Edmonton Rotarian creates a gift fit for a vice president

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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.

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