skip to Main Content
Where neighbors, friends, and problem-solvers share ideas, join leaders, and take action to create lasting change.

Meeting Highlights: June 7, 2018 Installation


A great Hawaiian happening occurred on June 7th on our Installation Night for Incoming President Russ Wigle and his 2018-2019 Board and Committee Chairs! Many thanks to Past President Chris Brulotte and his team of volunteers for putting it together. With Russ T Nails (get it?) and Mai Tai signature drinks created by Charlene Davis and Bill Bear, we were set up for a night of celebration. Charlene and Bill are type cast as our Signature Mixologists for good reason – delicious, decadent, and so pretty! Thank you, Charlene and Bill.

Palm Tree decor was provided by Tim and Suzanne Judge – who knew they had an attic full of Hawaiian Fakery! Such fun props! It was positively balmy at D’Esterre House where palm trees grew and colourful leis lent a tropical air.

Anela Kahiamoe‘s music set the mood for all those fabulous Hawaiian shirts, floral prints, and at least one grass skirt. Beautiful Hibiscus graced each table.

Assistant Governor Stu Tunheim inducted Incoming President Russ and his board and Committee Chairs. District Governor Elect Craig Gillis joined us, as did District Governor Nominee Maureen Fritz-Roberts and T. Dale Roberts, and the Area 2 Presidents Elect, who brought best wishes to Russ: Marc Villanueva (Rotary Club of Courtenay) and his spouse Tracey, Dave Yanick (Strathcona Sunrise Rotary), Keith Tatton (Rotary Club of Cumberland Centennial), Doug Phyall (Campbell River Daybreak Rotary), and Kevin Niemi(Rotary Club of Comox Valley).

PP Chris was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening and kept things running along. Dale Roberts proposed a toast to the significant family members and friends who support our club members to be People of Action.

Outgoing President Jo’s Speech
The following is the text of President Jo’s Farewell Speech…..and yes, she still has a couple of meetings to go before signing off…..
District Governor Elect Craig, District Governor Nominee Mo, Assistant Governor Stu, Area 2 Presidents Elect, Fellow Rotarians and Guests,

First let me say thank you to Past President Chris and his helpers who organized tonight’s event: Charlene Davis, Marianne Van Vliet Dufresne, and Hannah Rail [Late edit: and to Tim and Suzanne, Bill V, Bill B, Joan who helped set up]. Thank you – it’s beautiful!

Anyone who knows me will not be surprised to learn that this is Version 3.0 of my remarks tonight.

I was struggling to write. How to convey all we have done this year without it being some kind of corporate speak, not really the thing for this evening…..

Two things happened to help me. First, a conversation with LaCosta last night. I told her I was feeling overwhelmed. A skilled writer herself, LaCosta said, “What do you wanna say? Just say it.” Ok, so that stilled my Monkey Mind.

And then, this morning, I had a brief interaction with Rod, our Foundation Chair. He offered to do a task and I called him “my hero”. It’s the term I use when I want to convey gratitude. Most often, I say it to my husband Harry. He does something I’m grateful for and I say, “You’re my hero”. Actually, I’ve used these words for many of you this year at different times in gratitude, – mostly for small things. Because it’s often – or maybe even usually – the small things that make a difference to getting the big things done and taking a load off our minds. And Rod said to me – and I quote, “Being heroes to each other is a great way of being.” Being heroes to each other is a great way of being.

And it came to me. That’s what I want to say tonight. You’re my heroes. Every last one of you. Ok, you’re not running into burning buildings. But each of you brings unique gifts of time, talent, and treasure to Rotary in whatever your passions, your personal missions, and your capacities within your lives allow. I have appreciated the ways you have made this year a success – and not to worry – we’re planning a fun report of the particulars for my last meeting in June….so I won’t detail those tonight….but from a ramped up Comox Valley Whiskey Fest, to a brand new accounting system that can churn out accurate reports to the Gaming Commission, to an improved AV system, to the completed work in Honduras, to the opening of the waterpark… have made a difference. To the life of this club, to life in this community, to life in other countries.

As club Presidents, we are servant leaders. That sounds like an oxymoron. But it isn’t. And they tell us this at Pres Elect Training. You will be a Servant Leader.

You, the members told us what you wanted when we held our Visioning session in the fall of 2016 to prepare an Action Plan that started this year. We responded by keeping you informed of our budget and all our plans and of what was taking place in our club and in Rotary. We provided opportunities to help and to serve –to arrange safe transport after Whiskey Fest, to serve on the newly created Finance Committee, to write the Meeting Notes for the Bulletin each week, to set up the flags and the bar for each meeting, to create that prize-winning parade float, to sign up for Rotary Direct, to thank the Speaker with a donation to kick polio out of our world, to bring forward a contact to become a new member……the list goes on and on. You did it. You did it as Directors, as contributors to the Interact Gala, as organizers of the sponsor tent, and as re-thinkers of our club bylaws……service above self….and yes, Service Beyond Self. You took your roles seriously, you stepped in, and you stepped up in big ways and in small ways to get the job done. What you did made us successful.

