There were more than a few tears at the Skeena Valley Golf and Country Club the evening of May 5, as area Rotarians gathered to hear “the King of Rotary” speak.
Rick King, past president of Rotary International from 2001-2002 and celebrated speaker, has been in 132 countries giving emotional speeches like the one he gave here in Terrace.
And while more than a few Rotarians in the room had heard him speak before, many said he never gives the same speech twice, and the room was abuzz with people thrilled to welcome him to Terrace.
“I had no idea how beautiful it is up here or I might of come sooner,” King told the crowd, before regaling the crowd with a story that weaved his eclectic personal history (think: Vegas showman, lawyer, military captain, married to a Broadway dancer) with the themes of Rotary International, specifically the theme when he was president: “Mankind is our business.”
He spoke of his humble introduction to Rotary in 1963 and how he has watched it grow into the force that it is today, working to eradicate disease in third world countries and touching lives in places like hospital rooms where equipment bears the Rotary crest.
King said he was often referred to as the “baritone barrister” because of his two past professions and ended his Terrace performance with a song, accompanied by Art Erasmus on stage and a little help from the crowd below.
This year’s Rotary theme is “Engage Rotary, Change Lives”, which implores members to spend the year getting excited about Rotary, connecting with each other, and engaging new members.
The idea of asking for what you want, instead of just waiting for it to happen, is also a focus – and was the case here in Terrace.
Skeena Valley Rotary Club’s president Chris Oatway spoke to the fact that she saw King present for the first time in the spring of 2011, and just decided to ask him to come to Terrace.
“If you want something, ask for it, they might say yes,” she said.
And the Terrace event inspired Prince George to ask King to speak in Prince George, as well, which will be happening in the future, she said, noting that the success of the talk might encourage the two Terrace clubs to bring more speakers to the area.