Les Esposito and Larry Thompson have been named Rotarians of the Year for the Rotary Club of Montecito. The club has bestowed the honor only 17 times since its beginning in 1954.

Esposito was invited to join the Rotary Club of Montecito in 1991. He has served on the board of directors for 15 years, was the club’s president from 1996-97 and the club’s foundation president from 1997-98.

Thompson joined the Montecito club in 2007, when he moved from the Santa Barbara Sunrise Rotary Club, which he joined in 1994.

He oversees the Montecito Rotary as the lead club in Rotary District 5240 to support the Ushindi Congo Project for Women, which helps victims of the area’s ongoing war. He worked with the project’s director, Dr. Victoria Bentley, to found a second relief and training center. Both centers provide trauma treatment, vocational training and micro-loans for women war victims, enabling them to support their families and become self-sufficient in the face of terrible abuse and extreme poverty.

Both Esposito and Thompson are Paul Harris Fellow award recipients. The award is given to individuals who make substantial contributions to Rotary humanitarian and educational programs.

Esposito is the executive director and director of development for the Dyslexia Awareness Resource Center in Santa Barbara. Thompson is an architect and principal of Lawrence Thompson Architects Inc. in Santa Barbara.

Locally, the club supports several organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara, the Dyslexia Awareness Resource Center, the Storyteller Children’s Center, SBCC vocational scholarships and the Montecito Rotary Foundation.

The purpose of the Rotary Club of Montecito organization is to support efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational and cultural exchange programs.

For more information on the Rotary Club of Montecito, click here or call club president Harlan Green at 805.681.6363.

— Jennifer Goddard is a publicist.