And then you gave us feedback in the Membership Survey – things you’re happy about, things you’d like to see us do more of, but mostly, that you love our club.

Together we are a powerful group. You’re my heroes. I want to thank each of you. And it has been my pleasure to serve you as President.

I leave you with a selection of some parting memories….

The Canadian Military Wives Choirs Comox singing O Canada and performing at our Remembrance Day meeting at which we heard Aaron Macluskie’s gritty talk about a life of overseas military action
McKenna and Jordana giving their moving account of meeting the Market Kids their Mark R. Isfeld Interact Club works so hard to sponsor
Seeing the photo of Holly Haston-Grant achieving her goal and digging with her special shovel to plant trees
Seeing the children squealing and playing in the new waterpark – the culmination of collaboration by Stu and Wendy primarily, with other funders and the Town of Comox
Having Joan Toone bring it home to us just what it was like in the 1950s when children in our country and around the world were coming down with polio…children were dying and their bodies were changing for life, and families lived in fear
Experiencing what it’s like to try to learn to read when the letters are all mixed up in David Peat’s simulation for Literacy Day
Feeling the embarrassment of Nina Usherwood in being discovered being who she was and having that not be ok, but living through emergence into her authentic self
Having Henrie Beaudoin put bio profiles on all the tables to introduce us to our new members – a simple thing, but what a good idea
Hearing the hubbub in the room with competing teams totally into playing games together that night in March…. when we put all our work aside and just played
Listening to Dean Rohrs’ story of the woman begging her to take her baby to give her a better life than she could
Taking our club’s no longer used but very symbolic 4 Way Test banner, imperceptibly repaired from the wear of its life in our club….the things this banner has witnessed! – and presenting that to the new Comox Valley Rotary Club at their charter night –
Sniffling at a sad moment in a movie with Claire, our shared Exchange Student
As we worked together to prepare for Tribal Canoe Journeys, talking with the First Nations women….about what they’d been through in their lives. We just can’t know enough.
Watching that Charlene go and joining her to send a satellite classroom full of sheets and towels and toiletries and $11,000 to the BC Fire Relief – what a leader and what a community
Larry Poirier showing up to help collect funds for BC Fire Relief early that morning and volunteering on the spot to get the supplies to Kamloops
The thrill of getting that early morning email that Interact had won the world wide video contest
Seeing the cards that you made with heartfelt messages to the homeless: We See You and You Matter
Principal Gerald’s pride in Lake Trail Middle School and gratitude for a simple thing like delicious soup in beautiful bowls and how it contributes to school spirit and pride
Laughing with DG Tom Carroll and Laurie over Hawkin’s Cheesies…. we put ourselves on the map for them! We were fortunate indeed to have had DG Tom and Laurie with us on several occasions this year, even for our 30th Ducky on Canada’s Sesquicentennial. Always fun, engaging, and thought provoking, Tom has been a star among District Governors – and more stars to come!
Just today, the result of our fundraising on our April 5 event to celebrate Women and Men working together in Rotary we presented $2,000 to North Island College Foundation for bursaries to be awarded to single parent students. An additional $2000 has already been sent to TRF, about half in Dean Rohrs’ name – $4,000!
Taking up Leif’s challenge and giving blood – my first time in decades. And now I’m in the system
Giving out bursaries this week to youth that I recognize as Interactors – tomorrow’s leaders – I can say that with certainty…..

I’m so grateful. And I have memories to last as long as my memory lasts…..

And finally, I want to thank some specific people.

I want to thank my husband, Harry Panjer. He is my main supporter even though I made it a habit of keeping him in the dark. I want to thank him for truly being my partner on this ride and tolerating my late night tapping away on the computer, overthinking out loud, and being away with the fairies on my device.

To thank the 2017-2018 Board and Committee Chairs, I have a token of my appreciation for each of you: a local artist’s pottery mug. At the conclusion of the evening, please choose one from the table at the front. When you kick start your morning with java or take a quiet moment with a cup of tea, remember how much I appreciate what you have done for Rotary to achieve our goals this year, and more than that, how you have generously shared the richness of who you are with me personally. It’s been wonderful getting to know you and a great relief to rely on you.

