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If you would like to fill in a membership form click here or click the logo on the left. If you want more information, click Member info below. 
Are you looking at making a Difference?  Are you looking at joining a community organization that has been impactful to our community for 100 years?  
Rotary Hip and Toronto Based Donors provide Lap Tops
Rotary HIP and Toronto-based Donors Provide Refurbished Laptops to Indigenous Groups in Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay, ON – A collaborative effort from Siemens Energy Canada, a German-based company with a subsidiary in Canada, Corporations for Community Connections and Honouring Indigenous Peoples (HIP) from Toronto and Montreal brought much-needed technology to Indigenous organizations in the Thunder Bay area.  During May 8th and 9th, the visitors distributed refurbished laptops to Nokiiwin Tribal Council, the Ontario Native Women’s Association, Dennis Franklin Cromarty School, Fort William First Nation and Mishkeegogamang First Nation, aiming to shorten the digital divide and enhance educational opportunities for First Nations youth in the region. “The need is much greater,” said Brian Walmark, a HIP volunteer, I hope our visitors have seen that this donation only scratches the surface of the need across the North.”
The initiative, a partnership of Siemens Energy Canada, Corporations for Community Connections and HIP, a not for profit created by Rotary, involves the collection and refurbishment of over 80 laptops donated by Siemens Energy Canada in Toronto and refurbished BY the Corporations for Community Connections in Montreal. The laptops were distributed by rotary HIP volunteers. “These laptops, now fully operational and equipped with essential software,” said Philip Schaus, President and CEO of Corporations for Community Connections, “are set to benefit students and community members in Thunder Bay, where access to digital resources has been historically limited.”
HIP, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering relationships and understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, emphasized the importance of technology in today’s educational landscape. "Access to technology is a crucial factor in educational success and economic opportunity," said Rotarian Brian Walmark, a representative from HIP. "By providing these laptops, we're helping to level the playing field for Indigenous students and community members."
A going away dinner for the visitors was held and attended by local leaders and representatives from the Indigenous groups and Rotary.  Chief Michelle Solomon of Fort William First Nation and Chief Merle Loon of Mishkeegogamang First Nation personally accepted the refurbished laptops on behalf of their respective First Nations.
 Arne Wohlschlegel, President and Managing Director of Siemens Energy Canada said the visit to Indigenous groups located in Thunder Bay was an eye-opening experience.  “There is a great need to get these laptops into the hands of Indigenous Peoples in Northern Ontario,” he said.  “This serves their need and it keeps these laptops out of the landfill. It’s a win / win for all of us and I look forward to seeing these donations expand across Canada and the Untied States.”
This donation is part of a broader effort by HIP and its partners to support Indigenous communities through technology, education, and cultural, and sports initiatives, aiming to foster a more inclusive and equitable society by building bridges between Newcomers and Indigenous Peoples through Truth and Reconciliation.
Club Information
Welcome to our Website!
Port Arthur Rotary

Service Above Self

We meet In Person
Tuesdays at 12:00 p.m.
Lakehead University, Bartley Residence Conference Centre
955 Oliver Rd
Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1
Lakehead University Bartley Residence Conference Centre is proud to be home and sponsor of Port Arthur Rotary. 2nd and 4th Tues Zoom link, email: mavillel@lakeheadu.ca Meals to be ordered by the Weds. prior: parotarytreasurer@gmail.com
Lakehead University Bartley Residence Conference Centre is proud to be the Home of Port Arthur Rotary.  Lakehead’s Conference Services is the venue sponsor for our meetings.
Special thanks to our club sponsor The UPS Store.  Thank you for everything you do for Port Arthur Rotary 
Looking for some funds from our Allocations Committee? 
Celebrate a Century of Service with Port Arthur Rotary!

Special Call for Proposals: Rotary Centennial Allocations (2024)
Join us in commemorating 100 years of service in the Lakehead! Port Arthur Rotary has raised
an extraordinary amount of funds during our centennial year, and we’re excited to share them
with Not-For-Profits in Thunder Bay serving those in need. We are especially looking to support
organizations working with the homeless, the hungry, youth, and First Nations communities.
How to Apply
Our centennial year has been a milestone of generosity, enabling us to make a significant impact.
We will be distributing these funds through a rigorous allocations process, managed by a
dedicated committee of volunteers who will review applications from across the region.
Please note: Requests for operational funding will not be considered.
Funding Limits
Minimum Request: $500
Maximum Request: $3,500
Submission Guidelines
The application process is open now. Submit your application form as soon as possible!
There are typically two grant cycles per year, but to celebrate our centennial, we’re
adding a third cycle!
Only electronic submissions submitted by email will be accepted.
To apply, click here for the Rotary Allocation Form. Once completed, email your application
to Brian Walmark at bwalmark@tbaytel.net.
Be sure to include &quote;Rotary Centennial Allocations
Application&quote; in the subject line.

