A long-time commitment to serving their community has seen Deniliquin’s Hazel Ladson and David McPherson become the latest local recipients of the Rotary Club’s prestigious Paul Harris Fellow.
The pair were recognised for the contributions at the Deniliquin Rotary Club’s (New South Wales, Australia — District 9790) annual changeover dinner last week.
The induction honour came as a shock for both recipients, but especially for Ladson, who isn’t an official club member.
However, her husband Neville has been a Rotarian for 36 years, meaning Ladson has had regular involvement with the club.
‘‘It is rare, but sometimes community members are awarded with the Paul Harris Fellow,’’ Ladson said.
‘‘I was absolutely stunned — I’d never even dreamed of it.
‘‘Some of my family were in the room, which made it quite emotional for me,’’ she said.
In her Rotary involvement spanning almost four decades, Ladson has been an invaluable volunteer.
She said she does ‘‘little bits and pieces’’ to help out, including cataloguing for the Rotary Easter Art Show, organising dinners, and assisting with barbecues, catering, and the creation of the club’s history book.
‘‘I like being involved with Rotary because it’s an opportunity to do my little bit for the community,’’ Ladson said.
‘‘The social aspect is also great because you are always meeting new people and making new friends.’’
McPherson was also honoured and has been a member of the Deniliquin Rotary Club for seven years, during which time he has served as president, treasurer and held numerous board positions.
‘‘I think people have an obligation to give back to the community,’’ McPherson said.
‘‘It’s all enjoyable knowing your efforts will help those in need.’’
For McPherson there are a number of highlights from the past seven years, with the most recent one being the installation of a disabled access chair swing at the RSL Park.
Known as a ‘Liberty Swing’, the project is a joint initiative between Rotary, the Lions Club, Soroptimists, RSL Club and Edward River Council.
‘‘Rotary generally improves community life, providing facilities and resources which wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for our local service clubs,’’ McPherson said.
Other noteworthy initiatives include the Multicultural Food Fest, which McPherson said ‘‘widened local knowledge and understanding that diversity exists in Deni’’, as well as the Brian Harrington Memorial Carers’ Day.
McPherson encourages anyone over the age of 18 to become a member of Rotary if they want to become involved with community service works.
‘‘With more members, we can have bigger and better projects — many hands make for light work,’’ he said.
‘‘Membership categories have changed, and you don’t have to attend all meetings.
‘‘We just want people who have a commitment to Rotary’s ideals and can help out when required.’’
Prior to Rotary, McPherson was a member of Apex for 18 years, and has also been a member of Rotoract and Leo Clubs.
The Paul Harris Fellow is named after Rotary’s founder, and recipients are presented with a certificate, medallion and a gold pin.
Source: Deniliquin Pastoral Times