Through the hard work, dedication and support of the Rotary Club of Red Deer Sunrise, Ponoka Club president, Gord Friesen, and a group currently consisting of 21 enthusiastic local business professionals, Ponoka’s newly revived Rotary Club has gotten off to an impressive, exciting and official start.
The non-religious, non-political club aimed at the promotion of networking, friendship, ethics, and leadership – while working together to serve local and global communities – held their first meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 18. Roughly one week later members attended a highly anticipated event they won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
The event, hosted by Rotary District 5360 and held at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary on Feb 24, had 600 Rotarians from the central Alberta region in attendance. There was a marvelous dinner, world-renowned entertainment from classical guitarist and composer, Claude Choe and the distribution of the prestigious Calgary Rotary Integrity Awards, but that certainly wasn’t it. Keynote speaker, Rotary International President D.K. Lee from Seoul, Korea was there as well. While it would have been an honor for most Rotarians to simply meet Lee, Ponoka Rotarians got more than an introduction. Following the distribution of the Integrity Awards, the Ponoka Club was called to the front of the room, each member was called on stage, and the club was officially chartered. The accolades and kind words of fellow Rotarians was a very encouraging experience.
“This event allowed us to see how much support we have out there,” said Ponoka President, Gord Friesen. “We saw fellowship and it’s finest ultimately giving us a glance at the bigger picture and at the amazing results Rotary Clubs are capable of generating,” he said. “ We participated in something as a group for the first time and it was great. I am very proud of our members and am excited about the overwhelming feedback and support we have received and will continue to receive in the future.”
District Governor, Mark Starratt was also pleased with the outcome of the event and congratulated the Ponoka Club on their new beginning.
“I thought the event went very well. What a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the re-chartering of the Rotary Club of Ponoka,” he said. The entire District is excited about these new Rotarians and the value they are going to be adding to both their local community and around the world.”
The event came to a conclusion when D.K. Lee gave a truly inspirational and motivational speech stressing the importance that even though Rotarians live in different parts of the world, they all share similar values of Rotary International which transcend the borders of race, religion and geography. Having been held responsible for the chartering of 32 new clubs and adding nearly 1,800 new members during in 1996 when he was a District Governor, Lee also made it known that an increase in membership means an increase in the reduction of poverty and diseases that have been claiming the lives of children for far too long. “Every Rotarian we bring into our club helps make dreams real. If everyone does his or her job well, we will all have achieved something wonderful,” he concluded.
Ponoka’s Rotary Club members are currently discussing projects they will embark on in the near future and new members are still welcomed and encouraged to join. For more information visit www.rotary.org or contact Gord Friesen by phoning 403-783-4636 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.