HALF-CENTURY WELL SPENT: Terry Smith was recognised for 50 years of service with Rotary.
HALF-CENTURY WELL SPENT: Terry Smith was recognised for 50 years of service with Rotary. Contributed

Terry honoured for service

HE'S been recognised and celebrated for 50 years of dedicated service with the Rotary Club of Emerald, for his humble approach and his community spirit - a time Terry Smith said "went rather quickly”.

Mr Smith, who joined the club in 1968 aged 35 and served his first term as president in 1972, said a function a couple of weeks ago at Rotary Club House in Rotary Park was a "special” surprise.

"I knew nothing about it,” he said.

"They put a big show on for me. They named a bar after me and gave me a glass clock and had 50-year balloons.”

He said the bar in the clubhouse would be called the Terry Smith Bar.

"They carved it all out but they're going to paint it,” he said.

"I might have to start drinking now that there's a bar named after me. I'll have to go from ginger beer to proper beer.”

Mr Smith - who has a wife, Jacqui, and four children - was presented with a medal by Rotary District Governor Rod Medew and all four of his children surprised him and turned up for the event.

Mr Smith, who described the past half-century as "a bit of an achievement”, said there had been 52 members when he joined the club, a membership that required an invite.

"I always wanted to join a club and I had a friend who was in and he wanted me to join,” he said.

"I enjoyed the fellowship. All of a sudden you had a group of people you were friendly with.”

He said one of his most memorable achievements had been organising a bigger train and tunnel for the now-iconic train at Rotary Park, which nearly "every kid” in Emerald got enjoyment from when it operated monthly at the Lions Markets.

Looking ahead for Rotary, Mr Smith said the next project would be to upgrade the playground equipment in front of the hospital for children with disabilities.

Mr Smith said, like Lions Clubs, Rotary was a service club for the community.

"Any money that is ever raised is always spent back in the community and you can see the results,” he said.

Maguires Real Estate's Tim Maguire, who joined Rotary in the mid-90s, said Mr Smith had been a "solid” member of the club and had seen a lot of history while being involved in many major projects.

"It's a significant milestone for anyone to serve that long in one club,” Mr Maguire said.

"A significant number of those years would be 100 per cent attendance and that's weekly meetings, so he's been that dedicated to the club and to Rotary.”

He said Mr Smith had always been a good storyteller: "everybody enjoys his stories”.

"At the moment he's reading some extracts out of a book called Battle of Brisbane,” Mr Maguire said.

"He's been wonderful and while the dynamics of Rotary are changing, he's got a wealth of information about the organisation.”

Emerald local Barry Brown, who has been with the Emerald Rotary Club since 1988, said that along with Mr Smith, whom he called a "great bloke”, he treasured the fellowship the group offered.

"Fellowship is the great thing and we also do projects,” Mr Brown said.

"One of the best is the ROMAC fundraiser bike ride.”

ROMAC, or Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children, helps provide medical surgery and care for children in need.

"We used to organise a ride which was 501km in 24 hours, from Blackwater to Longreach,” Mr Brown said.

"Then they kept the 501km but kept the ride localised around here. It's been a great thing.”

He said the work of Rotary was currently aiming to attract more younger members to its groups around Australia.

The Rotary Club of Emerald is planning its free Christmas carols event for Sunday, December 9, from 5pm in the grounds of St Patrick's School, Emerald. There will be a full choir as well as solo performers.

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