Happenings in Rotary
The new executive and officers of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat were inducted on Monday July 26, 2017.
First it was an opportunity to thank Uwe Krickhahn, who stepped into the void left by the passing of Ernie Benesch and helped move the club forward.  This was his second term as President, separated by 25 years of perfect attendance, and he's seen a lot of changes in the Rotary world over that time.  He took a minute to thank his Board and several Rotarians for their contributions during this past year.  He singled out Sandy Mackay for his donation of Paul Harris points, to make the club a 100% PHF club.  He also pointed out the financial contributions of several and the weekly contribution of Herman Wahl to the meeting, with birthday and anniversary roses.
On behalf of the Board and the Club, Secretary Doug Fleming presented him with a token of our appreciation.
AG and Past President Dave Panabaker then performed the induction of the Board and Officers for 2017 - 2018.  Our new President is Karen Blewett, and the President-elect is Chris Perret.  A round of applause for both Uwe's efforts and for the new board was given, and special executive pins were given out by Secretary Doug Fleming.
President Karen then did a short presentation about some of the focus area's that she sees going forward this Rotary year.  She introduced the theme for the year, "Making a Difference" and also spoke about an upcoming Rotary International led advertising campaign about Rotarians as "People of Action".
She spoke about the recent District survey, the work done previously by the club on our Strategic Plan and how there seems to be reasonable alignment.  She spoke about meeting changes that she sees coming in this year to modernize the meetings and ensure timely completion of each noon meeting.  She also sees a more consistent schedule of programs, based on 1 community presentation, 1 business meeting,  1 Rotary information and 1 social/fellowship meeting each month.
Best wishes to President Karen and the whole board for 2017-2018.
The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat enjoyed a social evening, and a presentation by the Team Leader of the Friendship Exchange Team, Gihan Panditaratne.  The group of five Sri Lankan's from various area's of the island nation will spend two weeks in District 5360, as part of this reciprocal visit to a journey several years ago by a number of Alberta Rotarians.
Gihan did a wonderful presentation about Sri Lanka, and District 3220 (Sri Lanka and Maldives).  Rotary started in this area in 1929, and there are now 72 Rotary Clubs and nearly 2,100 Rotarians in this District.  He started by saying that they have a warm culture, and warm temperature, with a great deal more humidity than SE Alberta.  There are 20 million citizens in Sri Lanka, about 5 times the Alberta population, and they occupy a space 1/10 the size of Alberta, so their population density is 50 times that of Alberta.
A club banner exchange was done and we were treated to the singing of the national anthem of Sri Lanka.  From Left to Right are our guests, Melroy Peiris, Darshika Ratnayake, Stephnie Rodrigo, Rotary Club of Medicine Hat President Uwe Krickhahn, RFE Team Leader Gihan Panditaratne and Ryan Dunuwille.
Gihan spoke about the climate, the history and wildlife of Sri Lanka.  They have three major animal species who are noteworthy, elephants, leopards and blue whales.  Gihan spoke about the recent discovery of blue whales off the coast of Sri Lanka, which has created a significant tourist attraction to view them.
Following Gihan's presentation, Stephnie Rodrigo spoke about a recent project of their District, a Global Grant project in conjunction with six clubs from India.  The bus is a mobile clinic, taken to rural areas and providing artificial limb creation and fitting, vision and diabetes screening as well as other forms of medical care.  It was a great project, which seemed to be supported by a large number of clubs, including the Rotary Club of Calgary Centennial which gave one of the first donations.
The Rotary Friendship team also took in several other sites, including the Cypress Hills, the Murray Lake Hutterite Colony, the Etzikom Pioneer Museum and Medalta Potteries.
They also met with the Mayor of Medicine Hat, our own Ted Clugston.
A very successful few days, lots of miles traveled and lots of prairie country seen.  Thanks to our friends from Calgary North (Gerry and Daryl) for being the tour guides and our visitors who came a very long way to spend time with us.  Also much thanks to Teresa Schile, John John, Bruce Shepard, Adolf Seiler, Ted Clugston and the host families for participating.
Monday's speaker was Major Hugh Atwell, Chief of Staff at Canadian Forces Base Suffield. Major Atwell started his speech by suggesting that although not specifically mention in the latest 2017 Defense Policy, the base is optimistic that improvements and increased spending will occur at Suffield.  Major Atwell reported the mission for CFB Suffield is to provide a world class facility to support:
  • DRES - Defense Research Establishment Suffield
  • Military Training - BATUS - British Army Training  Unit Suffield 
  • Oil & Gas Activities
  • Grazing 
  • Protect Environmental & Archeological sites.
Major Atwell explained the Suffield Range is the largest  Military Base in Canada covering an area of approximately 2,700 sq km.   In fact, the next 3 largest bases in Canada would all fit within the Suffield range.  He advised that the base has a positive economic impact on the region as it contributes close to $8.6 million per year. The Suffield Range provides opportunities for training that are not found in many locations. 
Major Atwell expanded on some of the roles the military plays at Suffield. First of all, they support DRES - Defense Research Establishment Suffield which undertake important research to mitigate risk to military and civilian personnel by conducting research into chemical & biological warfare and research into the use of unmanned vehicle. Research conducted at Suffield has played important roles throughout the world. 
