Rotary celebrates Gerry’s milestone

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Many people don’t work for 50 years, let alone serve as an active member of a volunteer organisation.

Lake Macquarie man Gerry Wubbels has done just that.

The Rotary Club of Belmont – a part of Rotary International – acknowledged his five decades of dedication this week.

Mr Wubbels enjoyed two stints as president, the first between 1977-1978 and the second during 1994-1995, while he also took on the role of secretary, director and completed various service portfolios, including club, community, youth, international and vocational.

Outgoing Rotary District 9670 president, Brian Coffey, presented him with a framed congratulatory letter from Rotary International president, Barry Rassin, at a dinner on Monday night.

Mr Wubbels said he had always respected the work of Rotarians.

“I did my [mechanic] apprenticeship in Wallsend for many years before I came to Belmont,” Mr Wubbels said.

“My boss there did a lot of Rotary work and, knowing their standing in the community, I really looked up to those people when they came in and out [of work].”

Eventually, Mr Wubbels was introduced to Rotary by a man named Roy Hammond, and attended his first meeting in 1968, before deciding he wanted to join on 24 June 1969.

On the exact date that marked the occasion, Mr Hammond, now aged in his mid-90s and living in Goulburn, made the journey by train to celebrate the milestone.

“Roy invited me into Rotary, which I was chuffed by – here I was, just a mechanic, being asked to join,” Mr Wubbels said.
“I thought ‘I’m not like these fellas’ – they all had such reputations in the community.”

Apart from his decades of service, Mr Wubbels also has a 100% attendance rate.

“This hasn’t always been easy due to other commitments,” he said.
“When I’ve been overseas, I used to work out what town I was in and find a club.

“It’s a real pleasure to go to Rotary – you meet so many different people from all walks of life.”

Mr Wubbels has played a role both in and out of Rotary International.

He joined several Probus clubs, hosted Rotary Youth Exchange Program students, supported the Polio Plus and Rotary Foundation, and assisted in a water project in Bali alongside a German Rotary Club, Rotary, and Rotaract clubs of Denpassar, Bali.

He has also regularly transported children from the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children in Sydney and been heavily involved in the organisation for the motor vehicle industry.

Mr Wubbels was recognised with a Paul Harris Fellow and a sapphire award, as well as a community service award from the then local MP Jill Hall.

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