president

Rotary Club of Amherstburg welcomes new president

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

There is a new person at the helm of the Rotary Club of Amherstburg.

Joan Donaldson was sworn in as the local Rotary Club’s president at its meeting last Wednesday night at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157. She takes over from Dan Hunt, who was the president for the last six months.

Donaldson will be president for the 2018-19 term. She unveiled a banner reading “Be The Inspiration,” the 2018-19 theme from Rotary International president Barry Rassin, and encouraged her fellow Rotarians to inspire others.

Joan Donaldson receives her president’s pin from past president Dan Hunt.

“We could inspire people to who wish to serve but don’t know how,” she said, adding one way to do that is to simply ask people.

Donaldson said youth can be inspired to serve and by doing that, they can grow up to protect citizens in need and people who are vulnerable.

There is a need to get more people to join the Amherstburg club as well, Donaldson added, as she has a goal of having over 20 people in the Rotary Club by the end of 2019. There are 14 members currently in the Rotary Club of Amherstburg.

“We know that more hands will make the work lighter,” she said.

Donaldson thanked Hunt for stepping into the role of president in January “when we had a need” and both Donaldson and Hunt mentioned the accomplishments the club has had in recent months including hearing from the students that went to the Rotary’s RYLA conference, the Martin Breshamer Memorial Pasta Dinner that raised over $2,500, a $500 donation towards polio eradication in Pakistan, the club’s involvement in the recent bike rodeo and the new five members that have joined in recent months.

Rotary Club of Amherstburg president Joan Donaldson (right) with husband Scott.

The new members include Jean Hunt, John Sutton, Susanne Bergeron, Ann Marie Favot and Corey Rainhard.

The party celebrating Hazen Price’s seven decades in Rotary and 95th birthday was also cited by both Hunt and Donaldson.

“I think one of the highlights of the whole six months was Hazen’s birthday and the time he has spent in Rotary,” Hunt said of his presidency.

Rotary members have also logged more than 1,500 volunteer hours over the past year, Donaldson noted.

Donaldson also thanked fellow Rotarian and former president Laura George for her efforts as George was credited for trying new ideas and also for her efforts as part of the Ribfest committee.

The Ribfest, which is this Friday through Sunday at Centennial Park, is run by a committee and those committee members were also thanked. Carl Gibb, who is also a Rotarian and Ribfest committee member, was thanked for his ongoing service as club treasurer while Susanne Bergeron was welcomed as secretary.

Hunt expressed confidence that Donaldson will do a good job, calling her “a driving force” in the Rotary Club.

“I think the club is going to go far with Joan,” he said, using a sailing metaphor to describe the direction he thinks the club will take.

Rotary Club past president Dan Hunt (right) with wife and fellow Rotarian Jean Hunt.

“With more members, the better we’ll sail,” said Hunt.

Hunt also said that Bergeron will serve the Rotary Club well as secretary.

“I know she’ll do a great job,” he said.

For more information on the Rotary Club of Amherstburg, visit www.amherstburgrotary.com, “Like” their page on Facebook by searching “Rotary Club of Amherstburg” or follow them on Twitter by searching that name or their Twitter handle @RAmherstburg.

The Rotary Club of Amherstburg welcomed Joan Donaldson as its new president June 27.

Outgoing Rotary president reflects on term, hopes club grows in future

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It started with a visit to a local tea room almost nine years ago and led to four terms as president of the Rotary Club of Amherstburg.

Now, Lena Lazanja is moving out of that role thankful she took it on in the first place.

“It’s been quite the ride,” she said.

Lazanja admits she didn’t know the scope of what Rotary accomplishes both locally and internationally, the latter seeing projects done in third-world countries to improve the quality of life there.

“I’m proud of that,” said Lazanja. “I think that’s the one thing that encourages me to carry on.”

Lazanja originally became president in 2011-12 and remained in that position in the 2012-13 year. She stepped back for one year but the president’s job was hers again in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 years.

Rotary terms start July 1 each year.

“It’s nice to belong to this family,” she said.

Being involved with the Rotary Club of Amherstburg has assisted Lazanja in many ways, Lazanja continued. She was new to town when she joined and it has helped her get to know the community, learn leadership skills and build relationships.

RotaryWheel

“Rotary has helped me meet new people, it has helped me with employment,” she said. “We’re all volunteers. It’s a wonderful way to come into Amherstburg and become part of the community. I encourage anyone that is new to the community or anyone who wants to give to the community to come to the Ribfest or come to a meeting and see what it’s all about.”

The local Rotary Club has 14 members, she said, and they are always looking for more. She said the Rotary-sponsored Interact Club at General Amherst High School is growing and that could lead to a boost in Rotary membership down the line.

The club has performed a number of activities, projects and events in Amherstburg over the years, perhaps the biggest of which is Ribfest. This year’s event is scheduled for July 8-10 at Centennial Park and Lazanja states “a lot of people don’t understand that it’s a Rotary event.”

Lazanja said one of her biggest accomplishments as president was a smoke alarm initiative done several years ago in conjunction with the Amherstburg Fire Department. She said she wrote the grant and it allowed for door-to-door distribution of smoke detectors in rural areas.

“It was a great accomplishment because it received, at that time, national recognition,” said Lazanja, noting the joint project was written up in a firefighter publication.

That project also received an award from Rotary District 6400, which not only encompasses clubs in this part of Ontario, but stretches into Michigan and Ohio as well.

“I got to ride on a fire truck. Who doesn’t want to ride on a fire truck?” she joked.

Lazanja has also helped with such projects as bicycle rodeos and the Amherstburg Classic golf tournament, the latter that has helped other organizations in the community. One such organization has been the AMA Sportsman’s Association, who also has programming to assist local youth.

The upcoming “Fill a Backpack” event at Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) is another project the Rotary Club has recently been involved with, as they hosted a chicken dinner at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 which attracted over 60 people.

“I was the president and I get to be the face (of the club) a lot of the time but, really, there isn’t anything I could do without the rest of the club,” she said.

In addition to thanking her fellow club members, she also thanked the volunteers that have helped with Rotary events, including the 200-250 that help out at Ribfest.

Lazanja said she will still remain as a member of the Rotary Club but she also plans to get involved with other groups and causes. She wishes incoming Rotary president Laura Jurilj the best and said she is “confident and comfortable in her following in my footsteps. She’ll do a great job, for sure.”

Rotary has enriched her life, she added.

“I’m so glad I stumbled into a tea room and eventually became president of such a wonderful group,” said Lazanja.