Rotary’s Paul Harris Awards and Family

January 20th was an exciting day at the Oakville Community Foundation (The Foundation) as both our Chair Brian Hanna and I were recognized by the local Rotary Clubs for our contributions to the community. Brian and I received the prestigious Paul Harris Award for our community service, which included our work at The Foundation and beyond. 

I knew that Brian had served on many local not for profit boards in addition to The Foundation but I was impressed by the list. Here it is: 

Oakville Community Foundation – current Chair of Board of Directors | Oakville Lions Club (Past President) | Oakville Golf Club (Past President) | Halton County Law Association (Past President) | St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School – Board of Governors | The Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts – Board of Directors | The Oakville Historical Society – Board of Directors |The Oakville Humane Society – Board of Directors | Oakville Public Library Development Advisory Committee 

Brian’s wife Julia is also a past Paul Harris Award recipient for her work at the Oakville Chamber, Downtown BIA and her Healthy Family initiative. Julia and her sons have also been preparing hundreds of meals for neighbours impacted by the Pandemic. 

My family also has more than one Paul Harris Award recipient. My Dad has been a Rotarian for the past 55 years at District 555 in Winnipeg and holds two Paul Harris Awards. My Mom does not hold a Paul Harris award but her volunteer service has been recognized with a Mayor’s Volunteer Service Award and A Great West Life Award of Distinction amongst others. 

While it was nice to be recognized, it was awesome to have my parents join the zoom call. Like many people, I have not seen my parents in person for over a year. It was also great that many of the other award recipients also had their families join the call. 

Rotary also recognized some people I know and others I hope to know better. Many Fundholders know Wendy Perkins, the Founder of Home Suite Hope, the agency that supports low-income single parent (mother-led) families. As well, NHLer Adam Graves and Scott Bachly, founders of Smilezone Foundation, which creates, builds and transforms areas (zones) in medical centres, to improve the lives of children facing illness, were also included. Both Home Suite Hope and Smilezone have a fund at The Foundation.

Other recipients who I do not know but was impressed by their volunteer initiatives include Carol Cheng and Shawn Feng, for their Oakville Chinese Community Response Fund; Liz Blunt, Community Midwives of Halton, and Graham Schreiber, Volunteer Extraordinaire with initiatives like Oakville and Burlington Ribfests rounded out the recipients.  

I want to thank Rotary for the award and congratulate all my fellow recipients. Moreso I want to thank our Rotarians for all of the great work they do in the community including sharing with us the people and families who make our community better.