On January 26, 2017 the three Rotary Clubs in Oakville recognized 6 community members with Paul Harris Fellowship Awards. In addition to the Paul Harris awards the recipients received certificates from the Provincial and Federal governments. Photographs of the evening can be accessed in the Photo Album section at www.rcot.ca.
Paul Harris Fellowship Community Award 2017 Recipients
  • Diana Berriman
  • Gerald Popp
  • Carol Goriup
  • Artemis Karabelas
  • Katy Joaquim
  • Ruth Renwick  
Katy Joaquim
Katy Joaquim is a lifelong practitioner of empathy. In the summer of 2015 the Syrian refugee crisis was not yet front page news but Katy was already working to sponsor a refugee family and advocating with the then Conservative government to increase the number of refugees allowed and expedite their arrival into Canada. Shortly after the picture of young Alan Kurdi dead on a beach was published around the world Katy helped organize a demonstration attended by about 150 people in Oakville's town square which received national news coverage and made many citizens of Oakville more aware of the crisis. Not only did Katy work with a sponsorship agreement holder group comprised of the three Abrahamic faiths (Abraham's Children Together) to bring the Al Balkhi family into Canada but she has responded to the pleas of many other local families with relatives in the refugee camps to help them navigate the process to bring their families to Canada. Substantial funds were raised and Katy has helped to ensure that these monies would be used not only to help the Al Balkhis but other refugee families as well. Over the last year, Katy has been a leader in the success of the reception and settlement of the Al Balkhi family. The experience has been a classic example of "many hands make light work". Katy and her family were blessed with the opportunity to live with the Al Balkhi family for a short time allowing them to experience up close their loving, tight knit family dynamic. This experience allowed the Joaquim family to know for certain that "they" are exactly like us in their core values. "They" love their children and they value their freedom to live without fear.
Gerald Popp
Resident of Oakville for 27 years, married with 3 adult sons. He retired as a tax partner with Grant Thornton in 2010. He was elected Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in 2009. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Gerald is currently the Chairman of the Board of the Oakville Community Foundation having served for 6 years as Board Member. He also served on the Board of the United Way of Oakville for 6 years as well as on its Campaign Cabinet for 3 years. He received the Outstanding Campaign Volunteer Award in 2009. He also chaired the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and served on its board for 8 years, and Co-Chaired the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence. Gerald Chaired the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital Foundation Gala Committee on which he also served as a member for 3 years. He also served on the board of the Canadian Rehabilitation Council for the Disabled for 5 years.
Carol Goriup - Florence Meats
lorence Meats is a family owned and operated business since 1977. This year they will be celebrating 40 years of serving the Oakville community. They take pride in the products they sell and the customers they serve. As a small retail butcher shop, they differentiate themselves from the “large chains” by approaching each customer with an exceptional quality product and excellent personal service. Being part of the Oakville Community for almost 40 year has been a most gratifying experience for their family. They have met many people, made many friendships and even witnessed an over-the counter courtship become a marriage! Giving back to the community has always been important to them. There have been numerous charities, BBQ’s and clubs to which they have contributed. Dearest to their heart, is their involvement with Dreams Take Flight, a Rotary Club of Oakville West’s Youth Initiative. Every year, they host a draw for a Big Green Egg BBQ to be held on Father’s Day. The prize is certainly a huge attraction for their customers, but the fact that the proceeds from this draw go to help underprivileged children right here in Oakville is a satisfying one. They have often said, they have the “best” customers, and to see their response in generosity to such a worthwhile cause is certainly a nod to their good nature. Together, they have contributed $12,600 over 6 years to “Dreams Take Flight”. It has been the most rewarding contribution they have made to date and they are very proud of it.
Diana Berriman
Diana came to Canada in 1972 along with her husband, John, and sons David and Simon and their border collie Tinker. They settled in Oakville, where John was to remain a teacher and housemaster in residence at Appleby College for the next 32 years. Diana spent the next 20 years caring for her family and teaching English and Science at Dearcroft Montessori School and Fern Hill School. Retiring from teaching in 2004, Diana was eager to find rewarding work in the volunteer field. Sometime after this, she met Pam Arnold, the co-founder of The Oakville Strokers, and they became firm friends. It was not long before Diana joined the Strokers and became a regular volunteer. Soon, she took on the job of Volunteer Representative and joined the Board. This continued for 5 years. When it became urgent that the group find a new Director to follow in the footsteps of Liz Webster and Jay Corder who had done an outstanding job, she jumped at the opportunity. It wasn’t long before Diana’s enthusiasm and drive brought The Strokers to the attention of the wider community of stroke survivors. Numbers began to rise. With this came the need for more dedicated volunteers to make the programme work. Many of our present group still chuckle as they reminisce about the time they encountered Diana in her “recruitment” mode. Friends, family, members of her Bridge Group and casual acquaintances ….all were fair game for her persuasive story. The group has grown from about 20 stroke survivors to the present number of 32 along with 45 volunteers. Diana’s vivacious and happy personality makes her a perfect fit for this job in which she is much loved by all of us at The Oakville Strokers.
