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Bickle honoured by Amherst Rotary Club

Ron Bickle accepts the Amherst Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Community Fellowship Award from club vice-president Trina Clarke during the club’s 84th anniversary dinner on March 11.
Ron Bickle accepts the Amherst Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Community Fellowship Award from club vice-president Trina Clarke during the club’s 84th anniversary dinner on March 11. - Contributed

AMHERST, N.S. – Over a career spanning more than 40 years Ron Bickle has seen a lot of changes in radio.

Bickle, whose first job was at CKDH under Fred Arenburg in 1977, was honoured by the Amherst Rotary Club on Monday with its Paul Harris Community Fellowship Award during its 84th anniversary dinner on March 11.

One of his fondest memories was interviewing Terry Fox as he passed through Cumberland County, soon after the young man began his Marathon of Hope in 1981.

“Pam Harrison and I were involved in his pass through Cumberland County. Pam brought him to a phone booth at Wentworth Provincial Park and I interviewed over the phone. I never got to meet him and I regret not being in the station when he came in,” Bickle said upon accepting the award. “It was special to interview him before he went into to New Brunswick. It really wasn’t until he got to Ontario that people learned about who he was.”

Bickle said one of biggest memories was the team effort to create CFTA Tantramar Community Radio, which will celebrate its eighth anniversary in July of this year.

As operations manager, he works in the background so the volunteers can come into the station and offer the unique programming CFTA has become known for in Cumberland and Westmorland counties.

The 60-year-old Springhill native worked part-time as a reporter and photographer with the former Springhill Record as a teenager and then went to work for CKDH.

He is a member of the Radio Amateurs of Canada and has belonged to the Westcumb Amateur Radio Club since 1991 that works closely with emergency measures in both Westmorland and Cumberland counties and with police as part of the Pumpkin Patrol at Halloween and with the Cumberland Y Service Club and its Cross Border race in June.

He has also volunteered with Tantramar Theatre and the Fibre Arts Festival and when the Amherst Rotary Club hosted its radio and TV auction he acted as the emcee.

Since 1995, he has volunteered his time to Trinity-St. Stephen’s United Church in Amherst as the sound and video technician, running the sound system at the church and doing a digital video recording and post-production work for Eastlink Community TV.

In Bickle’s honour, the Amherst Rotary Club has donated US $1,000 to Rotary International.

The first recipient was Jack Matthews, followed by former premier and Cumberland East MLA Roger S. Bacon, the late Allie Daley, Theo Mansour and other distinguished members of our community including people like Gerry Cormier, Gerry Helm, Art ‘Sonny’ Foster, Vicki Daley and Heather LeMoine.

The award criterion reads that it is to be presented annually to someone "who has, for a number of years, provided leadership and service to the community within the ideal and motto of Rotary and the Fourway test".

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