Skip to content

Thorold South resident reaches out

“Rotary Opens opportunities”
“In a world that’s divided, Rotary is always striving to build a more positive climate,” says Greg Lidstone. Bob Liddycoat / Thorold News

A lifelong Thorold South resident has recently been named president of the Lewiston/Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club.

“One of my most cherished memories is the Thorold South fire hall at Halloween,” said Greg Lidstone, when volunteer firefighters annually provide a costume contest and refreshments for T.S. children and their families.

In his role as president, he wants to offer similar opportunities to connect with communities, and create meaningful bonding experiences.

A former student factory worker at the Exelon in Thorold, Washington Mills, and General Motors, Lidstone told the Thorold News, “That was an incentive to get an education.”

Lidstone attended Denis Morris and Notre Dame High Schools before studying social services at Niagara College. He then received a soccer scholarship at Niagara University, where he earned his BSW in social work.

Typically, 90 to 95 per cent of rehab support workers are female, but Lidstone realized that about 50 per cent of motor vehicle accident victims are males, so he entered the field with a goal to assist them.

“A personal injury lawyer encouraged me to get into this line of work. She said, ‘We don’t have enough males’.”

For 20 years, he’s been known as “The Brain Guy,” helping victims suffering with brain injuries as a result of motor vehicle accidents.

It can be challenging, but he enjoys it.

“I have worked with some wonderful people, from various religions and cultures,” he said.

Throughout his professional life, he’s remained connected to the community as a volunteer, calling it “a release” from work pressures.

Lidstone was a member of the Masons, and then became president of the Niagara Falls Shriners Club, where he helped support children’s hospitals and other local causes for seven years, before switching to the binational Lewiston/Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club, which spends “half the time in the U.S., half in Niagara-on-the-Lake.”

Rotarians are well-known for working to eradicate polio around the world, as well as various other initiatives.

Lidstone’s looking to recruit more members, ideally people who are age 45-plus or approaching retirement, and have time to volunteer. Women are more than welcome to join the club.

Currently, all that’s required is a willingness to meet with other members online once or twice a week, as well as a promotional initiation fee of $100, which can be paid in two six-month increments of $50.

“It’s a chance to give back to the community, both locally and internationally. Rotary opens opportunities, and we are trying to bridge the gap and create better cultural understanding and dialogue” between Canada and the U.S., he explained. “In a world that’s divided, Rotary is always striving to build a more positive climate.”

“I would like to focus not so much on giving cheques, but donating our time” in a basic grassroots way, he said, such as “feeding people” and forming partnerships and community relationships.

“At one time, Rotary was looking only for business people,” he stated. “Now, we are looking for someone who wants to give back to the community, and who has an international perspective and focus. It opens doors to opportunities. The Rotary Club is unique in that we can introduce more international exposure than other charities.”

Rotary hosts an internationsl conference each year, and the club fundraises at the Shaw Festival, Terry Fox Run and Lewiston Art Festival, as well as contributes to health and environmental causes, among many others.

One form of fundraising the club will be offering in the fall is a mobile document shredding service, which is useful for banks, law firms, and other businesses.

If anyone would like to get involved with the Rotary Club, they can call Lidstone at 905-964-2333.