Edmonton Rotarian creates a gift fit for a vice president


Ed Korbyl of Columbia Awards examines a scotch glass similar to the ones he engraved for RI vice president Dean Rohrs.

How do you thank someone who has served on the Rotary International Board of Directors as the representative of more than 63,000 Rotarians?

It’s a question that the Zone 24 and 32 District Governors for 2015-16 and 2016-17 asked themselves. How to express appreciation to Dean Rohrs (RC of Langley, BC) for her support during their time as the leaders of their districts?

Dean was elected to represent Zones 24 and 32 on the RI Board of Directors from July 2016 to June 2018. During her second year on the board, RI President Ian Riseley (RC of Sandringham, Australia) appointed Dean to serve as the vice president of Rotary International, making her only the third woman to hold this position in the 107-year history of Rotary.

“They wanted a gift that she could use and a gift that we could engrave as an acknowledgement of her service on the board of Rotary International,” says Linda Robertson (RC of Edmonton Northeast), who served as District Governor in 2014-15 and is the current chair of the District Services Committee.

She had a suggestion.

“I knew that both (Dean and her husband Rhino) enjoy scotch,” she says. The decision was to present them with a set of scotch glasses.

But where to purchase them and who should engrave them?

Linda had another suggestion.

“Ed was the logical person to go to,” Linda says, referring to longtime Edmonton Rotarian Ed Korbyl (RC of Edmonton Gateway).

Ed and his son, Richard (RC of Edmonton Urban Spirits) own Columbia Awards, a company to which several Rotary clubs go in search of name badges, plaques and other gifts.

“I felt honoured to have been asked to supply the glasses. It was a chance to be creative,” Ed says. 

“Hopefully, the vice president enjoyed the ‘spirit’ of the occasion.”

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A presidential hug for Dean Rohrs from RI President Ian Riseley.

The gift was presented to Dean during the Beyond Borders evening for Rotarians from the two zones, held at the Hockey Hall of Fame during the Rotary International Convention in Toronto, in June. The presentation was made in the room where the Stanley Cup is displayed.

PDG Neil Berg  (RC of Red Deer East), who represented the 2016-17 DG class, and Wendy Walsh-DeMaria (RC of Rocky Point, New York), representing the 2017-18 class, made the presentation.

When other district governors were invited to the microphone to say “one word” about Dean, Laura Morie (RC of Westlock), who was District Governor in 2016-17, described her as a “superstar.”  2017-18 District Governor Frank Reitz (RC of Fort McMurray) said she was “purposeful.”

Zone 24, which consists of 16 districts—5370 is one—includes all of Canada, a small portion of the United States along the border, Alaska, and the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. Twenty districts from nine northeast American states plus Bermuda make up Zone 32.

The position of RI Director for Zones 24 and 32 alternates every two years between the two zones. The current director, who assumed office on July 1, is Jeff Cadorette (RC of Media, Pennsylvania, in Zone 32). His term will end in June 2020, at which time a Rotarian from Zone 24 will join the board.

Dean and Jennifer Jones (RC of Windsor-Roseland, Ontario), who previously served as RI vice president will both attend the 2018 District Conference in Edmonton, October 18-20.

District conference Main

2018: the best year to attend a Rotary International Convention

RotaryConvention2018District Governor Frank Reitz hopes that Rotarians from District 5370 will take advantage of the proximity of the 2018 Rotary International Convention to attend it when it takes place June 23 to 27, in downtown Toronto. 

Click here to register.

“It’s not going to be any closer than in 2018 for several years,” District Governor Frank Reitz says. “It’s going to be more affordable because hotels and other expenses will be in Canadian dollars.”

Wait until next year to attend a RI Convention and you will face a transatlantic flight, including the requirement to make connections at two or more airports before arriving in the host city, Hamburg, Germany. In subsequent years, conventions are scheduled for Honolulu (2020) and Taipei, Taiwan (2021). 

The RI Convention won’t be in North America (Houston, Texas) again until 2022 and won’t return to Canada until 2025, when it’s scheduled for Calgary.

“I think that a RI convention is a great event for any Rotarian to attend. You are able to getter a better sense of Rotary as a worldwide organization of which your club is part,” Frank says. 

“When 25- to 30,000 Rotarians get together as a community, it’s a good opportunity to see Rotary from different perspectives and realize its potential to have a positive impact in so many ways, in so many places,” Frank says. “It’s a view of Rotary beyond the District.”

Other frequent convention attendees agree. 

From her first convention in Buenos Aires, Brazil, in 2000, Past District Governor (2005-2006) Elly Contreras (Rotary E-Club of Canada One) was hooked. 

“I was so immensely impressed and learned so much that I wanted to go back,” she said. And go back she did, attending the 2001 convention in San Antonio, Texas, prior to becoming president of the Rotary Club of Stony Plain. “It made everything so much easier,” she said. “I was motivated to lead my club.”

