Astronaut Chris Hadfield coming to the Battlefords for Rotary’s 100th

The Rotary Club of the Battlefords made an announcement Monday that could only be described as out of this world.

At their regular meeting Monday at the Blend Restaurant, the Rotary Club confirmed that Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield will be the keynote speaker for their Centennial “Out of this World” Celebration, happening in the Battlefords and area on Friday, April 24, 2020.

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The events will commemorate Rotary’s 100 years of service. Rotary of the Battlefords was inducted April 26, 1919. 

The plan is for an afternoon event for more than 1,000 students that day at North Battleford Comprehensive High School, with Hadfield as the speaker.

That will be followed by a gala event in the evening for 350 business and community leaders, happening at the Dekker Centre, where Hadfield will again be the speaker.

Hadfield achieved fame as the first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station. According to a Rotary news release, Hadfield is credited for making outer space ”accessible for millions” and for “infusing a sense of wonder into our collective consciousness.” He is billed as “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong.”

Both Ben Christensen, who chairs the club’s anniversary committee, and committee co-chair Warren Williams unveiled the poster for the event at the launch Monday.

“The value proposition is reaching out to area youth in our afternoon event,” said Williams.

“Chris Hadfield is an amazing presenter. He brought space into our living rooms and into our homes by social media.” He added the event would be “first-class, 100 per cent.”

To put it on, Rotary had set aside money for their 100th Anniversary from their ongoing fundraising initiatives, but needed more financial support and reached out to the community for that assistance.

“Our community has gone above and beyond,” said Christensen. He announced at the launch Monday that Battlefords Tribal Council and Innovation Credit Union would be the two major “International Space Station Commander” sponsors for the event for $25,000 each. Other sponsors have come on board as well with smaller amounts.

Innovation Vice-president of Business Advisers John Jangula represented the credit union at the launch, and Chief Wayne Semaganis of Little Pine and Chief Crystal Okemow of Lucky Man represented BTC.

Hadfield is “known for giving inspirational messages and we know he will do so with our youth here this year,” said Jangula.

“This is awesome,” was the reaction of Okemow, who added “our First Nations have demonstrated a commitment to social and economic development for the Battlefords.”

Advance tickets are already being made available for Rotary members, past presidents and Integrity award winners until the end of December. After that, tickets will be available through the Dekker Centre.

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