Need Help?
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Brian Walmark at bwalmark@tbaytel.net.
Don’t miss this chance to be part of our historic celebration and make a lasting difference in our
Home Page Stories
President Matt Villella  was in his element for the highly attended and energetic first Rotary meeting under Matt for this Rotary year (half way through our 100th)
There were a number of guests, duly introduced and welcomed, following the national anthem, toast and reflection (Matt V). See Pic of Matt

Update on PE Nomination Committee- Matt V
Rotary in the News- $100,000 Cheque Presentation Matt V
Shelley Rotarize yourself event- July 16, 2024-Matt V
“Rotarize Yourself"- A celebration of Shelley Crawford Tickets, Tue, Jul 16, 2024 at 5:00 PM | Eventbrite

Northwest Dementia Working Group, Bill Heibein, David Glover and Nisha Sutherland. (Bios circulated in Matt's communique)
Introduced by David Legge (thanked by Shelley Crawford).See pictures.

Dr. Sutherland presented an overview on Dementia (see pdf attachment PowerPoint). There is a significant  burden of dementia in Thunder Bay (likely much higher than the 2000 stat cited currently).
Former PA Rotarian Bill Heibein spoke on his diagnosis and subsequent extraordinary course of many years dealing with Alzheimer's at a high level of quality of life. A good deal is attributed to his remarkable mental and physical lifestyle. He has presented and advocated for many years with considerable acclaim across the country.

The Northwest Dementia Working Group has been championed by our guests today, and that includes another past club member David Glover, who spoke on the exciting newly proposed Dementia Gardens (A Place to Grow) at Lakehead University (hopefully opening next spring).The project has been officially approved and breaking ground soon.

The Q and A was testament to considerable interest in this important issue and high respect for the work and dedication by all 3 guests.

Other important Announcements
  • Country on the Bay- Bob T
  • Dew Drop Inn Update- David S (last session June 27th)
  • Women’s National Baseball Lunch and Fellowship- Warren/David L...July 30th: celebratory lunch at Lakehead University with the Canadian Women's team. Game day thereafter at Port Arthur Stadium: Team Canada vs Team U.S.A ($15);  Lunch Sign ups ($35 for lunch). Warren /Shelley C
  • Paid members update- Matthew D
  • RYLA  update (6 students, 2 for our club from St. Ignatius) Art W
  • Cheque presentation: Port Arthur Rotary Silver Jubilee Scholarship Fund to Lakehead University (Matt V to Mark Tilbury-see pic)
  • Happy Dollars (Matt Diegel's subtle humor most effective)

President Shelley Crawford presided over a big crowd at this last meeting of her 2023-24 tenure:(see panorama shot courtesy Emmy Kembel)

Guests welcomed included:
Shawn Johnston (mother of Matt V), Teddy Gemmell (Cindy’s and Shelley's sister), Tunde Adeniran (David), Christian Chukwu ( Blessing’s friend), Rupert Klein (David),  Mary deBakker (Paul) -Associate member of Roots Community Food Centre – Mary helped with Santa Claus Parade),  Yating Peng (LU student-Vonnie), Robert Tinsley (Matt V).

National Anthem
Toast: Shelley: A Toast to the new president of Port Arthur Rotary, Matt Villella

A professor in the School of Business at Confederation College and former employment counsellor, Matt holds a Master of Education from LU. He received the Citizens of Exceptional Achievement Award from the City of Thunder Bay in 2014 and was awarded the Community Champion Award in 2018 through the Northern Ontario Visionary Awards Top 20 under the age of 40. Matt is also a past president of Leadership Thunder Bay. He is currently Club Growth Director for Toastmasters International District 106 – a senior leadership role in our sister organization. He will be president of our club in ONE WEEK. 

Land Acknowledgement: Shelley included  an update: "the now regular HIP Y2Y planning meetings and the sense of excitement around the programs in Wolfville NS in spring 2025 will instill in our youth a strong love and respect for Mother Earth. Through those teachings and awareness, we will create many more advocates and activists that will rally our governments and more and more people to save our planet. In following the ways of our Indigenous ancestors, we can learn so much about living in harmony with one another and with all this earth has to offer"

Reflection: Shelley on her year as president: the positivity within the Rotary family... she provided an itemized pamphlet of our full year at a glance...and what a year it was.  Well done and thanks to Amanda at TBCF for the design. As she paid tribute to all members and wished continuing success to Matt Villella, she said "You are ‘The Rotary’ of which people speak…”you are the leaders we have been waiting for” (Maya Angelou) and you are all responsible for what is outstanding club service and fellowship.   Thank you so much!


Induction of LAUF (Learn and Uplift Foundation) our newest community member (Meena Singh and Vijay Shankar on-line). LAUF Board member Brian Walmark introduced Meena, Vijay and LAUF and provided a fulsome report on their great work.  Leslie Savitsky then read the charge and the club congratulated LAUF, albeit unconventionally via the online link.

