The Rotary Club Of Sussex, NB, was chartered on November 2, 1977 through the efforts of the Rotary Club of Saint John and several local businessmen. We are Club # 6355 in District 7810.
What has Rotary done in Sussex since 1977? In its early years, the Club formed and operated a Boys and Girls Club. The Rotary Club of Sussex has strongly supported Camp Rotary at Grand Lake by building a landing dock, a wharf and a new cabin at the Camp. Each year, we continue to send local children with physical and mental challenges to Camp Rotary for a camp experience that they would not otherwise have the chance to enjoy.
In 1983, the Club helped to form the Rotary Club of Hampton and we have three Rotarians from that Club here today.
Since 1984, the Club has purchased more than $50,000 of musical instruments for the elementary school band program, and in the past two years we have invested more than $12,000 of additional funds in this very important program.
In the 11 years since 1993, our Club has spent over $60,000 to provide winter outerwear for local area elementary school children through our “Coats for Kids” project.
In the community, Rotary was a major funding partner in the building of this community centre – now known as Jubilee Hall. We also purchased the shelves for the new Sussex Public Library, which was built in 1997. Local area walking enthusiasts can cross the bridges we built along the walking trail in Sussex Corner, and connecting O’Connell Park to Magnolia Avenue. At present, both Crosswinds and Portage Cassidy Lake are driving vans made possible by Rotary.
Not all Rotary projects involve huge donations. Over the years we have provided local students with scholarships, assistance to attend leadership and youth conferences, and we have hosted exchange students from a number of countries. We have also hosted young professionals from around the world as part of Rotary’s Group Study Exchange program.
We have extended ourselves beyond our community by sponsoring international humanitarian projects. In 2002 we partnered with a Rotary Club in South Africa to help drill a well to supply water to a rural elementary school in South Africa. We saw the impact of this project up close when Kevin & Ann Kilfoil, Gloria Wynter and I visited that school in South Africa. We had the opportunity to witness how our Rotary Club had truly changed lives for the better. To see first hand the children who now had access to clean water at school was something I know I will always remember.
The Rotary Club of Sussex has benefited from the leadership of many fine individuals who have served as Club President. I would ask that the following Rotary Club of Sussex Club presidents stand as I read their names:
1981-82 Gerry Randall
1983-84 Harley Geldart
1985-86 Jim Wynter – Jim’s wife Gloria is here today
1989-90 Bob Kimball
1991-92 Murray McGibbon
1995-96 George Akerley
1999-0 Kevin Kilfoil
2000-01 Greg West
2003-04 Frank Skaling
2004-05 Kathy Cole
And I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t at this time recognize Bob Black who served as our Club Treasurer for many years and, and the late Tom Snowden, our Club Secretary for something like 17 years.
While I know that none of us will be here to eat birthday cake on February 23, 2105, I am confident that Rotarians somewhere in Sussex will be celebrating the beginning of the 3rd Century of Rotary Service around the world.
The preceding history was Past President, PHF, and now Honorary member Keri Marr’s address to the attendees of our Club’s celebration of Rotary International’s Centennial Celebration at Jubilee Hall on Feb. 23, 2005.
Ralph Carr, Mayor of the Town of Sussex, then proclaimed February 23, 2005, as Rotary International Day in the Town of Sussex, and encouraged all citizens to join him in recognizing Rotary International for 100 years of service to improving the human condition in local communities around the world. (Click to see Proclamation.)
Important Achievements of the Rotary Club of Sussex Inc.
1977 The Rotary Club of Sussex received its charter on November 2, 1977 under President Hazen Hogg.
1978 The Club started the Boys and Girls Club of Sussex.
1981 The Club purchased a sound system and roller blades for the Boys and Girls Club of Sussex.
1982 Sussex Rotarians built a landing dock at Camp Rotary on Grand Lake.
1983 The Club sponsored the charter of the Rotary Club of Hampton.
1984 The Club purchased instruments for the elementary school band program. Over $50,000 of instruments were purchased.
1985 The Club built a wharf at Camp Rotary. The Club also hosted its first high school Youth Exchange Student – Laura from Mexico.
1991 The Club hosted high school Youth Exchange Student Jose from Mexico.
1992 “Camp Sussex”, a new cabin at Camp Rotary, was built at a cost of $27,000.
1993 The Club started “Coats for Kids” – a biannual project which supplies new winter outerwear for local elementary school students.
1994 The Club donated $30,000 to finish the community building at Princess Louise Park.
1997 The Club built the Trout Creek Walking Bridge at a cost of $10,000, and donated $45,000 for the purchase of shelves for the new Sussex Public Library.
1998 The Club purchased blue boxes for recycling in Sussex.
1999 The Club purchased a van for use at the Portage Center at Cassidy Lake. A grant of $15,000 US was received from the Rotary Foundation, which was used to purchase winter outerwear for local elementary school students. Rodrigos from Mexico was our high school Youth Exchange student.
2000 The Club invested $15,000 in the proposed Sussex Wellness Center project.
2002 The Club purchased a van for Crosswinds. The Club also built a footbridge on the Sussex Corner walking trail system at a cost of $4,300, and purchased chess sets for use at Sussex High School. The Club worked with another Rotary Club in South Africa to drill a well and supply water to a rural elementary school in South Africa. This project was visited by two Sussex Rotarians in September 2002.
