History of the Rotary Club of Chatham

The Club was chartered on May 26th, 1978 with 28 businessmen and professionals. The Club’s first president was James Doyle. Since it’s inception the club has raised more than a million dollars for a variety of community and international service projects. This is in addition to other projects jointly sponsored by our sister club, the Newcastle Rotary Club. In 1991 women were invited to join our Club.  Women now make up over 50% of the membership.

Rotary is a worldwide organization. Professional people of all ages are attracted to Rotary.  We work for the betterment of our community as volunteers. Rotary has a reputation built on honesty, leading by example and putting others first.  We team up with other organizations to make positive things happen in our community and around the world. Lots of time and effort is put into each project. You have to enjoy people, have a positive outlook and believe in your community. We strive to get our children to participate and realize it is not about them all the time.

Rotary started in 1905 in Chicago by Paul Harris. It was a mens only club. In 1989 women were permitted to join. There are five avenues of service and each club strives to have all members involved in an area they enjoy. Club service, vocational service, community service, international service and new generation service.

In 1981 The Rotary Club of Chatham undertook to annually recognize a citizen of the Miramichi who has shown exceptional dedication to his/her profession or vocation.  From that time onward, the worthy recipient has been presented with the Vocational Service Award. Vocational Service in Rotary stands for service to society through ethical dealings in business with customers, employees, competitors and suppliers. It has been part of Rotary since the organization was founded.

Terms of reference for the award are:

The recipient must have shown exceptional dedication to advancing his/her chosen profession and to service in the community through his/her chosen profession.

The recipient must be a resident of Northumberland County but not a member of the Rotary Club of Chatham.

The recipient must exemplify the ideals of the Rotary 4-Way Test, which are:

Is it the truth?    Is it fair to all concerned?  Will it build goodwill and better friendship?  Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

The recipient of the Vocational Service Award will be requested to present a bursary on behalf of the Rotary Club of Chatham to the graduating student of James M. Hill Memorial High School who best exemplifies the same qualities through his/her dedication to school work and the student community.

An Honors and Awards Night is held every May to recognize the Vocational Service Award and Paul Harris Fellow.

What is a “Paul Harris Fellow”? Paul Harris was the founder of Rotary and the “Paul Harris Fellowship” was established in part to perpetuate the memory of his name. It also has two other purposes:

As a means of raising funds for the Rotary Foundation. and As a means of giving recognition and showing appreciation for the activity of individuals which exemplify the Rotary motto “Service Above Self‘.  A contribution of  $1,000 (US) has been made to the Rotary Foundation in the name of each individual honoured.

Club Service: Our club attends various educational sessions that are held within the province. Networking with other clubs gives our members new ideas on better serving our community.

Vocational Service: Vocational Service Award.

Community Service: Our club sponsors the Canadian Blood Services Blood Donor Clinic in our community. Our club in cooperation with the New Brunswick Community College Miramichi Campus sponsors four clinics per year. NBCC provides the facility so that the community has a consistent place to come to give blood.  The nursing students volunteer their time to assist as do our members.

Turn Around Awards have been sponsored by our club in conjunction with other organizations and School District North to recognize the most improved student in each school. The student and their family is invited to attend a dinner and award ceremony at the Rodd Miramichi Hotel.

Each year our members in conjunction with James M. Hill Leadership Class put on gloves and clean up along our highways, for our Highway Clean Up Project.  We fill up lots of garbage bags and in the process make our community a little cleaner.

Each year our club sends a local person to Camp Rotary on Grand Lake. The various camps are designed for Children living with Cancer, children living with diabetics, adults and children with physical and or cognitive disabilities. We also travel by bus to help with spring cleaning at the Camp before the campers arrive.