Posted by Nick Aroutzidis on Apr 06, 2018
April 5, 2018: Hon Dan Mathieson “Mayor’s Address”, Philip Schroeder will introduce, and Clark Mitchel will thank our speaker.

Head Table:  Our President Linda Bathe, invites Philip Schroeder, Jim Hayes, Ollie Henry, Karel Hodgert, Jo-Anne Hood Tidman, John Hood Tidman and Dave Hunt, to join her at the head table.
This Week: For those of you who know your devoted scribe, you can easily conjure up a picture of a large and indolent man, who has lived successfully for years by the mantra, “I never leave pavement”.  But listening to Gerry Thuss’ illustrated description of his walk along the famous Camino de Santiago, I was compelled to realize what I have missed by succumbing to the lure of tarmac.
Guest Speaker Rotarian Gerry Thuss introduced by John Wright speaking on walking the El Camino Trail de Santiago.
The Camino is a traditional and ancient pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compestela, taken by the faithful as a spiritual exercise and to strengthen their experience of God’s grace.  It dates back some 1200 years and the pilgrimage ends at the Cathedral where the remains of St. James, one of the Twelve Apostles and the first Apostle to be martyred, are said to be buried.  Several routes of the Camino were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1993.  Nowadays, the faithful are outnumbered by the curious and the athletic, but the walk continues to be a test of endurance, an engagement with nature and history and an unforgettable immersion in everyday rural life in France and particularly Spain.  Indeed, some 300,000 people completed the walk in 2017.
There are a number of routes, and Gerry and his wife, Mary, took the French Way, beginning in St Jean Pied de Port and walking 800 km over 33 days to reach the Cathedral.  The walk is both uphill and downhill with some flats bits in the middle.  Along the way, in stages of about 24 km, Gerry and Mary stayed in small villages at converted monasteries and hospitals, castles, built by the mighty Knights Templar, and hostels (often with “open concept” quarters which did nothing to muffle the snorers) and with hosts who were both welcoming and knowledgeable. Some of the monasteries, castles and hospitals are medieval in origin and have served the pilgrims for centuries as they made their way along the walk.
Daily they might be walking through forests, pastures, vineyards, narrow cobbled streets, the valleys and rises of the Galician Hills, along the Atlantic coast, or the mountains of the Pyrenees.   They ate local foods including lots of fish, particularly octopus, and vegetables and wine and nearly always at communal tables where they met an impressive array of the world’s most intrepid travellers.  Gerry and Mary would begin their day at 6:00, leave for the walk by 7:00, have a light breakfast at 8:00, arrive at their destination in the late afternoon and have dinner at 8:00 pm.  To achieve the stamina required for the walk, both had been training for months in advance doing walks with backpacks to get used to what they would be facing.  They had hoped to do this walk some years ago, but Gerry broke his leg and the trip was cancelled.
Gerry’s favourite spot was atop one of the highest points on the walk - the Cruz de Ferro, an iron cross which is surrounded by rocks deposited there by pilgrims over the centuries, a moving testament to faith and memory.
Having arrived at the end of the Camino, Gerry and Mary received their ‘Compestela’ written in Latin which, along with their passport filled with stamps from each night’s stop, marked their successful completion of the walk. Gerry estimates that they took over 1,000,000 steps, climbed 37,000 feet and descended 36,500 feet over the 33 days.  And, best of all, Gerry and Mary achieved their goal of finishing this extraordinary adventure “still married”!
Scribe:  Guy Chadsey
Guests:  Today we welcomed: Carolyn Drummond – Stratford, and  John Nater - MP Stratford.
Draw: The prize today donated Anonymous and the winner was Rick Orr.
Rotary Announcements April 5, 2018
Charlene:  Reminder to everyone, this time next week we will be setting up for the Stratford Home and Leisure show.  We have sorted out what we are doing for volunteers; please watch for a sign up list on Club Runner this afternoon.
Gerry Thuss: The list is up for volunteers for Catch the Ace for the next 2 weekends.  Volunteers report they are having a good time selling tickets especially at the market where people are quite engaged in the draw now in week 21. 
Wendy: The last volunteer opportunity in April is for the Rural Urban Night.  The volunteer list is on Club Runner including set up, serving etc… There are also some tickets available.
President’s Corner:
George Shroeder reports he visited Norm Briscoe yesterday. He found Norm out of bed sitting in a chair and quick with his dry sense of humour. He will have physiotherapy so will be staying at the hospital for a few days if you care to visit. I sent the room information in an email yesterday.
Club sympathy goes out to Rob Ritz on the passing of his Mother Mildred Ritz, visitation is this evening at Lockhart Funeral Home in Mitchell from 6 to 9 pm
Artist’s drawing of Hospice room . We are hoping construction will start soon.
It has been a while since I spoke about the hospice.  We had a board meeting last night so I thought I would give you a brief update.  First some good news, The Ministry of Health and the SW LHIN have agreed to assign 2 more beds to the Stratford Perth Rotary Hospice bringing the number of beds up to 8.  This increases the Ministry’s Capital Funding contribution by $400,000 to a total of $1.6 million. It also increases our operating funds from the LHIN by about $200,000 annually.  Please keep this bit of news quiet since the Ministry wants to make a public announcement in the near future….it is election time.
As you know the bids for the hospice build came in significantly over budget.  The building committee has been working very hard to find cost savings and reported cutting the costs by about $440,000.  They are still looking for about another $200,000 in cuts.  Even with these cuts the board looked at all the costs and voted to increase our fundraising goal by 1 million dollars to be able to move ahead with the build. 
The hospice board voted to approve an MOU with this Club regarding our fundraising goal and naming rights.  That document will be sent to the Jim Young to be filled on Club Runner.
Just so we don’t lose sight of what we are doing, I have a few slides showing images of the resident rooms.  In the cuts to the building the committee has tried to keep the resident rooms as untouched as possible.
You will remember this club has pledged $400,000 over 10 years with a goal of 1 million dollars from all of the Rotary Clubs in Perth County added to donations from individual Rotarians.
Thanks to all of you who have made personal donations and identified yourselves as a Rotarian friends of Hospice.  If you haven’t and wish to add your name to the list please let me know.  I have information and donation forms with me each week.
Make-ups: No report
April’s Attendance Committee:  Rena Spevak Orr (I/C), Sarah Hamza, Gary Morris, Ron Shaw, Roger Black, Mark Smith, Tony Carter, Patti Riehl, Guy Chadsey