The New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal

City Rotarians celebrate club’s 85th anniversary

Tim Jaques

CAMPBELLTON – Campbellton’s Rotarians celebrated their 85th anniversary with a gala dinner on last weekend at the Campbellton Regional Memorial Civic Centre at which the keynote address was given by Senator Jim Munson.

At the same time, two well-known local volunteers were awarded prestigious Paul Harris Fellowships.

Rotary is one of the world’s best-known service clubs, having been founded by lawyer Paul Harris in Chicago in 1905. It got its name because the original club used to rotate its meetings among the offices of the members. There are now nearly 34,000 clubs and over one million members worldwide.

Munson, reminisced during his speech about his boyhood in Campbellton in the 1950s as the son of the United Church minister who was also a Rotarian.

He remembered carefree days, and the pleasure he got playing hockey and going to see his heroes, the Campbellton Tigers, play at the old Memorial Gardens back in the days when senior hockey was like a local version of the National Hockey League.

He also spoke of his later years as a journalist for CTV, covering hot spots around the world. He was later director of communications to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

But he remembered best the selfless service to the community given by his parents as volunteers and thought that their commitment to community was also reflected in the Rotary ideals of humanitarian service, encouraging high ethical standards, and helping promote peace.

He and his wife, Munson said, were involved with the Special Olympics in memory of a son who died as an infant.

“It’s what you can do for a life lived, whether it is nine months, or whether it is like my mother, 96 years of standing up for others,” Munson said.

Munson said that as an offshoot of that, he also works to help fight autism, writing a report in the Senate on the subject trying to get a national autism strategy.

This year’s Paul Harris Fellowships were awarded to Dan Willett, manager of the Campbellton CIBC, and Greg Davis, recently elected MLA for Campbellton-Restigouche Centre. Both are well known for their involvement in the community.

The Paul Harris Fellowship was established in 1957 to commemorate the founder of Rotary, involving a donation of at least US$1,000 to a humanitarian foundation established by Rotary.

The contribution is often made on behalf of a candidate to honour him or her, who must still meet guidelines as to his or her service to the community.

Dr. Surya Master is the outgoing president of the Campbellton Rotary Club, which currently has about 15 members. The evening was emceed by president-elect Bob Ewing and his spouse, Jocelyn Paquette.

Ewing said in an interview that he would be taking over as president on July 1 and is already working on a strategic plan.

His focus, he said, would be on literacy, both in Campbellton and in another part of the world, depending on where he can find a matching club.

“If you can’t read and write, you can’t do much of anything. How can you build a strong economy if your workers can’t fill out an application form?”

He said he hoped to form a committee, including teachers, to work on the issue.