Kimberley Rotarians and guests gathered at Centre 64 on Thursday, February 20 to honour two outstanding community volunteers with Paul Harris Fellows. They also gave a surprise honour to one of their own, Graham Mann (see related story, page 3)
A Rotary Paul Harris Fellow is given to those who willingly and without pay offer themselves in service to the community, Club president Bev McCormick told the crowd. She said there were 11 nominees put forward and it was narrowed down to the two by a vote.
Introducing Shirley Rossi, Rotarian Sandra Roberts said that she first met Shirley in 1973 when she moved to Kimberley.
“I met this friendly woman and she had me over for coffee and she said, “If you’re going to sit in your house, you’re going to be lonely. If you want to meet people, get out and volunteer.”
Over the years, Rossi has been a familiar face at Kimberley events. She has been
“I am involved in Girl Guides, the PTA, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, Women of the Moose, ran the Miner’s Den at the ski resort, Snow Fiesta Queen Committee, Dynamiter Booster Club, JulyFest, WinterFest, KIOTAC, the Business Improvement Association, she was director of Food Services for the 1980 Winter Games and the Festival of the Arts. Shirley began her work with Summer Theatre in 1999 and continues to this day. She was the Beta Sigma Phi woman of the year in 1989 and won a commemorative medal during the celebration of Canada’s 125 anniversary.
It is estimated that over the years, Shirley has baked 30,000 meat pies to raise funds for one organization or another, Roberts said.
“I am so happy to receive this award and so happy to share it with Jack,” Rossi said.
Rotarian Mike Cave introduced Jack Ratcliffe, describing him as a man completely without ego. Cave said he would just stick to the top ten or twelve of the numerous organizations Ratcliffe has helped out over the years.
Those include coaching high school basketball and soft ball, the Air Cadets, the East Kootenay College, school and hospital board trustee, the Special Care Home, Home Support, the Ski and Summer Resort. He has spent 59 years as treasurer and steward of the Kimberley United Church and continues to serve the Health Centre Society, KCDS and the Public Library as well as serving on City Council.
“It’s more than the things he’s done, it’s who he is,” Cave said. “One of the criteria for a Paul Harris Fellow is that the recipient cannot directly benefit from their activities. Jack is paid a stipend for serving on Council. He gives all of it to charity. He says the honour of being chosen to sit on Council is enough and you shouldn’t expect any more.”
Ratcliffe said he was honoured and humbled to receive the award and share it with Shirley Rossi. He also said that when someone spends so much time volunteering, ones spouse must step up.
“Rose is the corecipient. Thank you for all your support over our 61 years.”