Calder steps up as Rotary district governor

“Service is the rent I pay to occupy my space on earth and I want to be a good tenant!”
– 5040 district governor inspired by quote from Rotary International president Mehta
15 Lorne Calder

Former Integris Credit Union CFO Lorne Calder began his one-year term July 1 as Rotary Club’s 5040 district governor.

Lorne Calder had a plan for his own retirement when he called it a career after 28 ½ years as an executive with Integris Credit Union.

On May 31, he packed up his desk, said goodbye to his colleagues, and shut the door to the office he occupied since 2014 as chief financial and risk officer at Integris.

But if you thought he went home to park himself in front of a TV sitting in his rocker  to contemplate what he intends to do with all that extra free time on his hands, you obviously don’t know much about Calder’s volunteer spirit and desire to make this world a better place.

He’s as busy as he ever was during his working days now that he’s assumed his duties for the next year as governor for the Rotary International’s 5040 district. Calder was named to the position in December and began his one-year term on July 1.

“This is pretty much a full-time volunteer role,” said Calder. “My role is to co-ordinate or be part of the district’s committee structures and boards but I also  will go to visit 49 Rotary clubs and 12 Rotaract clubs and  hopefully as many Interact clubs as possible. It’s a lot of stuff that goes to try and  inspire and encourage  growth in Rotary. We always believe that more hands make work much lighter.”

As a member of the Downtown Rotary Club, Calder is only the third Prince George Rotarian to hold the position, following in the tracks of Neil King (1998-99) and Ron Neukomm,(2004-05) both from the Nechako Rotary Club. Del Paterson held the position in 2001-02 after he moved to New Westminster from the Prince George Downtown Club, followed by former Downtown member Art Erasmus, who became district governor in 2002-03 as a member of the Terrace club.

Calder is a former president of the Rotary Club of Prince George and was Rotarian of the Year in 1997 and 2011, the year he was nominated for the city’s Citizen of the Year Award. He served nine years as district director of the BC Chamber of Commerce and is a former president of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce (1999-2000). He was Rotary’s assistant district governor for three years,  which helped him learn what’s expected now that he’s the 5040 governor.

The 5040 district extends from Prince George west to Prince Rupert and south to through the Lower Mainland to Vancouver, Whistler and the Sunshine Coast. The district has  49 Rotary Clubs, 12 Rotaract clubs (for members aged 19-30) and 33 Interact clubs (13-19).

“It’s a big area and we’re the only district of the six in the province that has its clubs all housed in B.C., so we don’t have border issues,” said Calder.

In his 27 years as a Rotarian, the 65-year-old Calder has seen many community projects completed as a result of the fundraising/organizing efforts of his service club colleagues. The collaborative efforts of the three Rotary Clubs in the city – Downtown, Yellowhead and Nechako – have built community playgrounds, the Rotary Soccer Fields, two skate parks and the Rotary Hospice House.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic,, Calder says the 5040 Rotarians raised $1.3 million for various causes in 2020-21. Other service clubs in the city have had trouble maintaining membership and many have folded but Rotary maintains a strong presence in Prince George. The Downtown club has 38-40 members, Nechako has 32-35 and Yellowhead has 40-45. They combine for about 120 members who will help host the Rotary district conference in Prince George, May 20-22, 2022. His first roadtrip as district governor will be to visit Prince Rupert Rotary Club, which was founded 100 years ago as the third Rotary club in B.C.

“In Prince George , specifically, we have a couple signature projects and signature fundraisers and because of that there’s a bit more knowledge of what Rotary stands for with the soccer fields, the Hospice House and the skateboard park,” said Calder.

“In the pandemic, the social aspect went away and some clubs are trying to find a way to get back to the post-pandemic era and start to meet and greet again. The vibe’s different. I went to a couple face-to-face meetings in Vancouver and here and people have been missing contact with other people and having conversations and sharing their stories. It’s a vibe you can’t live without, and yet we did really good this year.”

Calder and his wife Sue moved to Prince George in 1993 from Vancouver and they have two sons. Before he joined Integris he served 22 years as chief financial officer for Prince George Savings . He was part of the transition team in 2003 when the Prince George Regional Development Corporation became  Initiatives Prince George. Calder also served as a board member with the Prince George Film Commission and Prince George Hospice Society.

Calder has always lived up to the mission of Rotary to provide service to others, promote integrity and advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. It’s his commitment to those values that keeps him coming back for more.

