Posted by Maria Hudolin on Jan 21, 2021
 
 
Margaret Brown is a proud charter member of our club and served as our club president in 2012/13. She was born and raised in Peace River Alberta and lived on her paternal grandparents’ homestead before moving into town at the age of six.
 
Life in a small town was great until, just before her 16th birthday, she lost her father in a work accident.  The blow to her family was catastrophic and long lasting. She married her husband Richard right after graduating high school and left for Edmonton the next day for Richard’s work in an oilfield service company. It was here where their two daughters were born. They transferred to Calgary for Richard’s work in 1973 where their third daughter was born. Margaret was very involved with a local daycare, attended Mount Royal College taking ECS courses and was involved in her school community.
 
In 1977 Richard was offered an international position in Dubai, UAE where they were plunged into a whole new life full of friends and amazing experiences. The culture shock made it a tough beginning however Margaret says the experience totally changed their lives! They gained an appreciation for travel and are still in touch with friends they met.
 
Upon returning to Calgary, they did a family adoption of Richard's 10 yr. old nephew who had spent a lot of time and summers with their family and was a big part of their lives.
 
In 1983-84 they were again transferred with Richard's work to Dartmouth, NS. They loved Nova Scotia and were able to explore some of Richard's mom's roots - what a place to get a new understanding of Canadian history where it all started!!!
 
After a year, they returned to Calgary where Margaret continued in the school kindergarten system for a few years before switching gears in when she started work as a merchandiser for a company out of Toronto which led to her getting a job with Nestle Canada in Calgary. She worked her way up to the position of account and territory manager. After a few downturns in the oil industry, Richard decided to exit the industry and try something new. Together with his brother, they purchased a family restaurant in Fort Macleod, AB and eventually made the move to Lake Country in 1994 where they owned and operated a dry cleaning service. In 1997 Margaret took the opportunity to go back to work for Nestle Canada here in Lake Country with the BC southern interior as her area until her retirement in 2014. 
 
 
Their realtor, Joy Winterlik, approached them about joining a new Rotary Club that was forming in LC. Margaret had been introduced to Rotary in Calgary where, at a lunch meeting, she experienced an impactful presentation by a returning exchange student which she had never forgotten! Being new to the LC community she decided to join the new club as a way to meet people and get involved. She became a charter member March 29, 1996.
 
Margaret says: “In the last 25 years I have met my best friends at Rotary, been involved in my community's growth and made a difference in the world community! In our early years we did many hands-on local projects and hosted large community fundraisers and had tons of fun doing so.”
 
 In 2001 they hosted their first exchange student, Akiko, from Japan. She calls this her first Rotary “aha moment”. They both were hooked and have hosted 13 students so far with many of these students staying in touch, returning to visit, hosting and meeting Margaret and Richard in other countries. Having the students around all those years led to one of their granddaughters going to Germany on exchange! Another life altering experience! 
 
Margaret’s second Rotary “aha moment” happened at a district training event where she met Ramesh Ferris, the Canadian polio survivor from India who is now a Rotarian in Whitehorse. “That's when it really registered about the eradication of polio and what it meant and Rotary's role in that and the world. The camaraderie and friendships keep me at Rotary. The satisfaction of giving back to the local and world community and making a difference makes me want to stay”.  
 
 
Maria Hudolin and her husband Jack relocated to Lake Country from Thunder Bay, ON http://www.visitthunderbay.com in November 2019 and joined our club in June 2020. Maria will be celebrating 23 years in Rotary and is the past president of the Rotary Club of Thunder Bay http://www.parotary.com and knew that she would continue her Rotary journey in Lake Country. “It’s a wonderful and easy way to meet and make friends in a new community and actually – most anywhere in the world!”
 
 
 
 
 
Maria was born into a large Italian/Polish family and after graduating BComm from the University of Calgary in 1979 and enjoying a work exchange in Finland, she and Jack married and spent the first four years of their marriage in Calgary where their daughter was born.
 
They returned to Thunder Bay in 1984 and started their individual companies. Maria and her sister started Bayway Transit & Tours (an offshoot of their family school bus business) and for the next 28 years planned, marketed and operated motorcoach and inter-modal tours throughout North America and welcomed visitors to the Thunder Bay area. Jack is now retired but remains a partner in his marketing/communication firm Generator Strategy Creative.  Their daughter and son live with their spouses in Calgary and Vancouver. In 2020 Maria and Jack’s first grandchild Luca was born – one of their many blessings during Covid!
 
Maria’s reason for joining Rotary was to SERVE and it remains her priority after many years. Lake Country Rotary provides her with many opportunities to serve her new community. Rotary highlights for her were doing a friendship exchange and Polio Immunization Day in India in 2016 and helping with a school room addition in Guatemala in 2015. She is anxious for the day when she can travel to do more hands-on international service. She is also a ShelterBox Rotary Ambassador.  Maria shared her life mantra with our members: Faith, Family, Wellness, Wonder. She says she is living this every day in Lake Country!
 
Maria has served at district level as an AG and District Trainer. She now serves RC Lake Country as our Membership Chair. You can reach her at membership@lakecountryrotary.ca