A Yorkton Kinsman has been awarded the Kin Canada’s highest honour. At the Kinsmen and Kinette’s provincial annual general meeting hosted in Yorkton June 6 and 7, the national organization named Ron Hanishewsky an Active Life Member. He had no idea it was coming.
“It was certainly shocking,” he said. “It is certainly an honour that I didn’t ever expect. You don’t do it for that; I do it for all the other reasons, so to be recognized like that is certainly humbling.”
In nominating Hanishewsky, the local club called him a “great leader” and espoused his dedication to the success of the organization and the betterment of the community.
“He has been a great influence to the Yorkton clubs and, as well, all clubs across Saskatchewan and Canada,” the nomination stated. “His motto for his national vice presidency was to ‘inspire others, impact many, imagine the future.’ That he has done.”
In 1999, five years after moving to Yorkton, Hanishewsky just wanted to get a bit more involved in the community.
“I was introduced to Kinsmen in Yorkton by Brad Bazin and came out, enjoyed the people that were involved, and just wanted to get more involved in what was going on with the club here and what they were doing in the community,” he explained.
At the time, he never imagined what it might lead to, but didn’t waste any time making his mark on the organization. The following year, 2000-2001, he was named Rookie of the Year. By 2004-2005, he was the president of the local club and in 2005-2006 was named Kinsman of the year.
He was a district governor in 2007-2008, district communications director in 2008-2009 and served on the national board of directors from 2009 to 2013.
Last year, he was elected national vice president with automatic elevation to president effective in August for a term of one year.
“Certainly, when I joined I never ever thought it would be to the extent it has,” he said. “I got involved and it just seemed to snowball. I certainly wanted to be able to offer more and give more. The people you meet, the things that you see happen in different communities and across the country, it’s just kind of snowballed into wanting to offer back so much more than I’ve been given.”
The period between 2005 and 2009 may have been his most formative when he served as a member of the Telemiracle Foundation board.
“I got an opportunity to see some of the bigger picture where all the money that comes in for Telemiracle, where that gets spent,” he said.
“You get to talk to some people and see what they’re going through and what it meant to them to be able to have that extra equipment or funding so that they could deal with what they had to deal with. The impact that you have on people that you never ever meet, it’s kind of that ripple effect. The things we do in the community or across the nation, you never know who it’s impacting and you never meet a lot of those people, but you know that it’s doing a lot of good.”
For Hanishewsky, it has become a family affair.
“My wife (Lesley) has been involved and our children (Marley, Kaeden and Alexandria) certainly, where they can be, are involved in volunteering and helping out with different projects,” he said. “To us it’s important being able to offer a set of morals or ethics and what it means to do some of that and make your community better.”
The involvement of kids is also important for the future of the organization, he said.
“Every service organization is struggling, there’s so many opportunities for volunteering, so to us it is important about getting to that next generation as Kin kids,” he said, adding he does not see youth as being apathetic.
“A lot of the younger generation is looking for a way to volunteer in their community. Making the world a better place is important to them, it’s just about finding the way to involve them. I think a lot of younger people are looking for that opportunity, so it’s just capitalizing on that.”
In the coming year, Hanishewsky will be taking his message of volunteerism nationwide.
“As national president, I want to go out and speak to the importance of the volunteering, what it means to have Kin in a community, that core volunteer group that gets things done and, really, the impact they have on a community and on people’s lives.”
And, of course, he wouldn’t be living up to his reputation if he didn’t get a plug in for the local club extending an invitation to prospective members.
“It’s a young group of great people, it’s kind of an extended family and the opportunity to give back in your community,” he said. “It’s certainly about the things we go out and do in the community. We’re always looking for more people to get involved, commit what they can. I know sometimes it seems like a huge commitment and it can be if you want it to be, but it doesn’t have to be.”