It’s more often club members who receive recognition for demonstrating Rotary’s motto of “service before self.”
But three members of the greater community who have offered service to their communities above and beyond the norm received gold lapel pins last week as winners of the Victoria Rotary Club’s prestigious Paul Harris Awards.
“This recognition continues to be a respected honour for Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike,” club president Murray Ramsbottom said before honourees Gordie Dodd, Paul LeTour and Betty Kennedy received their awards.
Dodd, owner of Dodd’s Furniture, has for years organized charity dinners for hundreds at Thanksgiving and Christmas. He has also been involved in food and clothing drives here and donated time and money to organizations in his native India.
He relayed his inspiration to give came when he met an old man on a train in India who was handing out cards which read, “The most graceful of all the virtues is to develop the habit of giving something everyday as per your ability … “
“Give whatever you can, every day, however small,” Dodd said.
LeTour’s HeroWork organization’s “extreme community events” were compared by his presenter to “an old-fashioned barn raising,” for the way they harness the power of volunteers to create charitable good deeds for families or groups.
Having overseen a major renovation at the Mustard Seed on Queens Street earlier this summer, he dedicated his Harris award to “courage,” that of the employees and clients of the Mustard Seed, the 300 volunteers who gave time and money to the cause and 100 local businesses that donated labour or materials to the project.
Retired college and University of Victoria professor Betty Kennedy was honoured for her volunteer work with various boards over the years, ranging from St. Joseph’s Hospital (which became Victoria General) and the Capital Regional District Health buildings committee to her work with Girl Guides and the Royal B.C. Museum. She now lives in Galiano Island.
The special Harris awards were handed out as part of Victoria Rotary’s centennial year celebrations.