Local Rotarians select new president
Members of the Lowell Rotary Club hope to go international this year.
Robert Belanger, who just took over as chapter president from insurance agency owner Michael Conway, said one of his goals during his one-year term is to establish a sister-city relationship with a community in Cambodia where there is also a Rotary chapter.
The idea came to Belanger, a Tyngsboro resident who owns the Lowell business Center Services Inc., through Conway, who recently returned from a Rotary International meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.
Although the initiative is in its early stages, Belanger hopes to leverage funds from the regional, national and international Rotary organizations to build irrigation systems in the sister city.
“Given the large Cambodian population in Lowell, we all just thought it would be a great service project,” said Belanger, an obvious reference to Rotarians’ objective of volunteering in communities at home and abroad to support education and job training, provide clean water, combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, and eradicate polio.
The Lowell Rotary was founded Feb. 1, 1920 and Belanger is the club’s 92nd president. He previously served in 1996. The installation reception took place at the UMass-Lowell Inn and Conference Center with about 50 guests and Rotarians present.
Belanger said some of this other goals include growing membership. The club also plans to continue its “Teacher of the Year” tradition while holding a “musical type” of event around the holidays to call attention to the club and the philanthropic work it does.
The club currently has about 30 members, primarily business leaders from the community. The club has as many as 100 members several years ago. One of the problems Belanger said he will encounter building membership is the five communities contiguous to Lowell — Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Tewksbury and Tyngsboro — all have their own Rotary chapters so naturally businesses in those communities will join their locals.
“We’ll do our best,” said Belanger, who said he’s energized for another term. “I think we’ll be able to sign new members as folks become familiar with the good work we do.”Explore posts in the same categories: The Column