Skip to content

Rotarian Lance Wiebe a Pelham booster

'Pelham is a great community for volunteerism'
Lance and Judy Wiebe volunteering on a previous Canada Day.

The Rotary Club of Fonthill was chartered in 1991, and is part of an international district that includes 66 clubs in Western New York and Southern Ontario. In its early years, the club helped build the Steve Bauer Trail, and assisted with the construction of the Fonthill Bandshell, and funded its sound system. More recently, local Rotarians mounted campaigns to benefit Pelham Cares, Wellspring Niagara, the Meridian Community Centre, and the Fonthill Arches. Rotarians have organized and participated in numerous festivals and special events in Pelham, as well as donated more than $300,000 to community and international projects. An environmental cleanup of the Great Lakes Watershed is yet another recent project.

Each month Rotary honours a current member. For June, it’s Lance Wiebe. A Rotary Club of Fonthill member since 2002, Lance Wiebe moved to Pelham with his wife, Judy, and four kids back in 1999 due to a job transfer. He works as a certified financial planner, with a home office, and regional headquarters in Hamilton.

“My friend Paul Winkler was the president of Fonthill Rotary at the time, and suggested I join the organization,” said Wiebe. “I didn’t know anything about Rotary at the time, but Paul urged me to attend a meeting and check it out. Having done that, I thought that the organization was a pretty good match with my interests, so I came aboard, and have been active ever since.”

Honoured as a Paul Harris Fellow in 2011, Wiebe has been on the FunFest Organizing Committee, and has been with the Town of Pelham Canada Day Organizing Committee since 2004.

“Pelham is a great community for volunteerism,” he said. “When you come in along Highway 20, and you see the sign listing all of the groups and service organizations, it’s pretty impressive, given that we are a relatively small municipality. I think that's what makes this town tick, that so many people are willing to contribute their time to worthwhile local projects.”

Sport and cultural facilities are a key ingredient to attracting new families to the area, said Wiebe.

“We have friends who have come down to play pickleball from Caledon East, where we used to live, and they just rave about the MCC,” he said. “Plus we have our parks, and that beautiful synthetic turf field in front of Crossley, which is terrific for youth sports like soccer. it extends the season a lot.”

When his own kids were growing up in Fonthill and playing basketball, the MCC didn’t exist, so they were playing out of the gym at Crossley, said Wiebe.

“Some of our kids went to Notre Dame, and some went to Crossley. All four got heavily involved with the sports here in Pelham, and had great coaches in soccer and basketball. The old saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ rang true in our case,” he said. “I think that was one of the things that sort of spurred us on to get involved in the community, as well as Rotary.”

In their leisure time, Wiebe and his wife do a lot of hiking, and make regular canoe trips to Killarney Provincial Park, a nature refuge on the north shore of Georgian Bay.

Wiebe insisted on putting in a plug for the Rotary Farmfest, which happened at White Meadows Farms on June 17.

“Sometimes we forget that we're in the middle of an agricultural community,” he said. “We need to highlight the protection of our farmland from urban sprawl as a priority. Farmfest [educated] a lot of folks, and [was] great fun in the process.”

Wiebe also highlighted an upcoming Rotary event, the Canada Day celebrations in Pelham, held on July 1 at Harold Black Park.

“It’s a major event for families and young people,” said Wiebe. “We've got a great sponsor in Sandtastik out of Port Colborne, which produces and donates multi-colored sand and modelling clay. The kids love it, and we really appreciate Sandtastik’s support.”


Reader Feedback

Don Rickers

About the Author: Don Rickers

A life-long Niagara resident, Don Rickers worked for 35 years in university and private school education. He segued into journalism in his retirement with the Voice of Pelham, and now PelhamToday
Read more