History repeated itself in the 1990's when the Dryden Rotary Club became a major sponsor in the combined fundraising committee to be known as ROTECH (formed by Rotary and the Dryden Extended Care Organization) organized to raise 5 million dollars in support of the hospital upgrade/renovations and the construction of a 65-bed Extended Care Home attached to Patricia Gardens. Rotary not only provided leadership and manpower on the committee but committed $100,000 on behalf of the club to the newly named Dryden 2000 campaign. This was in addition to personal commitments by our members that totalled over $200,000. Renovations to the hospital successfully began in 1998 to be completed by fall 1999 and construction of the extended care home began in May 1999 with 98-99 Dryden Rotary Club President Will Vermeer representing Rotary & Rotech and Rotarian Roy Wilson chairman of the Dryden 2000 Campaign being involved in the official sod-turning ceremony on May 20th.
Other projects initiated and/or supported by Dryden Rotary Club through the years include the following:
Annual Easter Seals Campaign in aid of Crippled Children with an annual budget of seven to twenty thousand dollars. In addition to the funds sent to headquarters, money has been donated locally to provide travel funds, prosthesis treatment assistance, wheelchair assistance and school expenses for many crippled persons in our community.
Snow-A-Rama is a 100-mile snow machine ride for which riders collect pledges and participate in a poker derby. Large sums are raised annually and recently amount to about $12,000 per year. One rider alone raised over $20,000 in four years.
Skate- A - Thon is where skaters old and young get pledges for up to a maximum four hour skate. Through club effort and community co-operation, large sums have been raised for special projects.
Construction of and use of a chuck wagon to serve hot dogs/steakettes and soft drinks at the Dryden Fall Fair and Canada Day proved to be an excellent fundraiser in which every member of the club could participate. Sale of the chuck wagon at a later date allowed for a sizeable donation towards the extended care home campaign.
Hawaiian draw for which members sell tickets for a trip for two to Hawaii. Dryden airport users have also supported the Club in its previous annual travel-ticket draw. The drawing of the event held at a club luau allowed for socialization by members celebrating the end of a successful fundraiser.
M.UN.A. - a worthwhile project to send two students and a coach per year to the Model United Nations Assembly held in Winnipeg.
Adventure in Citizenship where two students have been sent to Ottawa to participate in a mock parliamentary project along with a chance to learn about our nation's capital and government.
Co-operation with Dryden Jaycees in their project in the fifties to encourage home improvement and beautification in the surrounding area. Dryden Rotary Club provided judges and an award for the winners.
In early years of the new Dryden High School, Dryden Rotary sponsored an annual "international" banquet planned and prepared by the senior Home Economics staff and students. Funds thus obtained were given to the student fund to enable them to visit manufacturing craft, catering and educational organizations in larger cities as part of their Economics and Business training.
Before facilities for Red Cross swimming and first aid programs were available in Dryden, the Rotary Club organized and maintained a youth camp at Amesdale Lake. Here boys and girls were given an annual summertime vacation into whose program the Red Cross swimming and first aid training was incorporated.
In co-operation with the Ontario Department of Agriculture and the Dryden Agricultural representatives, Dryden Rotary initiated and has maintained a program of support for 4-H youth. An annual banquet with presentation of awards is sponsored for 4-H members and 4-H executive committees in an effort to encourage young people in the area to participate in agricultural projects.
In its international program, Dryden Rotary maintains two projects. One is to provide educational assistance and support annually to an underprivileged child through the Foster Parents Plan program. The other is the Rotary Youth Exchange Program whereby a Dryden High School student, almost each year, is given an opportunity to spend a year in a foreign country, attending an educational institution and becoming familiar with people and life conditions in this country. In return a student from another country comes to Dryden for a similar opportunity. Dryden Rotary provides preparation and training funding for the outgoing student. The Dryden Club provides an allowance for the incoming student as well as training sessions while in Canada and members provide billeting and takes special interest when hosting the student.
Sponsoring and encouragement in the founding of a Dryden Boys' Band. Financial assistance for purchase of instruments and for training and developing the band was provided by the Rotary Club.
Every year the Rotary Club holds a musical night for young pianists and violinists participating in conservatory courses and examinations. Those winning top marks in various categories are entertained at a dinner with their families and music instructors and presented with awards to encourage and honour with participation.
Over the years, the Dryden Rotary Club has annually contributed several thousand dollars to the Rotary International Foundation. At the present time, 18 Dryden Rotary Club Members are Paul Harris Fellows, 2 Members are Multiple Paul Harris Fellows and 3 Members are Benefactors. The Club has acknowledged a total of 49 Paul Harris and 5 Benefactors including Past Members and contributions to/by members to family & community members.
The Dryden Rotary Club participates annually in an Environmental Project including Dryden's Hazardous Waste Disposal Day and the sponsorship of a 4 kilometre stretch of Highway 17 for a semi-annual Highway Clean-Up.
In recognition of the need to support literacy, the Dryden Rotary has sponsored both local and World Community Projects in this area.
In recognition of the need to support local child poverty, the Dryden Rotary has provided contributions to the Dryden Food Bank and intends to make this an annual project targeting infants.
In support of youth, in addition to MUNA, Dryden Rotary has sponsored students to RYLA camps (Rotary Youth Leadership Assembly) and supported the local high school "stay in school" project - CRYSIS.
A significant characteristic of the Dryden Rotary Club is the continuous participation of its members in community affairs. Dryden Rotarians have served as major members of Dryden and adjacent municipal councils, President and members of the Dryden District Chamber of Commerce Executive, Chairman and members of the Dryden Hospital Board, Chairman and members of both the legacy Dryden Board of Education and the current Keewatin-Patricia District School Board and both the legacy Dryden Separate School Board and the current Northwest Catholic District School Board as well as many other boards and foundations.
They have served on the Library Board, provincial Agricultural Tribunals, the Dryden Agricultural Society, Dryden Athletic and Recreation Commission, Dryden Parks Board, Dryden Planning Commission, Dryden Economic Development Committee, Dryden Airport Commission and Airport Marketing Committee as well as other regional and municipal boards and associations.
Rotary Club members have served on committees as the Chamber of Commerce responsible for obtaining Dryden's first covered Arena, its Golf and Country Club and its Indoor Swimming Pool and Sports Complex. Some of its members were also part of the committee which obtained funds for and engineered, with the co­operation of the Federal and Ontario governments, the construction in Dryden of Patricia Gardens, one of the province's first minimal-care homes for the elderly people of the area. Club members served on the executive of this enterprise.
In short, wherever worthwhile community projects have been or are underway, members of the Dryden Rotary Club have been and are willing to share in the initiation, support and maintenance of such projects and enterprises.