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Rotary Club of Picton
June 7, 1943 to June 7, 2023
80 years of 'Service Above Self'
Rotary is a global network of 1.4 million neighbours, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in communities, and themselves. Solving real problems takes real commitment and vision. For more than 110 years, Rotary's people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects. From literacy and peace to water and health, Rotarians always working to better the world, and they stay committed to the end.
Rotary members believe that people have a shared responsibility to take action on the world’s most persistent issues. The 46,000+ Rotary Clubs in the world work together to:  promote peace; fight disease; provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; save mothers and children; support education; grow local economies; and protect the environment. (above is adapted from
It is a natural ambition of each District Governor to get a new club established in their district.  So it was with District Governor George McNab of Guelph.  Enlisting the cooperation of the Rotary Club of Belleville, whose President in 1943 had grown up in The County, Lloyd Hicks, George came to Picton and contacted the only resident he knew, A. F. Brown, the Public School Inspector.  George’s approach was very direct:  “We are organizing a Rotary Club in Picton; sign this card and give me a cheque for fifteen dollars and you’ll be a member.”  So A. F. became the first charter member, followed closely by Sam Sinton, a former Rotarian, by Wilfred Lane, John Maher, Winston Hicks, and a dozen others.  The seventeen prospects met for dinner at the Globe Hotel at 6:30pm.  After dinner and a lively discussion a slate of officers was elected with the first President being Ed Williams.  One week later, on Tuesday, May 25, the Rotary Club of Picton held its first meeting with 100% attendance.
The first seventeen members of the Rotary Club of Picton included a department store manager, hotel owner, food wholesaler, bank manager, school inspector, car dealership owner, pharmacist, hardware store owner, physician, transport company owner, shoe retailer, editor of the Picton Times, furniture store owner, Crown Attorney, feed store manager and Russ Perkin, Principal of PECI, who remained an active member of the Rotary Club of Picton until his death on January 5, 2004 at the age of 98.
The club was Chartered on June 7, 1943 as Rotary Club #5,622.
During the war years the members took turns bringing butter to the weekly luncheon.  In 1946-47 the meetings moved to the Royal Hotel in Picton.  Fellowship with dances, plays and bingo brought the members together.  Fundraising included a peanut drive (which was held annually for over 20 years), car raffle, concerts, street dance, Mardi Gras Parade, radio talent auction, hockey matches, raffle of a boat/motor/trailer, golf tournament, the Santa Claus Parade received support both financially and internationally.
The early years had a focus on children with special needs and in the first year $3,500.00 was raised for the Hospital for Sick Children.  The Club supported Easters Seals, the Picton Hospital and loaned the Girl Guides $1,000.00 to purchase property in Prince Edward County.  The club also supported the Harmsworth and Gold Cup Boat Races and the International Student Centre at Queen’s University.  Eye glasses were gathered for India.  The members of the Club consistently made donations to The Rotary Foundation.  The Picton Hospital was supported throughout all the years since the Club was established. There was a focus on children and support to establish a day care centre in Picton and over the years many youth benefitted from enrichment programs they attended because of Rotary.  The Santa Claus Parade received support both financially and in hands-on work by members and at one time in the 1990s the club even had a float that was entered in the parade each year.  The Regent Theatre was and is a charity that is supported regularly.
In 1966 the sod was turned for Rotary Park on Ontario Street in Picton and the initial cost of $7,500.00 was approved.  That same year plans for an “Oyster Stag” were initiated at Fairfields Resort and this event became the main fundraising event for the club for many years to follow.  Rural-Urban was established in 1969-70 with a meeting held in Milford.  It was in 1970-71 that the Rotary Club of Picton meetings moved from the Royal Hotel to the Prince Edward Yacht Club.
