Incoming president for Rotary International visits P.G.

The similarities between Prince George and the incoming president of Rotary International's hometown are surprising, he said during a media conference held Thursday morning at the Coast Inn of the North.

Ian Riseley, a member of the Rotary club of Sandringham, Victoria, in Australia, visited Prince George as part of his week-long tour of the province. He made sure to include a stay in a smaller community because mostly he only visits bigger centres, he said.

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Prince George is similar to Sandringham because of its geography. Local residents think nothing of spending nine hours on the road to get to Vancouver and the same goes for Riseley's hometown residents seeking out what is offered during a big-city visit. Others might think it an odd practice to travel far and wide.

There are 1.2 million Rotarians in 35,000 clubs globally who take on humanitarian work like helping families in their own communities and working toward a polio-free world.

Prince George has three Rotary clubs including the Rotary club of Prince George, Prince George-Yellowhead and Prince George-Nechako.

During Riseley's stay he visited locations where the clubs have made an impact in Prince George, including the Rotary soccer fields, hospice house, the new skateboard park at Darren Fitzpatrick Park and the Rotary gazebo at UNBC.

"We've not been in the northern part of B.C. before and it was great yesterday to have a chance to look around at some of the wonderful projects and community activities done by the three Rotary clubs," said Riseley, who officially takes on the presidency on

July 1, 2017.

"Rotary is busy here and I couldn't help but notice as we drove through the middle of town even some of the signs have Rotary wheels on them. It shows that Rotary is active here."

The emblem of the Rotary wheel signifies civilization and movement.

While visiting Prince George, Riseley also learned about events that raise funds for a variety of organizations like P.G. Rotary's Big Blue Ball that locally raises awareness and funds for men's health, Yellowhead Rotary's Taste of India that supports sanitation and water projects in India, and Nechako Rotary's Journey to the Well, a water project in Tanzania, and Operation Red Nose that provides safe rides home to holiday party-goers in Prince George.

"Rotarians in Prince George have contributed thousands of hours of their time towards local and international projects," said Neil Godbout, Prince George Nechako Rotary president.

"We're happy to show off the work we've accomplished to both Ian, as well as visiting Rotary International director Dean Rohrs."

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