The Club Rotarian of the Year Award –Shelley struggled with the "selection process" paradigm as used in the past- the reason, the many "candidates" were all worthy in their own individual ways. The result?-the award and plaque went to EVERYONE! Congratulations on making this a banner Rotary year with the promise of more to come.  

The Spark Plug Award: This was initiated last year by Brian Walmark to recognize a newer member who really rolled their sleeves up and just did what needed doing. Shelley presented this award to both Amy Kembel (Rotary Gala gal) and Brent Boyko (Rotary Gala guy) (regrets away in Armstrong). Their combined efforts on the Gala were instrumental to its success. And as well, Amy was very active in youth development and Brent with major work on Radio Day and more. 

New Members received complimentary golf Shirts from Athena Kreiner, membership co-chairMany of the 11 new members were on hand for their new shirts (thanks to District 5580) see photo.

President Shelley Crawford chaired a busy, very interesting meeting with a reflection on the changing and adapting times in the club. Matthew Diegel's Land Acknowledgement was  very thoughtful.
The club welcomed back Kishore Sahkrani and guests Rupert Klein (Lakehead University) and Jenny Leadbeater (CMHA).

Feature Presentation:
Dan Turk of Little Bea Sailing Adventures (www.littlebeasailing.ca) was introduced by John Stephenson as a sailor spirit for adventure, educator and craftsman.
Dan hand built his Class Globe 580 sailboat  in his garage, lovingly over 15 months, and from Halifax sailed it solo to Portugal. He had a wonderful experience and is moving on to global competition with experts, culminating in transatlantic and then world tours in November 2024 and February 2025 (as the only Canadian).There will be "tracking" available to keen observers at home.
Importantly Dan uses the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Education system to impart his knowledge, exceptional skills and passion for education to kids (no fees)  along the way. These are disadvantaged youth  at risk. This not for profit work is an essential part of Dan's ethic. His overview of this lifestyle is most impressive and drew considerable interest from attendees. 
There are numerous online references including YouTubes of his adventures.  Photos show, Dan, John and a map of the big MINI Globe Race, showing the scope of this big event.
AT OUR MEETING on May 28, 2024
President Shelley Crawford commenced today's packed meeting with O Canada, a solemn toast by Hector Dougall to deceased members ( including, recently Past President Colin Bruce) and then a poignant reflection on leadership opportunities within the club, succession planning and its strong correlation with cooperation and team building; now as always, so important. The club is in a great position at present.



(Exciting) new member formal induction into the club of George Saarinen (introduced by Vonnie Cheng), Karan Shah (introduced by Albert Brulé ) and Blessing Ezie (introduced by Priscilla Owusu).

All are pictured along with President Shelley Crawford and Past-President Art Warwick (Master of Ceremonies here who provided the "charge" outlining the responsibilities and rewards in service and fellowship: all very relevant. All 3 new members spoke in response, all looking forward to their new lives in Rotary. Warm welcome.

2. President-Elect Matt Villella's exercise for members on what is working, future goals, and what needs improvement in the club: a plethora of submissions from members is fodder for his analysis, (and action) as new president. He asked members point blank why they were Rotarians.

3. Status Report :Past-President Brian Walmark: furthering the discussion on the challenges in selection (strategy et al) of a new president-elect nominee. A frank evaluation with clarity and transparency needed going forward. The candidate up for nomination is Hector Dougall. There was a round of applause for this news.

4. Update on the Art Gallery (Matthew Hills)

Matthew spoke on behalf of his board, staff and capital campaign committee of how they respected the Gala team and effort that the Port Arthur Rotary Club undertook to raise funds for the new gallery. He reported on the Thunder Bay (Waterfront) Art Gallery build, noting it is 25 % completed.

Guest Speaker (Zoom)

Ally Buck: 

Shelter Box Canada
https://www.shelterboxcanada.org/ (highly recommended viewing)

Introduced by PA Rotary long time lead Jackie Dojack.

Ally is the Rotary and Fundraising Coordinator for ShelterBox Canada.  Ally is from rural Nova Scotia and is of mixed settler and M'kMaq indigenous background. 
She attended N.S. Community College where she studied Social Services and Community Development before moving to Kingston and attending Queen's University where she graduated with a degree in Global Development Studies.  Ally is married and has 4 cats. She has a Rotaract/Rotary background.
ShelterBox philosophy is that everyone should live in a safe place able to sleep and cook their food, recover from the disaster, and prepare to move forward.  This is a basic human right.  Some years ago Rotary International became a partner with ShelterBox.  John Hewko, General Secretary and CEO of Rotary International said: "Through the partnership with ShelterBox, Rotary members around the globe can collaborate with ShelterBox to support communities in desperate need of emergency temporary shelter and vital supplies following natural disasters."