Artemis Karabelas – Oakville Neighbours Helping Refugees
Deeply disturbed by the daily news of the plight of millions of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria, in September 2015 Artemis reached out to neighbours to create a fledgling private initiative to raise funds to sponsor a refugee family. By December 2015 there were 14 committed families who populated committees to manage finances, accommodations, furnishings, clothing, ESL, education, health needs etc. As a group the families met weekly for close to a year planning all the logistics. By the end of January 2016 applications to sponsor 2 families were submitted thanks to the tremendous response in fundraising and in-kind donations. Family 1 was in Jordan; Mom, Dad, boys aged 8 & 4, plus Mom was expecting August 2016. Family 2 were in Turkey; Mom, Dad, 2yr old daughter and a baby born January 2016. The first family arrived in Canada in June and were settled in Kerr St. Village. In August Mom delivered a baby girl at OTMH. The boys are flourishing in school, while the parents are working hard in ESL programs and planning their careers. Family 2 finally arrived in November and are also living in Kerr St. area. Learning English is their priority and they are anxious to find work soon as well. Members of ONHR are involved daily in assisting both families transition to successful lives in Oakville. Over $85,000 of the $100,000 budget has been raised, wonderful new friendships have been built, plus two refugee families are safe and eager to be assets to our community.
ONHR Members: Artemis Karabelas, Pascal Barakat, Andrew & Shana Barker, Steve & Thao Choi, Neil & Anne Conway, Heather & Ravindra Conway, Claire Conway, Sally Cooper, Diego & Kate Garzon, , Lisa Piorczynski, Kathy Scantlebury, Brian Simpson, Ralf & Kimberley Soeder, Gene & Leith Truant.
Ruth Renwick
The story of Inside the Dream started on 2003, when it came to our attention the pain that a single mother was suffering because she wasn’t able to send her daughter to celebrate her graduation, the coronation of her efforts as an A+ student. This mother arrived in Canada as a refugee with her two daughters running from physical, emotional, police and religion abuse against women; they were going to circumcise the girls and force them to early marriage plus other ways of torture. Inside the Dream was born after giving this girl the perfect outfit, shoes, jewellery, etc., she was able to be “one of the girls” proud and strong, without lowering her head, later she continued her studies and worked at Carleton University. So far, Inside the Dream was able to bring magic to 3500 students and more than 400 students will benefit this year. Inside the Dream is run by volunteers and Ruth Renwick is the Executive Director, she is a Social Worker by trade and for the last 27 years employed by the Region of Peel in the homeless portfolio; her daily work gives her the opportunity to witness the impact of poverty and homelessness on children of our community. Ruth was recognized by the Region of Peel for her contribution towards the betterment of the community.  Ruth was also internationally recognized as a Woman of Distinction by the American Publisher Harlequin and its “More than Words Award” and has been nominated as one of the 10 most influential Ladies in Canada.
  • Rudy Habesch Assistant District Governor
  • Mistress of Ceremonies, Denyse Tyndall
  • Key Note Speaker, Robert Buren
 Organizing Committee
  • Raj Phalpher – President Elect, Rotary Club of Oakville Trafalgar
  • Tareq Nasser – President, Rotary Club of Oakville
  • Lois Knepfllar – President Elect, Rotary Club of Oakville West
Key Note Speaker Rob Buren
On October 5th, 2008, a mountain biking accident left Rob a paraplegic. At the age of 37, he was determined to continue living life to the fullest.  Sport (especially triathlon) was crucial to Robert’s recovery and continues to play a significant role in maximizing his quality of life.   Over the last eight years Robert has accomplished a great deal, including 6 Half Ironman and 2 Full Ironman Triathlons, making him the first and only Canadian paraplegic to complete the 226 km event.   In addition to sports, Robert also enjoys inspiring the young and old with his message, going fast on things with motors and doing what most people think shouldn’t be possible.