2003 The Club invested $9,300 to continue the band program at local elementary schools.
2004 The Club planted a Rotary emblem flower garden at O’Connell Park.
2005 The Club was Incorporated under the guidance of Rotarians Andrew Palmer and Keri Walker, and applied for Charitable status. The Club’s first Website was designed and constructed by the Multimedia Class of 2005, CTI, Computer Training Institute. Special thanks to Judy Williams. This effort was completed under the direction of the Club’s first Web Master & visiting Rotarian JC Robert Lockhart as a Vocational Service Project.
2006 The Rotary Club of Sussex Charitable Trusts, Inc. was approved by CRA.
2007 The Club made its final payment of $8,000.00 to complete its $24,000.00 commitment to the new Dialysis Unit at the Sussex Health Center.
2008 Club’s first fund raiser toward the Fundy Civic Center was collecting change in water bottles distributed about the area. This commitment grow into a $76,751.38 final donation to this community project. The Club donated $9,000.00 to the Sussex Royal Canadian Legion in support of their restoration project after the fire.
2009 Club presented cheque for $36,135.33 John Robinson toward Fundy Civic Center project.
2010 First Annual Rotary Charitable Trusts Dinner & Auction held at the Sussex Legion with over $10,000.00 raised from the auction & dinner proceeds.
2011 Rotarian Bob Black & Ginette visited Africa as part of Mwandi Zambia project to build “huts” for the children.
2012 The Club thanked Tony Bell, owner of Kings County Mechanical, for restoring and repainting the Rotary signage at the two entrances to Sussex. President Barb Crowe & Charter Member Harley Geldart made the Club’s two $20,000.00 payments toward the Club’s final commitment to the Fundy Civic Center.
2013 The Club hosted the final Rotary International Group Study Exchange with guests from India, and the members sold Christmas boxes for the last year which contributed over $2000.00 annually to community projects.
2014 The Club announced a joint project with the Town of Sussex to build the “Sussex Rotary Amphitheatre” to be located in Burton Park made possible by Rotary’s $80,000 commitment over three years starting in 2015.
2015 The Club concentrated on increasing membership, and thanks to the hard work of Membership Development Chair Robert Driscoll, the Club doubled to 30 members. The Club was recognized at the annual District Conference with the “Duncan Wathen Achievement Award” for the highest percentage net increase in membership, and the “New Member Award” for the Club that inducted the most new members. President Robert Tremblett was also recognised and presented the “President of the Year Award for 2014 – 2015” for the Club’s achievements during the Rotary year.
2016 The Club pledged $10,000.00 toward the Discovery Park creation and raised the funds through its Annual Charity Dinner held on April 7, 2016. The Club also pledged $12,000.00 toward the Kiwanis Nursing Home Building Project to be paid starting in 2017. The club membership was pleasantly surprised at their meeting on Nov. 21, 2016 to be advised by Assistant District Governor Bob Tremblett that our Club was the second strongest per capita contributor to the Rotary Foundation for 2015 – 2016.
2017 On Sept. 25 Rotarians visited the Town of Sussex Chambers and presented their final payment of $20,000.00 for their financial commitment on the Amphitheatre project in Burton Park. The Club made this $80,000 commitment in January 2014, and made three large payments to the Town of Sussex. On August 7 the Club was the recipient of the Community Leadership Award given out at the New Brunswick Day celebrations at O’Connell. The Club also partnered up with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to promote literacy and foster a love of reading at an early age, by sending a free book every single month straight to the child’s door until they are ready to start school. In April the Club pledged $15,000.00 in support of the Crosswinds’ Van Fund from the proceeds of the Charitable Dinner & Auction. In March, the Club announced that they would be partnering with the Town of Sussex in the next phase of Leonard’s Gate, and that they would be contributing $85,000.00 over three years to help make this project a reality. On Jan. 16 history was made in Sussex when 11 young people from the community were officially sworn in as Charter Members of the new Kings County Interact Club under the sponsorship of our Sussex Rotary Club.
2018 In December the Club presented a cheque to The Sussex Regional High School Jazz Band in the amount of $4000.00 for the purchase of a much needed Tuba. On the evening of Dec. 4 Rotarian Mary McNair presented the Coats for Kids program to the 100 Women Who Care Kings County as a worthy recipient of their giving, and the Club was so pleased when they announced at their meeting that “The charity chosen to receive our collective donation tonight of $6900.00 was the COATS FOR KIDS program of the Sussex Rotary Club”. In September Assistant District Governor Bob Tremblett presented The District 7810 PDG Walsh plaque to President Lisa Brown which was presented at the Bathurst Conference recognizing the Rotary Club of Sussex as the “Club of the Year” for 2017-2018. On June 16 the Club held its first Sussex Rotary Brew Fest which showcased a variety of craft beer, spirits, cider and wine from the Maritimes for people to sample and peruse. The Beer Fest replaced the Club’s annual Charitable Fundraising Dinner, and brought in over $15,000.00 for its first year.
2019 In January the Club donated $1500.00 USD to the Polio “Wheels of Hope” of Nigeria Wheelchair program which is an organization that provides wheelchairs for polio victims.