric Okerson of Sherwood.

The Rotary Club of Cincinnati was founded in 1910 as a service and networking organization business and community professionals with a mission to provide selfless service in the community and the world and to meet needs of children with disabilities.

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