Shuswap Rotary celebrates 70 years of service to community

Members of the community are invited to a free barbecue with live entertainment at Marine Peace Park from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 23.

The clock at the corner of Hudson Avenue and Ross Street is one of many community projects made possible by four Shuswap Rotary clubs.

The clock at the corner of Hudson Avenue and Ross Street is one of many community projects made possible by four Shuswap Rotary clubs.

The mission of Rotary International is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.

It is a tall order but one that has been successfully carried out in Salmon Arm since the first Rotary Club was chartered here in 1946.

Known as the Noon Club, it was followed by the chartering of the evening or Shuswap Rotary Club in 1984, the early morning Daybreak Club in 1996 and the Chase Club in 1997.

In the first year of existence, Rotarians organized the collection of 15,000 meat coupons, which were used to send to war-weary victims in Europe.

In the 1960s, planning began for Rotary Village, a residential complex of 34 senior housing units. Next came Rotary Gardens, with the first phase of 49 units completed in 1978 and 20 more units added in 1984.

In 1980, Rotarians completed the project to build and develop McGuire Lake Park on land purchased by the District of Salmon Arm.

In 1998, Shuswap Rotary clubs led a campaign that raised $1.2 million for the Southern Interior Cancer Lodge in Kelowna.

More recent and ongoing projects include: major funding for the universally accessible playground at Blackburn Park, the spray park at Fletcher Park, the hot tub at the community centre, Rotary Little Mountain Trail, Shuswap Music Festival, annual Canada Day Children’s Festival and  a school lunch program throughout School District #83.

Rotary donated $120,000 towards the cat scan for Shuswap Lake General Hospital and  more funds are planned to purchase a vein seeking machine.

A skateboard park is planned for Chase – one of four finalists in a nationwide Kraft-Heinz contest aimed at creating places for people to play.  The Chase Club is committed whether or not they win.

A member of the Salmon Arm Rotary Club, Hazel Nevrkla joined because she was invited.

“I was the first woman to be a Rotarian in this area,” she says. “Rotary International had strongly advised clubs not to restrict membership on the basis of gender.”

Today, 40 per cent of the members in the four Shuswap clubs are women.

To celebrate their 70-year presence in the Shuswap, Rotary is hosting a free barbecue from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 23 at Marine Peace Park. Everyone is welcome.