LETHBRIDGE - 2018 will mark 100 years for the Lethbridge Rotary Club in the city, and members and organizers are getting ready for that celebration.
Pat Killoran, Chair of the Rotary 100th Anniversary Committee, says there's not many organizations in the city that can say they've been here for 100 years.
"Some were here 100 years ago, and some are here now, but say that we were here at both points in time is quite an accomplishment for the Rotary Club and Lethbridge. Over that time, there's been a lot of service projects completed both in the city and around the world," Killoran said.
The local Rotary story began in 1918 when meetings were originally held at the Lethbridge YMCA, and then moved to the Marquis Hotel.
During the first year, the Club canvassed for Salvation Army funds, presented a Christmas party for children of soldiers, and contributed to the Soldiers' War memorial and the Great War Vets Building Fund, as well as the Nursing Mission.
There are five Rotary clubs in Lethbridge today, with over 200 members.
Killoran says it's the projects built around town that carry the legacy of Rotary.
"As you travel around Lethbridge, you'll see the downtown fountain at Galt Gardens, the building up at the soccer centre in the north, there's a really nice playground at the sugar bowl in town. On top of that, a number of parks have been built over the years that people see when they drive around the city. From a city perspective, that's what Rotary has meant to Lethbridge and as Rotarians it's an opportunity to enjoy each others fellowship and build friendships," Killoran continued.
On top of the projects mentioned by Killoran, there are a number of other projects completed in Lethbridge throughout the past 100 years.
Those include a bathing beach and playground at Henderson Lake in the 1920's, planted trees on North Parkside Drive and 16 Street, a Rotary Park in West Lethbridge, and the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park.
More recently, Rotary Club projects include the Rotary Spray Park at Henderson Lake Pool, patio space at CASA, the Rotary Dragonboat Festival, and the annual Seniors' Christmas dinner.
"I've always said that Rotary is a service club, and it's incredibly important, but it's not just about the service," Killoran continued. "The friends you make and the experience you get through giving back to the city and around the world is incredible. I probably owe Rotary more than Rotary owes me, it's a great organization to be part of."
A release from the club also states that local Rotary clubs are involved in international projects, such as the Los Amigos mission to Mexico, the support of schools in Nepal, Malawi, and Mexico, and medical help in India, Costa Rica and Nepal.
In regard to the anniversary, Killoran says their objective is to celebrate as Rotarians, but to also involve the community in the celebration so that they get a better understanding of what Rotary is and does.
"There's going to be a fair bit of media activity from us, both social and traditional, to try and keep the anniversary relevant until summer. There's a major event taking place on June 9th, which is two weeks before the centennial celebration on June 25th, where we'll be planting 100 trees at Nicolas Sheran Park," he added.
The Vice-President of Rotary International will be on hand for that event, and Killoran says they have some other things planned as well.
"We also have a campaign in the school system for the Grade 3 classes to compete for service hours between the schools. The winning class will receive a pool day at Henderson Lake in June. On top of that, we're looking at having a time capsule that will be filled with Rotary stuff that will be opened in 50 years time."
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