Twenty-five years ago, in 1994, Bashir El-Khalafawi was the Founding President of the newly formed Rotary Club of Parksville AM.  In 2020, Bashir reprised his role, becoming the Club's 26th president in the year following the Club's 25th anniversary.  The installation took place June 17 at a local park so that social distancing guidelines could be observed.  Club members brought lawn chairs and picnic lunches, and the usual spirit of camaraderie and good humour were very much in evidence.
Current President, Ray Walker reviewed Club accomplishments for the first eight months of the year - Coats for Kids, Little Mountain Clean-up, two houses in Mexico, Cops for Cancer event, Shelly Park landscaping, active Interactors, and various fundraisers to support these projects ... oh yes, it was shaping up to be a good year. 
 
And then COVID-19 hit, and the world changed.
 
Yet, despite the cancellation of all fundraisers for the year and the suspension of regular meetings, President Ray continued to shepherd the Club through uncharted waters with his trademark calm and resolve.  Zoom became the mechanism to enable Rotary Board and general meetings.  Community needs were addressed through donations to the Salvation Army Food Bank and the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. Despite the need to pivot in many directions, Club members agreed that it has been a good year and that President Ray has been instrumental in keeping us together and ensuring that Rotary continues its ongoing support of the community. 
 
 
Accolades were also given to ADG, John O'Brien who has now completed his three year term as Assistant District Governor for Area 3.  John has been a tireless advocate and "cheerleader" for the six clubs in our Area and has served the District with enthusiasm and professionalism.
 
The position of Assistant District Governor for Area 3 will now be filled by another Parksville AM member, Lynne Pearson.  Lynne will take up the mantle from John on July 1, and the members expressed their support and confidence in her leadership going forward.  We can be proud of the fact that Lynne is the 4th ADG to serve the District from the Rotary Club of Parksville AM!
 
In addition to her upcoming ADG duties, Lynne will continue to Chair the Club's Foundation Committee, and she had a very pleasant duty to perform when she called up Louise Wright to receive a Paul Harris Fellow. 
 
Louise is the wife of founding member, Gord Svenson and, although not a Rotarian herself, exemplifies the ideals of Rotary in every way.  Most recently, she has raised over $1400 for the Rotary Foundation through the sewing and selling of masks.  She has participated in six Rotary Team Mexico build projects, and has taken sewing machines to Mexico and trained local ladies in their use.  A well deserved award!
 
Bashir El-Khalafawi then accepted the position of President, initiating the Rotary Club of Parksville AM's second 25 years of service to the community, both locally and internationally.  His commitment to Rotary has been exemplified through his active support of the Club, the District and the Foundation. 
 
Bashir was also presented with his 30 year perfect attendance pin which he achieved despite the pandemic.  While regular meetings were suspended in March, Bashir still managed to accumulate 47 banked meetings over the year, so his 30 year pin was well deserved!
 
Also well deserved were Honorary memberships awarded to two retiring members who have served our Club with dedication and commitment over many years.  Ken Armstrong has been a member of the Club since he and Gail moved to Parksville in 2005, having previously joined Rotary in Saskatoon in 1988.  A consummate Rotarian, Ken's gentle nature was an asset to every meeting, and he was a tireless volunteer, participating in every project, from parking to recycling.

Also an enthusiastic Rotarian, Ron Dyck was one of the Club's founding members in 1994 and found his niche in service to the community.  Ron had a particular interest in furthering the future of Rotary through its youth.  He and Helen hosted many students over the years, and Ron served at both the Club and District levels, ensuring that Rotary Youth Programs met the highest standards of youth protection and the best possible experience for the participants.
 
We are delighted that both Ken and Ron will remain as Honorary members, and we look forward to continuing to see them at our meetings.

While the members are confident that Bashir will provide strong and focused leadership for the Rotary Club of Parksville AM, member Judy Elliott, who was present at Bashir's first installation, couldn't let him get away without a little "roasting".  She presented him with a photo album of that first installation, along with some humorous recollections of Bashir's first tenure.
 
The Rotary Club of Parksville AM looks forward to the coming year under President Bashir's leadership and to continuing to advance the goals of Rotary, with the support of a new Board and new strategies, so that Rotary can continue to do good in a world that has changed dramatically in the past few months.