By Vanessa Balintec
The Rotary Club of Haliburton has honoured two of its long-standing members Art Ward and Curry Bishop with the Lifetime Achievement Award a brand new award part of the club’s 75th anniversary celebration.
Ted Brandon 2018-2019 president of the club presented the idea to the board of directors to commemorate the Haliburton residents and honourary life members for their more than half a century of service. Made for the special occasion of the anniversary this award may not be a reoccurring tribute for future years.
“They both exemplified the Rotary ideals” said Brandon. “I don’t imagine it will be presented annually. These two gentlemen have had extraordinary Rotary careers and future Rotary boards can determine if anyone is worthy of this unparalleled level of recognition.”
Joining the Rotary Club of Haliburton in 1968 Ward has been part of the club for close to 52 years taking on multiple roles throughout that time. Ward is known for being a club auctioneer during fundraising events his beef-on-a-bun top chef at annual summer carnivals and most notably being the club songmaster helping lead the national anthem and other songs during meetings.
“I’m evidently the one that can hold the key and put it in the right key so everyone feels comfortable” said Ward. “The problem is now when I go away in the wintertime to a warmer climate they miss my voice. Every time I come home they say ‘Thank God you’re home Art! We can get back on key again!’”
When it was announced who won the award Ward felt very surprised. “A bit of a shock” said Ward. “I wasn’t surprised to hear Curry’s name mentioned because he has even more years than I have and he has perfect attendance. I was perfectly delighted of course.”
Ward who was president of the club during the 1976-1977 year admires the hard-working nature of the club.
“I really feel the club does a lot of work for the town has over the years and will continue to be that way” said Ward owner of Country Rose Garden Centre and past owner and operator of Wigamog Inn. “A lot of [people] put a lot of effort and time into it and that’s what it takes. Sure we meet every week and there’s things we have to do on part of the committees that we’re on but it’s the commitment that people have week to week to week year to year type of thing. When you become a member of a service club you get out of it what you put into it.”
For Ward it’s the companionship among members that he looks forward to going back for.
“What I get out of it is the camaraderie of the members. You move around every week you don’t sit at the same table and you get to know the people in the community. It’s interesting to hear what other people are going through in life.”
Curry Bishop known as a champion Rotary Car Draw ticket seller is also known for his perfect attendance record. Having attended a meeting each week for 56 years Bishop has had to make sure he plans around any obstacles by joining club meetings from different areas most notably places like Arizona and Switzerland to keep his streak going.
Even after a bowel surgery that Bishop credits with saving his life he didn’t break his perfect attendance.
“I got out of the hospital that evening went right next door to the Rotary club in Newmarket” said Bishop.
Born in 1931 Bishop who was deputy reeve and reeve of Dysart et al in the late ‘90s grew up in Haliburton and spent 10 years living with his grandfather growing up. According to Bishop his grandfather helped teach him virtues and ideals that the Four Way Test of Rotary is based upon today – truth fairness goodwill and friendship and goodness.
“That’s what I believed in” said Bishop who’s retired from Greg Bishop Surveying. “He governed my life. He never had to say a word to me. He just knew what he wanted and that’s what I did.”
According to Bishop his grandfather father two uncles and his son were involved with the club in some way or another. For Bishop Rotary has been a big part of his life.
“I was helping in Rotary ever since I was a teenager basically” he said. “Selling tickets helping them build cottages they were raffling off instead of cars that type of thing. I’ve just been involved with Rotary my entire life.”
Bishop said his commitment to Rotary wasn’t about getting an award. “I was trying to produce I wasn’t looking for awards.”
He hopes that this award and his experience in Rotary helps bring in potential members wanting to join.
“We need the help very definitely” said Bishop. “This year I think we got nine members something like that. And they’re younger members! They’re willing to help. And that’s what we need in this community – we need more people helping other people.”