By Samantha Mills
The local Rotary Club was founded on May 25, 1925 by its Stratford Counterpart. Their first community project, with the help of charter member John Lind, was the purchase of Cadzow Park for the St. Marys Community from John and William Weir’s estate. The park became official community property in 1926 and the Rotary Club of St. Marys hasn’t stopped moving since!
The Rotary Club supports a wide variety of important elements to the St. Marys community such as the Pyramid Recreation Centre, Trout Creek Cleanup, Meals on Wheels, St. Marys DCVI Music Program and the Heritage Festival Fireworks, along with many, many more.
St. Marys Rotary contributes roughly $35,000 a year in raised funds to various projects such as the Rotary Club’s “Purple Pinkie Day” at elementary schools to ensure that children receive their Polio vaccination shots, the construction of homes in El Salvador, as well as the revitalization of Trout Creek.
One project of particular pride to the Rotary Club is The International Youth Exchange, which the Rotary Club has supported locally since 1972. Since then, the program has involved bringing over an exchange student while sending out a student from St. Marys to another part of the world (usually costing about $3,000-$5,000).
This year, St. Marys Rotary sent out three students instead, bringing the total to around 80 students that the Rotary Club has helped to traverse the world. Other projects of the Rotary Club include minor sports, the annual “Seminar for Tomorrow’s Leaders”, the St. Marys Mobility Bus, the Water Safety Program for second grade students, the Annual Veterans’ Dinner and water boxes and relief funds when natural disasters occur. This year marks the ninth year of a 10-year commitment to the St. Marys Pyramid Centere.
Last year, the Rotary Club celebrated its 90th anniversary and is striving for many more productive years to come. “I joined the Rotary Club for its firm commitment to international aid as well as community involvement,” said Doug Goudy, Rotary Club of St. Marys President, and a veteran member of ten years. “When I was finished travelling, I wanted to join a service club because I had been brought up in the understanding that service to others was important. After I’d joined, most involvement has been fuelled by the friends I’ve made along the way. It’s been real fun!” For more information about the Rotary Club and how to join or contribute, visit their website at RotaryStMarys.ca, or come to a Rotary Club meeting at 22 St. Andrews Street North, St. Marys in the Parkview banquet hall, lower level east entrance on Mondays at 6:30 pm.