There was a change of guard at the Stettler Rotary Club as former president, Ross Helgeton passed on the baton to Gwen Lee towards the end of June.
On Monday, June 26, Rotary members gathered at Brenda’s Cozy Cafe to bid farewell to Helgeton who held the term from 2016-2017, and was conferred with the recognition of Paul Harris Fellow by Lee.
“I have always appreciated the dedication and accomplishments of service clubs in the communities in which I’ve lived,” said Helgeton. “However, I have never been a member of one until seven years ago when I joined the Rotary Club in Stettler.”
Helgeton was invited to be the president of the Rotary Club of Stettler two years ago and in 2016, he took up the role.
“I had a good time, with a great bunch of people and a functional executive, and in addition to the raising and distribution of a significant amount of funds, these guys and gals know how to laugh and have fun,” Helgeton said. “My goal for the year was to raise Rotary’s visibility in our community. Rotary is already viable in its goals and vital in its achievements, but visibility is not necessarily an easy task, because Rotarians tend not to seek attention or praise for what they do.”
Helgeton narrated how he was introduced to the club.
His neighbour had become a Rotarian and in conversation he mentioned some of the positive attributes of the club and had invited Helgeton to attend.
“There were some things that attracted me immediately. It was the Rotary slogan that was used that caught my attention the most – “Service Above Self!” Helgeton recalled.
He did a little bit of homework and discovered that Rotary is worldwide, is comprised of more than 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries forming a global network of approximately 1.2 million members.
Helgeton added that he also discovered that Rotary, in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has almost totally eradicated polio.
“So, I stayed on and have endeavoured to be as faithful as a Rotarian as my schedule will permit me to be,” Helgeton said.
Last May when Helgeton attended the Rotary International Convention in Seoul South Korea, he saw and recognized firsthand a myriad of humanitarian efforts and an almost innumerable number of adjunct organizations working with Rotary around the world.
The Rotary International Theme for 2017-18 is “Rotary: Making a Difference.”
Current president, Gwen Lee said, “Like many before me, the role is to guide the ship in the direction of the course plotted by others. If there is to be any focus, however, it will be in the area of membership.”
She also explained that not only would she be interested in increasing members, although that is always important, “but in ensuring that Rotarians have a vibrant, fun, dynamic, yet effective club that will attract and keep folks engaged.”