The Rotary Club of Rossland is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year. At the same time, one of its oldest members is celebrating 50 years with the club and his 80th birthday.
Mike Pistak was first asked to join Rotary just over 50 years ago, and has since served as club president for five terms, three of them consecutive. He was born and raised in Trail, and after studying microbiology, settled in Rossland with his wife Barb, where he worked as a diamond driller contractor and she worked as a nurse.
As Rotary clubs don’t typically focus on publicity and because most of the Rotary Club of Rossland’s records and memorabilia were twice destroyed by fire, Pistak’s 50 year history with the club and his recollections of the club’s activities over the years are invaluable.
Back when the Rotary club first started, it was often the community organization that received federal funds for construction and other projects. The club managed funds and organized construction for the Rossland Museum and the Golden City Manor in 1974. It did the same for the Rotary Health Centre in the early 1960s and for the Rossland Library in the 1970s.
The Rossland club has been involved in several aspects of the Miners’ Hall’s ongoing renovations since the 1970s, raising funds, and donating time and materials. In 2008 and 2009, Rotary spearheaded a major project on the hall and completed a $40,000 renovation to the kitchen facility.
In 1983, the Rossland Rotary Club stepped up to become contractors and receive federal funds for the building of the emergency room ambulance entrance at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Rossland. Rossland Rotary also raised funds for the orthopedic clinic to purchase their first scopes and other specialty equipment.
The club had an influential hand in creating at least six parks in Rossland. In the 1970s, Rotary raised funds for the original playground equipment at MacLean Elementary School and in the 1970s and 1980s raised funds for improvements to the Rossland pool. In the 1980s, the club received federal funds to create Jubilee Park, and created Nickelplate Rotary Park in the 1980s and 1990s. Rotary also worked with the Lion’s Club to construct the barbecue building at Centennial Park.
Since its founding in 1951, the club has provided scholarship funds for local students and has participated in Rotary Youth Exchange. The club has made it possible for many Rossland adults and youth to participate in various club programs. Some programs allow community members to visit or live in another country — like the Rotary Youth Exchange and the Rotary Group Study Exchange. Other programs focus on youth education and leadership skills — like Adventures in Citizenship, Adventures in Technology, the Rotary Youth Leadership Program, and the Rossland Interact Club. The club also contributes to international programs, such as Polio Plus, Tegucigalpa Market Children, sanitation in India, temporary housing for people affected by natural disasters through the Shelter Box program, Rossland Rotary Interact Club’s international projects, and the club hosts Rotarians from around the globe.
Today, the Rossland Rotary Club membership includes 24 adults of all ages. Anyone is welcome to learn more about Rotary by attending a club meeting and Rossland Rotarians always appreciate the opportunity to get to know community-minded and service-oriented people who like the idea of giving back to the community.
For more information about the Rotary Club of Rossland visit www.rosslandrotary.org.