By Wayne Groutage
In the November 26, 1953 issue of the Castle News the following story appeared:
“The Castlegar Rotary Club, sponsored by the Trail Rotary Club, was officially chartered on November 18, 1953, and celebrated the event at a gala presentation banquet at the Kinnaird Improvement Society Hall on Saturday, November 29, 1953, with 22 charter members, and many spouses and dignitaries present. Les Campbell, owner and publisher of the Castle News, was installed as the first of the Club’s presidents”
At their meeting last week, members of the Castlegar Rotary Club celebrated 60 years of service to the community.
One of the 22 charter members of that club in 1953 was Jim Lamont, now also celebrating 60 years as a Rotarian. Jim entertained members of the club with his memories of how he joined Rotary and the first few years of the club, including some of their first community service projects.
Jim remembered, “Our first project, an obvious necessity in the growing community (and to help the fire department find houses that were on fire), was the labour-intensive operation of identifying and putting correct addresses on all private residences and businesses in Castlegar. It was begun in March of 1954 and completed, together with a first directory, in early May. There were over 500 addresses (no phone numbers) in that directory. West’s Store held a sale on house numbers.”
One of the club’s newest and youngest members, Stacey Cassidy, spoke of how her time at a Rotary-sponsored youth leadership program sparked her interest in becoming a Rotarian. It was her observation of how members of the club worked so hard to be of service that convinced her to join.
Also on hand to help mark the club’s 60th, was past Rotary District Governor Michelle Lee. Michelle made a special presentation to Rotary partner Irene Furey of the new “Service Above Self Partner’s Award” for her 20 years of service to Rotary with the Youth Exchange program. Michelle stated that only 100 of these awards were given out around the world.
The evening concluded with a Powerpoint presentation with pictures of some of the many projects that the club has done in the community in the past 60 years. Included were the construction of the Rota Villa seniors’ housing project, construction of the health care building in front of Talarico Place, the Rotary skateboard park, the highway interchange fountain and garden, creation of Zuckerberg Island Park, the Green Gym equipment at Twin Rivers Park, cabins at Camp Koolarie, and a patio and gazebo at Talarico Place. The club also sponsors a number of SHSS and Selkirk scholarships, has made several significant donations to the library, the Community Complex, the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, and the Red Cross, and supports Miss Castlegar, a Youth Exchange program, and an Interact Club – a service club for high school students.
Rotarians, pictured below, repainting the Castlegar CPR Museum