Port Arthur Rotary has been consistently donating since 2011.

The Club has been recognized as Bronze HERO with yearly donations of $1200.

Says Ally: "Globally, ShelterBox is providing aid to over 2.5 million in over 100 countries and more than 300 disasters" Currently active in Africa, Ukraine, Pakistan"

The days of aid using the classic shelter box, have been replaced by updated, site and situation based, specifically (via needs assessment) targeted disaster packages. They could be tents or many non tent deployments using vital supplies ranging from self cleaning water filters to solar lights to shovels and axes all within a protective enclosures.

Her example of the quick response to the Atlas Mountains earthquake in Morocco was an outstanding success story. Even the enclosures were wind resistant (high winds). 22 communities benefitted.

The immense assistance world wide by ShelterBox was a real eye opener for members and guests and Ally's enthusiasm was a big highlight in this presentation.
Our club will continue its Hero support. ShelterBox Canada -well done

Nicole Croes: Coordinator Community Connections Program

Nicole was born and raised on the “One Happy Island,” also known as Aruba. She moved to Canada in 2012. Nicole graduated from the Human Resources Program at Confederation College in 2014 and continued her studies at Lakehead University, majoring in Marketing and minoring in Human Resources.

 She actively volunteers for various groups and collaborates closely with multiple community partners on several projects that support newcomers and refugees.

 Nicole also holds the position of Secretary for the Professional Association of Volunteer Leaders of Ontario (PAVRO), and serves as the President of the Thunder Bay Association of Volunteer Administrators (TBAVA).

 She enjoys learning about new cultures, especially when it involves trying new food dishes from around the world as well as learning new languages. Finally, Nicole strongly believes in the power of unity; to empower and to love others. 

Tej Shah: Local Immigration Partnership Coordinator at TBMA 

Tej Shah, is a Human Resources Management graduate from Confederation College, currently working as the Local Immigration Partnership Coordinator at TBMA (Thunder Bay Multicultural Association).

Tej also represents newcomers & Refugees on the City of Thunder Bay's Anti-Racism Committee, bringing their unique perspective to the table. He's an active member of Diversity Thunder Bay, and the current chair of Communications for the Human Resources Professional Association Northern Ontario Chapter.

In his former role, Tej has worked as the Talent Retention Intern at the Workforce Planning Board, the project focused on ways the city can improve to retain skilled labor talent in the region.

When he is not working, he volunteers for Northern Rescue Reach an organization fostering remote northern dogs.


 President -elect Matt Villella chaired the meeting and also handled the AV: 
The sizeable crowd in person and online  sang O Canada.
Land Acknowledgement- Rod Morrison: a thoughtful overview on not what is this, this but why is this important?
President's Reflection and Toast: Matt Villella: making an impact every single day
Guest Speaker: introduced by Matt Villella and thanked by David Legge
Magnus Theatre- Artistic Director Magnus Theatre Thom Currie.
Thom's energy and creativity were fully evident in his description of the only professional theatre between Toronto and Winnipeg, that has made a huge impact on the cultural life of the city.
There have been many Rotarians past and present involved in supporting this live theatre. Now , Thom and company are working on the Next Stage Campaign including renovations, the 125 seat studio addition and innovative programming with a goal reach all and be inclusive. Thom chose to come to this community, an "island culture" and has thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.
The club warmly thanks Thom for his important leadership at Magnus, (once dubbed the "House of Crudo").

David Legge announced a special fellowship production for members and guests: Magnus production Liars at a Funeral: May 17th. Special pricing $25. Contact David or Shelley Crawford. WE did this with Man of La Mancha with great success in the past.

Brenda Winter:  Paul Harris Fellowship pins, certifcates and acknowledgments for great Foundation support : 7 new and 4 elevated recipients (see  pics). The club now has 52 members; 42 Paul Harris Fellows (28 multiples)
Keynote Speaker:

George Saarinen - Passionate community activist and volunteer on AGE FRIENDLY THUNDER BAY:
George has served as a Trustee with Lakehead District School Board, first elected 2006 and has a history with the United Way as a Board Member from 2004-2016 and 2022 to present. He has served on the board of the Thunder Bay Library and was chair of TB with the building of the new Mary J L Black Library. George was a Founding Board member of Thunder Pride serving on the board 2012-2016 and from 2021 to present.
Active on the health front as well, George served on Northwest Local Health Integration Network Patient Family Advisory Committee from 2016 to 2022.  He is now serving with Ontario Health Northwest PFAC   Ontario Health Team Thunder Bay and District PFAC Digital Health Ontario PFAC Home and Community Care  Provincial PFAC.
Age Friendly Thunder Bay is very much a priority and George has been a member since its inception serving on Board from 2016-2020 and from 2022 to present. He’s also Chair of the Age Friendly Transportation Committee.  

