The Rotary Club of Chilliwack Fraser has been involved in a lot of big projects over the years but it's a smaller institution that causes president Bruce Hanks to smile when asked what one particular thing stands out for him.
"You've probably seen it," Hanks says. "The Rotary train: that's my favourite thing."
The club brings the train out at the Chilliwack Fair and to Canada Day celebrations and other community events. The train is driven by club members, including Hanks.
"It's just a lot of fun," he said. "The kids love it. They want to get on and want to ride. And the people who drive love it."
The train is a symbol of the community-oriented focus that attracts many members to Chilliwack's rotary clubs.
Hanks, who had served as the club's treasurer and as a board member before becoming its president last July, joined Rotary eight years ago after moving to Chilliwack from Vanderhoof.
"I'd recently moved to Chilliwack and needed to get involved with something and it seemed to be the best fit," said Hanks, who works as a commercial account manager at Prospera Credit Union. Rotarians, he said, "just seemed like a good group of people and I liked what they were doing."
That has continued throughout Hanks time in the club.
"People come and people go, but it's still the same similar group of people who were there who care about what they do, care about the community and want to help."
He said he gets a particular kick out of seeing Rotary projects-like the Rotary Trail or the Rotary Hospice Centre-go from the planning stages to completion and use.
As presidencies go, the highest ranking in the Chilliwack Fraser Rotary Club power structure doesn't have all that much power. Such is life in an inherently democratic service-oriented club.
It's not exactly a position for the power-hungry, but it's a good place to be for a person who wants to make a difference.
As president, it's Hanks' job to keep the club running as it should and its projects ticking along. He also helps bring in a range of speakers, who range from powerful politics to more fun, informal guests.
But when it comes to the club's priorities, it's up to Rotarians and their elected board to decide on the direction of the organization.
"You're just the captain of the ship," Hanks said. "You can only suggest a turn, but f the guy down below isn't going to turn it, it's not going to happen."
With around 60 Rotarians, the membership of the Chilliwack Fraser club might be down a little from the past. But Hanks and members are trying to change that by trying to build connections with youth.
"The perception is it's an old man's club, but it's not, I'm not an old man," said the 45-year-old Hanks. Likewise, he stressed you don't have to be a business owner to join the club.
"If you have a passion to help your community and you have a passion to help internationally and do service projects, that is what Rotary is."
To emphasize that, the club has appointed a new director to act as a liaison between its Interact and Rotaract youth clubs and the parent organization.
"Rotary doesn't change very often, but this year they're really pushing the youth," he said.
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