The Rotary Club of Ashcroft/Cache Creek has a new president who is a familiar face in the organization and the community.
Past president Theresa Takacs has returned as president, taking over from David Dubois, who has been president for the past two years. She takes the reins back as the club returns to its regular in-person meetings (at noon on the first and third Thursdays of each month at the Central Café in Ashcroft), after more than a year of having to suspend meetings in favour of emails.
“The pandemic affected us even just in our ability to meet,” she says. “We connected with the broader Rotary community on Zoom, and considered that with our smaller group, but it was more difficult than it was worth, so we had emails back and forth.”
The club’s fundraising activities also went by the board, because there was nothing they could do. However, during the pandemic the club continued its ongoing work with the Chinese Cemetery in Ashcroft, with club members ensuring it was maintained.
“Now people from the greater Rotary community have reached out to us, and a disaster recovery fund will be happening again, with applications for people with specific needs. We’re liaising with Phyllis Rainey and Joyce Buckland, who were instrumental in the Boston Flats recovery in 2017.
“As a Rotary club we’re part of that communication whether or not we’re the ones collecting funds. We need to support Joyce and Phyllis in their efforts. Our Rotary group did an initial donation for needs, and another fund is starting up based in Kamloops, with all of us club presidents on the committee.”
Takacs says there are also plans to get the Rotary Citizens of the Year awards and nominations back on track. The planned banquet in 2020 honouring the 2019 recipients — Esther Lang for her work with the Community Resource Society, Shelley Magwood for her work with The Equality Project, Carol Madden for her volunteer work in and around Spences Bridge, and youth recipient Vivian McLean for her leadership and community and school involvement — had to be cancelled due to COVID, although the recipients have received their plaques.
This year’s collective recipients are all the frontline workers — in health care, firefighting, retail stores, and more — who went beyond their comfort zones during the pandemic to help others, often at risk to themselves. “It’s all the people who went above and beyond, like people helping at vaccine clinics, and all those who kept their stores open at a risky time,” says Takacs. The club will be looking for 2021 nominations starting around December, and the hope is to have an award banquet honouring the 2019, 2020, and 2021 recipients in 2022.
Takacs says that while Rotary was originally intended for business people, anyone who wants to be part of the community, or has ideas about projects that would help build community, is welcome to join.
“It’s an exciting time because of everything that’s happening. I want to look at other avenues for fundraising to keep our projects going, and would like to encourage youth leadership, so I hope to start the communication to get a group going at the school again.
“And I’m looking forward to figuring out ways to build. I really believe in this group. It’s not just in our community but part of a community at large, all around the world.”