Rotary Club of Picton recognize community members with Paul Harris Awards

The Rotary Club of Picton handed out its 2019 Paul Harris Fellowship Awards at its regular meeting on Tuesday. Taking part in the ceremony were (Back, L-R), Club members Irene Harris, Bob Bird, David Burn, Brenda Hellyer, Hank Busscher accepting on behalf of recipient Adam Busscher, recipient Larry Spencer, Rotary Club member Don Chambers, recipients Ralph Hall, (Front, L-R) Brenda MacKneson, Anne and Husain Banani, Dr. Kuldeep Sandhu, Gillian Leek, Ellen Snider, Fran Donaldson and Adam Bramburger. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)



A total of 13 community members as well as a pair of Rotary Club of Picton members have been honoured in the name of the organization’s founder.

The club met for its weekly meeting on Tuesday at Waring Hall with a large visiting contingent on hand as the local service club handed out its annual Paul Harris Fellowship Awards as well as honour a pair of longstanding club members with Paul Harris Society awards for their contributions to the betterment of the Rotary Club of Picton.

“Today we are honouring 13 community partners for their efforts.The presentation of the a Paul Harris Fellowship is the Rotary Foundation’s way of expressing its appreciation for a substantial contribution to its humanitarian and educational programs,” said club member and committee organizer Irene Harris.

The award is named after Rotary founder Paul Harris, a Chicago lawyer who started Rotary International with three business associates in 1905.

“Each time we honour one of our members or a community member as a Paul Harris way, for their service above self we move close to a world of peace and good will,” she added.

Between distant Rotary International education and humanitarian programs as well as work in the Prince Edward County community by the club is a commitment to peace for people in our own County and for people across the world and Harris said the selfless acts by those being honoured Tuesday were in direct correlation with these efforts be them abroad or close to home.

Among those being honoured included:

  • Adam Bramburger

The Paul Harris Fellow is the highest form of recognition given by Rotary clubs world-wide. Individuals who have shown by exemplary effort, sacrifice or dedication to the causes and principles of Rotary, that they deserve the recognition of the Paul Harris Fellow has led Adam Bramburger to be nominated. He is the past Managing Editor of the Picton Gazette and Napanee Beaver and is now the Constituency Assistant to MPP Todd Smith. Adam is also General Manager of the OHA Napanee Raiders hockey team. Adam has done so much for the Rotary Club of Picton and our community and deserves recognition for his service in our town. He is someone who goes above and beyond, shows compassion, dedication and commitment to Picton, the County and its residents and who exemplifies Rotary’s motto of “service above self”.

Nominated by member Rick Jones.

  • Adam Busscher

The Busscher family have a long record of giving back to the local communities which support their Home Hardware businesses. Our main contact in Picton is Adam Busscher and it is he who we are recognizing today. As Adam is away, his father Hank Busscher will be excepting the PHF award for him and the Busscher family. Adam and the Busscher family are another of out Prince Edward County super stars, who have contributed often and readily to the many community groups who have approached them for help. Some of those groups include: Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation, Picton Rotary, All local food banks, PEC Millennium Trail, Canadian Cancer Society – Relay for Life, All local schools, PEC Grapes of Wrath, PEC Hospice, PEC Fire Department, Picton Elks and Picton Kinsmen among several more organizations. Adam is always ready to help and in my personal dealings with him his usual phrase is ‘It must be Rotary golf tournament time again or crash calendar sales, how can I help?’ There is no question Adam as one of the Busscher family makes a very positive contribution to our PEC community. Consequently Picton Rotary is recognizing his sustained contribution to our community with Rotary’s highest award-a Paul Harris Fellow.

Nominated by member Bob Bird.

