"This is a very special honor. It means a lot," said Sledge.
Sledge, who is the immediate past president of the Cleveland club, said the club has a tradition of presenting past presidents with the award but it does not diminish the significance of the honor.
A Paul Harris Fellow receives a special certificate and a gold pin.
To become a fellow $1,000 has to be contributed to the Annual Program Fund, the Polio Plus Fund or the Humanitarian Grants Program of the Rotary Foundation or individual Rotary clubs may honor individuals as Paul Harris Fellows.
These honorees are individuals who meet high professional and personal standards set forth by Paul Harris.
Paul Harris, a Chicago, Ill., attorney founded Rotary International in 1905, a service organization that currently has well over one million members worldwide.
Harris organized the first Rotary Club "in fellowship and friendship" with three clients, Silvester Schele, Gustavus Loehr, and Hiram Shorey.
His initial goal was to create a club of professional and business men for friendship and fellowship. Early on, Harris realized that Rotary needed a greater purpose. While Harris served as president of the Chicago Rotary Club in 1907, the club initiated its first public service project, the construction of public toilets in Chicago.
This step transformed Rotary into the world's first Service Club.
Harris had great ambitions for the growth of Rotary and very early in the organization's history new clubs were started, first on the west coast, and then all over the US and in Europe.
Many notable figures have been named as Paul Harris Fellows, including U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, U.S. astronaut James Lovell, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, Mother Teresa, Arnold Palmer and Jonas Salk.