An open air rink in Bloomfield and the rebuilding of the Wellington and Picton Arenas received support.  In 1972 the exchange with Scottish Curlers began with the group arriving to curl in Picton.  It was in this same year that the banner for the Rotary Club of Picton was designed by charter member Russ Perkin.  The chapel in the new H. J. McFarland Home for the Aged was furnished by a $5,000.00 donation from the club. The “Heifers for Haiti” project included a member of the club travelling to Haiti on a regular basis to deal with practical problems.  Rotary has supported the Library, restoration of the Grandstand, and the list goes on and on.
Rotary Youth Exchange was a project started in 1975 and continued for almost 40 years.  Other ways that the Rotary Club of Picton backs youth is through support for 851 Prince Edward Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron.  Since 1996 a Rotary Citizenship Award has been presented to a deserving student graduating from Grade 8 in every elementary school in The County.  Working with the Stark Family Fund for many years Rotary has presented monetary bursaries to students graduating from PECI.  A bursary from the Rotary Club of Picton is also presented annually at the Convocation for Loyalist College to a graduating student from The County.  Young people have benefitted from attendance at both citizenship and leadership events sponsored by Rotary along with longstanding support of the Quinte Rotary Music Festival establishing the Stan Lynch Award in memory of a member of the Rotary Club of Picton.
The Rotary Club of Picton administers the Matt Stever Fund, at the request of his parents.  Matt Stever was a promising young Prince Edward County man who was living and working in Taiwan when he sustained a serious and eventually fatal accident. His parents, Roger and Mary Stever, were in part supported during this time by the Prince Edward County community. This support allowed them to be at their son’s bedside following his accident.  They felt that, based on their experiences, they wanted to set up a fund which would allow other families who might go through this wrenching experience to have the benefit of the support that they were offered. The Rotary Club of Picton is honoured to administer this fund on their behalf.
The peak of membership numbers was in 1986-87 with 74 members. The drive to maintain membership numbers in the 60s and 70s continued on and off for several years until all became satisfied with a membership count between 50 and 60.  This number of members makes it possible to accomplish the fundraising and service goals set each year.
In 1976 the Rotarian of the Year Award was established by member Charlie Proctor and a trophy was donated by Barney Hepburn.  Each year since the club has designated one of their members to receive this prestigious award.  It was in June of 1997 that the first Benefactor in the Club was conferred – a Benefactor makes a commitment in their will to donate $1,000.00USD to The Rotary Foundation.  Since that time many members have become Benefactors, showing support for Rotary’s charity.  Paul Harris Fellows are also conferred regularly.  This is a recognition program for when a person donates $1,000.00USD to The Rotary Foundation.  Each additional increment is also recognized and the Club now has many members with several stones in their Paul Harris Fellow pin.  This award is Rotary’s highest honour and the Club has conferred upon many community members the Paul Harris Fellow to recognize their contributions to making Prince Edward County, our country and the world a better place.
In 1982 the Rotary International Board launched a project to eradicate polio the world over.  Fundraising for Polio Plus began in 1984 and the Rotary Club of Picton took up the challenge with members and the community contributing to the project.  In recent years the Club’s Rotary Foundation Committee has met and exceeded the financial goal, ensuring that polio will soon only be a memory.  The task is not yet done and the commitment of our members to this goal has not waned.
Over the years the fundraising projects were established, stopped and changed.  The long-standing Oyster Stag became the Oyster Fest and then a Monte Carlo Night was tried.  The event was then cancelled altogether due to declining attendance.  Its time had come and gone.  A new wine tasting event was established in 2003 and interest was building when it was interrupted by the pandemic in 2020-2023.  Rebuilding is currently underway.  The Rotary Golf Classic has continued and has been sold out many years running.  A Rotarian on vacation learned from another club of the Cash Calendar initiative and the Rotary Club of Picton then established what was to become one of the Club’s three main fundraisers – the Golf Classic, Cash Calendar and Lilac Ride.  The Lilac Ride was established by Rotarian, the late Jim Barkman, and takes cyclists along some of The County’s most scenic routes.  2023 was the 8th Annual Lilac Ride and planning is underway for the 9th annual in 2024.