His address demonstrated the intensity of his advocacy in supporting seniors in all aspects of their many challenges in daily life. This organization is highly eclectic. The numerous "working groups" cover many bases, all the way from accessing services (eg City Transit, even on new years day, to abuse prevention, food insecurity, keeping seniors at home, on and on.

Matt Villella introduced and thanked George, for the (warm reception) members and guests present.
A St. Patrick's Day theme today included a rousing singalong concert with the Rotary Rover Philharmonics (Kevin Holloway, Shelley Crawford, Albert Brulé, Brent Boyko, Dave Legge and David Silliman).

President Shelley Crawford chaired  a number of celebrations:

1. Induction of 2 new club members:

We welcomed Priscilla Owusu and Ian Moorfield:
(pictured: Krysta Logozzo Daniele, David Legge, Ian Moorfield, Athena Kreiner, Shelley Crawford, Priscilla Owusu, all partaking in the ceremony). Of note present also were Edmund and Asda Owusu (cheering for Priscilla) and Sandra Moorfield (same for Ian). Welcome to this amazing family.

2. Presentations from the 2 B's in the Bay (pictured: Bruno Ceci and Bolly Olatunde making an impromptu video for social media): two extraordinary city ambassadors ("love all things local"). They gain great joy out of the great little things and connecting players in the business and not for profit community. They were introduced by Albert Brulé, who worked with these Bs in the Novemburger Challenge (United Way).

3. Nefry Falla (RBC-business)  (pictured) explained her passion supporting Tapestry International Women's Network and PARO. Yet another wonderful ambassador for integrating folks in the Diversity Equity Inclusion world (in TB).

4. Kevin Holloway and Steve McAuley  (pictured with Rotary Foundation Chair Brenda Winter) received their Paul Harris pins for continuing excellence in supporting RI. Exceptional generosity gentlemen, thank you!

Shelley was still able to fit in many announcements on varied club activities.
One major focus now is the April 20th Centennial Gala at the Delta Hotel. There are many ways to contribute (Brent Boyko's exercise drew  many suggestions). David Legge and Albert Brulé exhorted members to get tickets and solicit their older Rotary contacts as well.

Members: consult your Email Communique for full details of the many events, service opps.

Chair Judi Turner reviewed the club Allocation process and was delighted to introduce this phase round 1 of recipients.
All spoke eloquently on their respective programming and thanked the club.

Pictured :

L-R: Shelley Crawford (PAR president), Gail Kromm and Gary Ferguson (Salvation Army), Jason Pilot (Northwestern Ontario Regional Science Fair-Gold Level Sponsorship), Sue Paskoski (Eleanor Drury Children's Theatre-microphones for "every child a voice"), Rhonda Harris (Easter Seals- needy equipment), Melody Macsemchuk (Grace Place-plates) and Judi Turner (PAR Allocations Chair).
On Zoom screen upper left is a beaming Casey Charles, (Principal St James Elementary School). Casey and Salvation Army are co-running a fine Student Nutrition program.
President Shelley Crawford and LU Bartley Conference Centre staff conspired to present  a fun mix of Valentines theme and Rotary apparel to accompany a fine presentation by Dr. Mark Henderson and plenty of exciting events and club accomplishments.


Dr. Mark Henderson, Cardiologist (introduced and thanked by Rod Morrison and Lesley Bell) photo below

When Dr. Mark Henderson joined the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre as the first interventional cardiologist, his vision was to launch a full cardiovascular program right here in Northwestern Ontario. “Bringing cardiovascular surgery to Thunder Bay was one of our goals,” Dr. Henderson said. “It’s been the goal of cardiologists here for over 30 years.”

That’s important because Northwestern Ontario has the highest incidence of heart disease and the highest need for heart procedures per capita in Ontario. Yet our patients have to travel the furthest for services. Almost every family in the region knows someone who has travelled to southern Ontario or elsewhere for care.“We’re still sending hundreds of patients to southern Ontario for routine bypass surgery that could be done here. That needs to change.” 
Dr Henderson's vision is coming true. Today he outlined the extraordinary work of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, beginning with the earliest attempts at cardiology, and then melding with neurosciences and stroke management..

The need in the northwest here is great as heart disease and stroke are major health issues. The current aims from the Mission Statement relate to improving survival rates through rapid access to care, closing the inequity gap between haves and have not vulnerable people at risk, heart failure and keeping on top of congenital heart disease cases.
 The address was superb. It was candid yet hopeful about the challenges. We hope Dr Henderson can return again. he had to get back to his waiting patients!


President Shelley Crawford welcomed guests Ian MoorfieldPriscilla Mankwa Owusu and Harold Wilson (back now at Confederation College).

Our scheduled speaker John Andras, (on behalf of the Honouring Indigenous People (HIP) Y2Y 2025-26 Conference possibility for Thunder Bay District) was unable to make flight connections but will lead the discussion at the Canada Club meeting January 25th (see below). The inaugural Turtle Lodge HIP at Selkirk Manitoba in 2023 was a big success. Our own Olivia Kembel will be our own district rep for the upcoming HIP in B.C!

