Eighteen former Rotary Club of Perth (RCOP – Australia, District 9455) presidents shared highlights of their presidential year to celebrate the club’s 90th anniversary in April.
Dick Cook was president from 1999-2000 and shared a story of fellowship.
“Halfway through my year, a young Italian kid who was backpacking around Australia was in a traffic accident in Perth and was on the verge of death,” Cook said.
“His father was a Rotarian in Italy and came to sit by his son’s bed (at Royal Perth Hospital).
“He didn’t know anyone and had very little English.”
RPH contacted the RCOP asking for help to support the Italian family and current member Tony Ciallela stepped in.
“He took on the job of looking after the father while he was here and until his son had recovered,” Cook said.
When the father returned to Italy, he nominated Ciallela for a Paul Harris Fellowship.
Cook said the RCOP’s $73,000 contribution to the RPH helipad was also a highlight of his presidential year.
The retired orthodontist, who is now a clinical tutor at UWA, joined the RCOP in September 1979.
“Rotary has always been a vocationally based organisation; every member has a classification related to their business,” Cook said.
“I was an orthodontist and my predecessor had died so they were looking for another orthodontist.
“Members still have classifications on their badge but it’s not as important now.
“It relates to how Rotary started in the beginning in 1905 with a lawyer in Chicago, Paul Harris, who met up with a group of other business and professional people.
“They rotated meetings around each others offices and that’s how Rotary got its name.”
RCOP was formally recognised by Rotary International on April 15, 1927 and is part of District 9455, the biggest district in the state.
Former Lord Mayor Sir William Lathlain, architect Lieutenant-General Sir Talbot Hobbs and Anglican Archbishop Charles Riley were among the 23 founding members.