Club History

Rotary Club of St. Stephen/Milltown...100 Years and Counting

Supporting Our Community Since 1920

Rotary clubs promote these FIVE core values:
  • Fellowship
  • Integrity
  • Diversity
  • Service
  • Leadership
Rotarians are all volunteers who practice philanthropy, defined as doing
good to benefit one's community, be it local, national or world-wide. Men and women
have been doing exactly that as members of the St. Stephen-Milltown Rotary Club since
1920. Every decade has been an active decade with the focus changing to mirror the
concerns and needs of the times.

Decades pass quickly but Rotarians can still be proud of the earliest efforts such as
answering the call to help spearhead the erection of a memorial cenotaph on Milltown
Blvd, provide a space for the youth of St. Stephen to play basketball in the winter, bring
in dental services, or show appreciation for rural beautification efforts.

In more recent times Rotarians have been instrumental in major initiatives and
fundraising that would see the establishment of the Rotary Field, the Border Area
Arena, the Rotary Wheels hockey team, the International Festival, Lincourt Manor, the
Charlotte County Boys and Girls Club and the Garcelon Civic Center. Fundraising projects
such as the Rotary $100 Super Draw, operating the Kiwanis/Rotary Radio Bingo and
the Rotary Charity Run as well as smaller, periodic efforts ensure that books, bursaries,
bandstands, playgrounds, aquariums, clocks, and parks have all received attention over
the years.
Currently our Rotary Club annually gives generously to multiple groups,
teams, organizations or projects in St. Stephen and Charlotte County that impact the
lives, education and future abilities of children and youth in our community.

Because the philanthropy of Rotary reaches out into the world our club also supports
The Rotary Foundation (TRF) and its work in Polio Eradication as well as projects that
improve the lives of those less fortunate in the areas of health, education, water and
sanitation, and economic development. TRF also focuses on promoting peace and
conflict resolution and supporting the environment. When we donate significantly to
TRF we have the ability to honour deserving individuals and civic leaders, as Paul
Harris Fellows, for their philanthropic efforts that benefit all of us, making St. Stephen a
caring community and by extension, assisting in the global reach of Rotary's "Service
Above Self".
50 Years A Rotarian

Gene WormellCelebrating 50 Years a Rotarian Gene Wormell

November 1970 - November 2020

How did you get involved with Rotary?  

I believe George McKim invited me to dinner 50 years ago and I was impressed to listen to the projects that Rotary was involved in.  My Dad belonged to Kiwanis, and they were doing good work, but I liked Rotary better.  We met in the basement community room of the Wandlyn Motel.  The food and service was good and Fred McAllister played the piano and we all had song books and everyone sang.  The motel changed hands, and the new manager lady was a jerk.  The food began to get worse.  We had a very important guest for the meeting, and the food was not good at all.  One of our members complained to the manager, and with short notice, we were kicked out…and after a short stop at the St. Stephen Curling Club we have been at Carman’s ever since.

How were you awarded the Paul Harris Fellow recognition?  

Every year, we held a Paul Harris supper.  The club presented me with the Paul Harris pin, certificate and medal in 1987.  I was totally surprised when they called me up.  

I heard that Minnie was involved with the “Rotary Ann’s”, the wives of Rotarians group, and that you were a trend setter being among the first to bestow a Paul Harris Fellow recognition to your wife. 

I thought about my Paul Harris.  Minnie helped with whatever I was involved in – so I thought she deserved one. We seemed to be busy a lot during the summer, making money for Rotary.  And that involved the women.  Minnie helped trim parade floats.  One in particular, was the Boat People from Southern Asia.  We borrowed the big flat bed trailer from REM Transport and that took a lot of trimming.  Minnie and other wives looked after the plan.  I think we had the most fun after we built the Chuckwagon attending every event selling hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries and pop.  The carnival allowed our Wagon to sell the treats, so the Rotary Ann’s were a big part.  Both men and women took turns and Les Thompson made the best burgers in Charlotte County!  And Bob Jackson bought 2 hot dogs at a time…we made some money there! 

What would you say about how Rotary has fulfilled you through world, community & personal service?   

When I talk to someone about Rotary, there is whole page list of gift money from the Boys & Girls Club to large projects involving people in poor countries, such as the clean water, sanitary toilets, food and shelter during the terrible storm that hit Haiti.  Rotary International asked all Clubs to help the desperate people there.  Our Club decided to help with available shelters.  They cost $500 and some of our members donated one.  They were packed in large parcels which they dropped from planes.  When opened, the parcel made a tent for a family of six, including food and water for around 2 weeks.  It was a pleasure to have a project that was “hands on”.  The Rotary Club in Haiti looked after the dispersing of these gifts from Canada.  We also have played a good part in the Polio Plus Program, saving thousands of lives across the world.  I am proud to belong to a Club that gave so much to this program.  I must mention two of our members, who have since passed away, Jack Laycock and Bob Jackson. They travelled to India to distribute the vaccine for both polio and red measles and to the Caribbean islands and countries to 'Make Measles History'. 

What were some of the projects you worked on over the years?   

I seemed to get to know a lot of people, especially when Rotary undertook the building of Lincourt Manor.  I took on the job of Chairman from 1979 to 1982.  We picked so many wonderful people for the board, trying to get representatives from all service clubs.  The many people who came to us as volunteers made our plans a success.  To raise the $250,000 for all 60 people to have a bed and bureau in the home we contacted many groups, lodges, church groups and many small groups who were ready to help.  In 1982 we finally opened.  We were pleased to have Premier Hatfield and other political people attend.  It was a humble time to thank so many groups and ordinary people who worked so hard to bring this wonderful project to fruition.  

Who were your mentors & friends?  

 My mentors were many, but my closest one was Joe Flewelling.  As a young man, I learned to pay attention to many people, including my parents. 

Tell me about some Rotary trips and maybe some people you’ve met along the way.  

Our members made the Club a place for fun, visiting different cities, towns, as well as cottages.  Minnie and I had the pleasure of hosting a group of 55 people including an exchange group of young business people and their leader from Brazil – lots of steamed Lobster!

What do you remember when you look back on your year as President?    

We did local fundraising in late Fall which was fun.  We bought fruit cakes from Save Easy at a good price and sold them everywhere.  We had customers waiting to buy every year.  A friendly project.  We always took part at International parade day selling hot dogs, etc….we even sold lobsters.  We visited the Calais Club and they visited us.  We went to Machias for an International meeting.  Some of the wives, including Minnie, talked me into taking them shopping in Ellsworth (THEY had a good time.)  We got back in time for the banquet.  Another time, we went to Saint John and the banquet and meetings were held at a hotel.  During the supper, we all sat at tables of eight.  I ran out of wine, and Bob Jackson called our waitress to let her know that “this man didn’t get his wine”, and soon we all had refills. We enjoyed all the Rotary connections.

You must have seen some changes over the years.  What stands out for you?    

We were all friends and shared lots of laughs.  In 1975 I was Vice President and Seldon Smith was President.  Unfortunately, Seldon and his brother were lost in a plane accident, so I took over as President under sad circumstances.  The best thing that happened in my years in Rotary was inviting women to join.  We probably would not have a Club today if women had not joined.  Being married to Minnie for 67 years and having her help and fun also stand out for me.


Rotary Club of St. Stephen-Milltown 100th Anniversary Interview by Tina Armstrong with Celebrating 50 Years a Rotarian Gene Wormell