In Lieu, our newest member Brent Boyko deftly stepped up for a "classification" talk on his vocation (engineering) and his many contributions to the community.
Brent s pictured holding a news clipping of his days as outbound Rotary Exchange student to Japan.
This very interactive presentation was a delight and the club warmly welcomes Bret on board.


Doug Shanks gave a timely lesson on the essence of our newly incorporated Port Arthur Rotary Club charitable organization status, emphasizing it's arms length relationship to the club itself. The numerous regulations for charitable status organizations were outlined, and how important it is to abide carefully by them. Doug cautioned transactions to proceed with caution first consulting/vetting with the new board executive.

Brian Walmark and Matthew Diegel conducted a follow-up call for nominations for President-elect. None forthcoming, the club ratified the position for Matt Villella. Congratulations Matt.

Upcoming Events:


Thursday January 25

    • Dew Drop Inn (morning and afternoon shifts)
    • Canada Club in-person Meeting at 5:30 pm Thunder Bay Art Gallery (all welcome) Important discussion re HIP Conference 2025

Tuesday February 13:

Club Meeting Speaker TBA

Tuesday February 27:

Club Meeting Allocations Presentations – Judi Turner

Board Meeting 4:30 pm

Friday March 1

Tentative opening reception of Museum 100th PAR Anniversary Exhibition (Time and date tbc)

Thursday March 7:

                        Talking About the Tough Stuff Speaker Series, Confederation College Lecture Theatre, 7 pm

Saturday April 20

                        THE GALA!!!! Save that date – info and ticket sales starting very soon

Port Arthur Rotary Meeting
January 9, 2024, 11:30am – 1 pm
A New Century!
Happy New Year, and President Shelley Crawford welcomed Rotarians and Guests: Jeff Villeneuve and Karan Shah (see below re his entry to the team)
  • Introduction of new member Brent Boyko. Brent is pictured with wife Samantha, Doug Shanks, Warren Philp and president Shelley Crawford at the New Years Day Levee, January 1st: a highlight fellowship event kicking off the club’s 100th Anniversary.
  • Introduction of Karan Shah, Marketing Coordinator (one year position shared with PAR and United Way of Thunder Bay) – Key areas where Karan will assist the club: Gala Committee, Public Image and Marketing, Museum Exhibition, Event Management, RRD sales, Youth projects and Membership Development to name a few. Karan is pictured along with his bio.
  • Review of New Year’s Day Levee highlights (thanks to Karan Shah’s video)            Shelley Crawford
  • Status of Rotary Club of Thunder Bay (Port Arthur) Community Charity. Doug Shanks outlined the lengthy and eventual successful venture culminating in the granting of charitable status to the club (and the significant benefits accruing). Congratulations to all and heartfelt thanks to the negotiating team (Chris B, Krysta L-D, Doug S and others)
  • Update on President Elect and President Elect Nominee positions: Brian Walmark and Matthew Diegel were pleased to announce that Matt Villella has agreed to accept a nomination for the position of President Elect Nominee for 2024-25. The process leading to ratification was reviewed. Matt was congratulated warmly by members present. The PE position will be decided by January 23 at the next meeting. The PEN process for 25-26 continues.
  • Update on Rotary Radio Day and viewing of TV Ads (Matt Villella). The campaign is in full swing and doing well, with encouragement to continue this trajectory to the $40,000 goal mark. The excellent TV ads were shown. They have commenced already. Thanks to Hector Dougall, speakers and sponsors for this great opportunity.
  • Toast to Olivia Kembel and Haven Walton – HIP Y2Y (Youth to Youth) chosen candidates for District 5580. Brian Walmark outlined the process involving selection from our Canada Club District 5580 sponsor partners. The inaugural HIP Y2Y conference was an outstanding example of reconciliation and learning for our new leaders. Pictured are Olivia Kembel (who’s mother Amy quoted that she was “beyond thrilled “) and Fernanda Valenzuela, last year’s rep along with Derek Monias, who verified this life changing experience.
President Shelley Crawford emceed a gala PA Rotary Christmas party at the LU Bartley Conference Centre.
There was a great turnout of 40 (plus) members and guests ( including some new and prospective members, thinking of Brent Boyko and Harold Wilson).

The sing -along under the direction of Kevin Holloway and many others (including special ringer on guitar Michael Lyngstad) was a big hit.
 Everyone enjoyed the camaraderie, meal and gift exchange. Of note, the opportunity to really "sing" was truly energizing for all.

