As the world’s oldest service club, Rotary International is an organization of community members united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and build goodwill and peace in the world.
This lofty goal is exemplified here in Boundary County where the Rotary Club has been an active, dynamic civic group for the past seven years.
The Rotary Club Of Bonners Ferry Meets On Tuesdays At Noon.
“I look at Rotary as being a very good resource for providing for the needs of the community,” said Dave Walter, Rotary Club president. “It gives us an outlet for finding needs in the community and getting those needs met.”
According to the club’s website, the Rotary Club of Bonners Ferry is a non-profit organization open to all individuals interested in expanding their sense of self and community.
Since January 2009, the Rotary Club has contributed a substantial amount of money to Pawsitive Works, the BFHS lacrosse team, helped send the BFHS cheerleaders to the state competition, provided funding for dental work in Nepal, India, and assisted the Special Olympics with coats for the runners and lunches for the athletes. The club is also participating in an on-going project for a park area near the Boundary County Museum and is installing signs for the bike path on Riverside Street, in addition to sponsoring an America’s Junior Miss contestant.
Not bad for just four months.
Projects planned for the near future include sponsoring the Bonners Ferry Swish tournament, providing insurance for the upcoming Canine Caper event, installing a “Welcome to Bonners Ferry” sign on the north end of town, sponsoring “The Father of All Yard Sales” at the fairgrounds and will bring the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus to town in June.
One unique aspect of the Rotary Club is the international element that it brings to Boundary County. For the past four years, Rotary has sponsored a foreign exchange student to come to north Idaho for a school year. This year, the student is from Brazil. The previous three students have been from India, France and Colombia.
Additionally, Rotary sponsors a short-term foreign exchange program where a student from Boundary County spends six weeks with a family in another part of the world, and then one child from that family comes to Boundary County to live with the student’s family for six weeks.
Ron Sukenik, Rotary Director, said, “I quite often get asked the question, “What does Rotary do?” I have concluded that they make the world a better place. Our local club focuses more on helping here locally; however, we also help on an international level. Every meeting I get to rub elbows with others who care about this community. I am proud to touch the lives of local families through college scholarships, sports funding, foreign exchange programs and the many, many other projects we get involved in. Rotary is my way of saying thank you to this community.”
This optimistic attitude was echoed by Mark McInnes, a local businessman and Rotarian. He said, “I’ve been with Rotary just a few months and I am overly impressed with how much they do and try to help with in the community, especially with the youth. I know the motto is “Service Above Self,” but I think it’s time that more people really understood what Rotary does. It is huge and a nice community service organization.”
Dave said that one of the positive benefits of Rotary Club is the wide cross-section of community members who are involved in the organization.
“We have everyone from business leaders, the governmental and political segment, retirees and many others,” explained Dave. “I’ve been involved in other civic groups, but Rotary does a lot, not just in the community, but internationally as well. There’s been a need for an active, involved civic organization. We want to have a social element, but there’s also a purpose and a sense of filling a need and getting things done in the community.”
The Bonners Ferry Rotary Club meets for lunch every Tuesday at Mugsy’s. To learn more about the Bonners Ferry Rotary, visit their web page www.ruralnorthwest.com/rotary
or call 267-1812.