For many in this country, the Rotary Club International is a vague concept that relates to good works, overseas missions and Canadian projects such as education, student exchanges, playground construction and more.
With 1.2 million members, including community leaders, professionals and neighbors enrolled in 3,200 clubs worldwide, the Rotary is a service organisation that supports educational development, ending polio in our lifetime, access to clean water, literacy and maternal health among many other great causes, in our own communities as well as around the world.
The Rotary Integrity Awards is a unique concept where each year, Rotary Clubs reach outside of their own circle to nominate and reward a non-Rotarian who has made a significant contribution to the world. This individual will then be the proud recipient of this prestigious award. This annual award ceremony is hosted by a different club every three years, and the Leduc-Nisku club just completed its second ceremony.
The 18th Annual Capital Region Rotary Integrity Awards ceremony took place on the evening of Wednesday, April 22, at the Nisku Inn and Conference Centre. Eleven Rotary Clubs offered a recipient, while other Rotary clubs conduct their own internal award ceremony.
Lesley Macdonald, the lovely and iconic TV news broadcaster was the master of ceremony. She introduced Linda Robertson, Rotary’s District Governor who oversees 61 Rotary Clubs. This is a full-time, volunteer positon for Ms. Robertson, which her long career as an agricultural economist has prepared her well for.
Eugene Miller, a long-time Leduc resident is the 2015 Integrity Award recipient, chosen by the Leduc-Nisku Rotary Club. His work with teaching English as a second language to new Canadians (ESL) and being a moral and friendly support in their time of need, has earned him the admiration and respect of City leaders and residents at large, and the eager loyalty and gratitude of his students. Eugene gave credit to the Leduc Public Library, where ESL classes are held, and its administrator and staff who have been hugely supportive of his cultural and civic endeavors. A warm and humble man, Mr Miller was pleased with this honor and the lovely black marble trophy he received, which he will undoubtedly share with his beloved students.
Eugene Miller is a busy man, totally dedicated to this community; he is also on the boards of Leduc Parks, Rec & Culture, the Leduc Drug Action Committee and the LYNX Connect Centre. Eugene generous contributions to this city’s well-being is an inspiration. As he shares, “There is always a volunteer opportunity that is a perfect fit for you!”
Each of the other 10 award recipients had a unique story to tell. Tammy Greidanus has enthusiastically created “Gilmore Park”, the first Community League in Sherwood Park. With tireless fundraising and a Rotary grant, her group built a new playground, and would not stop there…12 neighbors fundraised to travel to Honduras, where they assembled the re-purposed playground in a poor community where children didn’t know what a playground is!
While bravely battling an aggressive form of MS and a brain tumor, with an extensive background in marketing, retail and hospitality, Terry Merry-Thomson of the Edmonton Sunrise Rotary Club has been dynamically raising funds for the MS Society through Big Stick Coats, designing covers for walking canes. She also joined the Edmonton Caring Clowns, and is an advocate for the deaf as a sign language interpreter. Her cheerful demeanor is inspiring to all who meet her.
Edmonton singer-songwriter Maria Dunn has used her music to share a strong and poignant message of social justice, tolerance, labor movements and struggling immigrants.
Dr. Louis Kwantes is a Veterinary doctor, president of the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association and involved with the Christian Veterinarian Mission. Dr. Kwantes attended this award function with his two children, both Rotary exchange students. Allison spent one year in France and Derrick one year in Thailand. On the threshold of adulthood, both Kwantes youths are grateful for the educational and cultural opportunity granted to them.
Rotary Clubs offer a unique stage where friendship, global caring and social awareness merge to create strong support for critical causes. To find out more about your local Rotary Club, contact Gary Sandercock, Chair of the Leduc-Nisku Rotary Club, Robert Cam, Chair of the Wetaskiwin Rotary Club, or trust the internet to help you in this quest. It might lead you to discover that you already know several Rotarians in your community!