Since that convention, she has attended nine more.

Elly encourages others Rotarians to attend to develop “a better understanding of Rotary, beyond the club and District level.”

 Past District Governor (2008-2009) Ross Tyson (RC of Edmonton Northeast) lists several reasons to attend conventions. “Knowledge, a lifetime list of friends in different countries, and the opportunity to meet so many like-minded people.

“Plus you get to see countries that you might not otherwise plan to visit,” which for Ross has included Korea, Thailand and Portugal. The first of the 12 conventions he attended was in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1995.  

Ross feels there are several benefits for Rotarians who attend a RI convention. “They will be surprised, if it is their first convention, by all the Rotary information and the world of Rotary. It will change your mindset about Rotary,” he says. “Conventions are hands-down the best learning experience for Rotarians.”

The Rotary Foundation: Rotarians advancing world understanding, goodwill, and peace

District 5370 Rotary Foundation chair Wayne Kauffman (RC of Edmonton Riverview) has experienced first-hand how donations from Rotarians to the Rotary Foundation can make a difference.

In 2007, he witnessed the installation of a water system that continues to deliver safe drinking water to 85 homes in a village in northern Ecuador.


Rotary Foundation chair Wayne Kauffman speaks to members of the Rotary Club of Edmonton South

With money from the Rotary clubs of Edmonton South, Grande Prairie and Edmonton Riverview, along with grants from the Alberta Wildrose Foundation and the Rotary Foundation (a total of $72,000), a 4.2-kilometre pipeline was laid to bring water from the source, 1,500 metres above a chlorination station in the village.

Every family in the village participated in the project by digging a section of the trench for the pipeline. They continue to contribute to the system’s upkeep, based on each family’s consumption.

“As a Rotarian, I take a lot of pride that clean water still flows in that community and kids are not getting sick from drinking the water,” Wayne said during a recent presentation, one of more than 30 that he and grant subcommittee chair Wayne McCutcheon (RC of St. Albert) have made to Rotary clubs since 2015.

Wayne Kauffman: “We can do more!”

For Kauffman, there’s a simple theme to these presentations: “We can do more!”

By more, he means that more Rotarians can donate to The Rotary Foundation and those who already support it can increase their contributions, which in turn will mean that more money will be available to support local and international projects.

TRFlogoDuring the 2016-17 Rotary year, Rotarians in District 5370 contributed $341,504 to the annual fund, which exceeded the District’s 2016-17 goal by 133 per cent. This translates to an average of $156.15 from each Rotarian in District 5370.

But only about half the Rotarians in District 5370 contributed to the foundation, a figure Kauffman would like to see increase. He wants to help Rotarians “understand why it’s so important that we all give to The Rotary Foundation.”

He points to the fourth object of Rotary International: “The advancement of world understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.”

“How do we do it?” he asks, before answering his own question. The Rotary Foundation, the purpose of which is to “enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.”

He is disappointed that there are clubs within the District from which no donations were received last year.

On the other hand, there are clubs where 100 per cent of the members donate to the foundation and where, on average, Rotarians are donating hundreds of dollars. The top clubs, based on per capita donations during 2016-17, were:

Edmonton South ($478.43)

Fairview ($365.57)

Whitecourt ($362.08)

Wayne McCutcheon’s role is to “help you spend money”

While Wayne Kauffman focuses on raising funds for the Rotary Foundation, Wayne McCutcheon looks at the foundation from a different perspective. “My role is to help you spend money,” he says. “I’m available to help clubs apply for grants.”

After three years, half the money donated to the annual fund is returned to the District to support local and small international projects. For 2017-18, $101,000 was available for District grants (half of the $202,000 donated to the foundation from District 5370 in 2014-15).

Grants of $3,500 each were awarded to 41 clubs this year, to help fund projects. These funds were combined with funds raised by the clubs themselves, and in some cases, grants from the federal and provincial governments to implement projects.

The window to apply for 2018-19 District grants opens following the Spring Leadership Training (April 6 and 7). The deadline for applying is May 31, 2018.

The application form is available on the District website.

PresCitation#1_ TRFYou can donate to The Rotary Foundation Canada by cheque or online. Click here to donate online or send your cheque to:

The Rotary Foundation Canada
c/o 911600,
PO Box 4090 Stn A
Toronto, Ontario M5W 0E9

Contact information:

Wayne Kauffman, Foundation Committee Chair (780) 464-6043 wkauffman@shaw.ca

Wayne McCutcheon, Chair District/Global Grants

(780) 850-0698 wsm@shaw.ca


Register today for the 2018 Rotary International Convention in Toronto, June 24-27, 2018. Registration fee increases after December 15, 2017.