John Uren:
I joined the Rotary Club of St. Marys in 1993, and was sponsored by Rotarian Bob Stephens, who had been our family lawyer for some time.
Prior to joining Rotary, I had been a member and past president of the Optimist Club of Kintore. Our family farm is located in the North West corner of Oxford County, and our 2 sons Jason and Jeffrey attended public school at Wildwood Park and A J Baker in Kintore. Since the Optimist Club holds itself out to be the “Friend of Youth” I thought that I should support local youth activities in Kintore.
However, since we live close to the Perth / Middlesex boundry, our sons would attend high school in St. Marys, and since our family’s attention was shifting more in that direction, I was interested in the opportunity to join Rotary here. I was impressed with the concept of Classification, and was proud to have “Insurance Advisor” on my Rotary badge.
There was a certain protocol in Rotary, and senior members such as John Mountain, Clark Ready and Maurice Oliver made sure that the meetings were conducted correctly, and with dignity, while still having fun and getting business done.
Parkview West was a big item on the agenda at that time, and I was amazed at the commitment and dedication that was shown by members such as Ray Bennett and Bob Stephens, and that so much could be accomplished by our Club. As time went on, I learned of a great many other initiatives which had been undertaken by Rotary in St. Marys and the surrounding area. I also grew to appreciate the role of Rotary throughout the world, and the impact of projects like Polio Plus, Rotary Youth Exchange, and so many more.
During this time, I took an area position with TD Evergreen, which would take me to meet advisors and clients in offices from Windsor to Muskoka. I was always impressed by the way my Rotary pin would be recognized in all centres, and that it was an instant bond with others, and a great conversation starter.
Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to feel that I have contributed, in my own small way, to Rotary, both locally and internationally, including being Club President in 1995 / 96, a task for which I felt totally inadequate in the beginning, but which gave me a great feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction by the end of my term, mostly due to the generous support and encouragement offered by the membership. Meetings have always been filled with good food and good fellowship.
I have always felt welcomed and accepted as part of the group, and have been proud to be a part of what Rotary stands for, and I am pleased to have my plaque with the Rotary Four Way Test hanging on my wall today.
John Uren