Rotary’s motto of Service Above Self was enacted by fundraising and supporting worthy projects both locally and internationally.  The labour of Rotarians – called “sweat equity” – also contributed to successfully supporting the work of the Club.  Examples include the delivery of Meals on Wheels for The Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association which started in 1980 and continues to this day; the Trash Bash where members clean the roadsides and beaches; providing the BBQ at the Hike for Hospice event; serving at an annual Christmas Dinner at the Salvation Army; overseeing the heifers in Haiti; making sure that the school in Volcanes, Mexico is supported along with clean water for local people; cutting grass, cleaning brush and installing benches at the new Rotary Woods Walkway at the Macaulay Conservation Authority.  The list could go on.  During the pandemic, members of the Rotary Club of Picton could be seen day in and day out at the Vaccination Clinic in Picton, making sure that all were greeted warmly and had a good experience.
International Service takes the form of providing Shelterboxes throughout the world where disaster strikes, helping rebuild hospitals, supporting women’s health and education.  The Atokor project was a signature initiative for the Rotary Club of Picton and other clubs in District 7070 contributed as well.  The war in Ukraine was the impetus to provide support in unprecedented partnerships and fundraising events.  For this the members of the Rotary Club of Picton are especially proud.
In Rotary, the workings of a club are referred to as “Club Service” and include PR/promotion and social media; fellowship; arranging for the meeting venue (and recently for zoom and then hybrid meetings); by-laws and club documents; attendance and database; the weekly “Rotogram” newsletter; arranging weekly programs & guest speakers; and much, much more.  Over the past 80 years most members of the club have been involved in Club Service from time to time.  This Avenue of Service is the foundation upon which a strong Rotary Club is built.
The Rotary Club of Picton has not shied away from being in the forefront and in 1990 the first woman was invited to join the Rotary Club of Picton – Debbie MacDonald Moynes – who was elected as President for 1996-1997.  Now, in its eightieth year, the Rotary Club of Picton is led by another female President, Barbara Proctor.  Barb has been instrumental in enacting Rotary’s new focus on the environment.
A long line of accomplished men and women have been elected as President of the Rotary Club of Picton.  The accomplishments of these leaders – and their boards and club members at the time – are many and varied including touching the lives of people locally and internationally. 
It’s been eighty years of Service Above Self.  And now the members of the Rotary Club of Picton look forward, into the future, and see that there is much more work to be done.  They will continue as long as humanly possible because “they profit most who serve the best.”
Written by:
Debbie MacDonald Moynes
Past President of the Rotary Club of Picton

Long Serving Members of the Rotary Club of Picton
June 7th, 2023 marks 80 years since the Rotary Club of Picton was Chartered as Club 5,622.  The Rotary Club of Picton is fortunate to have many long-serving people in the Club.  A source of wisdom and with a wealth of experience these people remain committed to the work of Rotary in Picton, Prince Edward County and the world.  Combined, these 10 Rotarians have given 392 years of service to Rotary. 
Note:     PP = Past President  PDG = Past District Governor
  1. Frank Wright                                      joined in 1978    45 years
  2. PP & PDG Rob Leek                         joined in 1979    44 years
  3. PP Leo Finnegan                               joined in 1980    43 years
  4. PP Chris Rogers                                 joined in 1982    41 years
  5. PP Mark Davis                                    joined in 1983    40 years
  6. PP John Clarke                                   joined in 1983    40 years
  7. PP James Hepburn                          joined in 1984    39 years
  8. Andy Janikowski                               joined in 1988    35 years
  9. PP Debbie MacDonald Moynes  joined in 1990    33 years
  10. Jim Macgregor                                  joined in 1991    32 years
Membership in our Rotary Club is open to men and women from all walks of life.  
Some Interesting Club History
Club Executives
Vice President
President Elect & Fundraising Liaison
Past President
Director of Club Service
Director of Community Service
Director of International Service
Director of Vocational and Youth Service
Public Image
Director of The Rotary Foundation