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Histories of Clubs of RI Presidents

Rotary Club of Trenton, Ontario

RI District 7070

Wilfrid J. Wilkinson RIP 2007-2008


This brief summary touches upon the highlights of the
past 79 years of  the Trenton Rotary Club.

The Beginning. On January 24th, 1922, William House Sr. was tasked with creating a Rotary Club in the town of Trenton, Ontario. Four weeks later, on February 23rd, the first meeting of the new club took place. William House was elected president; and, with a charter membership of twenty-four, the club was designated as number 1112 on the roll of Rotary International.

Those early years were difficult, since there was no pattern for the club to follow. However, the direction to take soon became clear. Excerpts from an historical sketch written in 1942 by Sam MacMaster give us a better idea of  what emerged  . . . "the greatest of Rotary's works in the Trenton area is to be found in the medical and surgical treatment  and the care given crippled and incapacitated children . . . in each case the families were unable financially to have undertaken the work on behalf of the child." Today, the club's support of the Easter Seal campaign continues the important work which began so many years ago.

The Great Depression of the 1930s created many additional demands, to which the club was still responding when World War 2 broke out. With the advent of hostilities the  club moved part of it's focus toward  assisting in the war effort; and, in particular, in improving the quality of life for the many  Canadian and Allied  personnel  at nearby Royal Canadian Air Force Station Trenton. A strong bond was created between the club and the base, which continues to the present day. The strength of that bond can be seen in the cooperation on Rotary International  projects that has taken place since that time, and in the number of past and present service personnel who have become Rotary Club members themselves.

The Post-War Era.
During the last fifty years  the Rotary Club of Trenton has been involved on three levels:  local, national and international. In assisting, for example, in the provision of a community centre for Trenton, in purchasing equipment for playgrounds, helping the Navy League Sea Cadet movement, in the provision and maintenance of a community policing vehicle for the Police Department, in setting up minor hockey, improving local parks, providing bursaries for students,  providing funds for both the international student exchange program and the Rotary International campaign to eradicate polio, and  in fundraising  for the refurbishment and possible reconstruction of the Trenton Memorial Hospital.

The Air Force link was also recently highlighted again when, to commemorate  the club's 75th Anniversary, a donation of $75,000 was made toward the costs of an additional building at the RCAF Memorial Museum in Trenton.

On the administrative side, Rotary changed from a male-only movement, and shortly thereafter, in 1996,  one of of our members, Sue White, become the first female President of the Trenton Rotary Club.

The club is justifiably proud of it's accomplishments since 1922, but what do the years ahead  hold?  

District 7070 History


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