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Former Oak Bay recreation director goes international with Rotary

Lorna Curtis takes over as district governor on July 1

An Oak Bay Rotarian takes over one of the largest districts in North America on July 1.

Lorna Curtis assumes the role from Greg Horne, of Lakewood, Wash. as district governor overseeing 91 clubs in District 5020. The district includes Vancouver Island, B.C. and western Washington from Pierce County south to Woodland including the Olympic Peninsula. It is one of the organization’s largest districts worldwide with almost 4,700 Rotarians.

Oak Bay Rotary Club member Lorna Curtis takes over as District Governor of Rotary District 5020 on July 1. (Courtesy Lorna Curtis)

For her first several years of retirement she travelled, seeing all but two continents around the world. Then COVID-19 hit and travel screeched to a halt.

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“It was probably good, because I had said I would be district governor,” the Saanich resident said.

The role means becoming a conduit between Rotary International and the clubs, Curtis explained.

“You’re the coach, the mentor the cheerleader … it’s much like being a director of parks and recreation,” she said with a laugh, referencing her former role with the District of Oak Bay.

Stints with Recreation Oak Bay as a receptionist, lounge supervisor, manager of administrative services and a part-time gig as a bartender in the lounge led to her eventual appointment as director in 2000. She held the position for three years before stepping aside, only to re-take the job in 2009. She retired in 2011.

Curtis looks forward to the more localized travel and meeting Rotarians across the district to help them with projects. She anticipates it will be inspiring, especially south of the border, where service organizations are relied on heavily.

“It’s phenomenal and you get inspired by how much everybody does. On the U.S. side it’s very different than the Canadian side,” she said. “You realize how much Rotary does in the world, how many non-profit organizations depend on them.”

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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