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90 years of Rotary

The Rotary Club of the Battlefords had something special to celebrate as they gathered for their annual Christmas party - 90 years of serving the community and the world.
At the Battlefords Rotary Club's Christmas dinner, president Darlene Kingwell (right) was joined by District 5370's Governor-Elect Harry Buddle and Lloydminster Rotary Club president Terri Selin (left) as the Battlefords club celebrated its 90th anniversary.

The Rotary Club of the Battlefords had something special to celebrate as they gathered for their annual Christmas party - 90 years of serving the community and the world.

Darlene Kingwell, club president, said goodwill to others is one of the guiding principles of the club.

"A lot of facts have changed over the years, but that one remains steadfast," she said.

The Rotary Club of the Battlefords was founded April 26, 1920. Kingwell recounted how rotary members from the Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert chapters arrived at the train station that day and marched along the streets singing.

As they celebrated their 90th anniversary over a potluck Christmas dinner, the Battlefords' Rotarians also received special guests: Edmonton's Harry Buddle, governor-elect of District 5370 (which includes the Battlefords), Terri Selin, president of the Rotary Club of Lloydminster and town of Battleford mayor Chris Odishaw.

"To have an institution that survives 90 years in today's world is a great thing," said Buddle, as he congratulated the club on its work in the community.

Buddle, a chartered accountant, displays many of the tenets of the Rotary Club in his own life. Every year, Buddle cycles Le Tour of Hope, a 1,000 km bike ride benefitting the Kids with Cancer Society.

"He's an inspiration," said Kingwell.

Buddle addressed the Rotarians, explaining what their donations mean to developing countries and speaking about attitude.

He shared a story about a Rotary Club that needed to raise money in a short period of time and decided to sell policy and procedure manuals to their members. They selected three men to sell the manuals, but some were skeptical of one of the men selected, as he had a severe stutter. In the end, this man sold 10 times what the other two sold. When asked how he had managed to sell so many manuals, he replied, "I j-j-just asked them, w-w-would y-you like t-t-to b-buy a manual for t-t-t-ten d-d-dollars or w-w-w-would y-y-you j-j-just l-l-like m-me t-t-t-to read it t-t-t-to you?"

Terri Selin, president of the Lloydminster club, reminded the audience that the Battlefords club was their parent club, establishing the Lloydminster chapter in 1929.

"We think of you very affectionately as our mother club," she said.

Mayor Odishaw mentioned some of the accomplishments of the Rotary Club, including the sponsoring of free skating nights, the splash park and student exchange programs.

"You guys should be very proud of yourselves and your community, the Battlefords, is very proud of you," said Odishaw.

North Battleford mayor Ian Hamilton was unable to attend, as the dinner coincided with a city council meeting.

Certain Rotary members were recognized at the dinner, including Bud Gladwell, who at 94 years is the club's oldest member. Although Gladwell, who joined in 1975, is the oldest, he isn't the club's longest serving member. Dave McDonald, who joined in 1965, has that honour. Unfortunately, McDonald was unable to attend the anniversary celebration, but Stu Palmer, the club's second longest serving member, who joined in 1968, was there to receive his plaque.

The Rotary Club finished the evening enjoying dessert and the music of the McQuaid Family, who performed seasonal favourites, such as Christmas in Killarney and O Holy Night.

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