For the last 26 years, Bernard Rutko has been a visible volunteer in Wadena, organizing community events and volunteering his time for the causes he believes in. On May 7, a banquet and awards night held in Saskatoon was the occasion for inducting Rutko into the Saskatchewan Lions Hall of Fame.
In 1990, Rutko was sponsored into the Wadena Lions District Club by Carmen Proznick, a high school friend. He has presided as president for six of the succeeding years, and is currently co-chair.
His involvement in the Lions led him to zone meetings with Lion members Don Auchstaetter and Harvey Bowers, where Rutko was appointed co-chair for District 5CA. He served as chairperson for zones 5CA and 5SKN, held the office of regional chairperson for both, participated in Sight and Service 2 for 5CA, officiated as Lions chairperson, served on the membership committee for 5CA, volunteered in setting up a leader school, set up the district Governors Night in Wadena for District 5CA, and attended District 5CA and 5SKN conventions as his hectic schedule permitted. The Lions are responsible for many projects to which Rutko has given his time. He has organized and helped with the Wadena Lions Gun and Hobby Show; the 2016 event has been heralded as the most successful so far.
Rutko has been involved in many other volunteer organizations. In 1986 he became a charter member of the Wadena Knights of Columbus and acted as district deputy for four years. He was also grand knight and financial secretary for 14 years. The Town and Country Fair has been another project for Rutko and he has organized two Diabetes Cavalcade tours in Wadena. He is the supervisor for the community bingo night and has helped deliver Meals on Wheels for more than 20 years. His work for St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church led him to become parish council representative, visiting the sick at home and participating in mass. Rutko is a 22-year member of the Wadena District Volunteer Firefighters. His sons Robert and Michael also serve the community in this way. From 1984-86, Rutko served as secretary to the Wadena and District Chamber of Commerce.
He likes to spend his spare time with his family, his first priority. When possible, he and his wife enjoy a leisurely road trip, seeing the sights and exploring what the highways and byways have to offer. If there is a car show nearby, you can bet Rutko will be admiring the paintwork and chrome of the cars on display.
Bernard and MaryAnn Rutko own and operate Wadena Glass & Mye Signs.
By Andy Labdon