The Red Deer Rotary Club recently achieved a milestone in their club when they celebrated their 90th anniversary on Monday.
When the club was founded in Red Deer in 1923, it was the smallest city in Canada to have a Rotary Club. According to Ken Johnston, current president of Rotary Club of Red Deer Downtown, Rotary in Red Deer has been special from the beginning.
Now with 105 full-fledged members and about 15 honourary members, this Rotary Club is the biggest service club in the City. This allows for a fair bit of activity in the community.
“Being a large club has its advantages. There are a lot of different backgrounds, a tremendous cross-section of the community here — politicians, bankers, real estate agents, lawyers, self-employed people, teachers, principals, even the mayor. It is a broad representation of the community.”
Rotary clubs are an international organization that focuses on ‘service above self’ and is committed to enhancing local communities as well as the global community.
The Red Deer Rotary Club has been a pinnacle contributor to the local community through the various organizations they support. In 2012 the Club supported a selection of local organizations making six cheque presentations to the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter, Red Deer Food Bank Society, Safe Harbour Society, Red Deer Christmas Bureau Society, Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Society and Youth and Volunteer Centre of Red Deer.
Throughout the years there have been many milestones and major projects that are attributed to the dedication of Rotary Club of Red Deer.
Each year, Rotary helps 22-25 students with their secondary schooling by providing scholarships off of the 50/50 program.
“Another major accomplishment would be the inbound and outbound foreign exchange students. Our student from this year is from Finland and we have young man in Japan. We have been doing this for 25 plus years that has created a lot of international goodwill. This has been a tremendous accomplishment.”
In order to have achieved such great success in the past nine decades, Rotary recognizes the importance of all the community members that support them.
“We have had fantastic participation by the community, fantastic support by the community in all our fundraisers and so on. You couldn’t do that in a city that isn’t as generous as Red Deer,” said Johnston.
“I think the community values our logo, our reputation and our standing. If we put on a fundraiser such as the hockey games, people understand that this dollar they are giving is going to do something in the community. I think more than anything that is why we have enjoyed the success that we have in Red Deer.”
With the arrival of the 90th anniversary the club continues to look to the future with their centennial in 2023. “I can see the boards over the next few years saying in 2023 to mark the anniversary with some community legacy that still has to be established. Our motto is ‘service above self’ so that is a gift I think we will make to Red Deer 10 years from now, but so far we have no firm plans.”