David Peat Literacy
Bill Verburgt Program
Harry Panjer Vocational, Bylaws
Marg Hundt World Community Service
Norma Pelletier Finance
Rob Van Haarlem Ducky
Rod McKenzie Salmon Sales, Awards
Victor Anasimiv Auction
Leif Jason Whiskey Fest

To our board, you made my job so much easier this year. And I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. Russ, Charlene, Norma, Hannah, John, Rod, and LaCosta: as Past President, I will enjoy another year of working with you.

It is my special privilege to thank our departing Board members: Cathy Snyder, Leif Jason, Henrie Beaudoin, Joan Collinge, Chris Brulotte. Thank you for your service and for Daring Greatly to Lead and be part of the success of our club. In recognition of your contributions to the board, Foundation Director Rod is presenting you with Paul Harris club points. We look forward to joining you in whatever new capacities you choose as members.

That’s it for me….. Be well. Continue to Do Good Work. Don’t forget to play a little. And I will still see you next week.

[And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for…..
Today, another milestone: the passing of the torch to the club’s 45th President – Russ Wigle – and his 2018-19 Board. Russ, have a wonderful year – I know you’ll do a great job and we’re looking forward to it!]

And then, it was Incoming President Russ’s turn….

Incoming President Russ’s Speech

Well I have to say it is very good to be here. I am really excited and looking forward to this coming Rotary year. It is a little shocking to get asked to be president. I remember very clearly Stu phoning me two years ago. It went something like this:

“Hi Russ. I have some good news…well I think it’s good news. We would like you to be club president”.
There was a very long pause on the phone and then Stu said something brilliant:
“Don’t answer now take the weekend and think about it”

So I did. The first person I talked to was my wonderful wife Keri. She encouraged me to do it. She said it would be great for our kids to see their Dad take that on. That it would set a really good example for them. So it didn’t take long for me to decide to accept.

I want Morgan, Mackenzie and Tye to know how important it is to be part of the community and how important it is to give back to that community. We all make this a better place to live when we give back to the community.

You know…I learned early on in my career that if you want to do better than the next person or make a difference in what you’re doing,you need to put in that extra little bit of effort everyday. That extra little bit of effort adds up at the end of the week, it adds up to even more by the end of the month, and big things are accomplished if you do it all year long.

Rotary has taught me how powerful that can be, when it’s applied by a large group of dedicated people. By all of us putting in a little bit of extra effort each day or week to make our community better, we accomplish big things and make a tremendous positive difference in our community every year!

I’m proud to be part of that and honored to lead the club this coming year.

I’d like to say some thank you’s now.

I’d like to thank Jo our current president for helping to guide me through this exciting process of becoming President. Jo – you are a great mentor.

Thank you to past president Chris for organizing tonight and to Hannah, Charlene and Marianne and to anyone else who helped out.

Thank you to the outgoing board members. You guys all did a great job.

Thank you to the incoming board members. I’m looking forward to working with you.

Thanks to my fellow PEs for attending tonight.

And thanks to my family for being here tonight and for all the support you give me.

Everyone keeps telling me I should talk about my plans for this coming year so I’ll mention a few things.

I do want to make a few little changes. Keep thing fresh. Hannah and I are working on some fun ideas for this year. We want to have a fellowship night or some kind of fun activity on a regular basis, we are aiming for once a month. That will involve some really cool offsite meetings. We got this in the works already. It’s going to be good!

I’d like to see us broadcast what we are doing in the community more. I think we can do that through social media. We give out a lot of cheques to great organization in the Comox Valley. I want the community to know about it and I have a plan in place with Leif and Tom and John North to make that happen this year. More on that to come.

I’m putting a Sergeant at Arms posse together. Bill and Tim have offered to coordinate it. Anyone is welcome to join. I like the idea of have some variety in that role. I think it will keep things fresh and interesting and I really enjoy seeing how different people approach the role.

And lastly I would like to mix things up with our Rotary Moment or Toast. I know that doing a Rotary Moment can be intimidating for some so I’m going to add in a 3rd option.

The Rotary Joke. It can be any kind of joke –let’s just keep it friendly. I like the idea of kicking off our meeting with a joke. So I hope you enjoy that.

[At this point, Russ’s son, Tye came forward to tell his joke: “Why didn’t the skeleton go to the dance….because he had no body to go with!”]

That’s all I’ve got. So I will leave you with our upcoming Rotary motto for 2018-2019.

“Be the inspiration.” You will hear this a lot next year. I’ve got a little surprise to go with that, I think everyone will enjoy it.

Thank you very much.

Past President Chris presents a beautiful rose bouquet to Keri Wigle in advance gratitude for her year of resilience while hubby Russ takes the helm of the Rotary Club of Comox!
All for now…..See you next week!

Leif Jason

Director of Public Image 2017-2018

Back To Top