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June 28 2020

Thursday, June 25, 2020 – Via Zoom

President Brent welcomed the assembled, many of whom were done up in their Canada Day Best, to his last meeting as Club President.  He then toasted Rotary & Fellowship; followed by a special toast to Canada - the greatest country in the world - in honour of her 153rd birthday on July 1st.
 
Under Care & Cheer, Brent advised the meeting that Bob Gulliford is now resting comfortably at the Stratford Perth Rotary Hospice as a room became available. (Lana Burchett, Rotarian and Executive Director of the Hospice, wanted it noted that no special treatment was awarded Bob to get him into the Hospice.)
 
Brent pointed out that there are several interesting articles in this month’s Rotarian magazine, including one about the new Rotary International President, Holger Knaack, and one about the responses to the pandemic by the Rotary Club of Aspen, Colorado.
 
Michael Fox and Robert Ritz are both celebrating birthdays early next week.  Not quite as old as Canada but getting there.  Dave Hunt achieved his 46-year club anniversary.
Special thanks must given to R.L. Stephenson-Read who served as our Sergeant-at-Arms this past year. It is not an easy chore to interest and entertain everyone week after week. Well done RL!
 
Past President Paul Roulston and In-coming President Katherine Hahn then took over the proceedings.  Paul thanked Brent for his hard work this past year and noted that it was a difficult year for many reasons but Brent persevered.
 
Katherine, with the assistance of Doug Thompson, presented pictures and a slide show from Brent’s past year of service. A Paul Harris Award was then presented to Brent for his outstanding service to the club and to the community.
 
Brent thanked everyone in the club for their support over the past year.  He noted that it was 16 years ago to the day that he lost his father, Wayne.  He further stated that it was a challenging year but a good year and that there were a lot of people to thank - those included the Boards of Directors from both the Club and the Foundation; Mimi and Charlene for their energy and support and Kevin for his terrific work on the financial front.
 
Brent had three mandates when he came into office:
  1. Honour the past.  A 100th Anniversary Committee was formed under Ken Nesbitt.
  1. Focus on the future by taking a hard look at the club’s present situation and the issues facing not only Stratford Rotary but Rotary clubs throughout the world.  Issues such as an aging demographic; how do we attract new, younger members; not only younger but more diverse.    Surveys were taken, club members were consulted and ideas for change were discussed with Rotaract.  This lead to a Strategic Plan that will help lead us into the future.
  1. Create a New Project.  Environmental concerns and doing away with single-use plastic.  Sobey’s has eliminated the use of 4,000 plastic bags a week.  Covid-19 hit and this project was derailed temporarily.
Brent noted that there were many 1st’s during his term in office.  Some good, some not so good.  1st Rotary baby, 1st fraud case, 1st meeting in Hospice Board Room, 1st pandemic and 1st on-line meeting to name a few.
 
His greatest achievement – Staying together as a club through the pandemic.  Raising money for PPE, developing the Rotary Mask project and adapting to the realities of a changed world.
 
Brent thanked everyone again and passed the jacket on to Katherine Hahn.
 
Scribe - John Wright
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