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Rotary Club members reflect on the club’s positive lasting impact

Club members bring 'service above self' mentality to events, fundraisers and many other community initiatives

Hosting its first meeting in 1966, The Fergus-Elora Rotary Club has made it its mission to give back locally and globally. The club remains a staple in the community, and those interested in joining will find fulfillment and lifelong friends.

Norm Manning, a proud member of the Rotary Club, fondly remembers being the co-chair of the first Rotary Spring Fling Event. Over the next five years, he and Ed Davis successfully chaired five sold-out Spring Flings.

"These events needed the full support of all members of the club," he said, adding that as a true Rotarian, he believes in service above self.

Ted Ecclestone, a Rotary member since 1993 and the Sergeant at Arms for over 20 years has been involved in the Bingo fundraiser since its start and has helped at nearly every monthly one for 15 years.

"There is so much energy in that event from both the organizers and the participants, and it's a very large fundraiser," he said. "If anyone wanted to give back to their community and associate with energetic individuals, Rotary is worth the dues."

Since joining the club thirty years ago as a way to give back to the community, he's met incredible, giving people who make him feel proud to be part of the Fergus Elora Rotary Club.

Longstanding member John Campbell has participated in the many Rotary events that benefit the community and the world. From supporting local organizations like KidsAbility, Groves Memorial Hospital, Community Resource Centre and Centre Wellington Food Bank or global efforts like eradicating polio or helping people recover and rebuild their homes after a major disaster, he's proud to be a member for over 50 years.

After Robert Wright — the Fergus-Elora Rotary Club President — retired from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, he wanted to give back and get to know community members.

"Rotary has allowed me to get to know and enjoy the companionship of many of my fellow Rotarians while working on Rotary projects and at Club meetings. There is nothing better than seeing children enjoying themselves at the KidsAbility Christmas Party and Canada Day celebrations that Rotary hosts," Wright said.

He added that Rotary is a fantastic organization that allows him to give back locally — with supporting projects like the new Groves Hospital — and internationally — with projects like eradicating Polio.

Lawyer Dave Jack invited Peter Little to join the Rotary Club in 1970. Spending much of his time in Guelph as a professor at the University, Little wanted a more significant interaction with the Fergus community, where he lived with his wife, Doreen and four children.

Frequently travelling for his role as an educator in veterinary neuropathology, he went to countries including Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, France, Portugal, Venezuela, England, and New Zealand.

“The one thing that struck me was in all of these countries when I connected with the local Rotary club, I was welcomed with open arms and included in their activities and homes....very supportive when you are away from home for several months," he said.

With the International student exchange program, Little and his family hosted students from countries like Japan, Denmark and Australia.

"They attended our High School, and we remain connected to some of them. We still have Christmas ornaments made by two of them that are put on our tree every year."

The camaraderie at events like the beer garden at the Scottish Games or the Lobster Bash is something he fondly remembers.

Newer member and club secretary Sheri Mullin says becoming a Rotarian has given her purpose and allows her to not only support her community but meet amazing people.

"There is a special pride that comes along with being part of Rotary – we have members that have been part of this club for decades, to hear their stories, share their memories, and just connect with them really gives you insight not just into Rotary, but into the Community, what it used to be, the evolution etc. I love this club and its members," Mullin says.

Follow the many events and initiatives championed by the Rotary Club of Elora Fergus online or on Facebook.