The sunny spring weather resulted in good attendance this morning, attracting 25 members, one visiting Rotarian - Jim Smith from the Rotary Club of Olds, Alberta, guest Beverly Orchard, and our guest speaker - Marianne O'Brien.

Lynne Pearson led off the meeting with a report on Taste of Oceanside - a resounding success!  There are no final numbers yet, but these will be coming, along with an evaluation form.  Jo expressed thanks to Lynne on behalf of the Club for all her work, resulting in a standing ovation from the members.

President Jo announced that he has received applications for the Rotary scholarships given annually to Ballenas students.  These will be narrowed down to two, after which Ballenas will make the final selection.  Bill Rawlins, Bruce Huxtable and Helen Dyck all volunteered to assist in the selection process.  Jo also advised that he will be away for next week's Assembly and that incoming President, Bruce Huxtable will take over the meeting.

The Club was reminded that the Rotary Club of Parksville will be hosting their annual Mosaic performance at Knox United Chuch on May 4.  This is a fantastic show where young performers take the stage and demonstrate the tremendous talent we have in our community. 

Our guest speaker this morning was Marianne O'Brien, introduced with love and humour by her husband, John O'Brien.  Marianne expressed her thanks to the Club for the donation of $500 which was made three years ago to the Parksville-Qualicum Community Foundation.  This money goes for the "extras" that are not funded by VIHA.  As a Case Manager, Marianne works with people with severe and persistent mental illness, often those diagnosed with schizophrenia.  Recreational therapy is an important part of offering patients what Marianne calls a "spark in the darkness".  A trip to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, a picnic Rathtrevor Park, bowling and coffee - these are things that can't be expensed through VIHA but that add to the quality of life for those who are imprisoned by their illness.  Marianne's caring nature and passion for her work were evident in her talk, and she was encouraged to approach the Club again in the future to support this very worthwhile cause.

This morning's meeting was a very important one as we celebrated the 80th birthday of our own Peter Hann (or as he likes to call it, his 20th x 4.  As Ian Dewar pointed out, this does make sense in French, 80 being "quatre vingt").  Peter was recognized for his long standing and unwavering commitment to the ideals of Rotary and for his support of every Club activity, work project and fundraiser.  In honour of his special milestone and in appreciation for his contributions, Peter was presented with a Paul Harris + 3 award by Foundation Chair, Don Luke, after which he received a standing ovation from the Club.  He was then serenaded not once, not twice, but three times - first by the melodious tones of Ray Walker, next "en francais" led by Ian Dewar in full Montreal Canadiens gear, and finally in the traditional Club manner.  The birthday bear provided the final note to this momentous occasion.

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Gord Svenson has returned as jokester "par excellence", receiving huge guffaws in response to his frog joke. There were many Happy Dollars, often in threes - for Peter's birthday, Marianne's talk, and the success of Taste of Oceanside.  Bill Rawlins gave a Happy Dollar for walking away from a serious accident, for which we are all happy and thankful.  Ian Dewar won the 50/50 and donated it to Marianne for her recreational therapy program. And one more special event today - Bob and Dianne Cummings celebrate their anniversary on  April 25.  Congratulations all!