By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Morinville Town Council proclaimed Wednesday Rotary Day in Morinville in recognition of the service club’s one-hundred-and-sixth birthday as an organization. But there was little time for celebration at the club’s Wednesday morning breakfast meeting. In fact, other than a brief mention of the proclamation and a short history of the founding of Rotary, it was straight down to the business of enjoying each other’s fellowship and discussing how the local club of 18 members could continue to make the world a better place.
The situation comes as no surprise to members of the organization, a group of local men and women who take pride in placing service above self. During the club’s roughly one-hour meeting, financial commitments were made to a teen camp and to supply medicine for Honduras. Additionally, the club learned of another local initiative looking for financial support, a program that is looking to empower area youth to prepare them for the struggles of high school.
Two-term club president Syl Haisan, a 20-year Rotarian, said he was attracted to the international organization because of the commitment of the membership. “We get involved in projects and it’s unbelievable sometimes how things get done – fundraising and whatever we have to do in the community,” Haisan said, adding the community is also involved in helping the service club with its various projects, both locally and internationally.
Haisan said he’s been involved with some overseas projects and had the opportunity to see some of the poorer parts of the world. “Our children should go there and see how these kids have to live,” he said. “They just live on basically nothing. They just live right off the land.”
The club president said some of Rotary’s initiatives have included computers for schools in Belize and the establishment of Rotary Park in Morinville. More recently the club assisted with the establishment of an Interact Club at the local high school.
“They are so exciting, these young high school students,” the president said of the MCHS Interact Club. “They’re going out there and doing their own fundraising and getting all excited keeping the kids on projects. We think it’s really great.”
Another community-minded member of the Rotary Club of Morinville is Bob Taylor, who joined Rotary about 15 months ago. Taylor said he had decided to join a humanitarian organization and faced with a number of options he chose Rotary because of the work they do.
“I like what Rotary stands for, both local charities as well as international,” Taylor said. “They take great pride in supporting the world, and they take the same great pride in supporting local events and kids. It is very important to the Rotary Club to spend the time and the money on youth programs and children in general.”
Part of that commitment of time will take place Thursday when Rotary members will travel to Sturgeon Composite High School to interview 13 students interested in taking part in Rotary-sponsored trips.