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Rotarians honour Ross Gorman

"We wanted to honour Ross because he was a man who embraced the core value of Rotary: Service above Self."
Ross Gorman’s daughters (from left) Mary Tracey and Louise Arkle; Kelowna Rotary Club president Dennis Campbell; Kathy Butler

Ross Gorman was honoured at a Kelowna Rotary Club lunch meeting last week for his community service and inspiring leadership.

Kelowna Rotary Club president Dennis Campbell said: “We wanted to honour Ross because he was a man who embraced the core value of Rotary: Service above Self. He was a pillar in our community through his leadership, his community engagement and his generosity.

“Besides giving back to the community on a personal level he also developed Gorman Brothers as a leader in corporate social responsibility and fostered a culture of giving back from its employees too.

“They are regular pace setters in the Annual United Way appeal.

“Ross accomplished this through establishing a culture of respect, inclusiveness and harmony in the Gorman Brothers workplace and people like to emulate those they admire.

“And Ross, on a personal level and through Gorman Brothers, generously supported many other worthy organizations.

“I think it fair to say that the generosity of Gorman Brothers reflects the generosity Ross Gorman.”

Ross Gorman passed away in October of last year at the age of 93.

Ernie Patterson, the Kelowna Rotary Club  Foundation president added: “Ross Gorman was a welder by trade as he, in concert with his brother John, grew the business to be the success it is.

“Today Gorman Brothers is one of the B.C. Interior’s largest employers. And we felt what better way to recognize him than through providing support for the trade that got him started.”

Patterson said the club foundation has committed $10,000 for an annual $2,000 bursary to worthy welding students at Okanagan College.

It will be called the Rotary Club of Kelowna Bursary for Welding in Memory of Ross Gorman.

Mary Tracey and Louise Arkle, two of Ross’s daughters, echoed the remarks made by Campbell and Patterson.

They said their dad started his career as a welder and when he and his brother John founded the Gorman Brothers sawmill in West Kelowna their dad continued to practice his trade as the mill grew and expanded.

“Our father was a strong believer in giving back to the community; and throughout his life had a keen interest in helping young people further their careers. We know he would be honoured to be remembered in the manner,” the daughters said.

Kathy Butler, executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation, said she was pleased to see her fellow Rotarians recognize Ross Gorman in all he has done for the community.

“He was an inspiration to us all. The Bursary for Welding ties in very well with our expanded trades programs, our new trades building complex and to helping those in financial need. This bursary also complements The Rotary Club of Kelowna’s long standing partnership with Gorman Brothers for two annual vocational bursaries for licensed practical nurses; the Gateway to Trades initiative partnering School District 23 with Okanagan College and  the Rotary Club of Kelowna’s significant contribution towards the new Trades building complex,” Butler said.