  • Anne and Husayn Banani – Brenda MacKneson and John Laws

Clean water is a basic need for human beings. When people, especially children, have access to clean water, they live healthier and more productive lives. However, each day at least 3,000 children die from diseases cause by unsafe water. While very few people die of thirst, millions die from preventable waterborne diseases. More than 100 years ago, one of the first Rotary projects was to build a public toilet. Every Rotary member should know this story. When members do water and sanitation projects, at least 85% of them focus on water. But, you cannot have clean water if people are still defecating into the river. You cannot improve quality of life for the poor of people are still getting sick because of a lack of proper sanitation. Woman cannot be safe if they are raped or molested because they must go to the toilet in the bush. You cannot achieve education for girls if they have no safe, clean, private place to change their sanitary napkins and wash their hands. So, they drop our of school for a week every month to avoid embarrassment, and eventually cannot catch up and drop out of school entirely. 13 years ago, the Rotary Club of Picton established the Waterfalls Tour project. To date, in excess of $50,000 in donations has been raised and donated, enabling our club to play it’s part in addressing these disturbing and challenging statistics. Through joining with other clubs in our district and around the worl, we have positioned our club to take advantage of District and Global grants given by the Rotary Foundation, thereby enabling our donations to grow substantially. Without the landowners allowing us to access to their beautiful waterfalls, our Water and Sanitation contributions would not be possible.

Nominated by members Jim and Marion Hughes.

  • Dr. Kuldeep Sandhu

Dr. Kuldeep Sandhu is a shining example of a professional who uses his talents and business to demonstrate service above self. We all know that dental health is an important determinant of one’s overall health but not everyone can afford it. Dr. Sandhu is a dentist who wanted to address this issue and he, his wife Reenu and his team hold annual pro bono clinics for County residents. They have attracted long line ups for many years. He also took his team to his native India to perform much needed pro bono work there too. We acknowledge and thank Dr. Sandhu for being a long time, generous supporter of our club’s annual Golf Tournament, a major fundraiser which in turn benefits our Hospital Foundation.

Nominated by past club president David Burn

  • Ellen Snider

It is with great pleasure that we honour a woman who truly represents “service above self”, helping the community in many ways, including helping the Rotary Club of Picton have very successful events. Here are the many ways that she makes a difference: Ellen has been a volunteer for the Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Foundation since 2004, volunteering on a weekly basis in community care’s Thrift Shop at 153 Main Street in Picton. Volunteering weekly at the thrift shop is a very big commitment. What an important thing to be doing, given that the Thrift Shop raises money to make it possible for services for seniors so that they can stay in their homes longer. Ellen is a volunteer with Picton’s Regent Theatre; is the President of the North Marysburgh Recreation Centre and manages the Loaves and Fishes Christmas Dinner for the Salvation Army, a dinner prepared and serviced by Picton Rotarians for 120 people. Any Rotarian involved in putting on that dinner knows what a super organizer Ellen is, and always with joy and laughter mixed in. Our club has also benefitted from Ellen’s generosity as she helps us with so many of our events: Rotary’s Uncorked Canada which raises money for our Hospital Foundation and helping in the kitchen for the Lilac Ride. Ellen is always ready when Rotary needs help.

Nominated by member Bill Edwards.

  • Fran Donaldson

The Rotary Club of Picton has a healthy history of making donations to the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation. Today we honour Fran Donaldson, who has worked tirelessly to make sure that our County Hospital has the support it needs to be there, for all of us, when we need it. She is Vice Chair of the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation, and served as Chair of its Governance Committee for a number of years. Fran’s work for the foundation helps to make sure our hospital is well equipped. Fran volunteers at the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, is Past President and helps out at the Second Hand Shop and with the Festival of Trees. Many in the County know Fran through her many articles and opinion pieces in our local papers and media outlets regarding the activities of the Hospital Foundation, including the drive to get a new Hospital for the County. Fran is a caring person who looks to help her neighbours and fellow citizens. We are grateful, and thankful, for her leadership, and her dedicated time given to our community. She is truly deserving of this Paul Harris Fellow from the Rotary Foundation and the Rotary Club of Picton for her “service above self”.

Nominated by member Don Wakefield.

