Immediately after the official District Changeover event on June 22, 2024 was complete, the Rotary Club of Welland invited all guests to the dedication of a red oak tree in memory of Karen Oakes. Welland Rotary President Tammy Morden began the dedication ceremony.

“Rotary is an organization full of individuals who believe in Service Above Self. Each member participates and is worthy of recognition for it. But every once in a while, there is someone who touches so many, in different ways, at different levels, that they glow in a sky full of bright stars. Karen Oakes was like that.

Much of what I will say to you, many of you already know. But it bears saying anyway.

Karen was a steadfast Rotarian, in her small but mighty home club of Delhi, and at the District level as well. She was our District Governor from 2010 to 2011. While we knew her before that, it seemed to be then that Karen became a regular part of our Club’s Rotary life – even after her District Governor duties were done. She attended many of our Paul Harris events, was pivotal in helping us with Global Grant applications like our 2013 Philippine School Project and was a huge supporter of our 100th Anniversary. Many things she did were done quietly – like helping individuals navigate District requirements and forms, without needing any recognition for it. She did this, as many of us do, with a strong supportive partner – Wolf – at her side. Together, they made a generous donation to the Rotary Foundation in honour of our 100thAnniversary.

Our club is pleased, and it is our honour to have placed this Oak tree here in the Rotary Club of Welland Park in her name. There is more that this tree and Karen had in common than the sound of their names. Oak trees are known to be symbols of strength, endurance, power, and ancient wisdom. Karen lived up to that well in how she shared her quiet and enduring support with those around her.

I will ask you, Wolf to come and say some words, and then help me to unveil the memorial plaque that will remind us all, each time we see it, of what we strive to be.”

Rotarian Wolf Lindemann came forward to talk in more detail about the life of Karen. He also suggested that she had a soft spot for Welland Rotary and felt welcome every time she visited. He thanked the Club for commemorating Karen’s memory in this way.

L to R President Tammy Morden, Wolf Lindemann