For the first time in 14 years, a Canadian will lead LaSertoma International.
Not just a Canadian, but also a Chatham-Kent resident.
Tammy Craeymeersch will take over as president of LaSertoma International Aug. 1 for one year. She was officially named president at this past weekend’s LaSertoma International Convention, which took place at the John D. Bradley Centre.
Craeymeersch, who has known for two years she would head the service club, still found Saturday night’s banquet and announcement very special.
“I’m very overwhelmed by the amount of support,” she said. “I had 30 guests from Chatham-Kent there Saturday. It was amazing.”
Craeymeersch said after she takes over Aug. 1, it’s a matter of offering oversight to the four LaSertoma Regions – Atlantic/Carolina West Region, Canada Region, Midwest Region and North Central Region.
“If there are any issues that arise in any of the regions, I need to be ready to help and assist whenever I can,” she said.
The commitment for being the international president is a five-year process, Craeymeersch said. A person spends a year as second vice-president, one as president elect, then as president, followed by a year as chair of the board, and finally one as scholarship and memorial chair.
On top of her duties as international president, Craeymeersch will also continue as treasurer at Thamesville LaSertoma, where she also chairs several committees.
She’s been involved in LaSertoma for 28 years, and has put in more than 6,000 service hours for the organization.
All that takes place around her job as a children’s service worker at Chatham-Kent Children’s Services.
Craeymeersch said the convention was a hit, as LaSertoma members from Florida, Oklahoma, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Canada joined together for board meetings, business sessions and some fun.
Over the three days, the members enjoyed a dip in the sensory pool at the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent, visited Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Dresden, and had Shannon Prince, curator of Buxton National Historic Site and Museum as a guest speaker.
Craeymeersch said the treatment centre holds a special place in the hearts of local LaSertoma personnel, as the service club is a regular donor of funding. In fact, the club was named donor of the year by the centre recently.
The sensory pool was a hit with the visiting LaSertoma people.
“It was a lot of fun. It’s a wonderful area,” Craeymeersch said of the pool, which provides a safe and fun environment for children and programs assist to further build transferable swimming skills.
Over the course of the convention, Craeymeersch said the LaSertomas gave out 12 $1,000 (US) scholarships, and raised $10,000 for the LaSertoma Endowment Fund.