Paul Harris Fellow award honourees Doug Chorney, Al Hares, Edward Hotchkiss, and Dan Thorsteinson pose for a photo at the Rotary Club of Selkirk’s 75th anniversary gala dinner held in Lockport Nov. 17. (BROOK JONES/SELKIRK JOURNAL/QMI AGENCY)





(Story by Brook Jones, Selkirk Journal)

The Rotary Club of Selkirk is celebrating its 75 years of service to the community this year and to honour this significant milestone, the local service club held a gala dinner in stunning fashion this past weekend.

The Sunset Room at Gaffer’s Restaurant located in Lockport was the scene for this special celebration on the evening of Nov. 17.

The local Rotary club, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Winnipeg, was chartered April 19, 1937 at the Merchants Hotel in Selkirk.

District Governor Rick Hubbs attended the celebration and the keynote address was delivered by David G. Newman.

Three dignitaries attended the gala dinner, which included Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson, RM of St. Andrews reeve Don Forfar, and RM of St. Clements mayor Steve Strang.

The Rotary Club of Selkirk took advantage of its 75th anniversary celebration to award the Paul Harris Fellow to four members of the community from the Tri-S area. The award is named after the founder of Rotary, Paul Harris, and is given to those who embody the ideal of service, improving the lives of others, and to those who exemplify the highest professional and personal standards.

In addition, any particular Rotary Club may choose to award a Paul Harris Fellow to those who have made significant and lasting contributions to the community.

During the club’s 75 years of history, less than 50 Paul Harris Fellow medals have been awarded.

The four Paul Harris Fellow award honuorees were Edward Hotchkiss, Al Hares, Doug Chorney, and Dan Thorstenson.

Both Hotchkiss and Hares were presented with the honour for their efforts in making lasting contributions to the community through recreation and sport.

Hotchkiss, who immigrated to Canada in 1968, spent more than four decades involved with the game of soccer in the Tri-S area as a coach. He also spent some time as a hockey and a ringette coach as well as a leader with Beavers and Cubs.

“I am very proud to be a member of this group,” said Hotchkiss after receiving the Paul Harris Fellow award.

Hares, who turned to coaching in the late 1960s, never turned back as he’s been involved as a coach with the sports of football, baseball, and hockey. He is currently the head coach of the Selkirk Fishermen.

“This is my life’s work and I will enjoy this moment,” said Hares at the gala dinner. “It’s not about winning championships, it’s about leaving footprints.

Chorney and Thorstenson were presented with the award for exemplifying the highest professional standards in their chosen field of work.

St. Clement resident Chorney has made a significant contribution to the local community as well as to the province through his work in agriculture. He is considered one of the top farmers in the Selkirk area and also consider one of the leaders in the agriculture community in Manitoba.

“Rotary is part of making our community successful,” noted Chorney.

Thorsteinson has been involved with the Selkirk Fire Department since 1984 and has been the department’s chief since 1999.

In 2009, Thorsteinson was named National Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year and recently received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

“It’s heartfelt and I am probably the luckiest guy in Selkirk,” exclaimed Thorsteinson. “I am just like you and you are just like me - I take my hats off to you (members of the Rotary Club of Selkirk).”

Rotarian Andrew Glassco, who has been the club’s president since July 2012, says the local service club is really all about service above self.

“It was very special to recognize so many citizens,” said Selkirk Rotary Club president Andrew Glassco. “It’s the highest honour the Rotary Club offers. I’m just so proud to be able to recognize these community citizens that display excellence