Posted by Don Evans on Sep 19, 2017
Wednesday, September 6 - the smoke is thick and the wildfires are still burning, but we are in the Cariboo to meet with the clubs here and connect as people in these communities look forward to getting back to normal.   The challenge with disaster situations like these is that they are hot news as they initially happen, but then the news fades and the focus diminishes.   But as we see and experience on our drive up here, things are not back to normal yet.   While most people are back home, many businesses are still closed and full recovery will be sometime away yet - if ever.   Assistant Governor Lori Macala is with us as we visit these three Cariboo clubs.  (Thanks Lori!)
We meet the Rotary Club of Williams Lake today,  just the second meeting of the club this summer, and convey our regards and empathy for their situation.   President Ashlee Hyde and Rotarians are working hard to get things back to somewhat normal after this summer of challenge and disruption.   This club does the annual Stampede Steakout and Breakfast each July  (which we experienced firsthand back before the fires started) - and draws a huge crowd from the community.   They are also very active in youth work, and operate a breakfast program at Lake City Secondary School -  making sure that the students are fed and ready to study to their very best.   We are honoured to present a Paul Harris +4 to member Glen Holling.  After the meeting we visit the Williams Lake Hospice where the club provides lovely soft Sheepskin Throws and then  saw the wonderful log picnic pavilion in Boitanio Park.
Thursday, September 7 and we are in 100 Mile House - another of the communities that was evacuated for some time and has seen considerable damage and impact from the fires.   President Linda Jefferson leads this growing Rotary club (three new members already this year!).   We meet them for breakfast (a great turnout of members!) and have a great conversation.   After the meeting, Past Presdient Wolfgang Paasche takes us to see some club projects including the Downtown clock outside the community hall, the Four Way test plaque in the gardens, some work the club is planning for Centennial Park, and explained their unique portable community stage.
Tuesday, September 12 and we are back in Williams Lake to meet with the other club there, the Rotary Club of Williams Lake Daybreak.   President Ingolf Sandberg leads this club, and we enjoy our breakfast meeting and dialogue with them. This club participates in the annual Stampede Parade with a Rotary Float creating high visibility for Rotary here.   Their other big program is the annual (or twice annual) used book sale which generates funds and also aids literacy in the community.   Recently the club has introduced the Starfish program of backpacks full of food and supplies for children who would otherwise go without over a weekend - the program is growing and doing very well.