As part of the Rotary Friendship Dinner on Friday evening

Annual Rotary dinner binds community in friendship

One of Stettler's annual fixtures for 54 years, the Rotary Friendship Dinner was hosted on Friday evening, Nov. 4 at a crowded Stettler..

One of Stettler’s annual fixtures for 54 years, the Rotary Friendship Dinner was hosted on Friday evening, Nov. 4 at a crowded Stettler Community Hall as people from Stettler and surrounding areas came out to enjoy an evening of live music and good cheer.

The meal was catered by Theresa’s Catering with musical entertainment provided by Jamie Woodfin, accompanied by Mark Branconnier on drums and Jonathan Werkema on fiddle.

This year the numbers were low compared to last year’s, even though there would be a profit of $2,500, which is almost $3,000 less than what Rotary makes at this fundraiser.

“It was a great evening for friendship and food and fellowship,” said Rotary President Ross Helgeton. “We are grateful to the community for their support and even though the numbers weren’t as many as we were hoping, everyone seemed to have a good time.”

Speaking on the lower turnout this year, Treasurer Tom Campbell said, “This year we had a lot of competing events all vying for community dollars, and with the economy noticeably weaker, there’s nothing that one can do.”

The funds raised by the event will be spent on numerous community grants and some Rotary International projects.

“We try to use the funds in various ways so that the majority supports local Stettler causes mainly youth, underprivileged and seniors,” Campbell said. “Rotary is an international organization that does great work with very low administration costs specifically in Polio eradication and supplying clean water. Locally, we have supported the Stettler Public Library, exchange students, youth leadership development and awarded scholarships.”

Campbell said that chairman Pat Roach and his committee poll the club members for suitable entertainment that would appeal to the demographics of the audience, adding that without the support of Roach and his committee members and fellow Rotarian Peter Boys and his office team who was in charge of the revenues, the event would not have been possible.

“Luckily we can count on them and other Rotarians like Scott Pfeiffer and Vicki Leuck who are able to recommend performers who charge a reasonable price for the evening,” he added. “We usually spend a substantial amount on the entertainment so that our audience is not disappointed, but we pay attention to the dinner too and Theresa’s Catering from Donalda served us a wonderful meal, with a wide variety and incredible desserts.”

Campbell, who has been the treasurer for 20 years, said that he has enjoyed being a part of a team of people in Stettler that likes to get things done and are productive. “Rotary attracts members from the community who bring organizational skills and commitment to better the community and support the worldwide goals of Rotary,” Campbell explained. “Five years ago I was able to travel to Africa to review a Rotary Project we supported in Uganda.

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I saw how a small amount of just $5,000 worth of financial commitment from us can be multiplied by governments and Rotary International to make a big difference in many lives in Africa.”

This year Rotary has supported local sports teams, the library, the arts, Christmas hamper, Handibus, food bank, the hospital, FCSS, community beautification, education, agriculture scholarships among others.

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