  • Gillian Leek

Gillian Leek is being nominated by past President Rob Leek, and in his own words, here is why: “Gillian has been my partner of almost 50 years. During our time together, my Rotary life has been constant and varied. Gillian has actively supported me every step of the way … during tenures as President of the Hamilton and Picton clubs, and as District Governor in District 7090. She has been by my side on a number of international Rotary mission, including polio immunization in Togo, Africa, and health care initiatives in Guatemala. Gillian has been a host mom to 15 Youth Exchange students, and has hosted international Group Study Exchange teams from the Philippines, Thailand, Australia and Italy. Hamburg Germany will be her 12th Rotary International Convention. She volunteered for three days at last years Convention in Toronto. All the while she has enjoyed success in her own career in education, raised two daughters, run a successful B&B, and been active in community service endeavours of her own. For her amazing contributions to Rotary and her communities, she is most deserving of recognition as a Paul Harris Fellow.” And we agree. The Rotary Club of Picton sincerely thanks Rob for nominating Gillian Leek for her “service above self” and all that she has done for our club and for Rotary International.

Nominated by past club president Rob Leek

  • Jamie Yeo

Another of our community leaders we are recognizing today with a Paul Harris Fellow is Jamie Yeo. Jamie started in the grocery business in Peterborough when he was only 14. Over the years he advanced to operating Picton Sobeys and has been in Picton for over 18 years. Jamie has a proud history of giving back by serving as an OPP Auxiliary Officer, sponsoring the Picton Men’s Softball league and coaching youth baseball. Jamie has always been a big supporter of Air Cadets and every year sponsors a BBQ which raises over $600 for the local Cadet Squadron. Rotary has also benefited from his continued generosity by the purchase of a significant number of cash calendars and financial support for the Rotary Golf Tournament. In Jamie’s words “no one is ever turned away who asks for our help”. Jamie and his over 100 employees are looking forward to the opening a new Sobeys during May of 2020.

Nominated by members Bob Bird and Barb Proctor.

  • Larry Spencer

Prince Edward County today enjoys the benefit of a vibrant community arts centre, providing year round programming. Run by local volunteers, the Baxter Arts Centre is situated in Bloomfield in the former cafeteria of the Baxter Canning Company. Larry Spencer has been the driving force behind this initiative. He led a group of like-minded individuals in 2011 in purchasing the facility. Once the building was obtained, he captained the transformation of an almost derelict structure through extensive renovations. A new kitchen was built, accessible washrooms completed and new lighting installed. Under Larry’s leadership, generous sponsor donations and grant funding were obtained. Larry has developed a team of volunteers, instructors and program managers who provide opportunities for all citizens from pre-schoolers to seniors, to discover their own creative talents. The facility also provides significant space for private rentals, from birthday parties to concerts, private art classes to celebration of life gatherings. Today, because of Larry’s leadership and service to the community, we are blessed with a vibrant hub where creativity is celebrated by both residents and visitors from beyond The County.

Nominated by past club president Rob Leek

  • Ralph Hall

Ralph Hall’s career spanned 38 years with Ontario Hydro in operations ending up as District Operating Supervisor. Retiring to Wellington, Ralph Hall joined the Board of Directors of the Prince Edward Community Care for Seniors Association on January 28, 1999 and is still on the Board as Secretary. He also served the community as a municipal councillor along with several terms on the Victorian Order of Nurses Foundation Board. He is Past President and Past Treasurer of the agency now as Peer Support South Eastern Ontario. Ralph is also past President of PROBUS Quinte, the club that sponsored the newly established PROBUS Club of Prince Edward County. Ralph was the mentor for the new PROBUS club and is now on the local management committee as a membership chair. Ralph’s other volunteer activities include delivering Meals on Wheels, reception at Wellington Foot Care Clinics, as a volunteer driver, visitor and helping whenever and wherever he is needed at Community Care for Seniors. He says that the board at Community Care is active in helping seniors keep their independence and it is a board that enjoys what they are achieving.

Nominated by past club president Debbie MacDonald Moynes.

Longtime Club members Don Wakefield and Marion Hughes were honoured for their continuing efforts to Rotary both at the Club and International level with Paul Harris Society awards.