Honourary life memberships were awarded by the Weyburn Rotary Club to longtime members Alex Miles and Bev Hansen.
Bev was the first woman allowed to be a member in the Rotary Club, when she joined in April of 1990 along with Connie Rieger, and served for 28.5 years.
She was also the first female president of the Weyburn Rotary Club, in the 2005-06 year, and she chaired many committees, including doing the scheduling for Rotary members to deliver Meals on Wheels for a number of years.
Bev and her husband also hosted many exchange students over the years, the most of any club member at nine.
The Weyburn club has long supported the exchange student program, hosting students here for an entire school year while also sending out a student from here to other countries.
“I have always believed in the philosophy of Rotary and all it stands for,” said Bev, noting that former longtime member Gordon Liddle first brought her into the club.
“He was my inspiration, as he supported the club in every way,” she said, noting she would not have served as president without the support of members Mal Barber and Darrel Yakimowski.
Rieger was on hand as a guest when Bev was honoured with the life membership, and noted that when they joined they were both teachers at the time.
“We had so much fun together,” said Connie. “The gentlemen didn’t know what to do with us.”
She added that Bev was a woman who empowered the club members, including herself, by her positive attitude and friendliness.
“She has no ego and was very willing to step in and do the job. In this day and age, that’s an extremely valuable person to have,” said Connie.
Alex admitted that he openly opposed bringing women into the club, but after seeing what Bev did as a member, he knows he was wrong to take this stand, and notes that with her encouragement, other women have since followed her into membership with Rotary.
“I had been against ladies and spoke quite strongly about that, but now I have to admit that I was wrong. The ladies today make the club, they really do. You’re hard workers, you’re humourous and you’re pretty good-looking,” he said, adding the quip that “Quota won’t let me in their club” as a reason to oppose their membership in Rotary.
He also pointed out that when he joined, he had vowed he wouldn’t sit on any committee as he had served on so many boards before.
“Then Bev called me and said we need to have somebody to do the Paul Harris awards, and next thing I knew, I was on the board,” he said to laughter.
Club president Deana Mainil presented the special Paul Harris Fellowship awards to Bev and Alex to recognize their honourary membership. For Bev, this was her second Paul Harris award, and for Alex, it was his fourth.