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Rotary Club of Hope’s 75th anniversary was a grand reunion

Current and new Rotarians reminsced about the past 75 years during the gala and casino night event
President Hondo Stroyan was the MC for the night. (Kemone Moodley/Hope Standard)

The 75th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Hope was a grand reunion as current and retired members reminisced about all the club has gone through.

The club hosted a gala and casino night for their 75th anniversary, on Oct. 15, at Hope’s Legion Hall. Rotarians from all moments of the club’s existence attended the evening for a fun night of socializing, fake gambling, and live entertainment.

“It turned out fantastic,” says Pauline Newbigging, a member of the club who organized the gala. “The reviews were fantastic. The only downfall was that we didn’t have enough dessert!”

Aside from the casino and live performance, past and notable Rotarians also gave speeches about their time in the club and what the 75th anniversary meant to the club. A dinner was also prepared for those attending with catering done by Casalinga Catering (from Burnaby) and dessert done by Amanda’s Edible Arrangements.

Though they celebrated 75 years, the club is actually in their 76th year. Original plans for the anniversary had to be delayed after COVID-19 prevented the anniversary from being held last year.

“We wanted to do something big. So, we came up with the idea for a casino night,” says Newbigging. “[We wanted] everyone to have a good time. And maybe learn a bit more about Rotary.”

Chartered in 1946, the Rotary Club of Hope has always been involved in the development and betterment of the town. This includes being involved in a number of community projects such as the preservation of parks and trails, the local Health Unit, the Hope Museum, and facilities and enhancements for the Fraser Canyon Hospital. They’ve also done numerous fundraisers, with examples from previous years being the rubber ducky race, silent auctions, and a calendar draw — all which went towards funding their scholarships. One source of pride is the Bike Park, whose successful completion resulted in Hope being granted $5,000 for their fundraising efforts.

Originally mainly considered something of a “boys’ club”, the organization has seen a significant increase in both gender and racial diversity throughout the decades. Currently though, the club has 20 members who meet every Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. at different locations in town.

The turnout during the anniversary, however, was significally larger than 20 members. In fact, the entire room was packed throughout the entire night. Which was something that Hondo Stroyan, president of the Rotary Club of Hope for the past six years, took note of.

“What I’m seeing tonight that’s really make me feel good,” said Stroyan when talking to the Standard. “Is past Rotarians connecting with current Rotarians. And some of the old guys seeing each other again, they haven’t seen each other in a long time. And that just makes me so happy.”

The club is part of Rotary International, a non-political and non-religious humanitarian service organization dedicated to providing community service, promoting integrity, and advancing goodwill, peace, and understanding in the world. Created in 1905, currently there are over 46,000 clubs located throughout the world. Currently, they are the only non-profit organization that holds a seat in the United Nations.

READ MORE: Hilbert Corbett marks 50 years as a Rotarian


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