The Rotary Club of Quesnel honoured one member and one local club as they gave out Rotary’s most prestigious award in June.
Sandra Lewis, Rotary president, gave out the Paul Harris Fellow awards, which honour recipients with a pin, certificate and medal, and a contribution made in their name to the Rotary Foundation.
Rotarian Laurey-Anne Roodenburg received the honour from her peers, for her many contributions to the community and to the Rotary Club itself.
“She’s always there, ready to step in and help,” says Lewis.
“I asked the whole club in an email if they could recommend someone. Some of the comments that came back are that she does so much in a positive way within our community, and she does whatever she can within our club to help, whether volunteering or being on committees. Everyone [in the club] works so hard, so it’s difficult to narrow it down. But Laurey-Anne shone.”
Roodenburg has been part of Rotary since 2011, initially with the Sunshine Rotary Club and then moving to the Rotary Club of Quesnel when they joined forces.
She says she was surprised and honoured to receive the Paul Harris Fellow.
“It’s not something I expected. I was honoured and humbled to receive it. As a community member, I do things because it’s about making the community successful. When the community is successful, I know I’ve done my job. That my peers would think of me this highly blows me away,” she comments.
The Paul Harris Fellow is the highest award that Rotary gives out.
The other recipient of the Fellow was the Quesnel Lions Club, in recognition of their Silver Manor affordable housing project.
A large group of Lions Club members showed up to receive the award.
“The Lions are very proud of their project,” says Lewis.
Quesnel Lions Housing Society president Mitch Vik says they were pleased to receive the award, and also recognize Rotary’s contribution in getting the project off the ground initially.
“When the project was fledgling four or five years ago, it was never a sure thing this was going to go. The Rotary was kind enough to support us when we really needed financial help. They partnered with the Quesnel Rodeo Club and spearheaded a fundraiser. They donated $10,000 to the project. Before we received that donation, it was touch and go whether it was going to happen. That early contribution stabilized us and allowed us to do many of the little things that cost a lot of money at the beginning of the project,” explains Vik.
Both Lewis and Vik say they hope Rotary and the Lions, as well as other service clubs in Quesnel, will begin to work in collaboration more to get projects off the ground.
“Sandra’s idea is to foster the co-operation of service clubs in Quesnel. We operate in silos for the most part. She wanted to highlight how we can work together, and how that can get projects and ideas to fruition faster than if clubs work alone. I totally support her thinking in that. We want to work together again,” says Vik.
The Rotary also recently gave out funds to two other community groups.
The Quesnel Tillicum Society received $1,500 to purchase canopy tents to use at their events, including this week’s National Indigenous Peoples Day and the annual Pow Wow in the fall.
And Quesnel’s Friends of Hope Air chapter received the proceeds from Rotary’s May fashion show, which raised $2,225. Hope Air raises money to help those in financial need fly to medical appointments across the country.
“The money we raise here stays in Quesnel. It doesn’t get sent to a common fund, it’s earmarked for Quesnel,” explains Hope Air volunteer Jeanette Thurston.
“Last year we were able to provide 119 flights for people in financial need who needed to travel for medical reasons.”
Thurston says Friends of Hope Air volunteers were delighted to receive the extra funds.
“The fashion show was fantastic and to receive that amount of money from one small group of people to another group of people… Quesnel is looking after its own,” she says.
Thurston notes Hope Air is always looking for volunteers. Anyone interested can contact her at 250-747-1486.