For Dean Ostrander and his fellow Rotarians, it’s begun to feel a lot like Christmas — and that’s music to the ears of the Peterborough Police Service.
Along with Kim Groenendyk, Ostrander is co-chair of the Kawartha Rotary Christmas Auction which, this year, aims to raise $28,000 for the purchase and training of Isaac, a German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois cross that will become a full-fledged member of the service come late December.
Set to open at 11 a.m. on Monday, November 19th and close on Sunday, December 2nd, the annual online auction will see some 250 items up for grabs to the highest bidders.
All items can be viewed and bids can be made at www.kawartharotaryauction.com.
Payment can be made online via PayPal or the following week at the item pick-up location at Realty Executives Alison Ltd. (77 Lansdowne St. W., Suite 100, Peterborough). Cash and debit are preferred so more of the proceeds can go to support the addition of Issac to the K9 unit, but VISA and MasterCard will also be accepted.
“(Rotarian) Carl (Brown) brought it up for the club to help with the purchase of Isaac,” recalls Ostrander, a relatively new member of the Rotary Club of Peterborough Kawartha that meets early Thursday mornings at the Peterborough Golf and Country Club.
“I looked at Kim and we both had the same idea: this would be fantastic for the auction. We felt it was a really good fit. You’re looking to breathe new life into the auction. It’s been going on for more than 20 years. To have something like this to get behind is just a lot of fun.”
That was clearly evident on October 26th when several Rotarians, club president Brian Prentice among them, gathered at the Peterborough police station to meet Isaac and his partner, Constable Bob Cowie.
This is the second year that Ostrander and Groenendyk have co-chaired the fundraiser. Last year, under their watch, the auction raised $25,000 that went towards the club’s commitment to the construction of the Rotary Outdoor Gym at Beavermead.
Items available to bid on typically run the gamut — from Leaf tickets to gift certificates from local equipment suppliers, from Showplace tickets to items donated by local businesses.
“This project does involve every member … that’s how we get to that 250 items,” explains Ostrander, noting many members who are business owners themselves donate items.
“I’m always very amazed at the level of giving in this community. I can only imagine the number of requests (for donations) that businesses get. Everybody steps up so well for so many things.”
Being a Rotarian is a perfect fit for Ostrander. As donor relations lead for Community Care Peterborough, his volunteer work on the service club’s behalf is an extension of what he does for a living. Becoming a member some 1-1/2 years ago simply made sense.
“I knew (Rotarian) Doug Lockington and, after I did a presentation (on Community Care) to Rotary, I talked to him,” recalls Ostrander.
“What drew me was the impact Rotary has on the community, not just locally but globally as well. I also found the Four Way Test (Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?) stuck with me.
“These are great people that come together to do great things for the community. I’ve always been community-minded, having volunteered in the past for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. It resonated with me that this is one more step I can take to help out with community events.”
Still, like members of service clubs throughout the area, Ostrander is aware that increasing membership remains a challenge, what with varying demands on people’s time.
“We tick along pretty good but membership is something we’re always striving for,” he says, noting his club has just more than 40 members.
“We’re only as strong as our membership. We have to let people know the impact Rotary has, not just on a local level but on a global basis too. There are so many opportunities to explore things you never thought you could explore. Rotary has given me that opportunity.”
Rotarians have been collecting donations for the auction since September, but items are still welcome. Those who would like to donate an item can call Ostrander at 705-957-4209 to make arrangements or connect via the club’s Facebook page.
The raising of money for the purchase and training of a police service dog isn’t new for the Peterborough Kawartha Rotary Club. In 2004, K9 Harris — named after Rotary founder Paul Harris — was likewise funded. Harris served until his retirement in 2011 (he died in 2015).
For more information about the Rotary Club of Peterborough Kawartha, including how to become a member, visit portal.clubrunner.ca/220/.