Rotary celebrates successful year despite pandemic

Marlene Bowers, left, outgoing president of the Rotary Club of Gore Bay, hands over the president’s gavel to incoming president Keith McKeen. photo by Tom Sasvari

TEHKUMMAH—Despite the difficulties in hosting fundraising all of its normal events during the past year, due to the pandemic, the Rotary Club of Gore Bay was undeterred.

“We were hamstrung in hosting very many events because of so many issues dealing with the pandemic. but we had a good year,” said Rotary President Marlene Bowers at the clubs’ 68th annual dinner meeting held at Garden’s Gate Restaurant in Tehkummah last Thursday. “As president of the club for the past year, I would like to state a big thank you to everyone. You all worked very hard.”

“We were only able to put on two fundraising events in the past year (the annual Rotary Fall Produce Auction and the highly successful Bay to Bay Bicycle Ride), but in total we were able to raise over $24,000,” said Ms. Bowers. 

With the funds the Rotary Club was able to raise, they were able to provide financial support to Gwekwaadziwin Miikan Youth Mental Health and Addictions Program, the Gore Bay Medical Centre, Angel Bus, Robinson Township Fire Department for purchasing a new side by side vehicle to help with fighting fires in remote, isolated areas, the Meldrum Bay Hall, Manitoulin Family Resources food hampers project. They also provided financial support for Manitoulin Secondary School student bursaries, Christmas gifts for seniors, provided support to a community member who had unfortunate illnesses and accidents, a donation to the Mindemoya Hospital through sponsorship of the annual Tour de Meldrum Bay, and the club provided sand for the Rotary Beach and Halloween treats for students at C.C. McLean Public School. International financial support went to Red Cross Ukrainian Appeal due to the Russian invasion and laptops for children in Zambia.

After a toast to the Queen and Canada delivered by Rotarian Jack Clark, club member Jeff Hietkamp delivered the blessing of the food. Following the delicious meal, guest speaker Peter Edmunds, assistant district 7010 governor of Rotary, provided a detailed look at his life, having grown  up in South Africa.

In providing the year in review, President Marlene Bowers explained, “with the help of our Rotary district we developed a strategic plan and what we want to accomplish in the future. We now have a regular Thursday meeting place at the church, and we developed a fellowship committee.”

“Hopefully, with the new strategic plan, it will make us an even stronger club,” said Ms. Bowers. As is customary at the annual dinner meeting, she handed over the president’s gavel to Rotarian Keith McKeen. “I know Keith is going to do an amazing job over the next year,” she said in making the presentation.

Mr. McKeen in turn, presented the past presidents’ pin to Ms. Bowers, noting, “with all your hard work over the past year, you have done a great job.”