January 23, 2020: Dr Alicia Cundall, “Work in Africa Emergency Medicine Training and Scholarships”, Pat Feryn will introduce, and Wendy Wilkinson will thank our speaker.
Head Table:  Our President Brent Shackleton, invites, Pat Feryn, Clarence McCallum, Jerry McEwin, Lynn McKone, Bruce McLaren and Clark Mitchell, to join him at the head table.
Today at Rotary: Tom Shurrie is a wonderful Stratford success. Born and raised in Stratford, he married the daughter of Rotarian Doug Page, who introduced him today, and one of his earliest jobs was working with Club member, Roger Black.  As Mr. Shurrie spoke engagingly about his life’s journey, it was clearly evident that he was pursuing a career that excited him and that he did so with his family at the centre of his life.
His first jobs were in sales and marketing with several food companies including Kraft, Parmalat, Longo’s, ConAgra and Acosta – each position offering new experiences and managerial challenges and moves across the country -  in all 28 different positions with the food and grocery business before he took on his current position of CEO at the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.
Mr. Shurrie outlined the work of the CFIG which was founded in 1962 and which acts as an association for family or individually controlled, non-publically traded, retail grocery operations.   The CFIG has 6,900 members and includes single outlets and multi-store grocers such as Valu-Mart, Save-on Foods and Foodland; and it represents 51% of all grocery operations in Canada.  Employing 93,000 people, doing an annual turnover of $12.8 billion (of a total market in Canada of $103.8 billion) and representing all regions of Canada, these stores are a critical player in making food available to Canadians.  He went on to explain that the independent grocery sector is strong despite the advent and popularity of warehouse operations like Costco and mass merchandisers like WalMart. 
Mr. Shurrie identified six key areas of focus for the CFIG, areas where the Federation is active advocating for change, a level playing field and recognition for its members.  These encompassed the continuing battle for fair and equitable credit card rates for retailers, energy grants and sustainability, consolidation, government regulations and the licensing of beer and wine sales.   He asked us to keep in mind that these issues are of great import for his members as the average independent grocer only makes about 1.5% true profit and the most successful might make 3.6% - very tight margins indeed.
The Federation holds trade shows for members and suppliers which are opportunities for education, innovation and networking.  It also runs a National Scholarship program for high school graduates who work in or are part of an independent grocer to pursue post-secondary education, several award programs recognizing outstanding independent grocer business and the entrepreneurial spirit, advocates with government to address such issues as small business tax rates, cheese quotas, in-store labelling exemptions and the rising issue of single-use plastics.  One of the Federation’s most recent success has been the to save the Ontario Food Terminal from the depredations of the current Ontario Conservative government – rightly making the case for the Terminal’s continuing role in its current location in ensuring competitive wholesale prices, easy access and operation as a trusted “stock exchange” for fruit and vegetables in Ontario.
Mr Shurrie concluded by returning to his personal journey and saying that it is his family’s intention to retire (not immediately) to this area with a new house in St Marys and reconnect with Perth County as a place that has always been close to their heart.
As the Speaker concluded, Peter Maranger had to be discouraged from playing O Canada for a third time.
Your tired by impressed scribe,
Scribe: Guy Chadsey
Rotary Announcements:      
  • Michael Fox declared that he was taking a week’s break from making announcements
  • Myrna Inglis, a guest visiting from Walkerton, announced that there was an online course offered by Rotary on grant writing and should be taken by any Rotarian who wished to be involved in writing grants for presentation to Rotary
  • Peter Maranger and Jim Young recommended articles in the most recent issue of The Rotarian concerning the revival of Rotary clubs in Rwanda
  • President Brent announced that he would be hosting a Fireside Chat at his home on January 30th and that all Rotarians interested in the developing strategies for the Club’s future were invited.  He promised that there would be Scotch and hor d’ouevres.
  • Peter Maranger introduced a new Club tradition by opening the Speaker’s presentation with the meeting’s second rendering of O Canada
Thank you Letter we received (Respite House Christmas Gifts)
Hello Ollie,
I wanted to send an email to the Rotary Club for providing Christmas gifts to the kids who are in connection with the Rotary Respite House. 
I am Karen Hoyles and my Son, Prestin Hoyles spoke a few years ago at your meeting about the benefits of the Rotary Respite House for our family and thanking each of you for your hard dedication to pour so much time and resources into this beneficial place of support and fun! 
Shortly before this past Christmas there was a gift for Prestin delivered to us on behalf of the Rotary Club! It is Prestin's 3rd year he has received such a gift from you. We get so touched each time that I wanted to be sure to reach out and say a big THANK YOU. 
This past year has been the most difficult for Prestin and our family up until a couple of months ago when his health finally improved. Many recipient kids just like Prestin in some form or another that use the Rotary Respite House go through difficulties in life that no child should ever have too. In many ways Prestin has had to miss out on a lot of childhood activities due to his health. That is what makes the Rotary Respite House so great. He is in a safe loving home environment that is fun and special memories are made all the while allowing myself, my husband and family to get a recharged break with a great peace of mind knowing he is in great care. 
If this was not enough....a gift arrives for Prestin every Christmas! I would suggest it is not "Just a gift." But rather a time where my Son gets to forget, if only for a short while of the hardships of life and he gets to experience the joy and pure excitement of that gift. A gift that speaks to Prestin and us that the community in the form of Rotary Club Stratford is behind him cheering him on and that he is not forgotten. 
From our family, we wish to say thank you for making our Son and many others like him have that spark of joy and create special memories from your Christmas gift program to the Rotary Respite House! We are truly appreciative of your kindness. It means so much! 
Karen Hoyles
Guests: We welcomed Myrna Inglis (District Grants Chair, Walkerton Rotary Club), Bill Helmuth (FCRC).
Foundation Draw: The prize today was donated by Pat Redshaw and won by Jim Scott.
Make-ups: David Hunt at the FCRC, on January 14, 2020.
Please, if you do a make-up, please send me an email at naroutzidis@naeng.com.
January’s Attendance Committee: Charlene Gordon (I/C), Craig Pearce, Peter Maranger, Karel Hodgert, Doug Page, Patricia Riehl, Tony Carter, Colleen Devine