Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary Club president Ken O’Brien. (Photo submitted)

Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary is driving force behind Stampede parade, weekend food program

Did you know January is Rotary Awareness Month?

From its popular, bi-annual book sale, to feeding local school children in need and, of course, the beloved parade at Stampede time, Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary has a lot to offer the community and its members.

“It’s a good way to get involved and it helps the community in many ways,” said Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary President Ken O’Brien.

O’Brien took over as president in March 2019 after their president Sheila Mortensen passed away.

O’Brien has been a Rotarian for about five years, and prior to that was a local Kiwanis Club member since he moved to the lakecity in 1981 as a young lawyer after growing up in Kitimat.

The club meets every Tuesday at 7 a.m. for breakfast at either Denny’s or CJ’s Restaurant and is very active in the community.

The Rotary Used Book Sale, for example, has members collecting donated books from various drop off locations in the community thorough the year and putting on the popular sales.

O’Brien said the sales give residents a chance to “hunt for books at moderate costs” while also raising money for worthy causes.

Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary is also responsible for bringing the Starfish Pack program to Williams Lake, which sees members fill backpacks with healthy food and drop off at participating schools weekly from October to June.

Read More: Starfish Pack program looking to fill backpacks for needy children in Williams Lake

Since starting in Williams Lake the program has grown to serve 30 backpacks to needy children in three local schools thanks to business sponsorship and fundraising.

And, of course, Daybreak members are also the organizers of the Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary Club Stampede Parade.

“We’re just starting to think about the parade now,” O’Brien said.

The parade committee solicits help from retired Rotarians, Community Policing and other volunteers to pull off the large event.

This year the club also hopes to see a new bridge over the creek in the Williams Lake River Valley to replace an old log bridge. O’Brien said the new bridge, which is being funded by the City, Cariboo Regional District and Province, was a longtime goal of Mortensen and the club intends to place a commemorative plaque in her honour once the project is complete.

O’Brien said he was drawn to the Daybreak Rotary Club as a way to give back.

Prior to retiring in 2017, he had a long, successful 36-year career serving as a lawyer.

O’Brien articled with Vanderburg and Company where he worked for 19 years before starting his own law firm with Shelley Nixon, also a longtime lawyer and his wife of 22 years.

Being a Rotarian isn’t too time-consuming and is something that can be worked into a schedule while working, or in retirement, or both, as O’Brien has done.

“It seemed like a good idea to carry on into retirement,” said O’Brien, who also likes to travel, cross country ski and stay abreast of politics in his free time.

The club is always looking for new members. “We invite people to come and meet us to get a sense of who we are and what we’re all about.”

Anyone interested can contact Ken at ken.obrien@telus.net or 250-267-7083.

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peewee Tier 2 Timberwolves heading for provincials

After two tough back to back games against Prince George, Williams Lake came out on top

Scout Island offering Spring Break classes for lakecity children

Running from March 17 to 19 this class is designed for students from Grades 1 through 6

Williams Lake Garden Club ready for a new year of opportunity

The Williams Lake Garden Club is ready to plant the seeds for another successful season

Preparing for climate change focus of upcoming workshop in Williams Lake

NStQ communities, licensees, local governments and interested people invited to share ideas

Peace region caribou agreement to help shape frameworks for rest of B.C.: forests minister

Partnership example of people coming to the table with respectful dialogue, Doug Donaldson said

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

Most Read