Brief announcements on Dew Drop Inn service December 28th and good early progress on Rotary Radio Day were highlighted.
Warren Philp, Club trainer focusing today on accessing Rotary International Online
Bill Everitt, on his effective model for attracting sales for the club- Rotary Radio Day Major Fundraiser
Brenda Winter provided an overview for the Rotary International Foundation
We had new inductions for two new members. 
For complete summary of today's meeting, members click on President Shelley Crawford's Annotated Agenda email communique of November 14th

Feature Presentation:

The Role of Ontario's Conservation Officers

Sgt. Davis Viehbeck
Conservation Officer
Thunder Bay MNRF Enforcement Unit

The role has changed significantly for those dedicated  MNRF conservation officers (formerly "game wardens") providing this service   over their 125 year plus history.

Sgt Viehbeck's address was a comprehensive overview of the history, duties, and many challenges. There are (only) 200 COs in Ontario, (the catchment area larger than France).

The message and conclusions?: Sgt. Viehbeck epitomizes the need for dedication to fairly enforce the legislation (primarily the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and regs), being a spokesperson for conservation ethics, dealing with the public often directly in remote areas, and promoting awareness and outreach generally to the public at large. Today's talk was just that.
 For him the rewards are numerous, each day being a new experience as a steward for  life on the land (and water). 
There was a valuable Q & A session with members testimonials to his great work and personal interactions with him from their own past. He was introduced by President Shelley Crawford and thanked by John Stephenson.
His mother Barb Viehbeck and past president Guy O'Brien were special guests attending.

1. Amy Kembel, on her life with Synergy North as Manager of Human Resources and Safety.
Her leadership in promoting and upholding workplace safety standards, including mental health
well being was highlighted. She has extensive knowledge and training in all aspects of leading
programming for Synergy North, including mentoring, labour relations, arbitration, and outreach
as well as a successful consulting business with The Kembel Group.

 2. Dr. Marg Woods, on World Polio Day, and our local Pizza for Polio fundraiser (with Eat Local
Pizza). Marg presented a comprehensive overview on Rotary International's extensive
involvement in eliminating polio: 2.5 billion immunizations in 125 countries. The first North
American outbreak was in 1895 in Vermont; in 1910 in Canada in Hamilton Ontario. The RI
president of 1979 brought Rotary into action on vaccination in public health management. The
POLIO PLUS campaign was born in 1985 and the POLIO PLUS PARTNERS program in 1985.
A primer on the virology and immunization programming for the 3 strains (two wild and one
derived) of the disease then led to a discussion of the ongoing Rotary determination to finalize
the goal of complete elimination (WPV 1 remaining only in Afghanistan and Pakistan). Rotary
clubs around the world hold this service dear to their hearts. Of note our own PA Rotary club
has seen members engage in international service, providing oral Sabin immunization clinics in
India, and of course benefiting from the cultural exchange


The Challenges of Recovery: a timely overview of the current addiction/mental health crisis in Thunder Bay, and how to deal with this.
Rotarian Gary Ferguson, Executive Director of the Salvation Army Journey to Life Centre has extensive professional and personal knowledge and insight into this critical issue.
His presentation was candid and highly sobering. The needy are many; demand for recovery services is great (overwhelming?).
The work done at the Centre is a great model for integrating men back into a healthy lifestyle. The challenges" include addiction, recidivism following treatment sessions, and often combined with diverse forms of mental illness. The key take away-"finding a purpose."
There have been many wonderful success stories: time, patience and understanding required.
The Field of Greens, a PA Rotary project has been one strategy yielding positive results

President Shelley Crawford introduced the theme in her reflection on WHO's World Mental Health Day (on this day) and with Rotary International President R. Gordon McInally's focus for his year on mental health.

Gary was introduced by Paul DeBakker and thanked by Bill Everitt.
A packed house was energized by 2 presentations (as well as multidimensional reports on  all club events and service opportunities (see club runner website):

1.  Jeremy Bryan 
Our club 1997 Rotary Outbound Exchange student to Costa Rica, where is interest in international affairs took off. He credits Rotary for much of this great career start. He is a graduate of Hammerskjold High School, and  presented from his home in Ottawa. With Foreign Affairs Canada, preceded by NGOs in Bangladesh and Paraquay, his career has been highly eventful and meaningful, representing Canada as a diplomat. Pictures show him at various stops including Penang, Malaysia, Sudan, Kyiv, Ukraine and a reunion with his Costa Rican family.

2.  2023 Country on the Bay Festival Rotary (and Rotaract )   volunteer leads on hand for cheque presentations (Dawn Sebesta, Bob Hookham from Fort William Rotary club along with PA Rotarian Bob Tomlinson pictured with treasurer Kevin Holloway and President Shelley Crawford) accepting cheque for  $16,928.70. This reward for hard toil will be used for a variety of service opportunities in our upcoming year. In addition, Rotaract President Aja Melanson is pictured receiving her cheque for $2000. The Rotaractors were once again in big force in this year's success story.

