Honouring local heroes

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SELFLESS SERVICE: Receiving merit awards for their service to communities through their different organisations are, from left, NSRI deputy head Steven Slade, Juan Pretorius, Rotary president Ren Mouton, Rosemary Mogale, Margaret Mogale and Jan Blom. Picture: LOUISE CARTER
SELFLESS SERVICE: Receiving merit awards for their service to communities through their different organisations are, from left, NSRI deputy head Steven Slade, Juan Pretorius, Rotary president Ren Mouton, Rosemary Mogale, Margaret Mogale and Jan Blom. Picture: LOUISE CARTER

THREE non-Rotary members and the organisations they serve were honoured last Tuesday evening at the Rotary Merits Awards evening held at the Port Alfred River and Ski-boat Club.

The award ceremony was a tad emotional for president Ren Mouton as this was one of her last duties as Rotary president for the year. Next Tuesday Mouton will be handing over the reins at the annual Rotary Induction dinner to Rotarian Dave Hawkins.

For Mouton it was bittersweet as she congratulated and singled out health care worker Rosemary Mogale and bestowed the excellence in service award to her for dedication to helping and running the eye clinic.

Mogale is an integral member of the eye clinic and over and above her work, assists with organising transport for patients and helps patients and optometrists with interpretations and explaining diagnoses.

Juan Pretorius, as the station head at National Sea Rescue Institute, was awarded the certificate of appreciation of service to community. He has been a member for 11 years and for seven years served as station head, keeping watch over a vast area on the water and on land. NSRI is an organisation that relies on donations, sponsorship, donors and volunteers and assists in training camps as well as educational workshops for children about water safety.

“Thank you for the award and also the boost in morale. We give our lives over to the organisation, like you do to Rotary,” Pretorius said. He was happy to report that the Port Alfred NSRI had a quiet year and had done only 12 operations over 12 months; four in one month and the rest scattered.

Founder of Nemato Change, a Life, Jan Blom, received the Rotary merit award for leadership and was honoured for the tireless work he has done for the Port Alfred and Nemato community.

He started Nemato Change a Life as a rowing initiative to help spark interest in previously disadvantage youths in the sport.

The organisation quickly grew to a youth empowerment organisation and now offers a gymnasium, maths classes, pre-school teacher training, fencing and tumbling classes.

The organisation has spawned many sport champions and cultivated youth in positive directions. “Thank you for an award that says ‘keep going when it’s tough’,” Blom said.

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