Club History
Page Stories

 

Many times in the past fifty years, Rotarians in Kapuskasing have been asked, “What does Rotary do?” The answer appears to be simple: "Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help to build goodwill and peace in the world.” Rotary is an organization that allows one to provide service above self. It is a great venue to provide service not only to our local community and to communities all over the globe.

Rotary gives us an opportunity to team up with like-minded volunteers who like to make a difference. Our community have always shown appreciation for our contributions. Rotarians always show respect for one another, are tolerant of our differences and having fun is a great motivator. It is very refreshing and rewarding to work hand in hand with diverse individuals whose skills and talents are shared. Rotarians apply the Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do, used by Rotarians world-wide as a moral code for personal and business relationships.

In 1965, Jack Helpert and Gus Mortson of the Rotary Club of Timmins decided that Kapuskasing should have a Rotary Club and so it was chartered in 1966. Gerry Kellen was our first President and the roster included many businessmen-emphasis on men- from the town and the Mill. Rotary was different in many ways then, but many things have endured. Rotary International’s resolution in 1989 to open membership for women was certainly a significant change for the better. Denise Lamontagne was the first of many outstanding members who were invited to join. Rotarians are invited to join a Club on the basis of their occupation, profession and community activity within certain guidelines in order to maintain a balance of talented individuals who will make up the fabric of the Club. Even when our membership numbers were somewhat depleted in the mid-1980’s, we were asked by one District leader, “How does a Club of eleven do the work of thirty?”

There are many events and stories and projects that the club has been proud to have completed. They are the result of the efforts of all of the Rotarians over the years. Many projects have been local, whether they be hands-on or a part of the financial support given to both large and small projects. Some have been given great prominence and publicity in the community and many have been in partnership with other groups and organizations. Help has gone to those who were in need without fanfare and acknowledged with simple expressions of gratitude.

We contributed financially to the Hospital Building Fund, the North Centennial Manor, the Kapuskasing Regional Conference Complex, and the Gazebo in the Park, Rotary Park, Fire Department Rescue vehicle, Nordic Skiers, and Connexion Centre. Our focus over the years has consistently been on youth, as well as other programs of Rotary: Group Study Exchanges with young professionals from other countries, Youth Exchange for teens Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and Adventures in Citizenship.

We provided support as well as musical instruments for a Rotary District project in the Dominican Republic, and we have created opportunities for service for ourselves such as books and desks for Northern communities, sponsorship of local sports teams, many food bank drives on circle, Rotary Radio Day, a fence for Habitat Interlude, Lumberjack participation and sponsorship, a significant House of Kin donation, DARE, hockey teams, ROTEL in Ottawa, Rotaract and Interact clubs,

Miss Kapuskasing pageant and other community initiatives. Other projects of note were the Entertainment Series in the 1970’s and 80’s, donations of time and personal resources to the Children of Chernobyl, the clean-up of Gough Creek on a fine Saturday one year, and many other hands-on projects. A significant world-wide initiative is the eradication of polio by Rotary and our many partners. We are almost there and ridding the world of this scourge will be part of our proud heritage as well.

Rotarians pride themselves on our motto, Service Above Self in giving generously of their own time and resources, but none of this could have happened without the incredible generosity of the people of the town who have been amazing in supporting the causes we have picked and for that we will always be grateful.

One particular project comes to mind as well as what Rotary really means to many of us. In the late 1980’s, a lady approached us to sponsor an application to Trillium to fund a literacy centre in Kapuskasing. From that application was born Kap Alpha, which was run by and then supported by our Club of some years.

What was striking and so memorable was that she prefaced her formal request to us at a lunch meeting with a story. It was her own story of growing up in the Temiskaming area and needing an operation. Not having the funds in those days, the Rotarians quietly paid for her operation to save her life. She told us that she had never had the opportunity to properly thank Rotary for this, and so she told us that day that she was grateful her life having been saved many years before. We have also made these sorts of contributions either in time or funds or our own vocational talents. What sets Rotary apart from other worthy and noble groups is that we have a focus on vocational service as well as community and international support. We use our own talents for this service.

Over the years Rotary has also embraced the digital age. In a world-wide organization, Club and member communication has become very sophisticated compared to the early days of our Club with only mail, telephone etc.: first fax, then email and now the internet and social networking. You can like us on Facebook and see what we’re doing each week on our website! However, what is perhaps the distinguishing feature of our own Club is that we have really taken the First Object to heart in the past fifty years: fellowship---friendship and getting together-as an opportunity for service. Members and friends have participated in District and International Rotary Conventions to learn and share our service experiences. We have become life-long friends not only among ourselves but also with our exchange students, their families, other Rotarians near and far. Our spirits are lifted when one of us has a new opportunity, a new child, a new challenge. Our hearts are joined in sorrow during the passing of a member or a loved one.

One of our proudest accomplishments has been the chartering of Le club Rotary de Hearst in 1988. They have the same Rotary spirit—joie de Rotary-- and we are proud of their growth and accomplishments. We also want to thank our District leaders over the past fifty years for the support and encouragement we have enjoyed and appreciate very much. Our members have taken a significant part in District leadership roles.

Our Club’s membership has been a mix of business, professional and community-involved people over these many years and we look forward to many more years of Service Above Self in providing leadership, support and initiatives to make our community and the world a better place for all.

 

Glen R. Agar, Past-President

Club Information
Kapuskasing

Service Above Self

We meet In Person
Fridays at 12:00 PM
Rotary Hall
4B Sheppard Street
Kapuskasing, ON
Canada