Ed Nicholson got up from his chair, looked through the viewer of his camera and prepared to take a photo of the newest recipient of the Ladysmith Rotarian of the Year.
“I got my camera all poised, waiting for the person to walk up,” the 70-year-old retired professor of education recalled.
“Then there’s applause and my wife is tapping me on the back.
“I said, ‘What? I’m taking a picture.’
“She said: ‘That’s you.’”
That’s how Nicholson learned he’d won the highest honour given by his service club.
“Honest to God, it was totally unexpected — I had voted for someone else. I didn’t have the slightest clue — I was just stunned,” he said of the June event.
The award was even more significant given the fact Nicholson had been a member less than five years.
“He sure has had a heck of an impact in a short amount of time,” said Ron Howe, who was Rotary president at the time of Nicholson’s win “Everyone likes him; he’s a very positive individual.”
The Rotarian of the Year is awarded to one Rotarian in the club and is voted by private ballot by the 36 members.
“(Nicholson) won largely because of his involvement in our different projects,” said Howe.
“He’s our sergeant-at-arms and is a very creative, knowledgeable, intelligent individual.”
Nicholson also heads up a couple of our major events each year, one of them being the Rotary Garden Tour.
“He works very hard at fundraising at the event as well as the King and Country event coming up in November,” said Howe.
The King and Country is an event where Rotarians and Legionnaires join to recognize soldiers from Ladysmith who were killed during a war are honoured with an “empty chair” dinner.
“During that night, everything is focused on that individual and his family — it’s the only event of its kind,” Howe said.
Nicholson, who writes the Chronicle’s historical columns each month, spent much of his education career in Alberta before he agreed to develop a faculty of education in Guangdong Province, a job that saw him spend eight years on the South China Sea.
He eventually retired and could only think of one place for he and his wife to spend their golden years.
“Ladysmith was always home for me,” said Nicholson, who noted his family was Ladysmith pioneers.
“I’m now less than a half-kilometre from where I lived as a small guy.”
Nicholson said he’s more than pleased to be a Rotarian.
“Rotary epitomizes all I believe in: honesty, integrity — in both person and profession — and giving back to your community.”