“I’ve learned more about what Rotary does on a bigger scale around the world and the impact it makes , not just within my own community, which I’m very proud of, but the impact it’s made around the world,” he said.

“Watching us eradicate polio, the whole water-, food-supply systems, schools, healthcare and that type of stuff in many of the developing countries. Rotary was actually one of the  non-government organizations that founded the United Nations 75 years ago, so we’re very proud of that.

“We’re still active members at UNESCO and still active participants with UNICEF and with world health organizations and people don’t know that,  even at the local Rotary level, that there is a greater impact out there. It’s amazing with the lives we’ve changed and how we make an impact in the world. ”

Calder is inspired  by the Rotary International’s new president, Shekhar Mehta, a native of India and his quote and subscribes the a similar philosophy:  “Service is the rent I pay to occupy my space on earth and I want to be a good tenant.”

Club turns masks to bricks

By Abdullah Al Fahad, Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchid, Bangladesh

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with a new environmental challenge. Every month, more than 120 billion disposable masks and gloves are being thrown out, with some of them polluting our land and water.

Our Rotaract club, like many, is concerned about the environment. Emboldened by Rotary’s newest cause, protecting the environment, we decided to do something about this problem. We began a recycling effort which we called our Clean Earth project to collect masks that were littering our streets, parking lots, and other common areas and find a way to reuse them.

A member of the club collects discarded masks.
A member of the club collects discarded masks.

Medical experts have said that the virus can survive up to three days on an object. We place the masks that we pick up in a locked room for three days. Then we bleach them and wash them with detergent over a period of 24 hours. We dry them in sunlight, then tear them into smaller pieces and mix them with cement. We use this mixture to create planting containers filled with soil, which we plant trees inside.

We have also made bricks with the mixture and find it stronger than regular bricks. We are planning to use the bricks to build toilets in rural areas. We are working with other clubs to expand our effort, perhaps creating a recycling center where people could bring their used masks, and we could employ other people to help us turn them into bricks and other products.

As much as 13 millon tons of plastic makes it way into our oceans every year. Masks often contain plastics such as polypropylene with a lifespan of hundreds of years. Rotary members are creative and innovative, and we are sure that with some thought, other clubs could join us in finding ways to convert glove and mask waste into usable commodities. Let’s protect this planet of ours while we embrace Rotary’s newest cause.

Learn more about how Rotary is protecting the environment.

Food bags fill void left by pandemic

By Roger Bjoroy-KarlsenRotary Club of RoatanBay Islands, Honduras

Iam on a small boat fully loaded with food bags headed for the people of St. Helene, a small island about two miles long and one mile wide, separated by a canal from the island of Roatan. Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands located off the northern coast of Honduras.

As the waves are striking our boat, my thoughts wander to the approximate 1,000 people in 218 households who are in need of the food we’re delivering. Many of whom have no income because they lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. St. Helene has no roads and no infrastructure. Its people are descendants of African slaves brought by the British to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands who then migrated to Roatan after gaining their freedom in the 1830’s.

Last year they got electricity for the first time. And 14 months ago, as the first part of a Rotary global grant, members completed a fresh water project. Phase two of the grant has been approved.

We landed on a Friday in September 2020 at a dock that was built by grant money and the effort of Rotary members. Our trip could not have happened without funds from the Rotary Club of Oakville Trafalgar (Ontario, Canada) and the Rotary Club of Evergreen (Colorado, USA).

  • 600 masks
  • 250 face shields
  • bags with food for roughly 30 days


In addition to the food, we provided 600 N95 masks and 250 face shields to residents of St. Helene thanks to a donation from Michael McCarry of Mount Sinai Hospitals in New York City, New York. A special thanks to Sterling Lucas and his boat captains who brought us to the island.

The islanders received their bags of provisions as they were checked off of a list. They then loaded into their boats and flipped up their umbrellas and went back to their homes either by sea or along crooked paths around the island. The bags will provide each family with enough food to live on for about a month.

It was great to see their renewed hope for the future as the supplies gave them the ability to look beyond this pandemic. This is what Rotary is about, Service Above Self and bringing new hope to parts of the world.

Learn more about how Rotary is responding to the pandemic and collaborating to advance vaccination drives.

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This is a great You Tube Video on our “Studying Abroad’ Rotary Youth Exchange. We are currently looking for students to participate in our Virtual Exchange Programs, available Early 2022. Long Term and Short Term Program restart June 2022, so don’t delay PM us through this group or contact your local Rotary Club!