SEPTEMBER 12/23 MEETING-Lakehead University

A packed house heard a great presentation outlining the many dimensions of the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority (LRCA)  protection and stewardship work of our Thunder Bay watersheds.
Ryan Mackett (Communications Manager) and Jessie McFadden (Stewardship Program Coordinator) spoke on the jurisdiction, regulatory powers, flood management and conservation efforts in this large conservation area (36 total CAs in Ontario). Of particular interest are the 10 properties offering unparalleled opportunities for nature/conservation exploration open to the public.
The LRCA Healing Trail is an exciting new urban conservation area development right on their property (Oliver and Golf Links Rd)  with a healing trail, medicine garden and more. Ideal for people to access and enjoy. Stay tuned.
https://lakeheadca.com/ Check out the comprehensive website. There are many great event importunities in the immediate future.

Rod Morrison introduced  his spouse Lesley Bell who is our latest Family Associate member. 

We had a wonderful gathering at Red Lion Smokehouse to celebrate the past year of 2022-2023 and the Presidency of Brian Walmark.  Lots of things to be proud of including raising $33,000 from Rotary Radio Day and $15,000 from Country on the Bay.  These funds go directly back to our community.  We also had the Be the Bridge ceremony that say Rotarians from Duluth and Thunder Bay celebrating 100 years of partnership.  We also had many other great memories with our efforts at the Dew Drop Inn, working on CRA application and the Waterfront Trail.  Thank you Brian for a wonderful Rotary Year! 
1. Dave Long, District 5580 District Governor, met with the board and presented a highly informative overview of Rotary as a great service organization with major impact around the world.
His background in Rotary at Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary, began simply with a friend inviting him to meetings. His Power Point then covered all the way from Why Did I Join? to Why am I still In? to the impact around the world of Rotary International. His passion for international service and leadership within 5580 shone through.
Dave's affable presence and fellowship carries on, he visits other Canada clubs Wednesday and Thursday, now a third of his way through his district tour.

One of his favourite quotes: It is NOT "it is what it is" but "It is what you make of it." Well worth pondering on, and so apt.

2. The club welcomed new members Amy Kemble and her daughter Olivia, (an Associate member ) and Cindy Kisken.
Past District Governor Roly Turner, current DG Dave Long, Past president David Legge and PA president Shelley Crawford were all involved in this brief ceremony.
Welcome Amy, Olivia and Cindy. 
President Shelley Crawford, with assistance from Kevin Holloway (and thanks to Mark Tilbury and LU) conducted a great meeting at Lakehead University.
RYLA students presenting on their fine experience at RYLA Camp, Crookston MN- Dawson Haack, Jayla Hygaard, Prisha Brar.
New club family membership introduced - Amy Kembel with daughter Olivia Kembel.
Today’s meeting welcomed new member, Cindy Kisken, who is happy to be part of our club and looks forward to volunteering at Dew Drop Inn next month.
Club members vigorously bid at a Chinese Auction, led by Brenda W, on a handcrafted bowl signed by David Suzuki to raise money for the Rotary Foundation in support of global environmental protection programs…congrats to David L on winning!
We said a sad goodbye to Fern, our Rotary International Exchange student from Thailand…she’s off home on August 1. Thanks, Fern, for all your service involvement this past year.
Bob T thanked all volunteers for their Country on the Bay efforts…this terrific fundraiser will bring in around $16,000 for each of the three local Rotary clubs! And we thank you Bob! 👏🏻
Port Arthur Rotarians and friends enjoyed Border Cats baseball, even though they lost.
AT OUR CLUB July 11, 2023

New President Shelley Crawford welcomed a healthy crowd live and on Zoom for her first meeting.

Notable new guests are both prospective members: Cindy Kisken, and Amy Kemble. Present also were the new Rotaract President Aja Melanson and Past President Elyse Pither. Also Past Past President Karissa Kilby

Her Land Acknowledgement and introductory comments re a focus on Mental Health, the Environment and Diversity, Equity Inclusion included a board approved a one year trial  initiative to offer up to five bursaries to support prospective members who would be excellent Rotarians but who lack the financial means to pay the full membership. The hope is to attract young entrepreneurs, newcomers, people on a disability pension, and others who are underrepresented in our club based on inability to pay the full fee. These comments were followed by our 2022/23 Inbound Exchange student Manatsanan (Fern) Sirichaikeereekosol's final presentation, a hybrid verbal and video that entertained and informed the members of her fine year here. She presented the club with a Rotary banner from her home club (her mother is president there).

She was introduced by 2 of 3 host parent cohorts: John Stephenson and Marg Woods, and Shelley Crawford and David Legge. All are pictured along with Rotary YEO (acting) and Secretary, the always reliable Matthew Diegel. Absent for this celebration where the other host parents Yan Yan and Hau Chen. Fern received a lovely piece of Indigenous art sourced by Marg Woods as a gift from the Club, presented by John and Marg.
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July 2024
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