Rotarians unite for special night

Rotary District 5370 Governor, Kevin Hilgers addresses Morinville and St. Albert Rotarians Nov. 14 at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – The Morinville Community Cultural Centre took on a Fiesta flare Wednesday night as Rotarians from Morinville and St. Albert gathered to greet their District Governor, Kevin Hilgers.

Hilgers, a Rotarian since 1997 and the current owner of an advertising agency in Grand Prairie, presides over 61 clubs in Rotary District 5370. He delivered local Rotarians a fiery speech on the benefits of Rotary, the importance of recruiting new members, and the importance of putting service above self, the Rotary Club mantra.

The District Governor told Rotarians they need to start thinking of their organization and club as a business, one that does good work in the communities they serve. Citing a book written by a fellow Rotarian, Hilgers said non-profits need to think of themselves as Public Benefit Corporations. “I think we are a business and we should act like a business, operate like a business, and grow like a business,” he said, adding the way to grow the Rotary business to allow for more community and international projects is to get more community members involved. “I think every one of us needs to make a conscious decision to ask – ask other community leaders.”

It is a recipe that the Morinville club has followed over the past year, growing their club from roughly 13 members to 38. Hilgers presented past club president Gord Putnam with an award for the highest percentage increase in members during the evening.

But more than banging the recruitment drum and praising the Morinville club for their recruitment success, Hilgers praised the club for their other successes and initiatives.

During the evening Rotarians received an update on one of the projects the Morinville and St. Albert clubs are involved with, this one in Mexico. The Families of Hope project seeks to improve the lives of 450 people living in a dump near Puerto Vallarta. The project is looking to improve the quality of life for the people there, in the interim bringing them food and clean water to make sure they have the most basic of necessities. Approximately 18 Rotarians from the two clubs and their families are set to go to Mexico in late-May 2013 to do some boots on the ground work with the project.

Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec brought a little good news and a lot of money with her Wednesday night to help the cause. The MLA presented the Morinville Club with a cheque for $11,500 towards the project, grant monies from an international project component of the province’s Community Initiative Program (CIP).

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