Rotary Invites Surprise Guest

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By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Tuesday, August 22, 2006

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON -- The Texan Rotarian who made sure Town Manager James Barrington's mother was being taken care of after she had a stroke, was one of many who came out to honor him at his farewell party Sunday.

At the request of the Hampton Rotary Club, John Henson, the district governor of the Texas Rotary District 5083, flew in Friday to attend the Texas barbecue as a special surprise for Barrington.

The club wanted to do something extra special for their fellow Rotarian, who will be leaving his post as the town's manager at the end of the week to return to his home state of Texas.

"We wanted to give James a gift that nobody else could give him and we thought about this guy and contacted him," said Rotarian Brad Jett.

Jett said Barrington and Henson formed a special friendship through Rotary when his mother got sick in October.

Barrington asked Henson if the local Rotary Club in his mother's hometown of Henderson, Texas could watch over her while she was in the hospital.

"I explained to John that my mother just had a stroke and I was unable to get in touch with her by phone," Barrington said. "I told him that I think she is giving up and that all she needs is someone to come and visit her and know that she's loved."

Barrington said though he only met Henson once at a Rotary convention in Chicago, he went above and beyond in his time of need.

"He rounded up Rotarians and they sent such an outpouring of love to my mother," Barrington said.

Henson said a lot of members in the Rotary club in Henderson knew Barrington's mother.

"One (Rotarian) in particular called me on my cell phone and said I'm here with your mother now in the hospital room and I'm going to hold the phone up to her ear so you can talk to her,'" Barrington said. "She did that on numerous occasions over the next few weeks and it was absolutely wonderful."

Barrington said Henson was also there when his mother died in April.

Henson said he was honored to be asked to attend Barrington's farewell party.

"I told them I would jump through hoops to be there," Henson said. "Number 1, I needed to be here for my friend James. And No. 2 I have to get away from the hot, east Texas weather."

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