The prime task for the military is to support the Suffield range. The British Government leases the range which is the largest military training facility in the Commonwealth to conduct military training exercises such as live firing exercises for up to 50 tanks and other military hardware. CFB Suffield is also used for joint training by NATO and other Foreign Allied  armies. The range allows the armies to test of new techniques and technologies.
Not all the Suffield range is used for military training. Portions of the range are set aside for grazing (3,500 cow/calf pairs); oil & gas facilities (12,00 wells) and the preservation of Ecological (River Valley) and Archeological sites (Medicine Wheels & Teepee Rings).  To protect the environment, maintain safety and prevent conflict, satellite images and ground crews are employed to review the range. There prime objective is to maintain the overall health of the range and minimize barren ground. 
As if that isn't enough, they are also involved in Elk Management. In 1997 - 221 elk were introduced to the range.  Over the years, the numbers has grown to around 5,300 animals. Major Atwell advised there are differing views on the impact of the elk on the range and surrounding area and also how  the herds should be culled. Major Atwell advised that these decisions are made by Environment & Parks Departments rather than the military.
Major Atwell answered a few questions and was thank by President Uwe who paraphrased Winston Churchill when he thank the Canadian Military by saying "never has so much been done with so little".  

President Uwe introduced Jay and asked for him to come forward for his classification talk.
Jay introduced himself as an auto dealer, now being the owner of Park City Toyota. Jay is married to Tracy and they have one daughter Elizabeth.
Jay started his talk with the aid of some power point pictures and slides.. His early days were spent in Pincher Creek playing a lot of hockey and with video games. He had many family pictures including one of his Dad (Wayne) when he had more hair and one of his graduating class along with many friends. He graduated grade 12 in Pincher Creek and was class valedictorian.  Jay talked about his two sisters and had some pictures of the family.
In 1985 he went to Calgary and attended the University of Calgary and received his degree in Commerce with marketing as his major. After University he did get into the auto business but in Calgary with Shaw GMC and stayed with them for 10 years.
One of the pictures from his high school years included a girlfriend named Tracy and right next to her was another Tracy who is now his wife. Jay had know Tracy all through school but lost touch with her after he went to University. He went back to Pincher Creek for his 10 year reunion and there he meet up with the Tracy who would become his wife 2 years later. Both had taken their university in Calgary but Tracy has a degree in nursing.
Jay and his family moved to Medicine  Hat and joined his Dad at Park City Toyota in 2007 and took over the dealership from his Dad in 2011. He very proud of the dealership which now employs 24  individuals of which 50% are female, an enviable thing to have and not many dealerships can say the same. He believes that putting customers first, then having good staff leads to better sales and profitability. Jay then talked about his industry and the shift for cars to electric, hydrogen, self driving etc. He also talked about the new technology for safety such as lane assist, bird's eye view, auto braking and many more upcoming options.
Jay is very busy as he serves on many boards including the Medicine Hat Dealers Association, Dealer technology Committee, Prairie Toyota Dealers Advertising Ass. as well as a new start up company.
He talked about how insidious some companies like Google can be or will be in the future giving several examples.
Some questions where asked and discussed.
This was a wonderful presentation and we are very lucky to have Jay as a member of our club. 
The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat enjoyed our annual evening meeting with the students from Medicine Hat High School.  It's always a great evening to get to know each other and led by this year's President Anjali Mishra we learned a lot about what the group has been up to.
First, each student was introduced and spoke a little about their experience in Interact.  Then Anjali talked about the student advisors, Sue Withers and Deb Rawlings who are an inspiration to the kids and to their Rotary advisor, Theresa Eisenbarth who attended many of their meetings this past year.  Anjali spoke about the Mac & Cheese Drive, where over 400 boxes of KD were brought in for the food bank, the regular bake sales at Parent Teacher interviews and their experience both running the Remembrance Day service at the school and laying a wreath on Nov 11.
They also had a "Fall into Christmas" event, with hot chocolate and cookies, as well as used Candy Cane O-grams to raise funds and then held their annual Nickel and Dime war, again to raise funds for their project.  They are contributing this spring, in support of the Rotaract Club of Esteli to build a new home for Don Alberto Gutieriez, an artist in Nicaraugua.  The Interact club modeled the small hut he lives in at the school, but building a similar structure out of cardboard.  A very clever tool to engage the students in bettering this man's life.
They will be doing a few more volunteer events next year, including the Salvation Army hot meal program and working at Prairie Gleaners.  Anjali thanked Rotary for providing support to their club and helping produce active, engaged citizens (even if only 12 at a time).
The Rotary Club was very happy to welcome Dr Mike Gillespie, the Vice President - Academic for Medicine Hat College to the meeting today.  Dr Gillespie was introduced by Linda Rossler and provided a well received talk about the Academic Plan being developed for Medicine Hat College.  He started by giving a brief biography and then describing the plan as a "Strategic Roadmap" to outline the vision and priorities of the executive of the College.
The plan is in the early stages of construction, and a survey has been done of stakeholders, including students, faculty, supporters and external stakeholders.  The responses and analysis of the results are ongoing and hopefully will be completed over the summer.  This will allow the focus of the plan to drafted.
Mike's talk was well received, he answered a number of questions about activities at the college, the impact of foreign students and provided feedback on his impression of some of the skills and shortcomings of the newest post secondary students.  A great talk, thank you. 
President Uwe introduced Margie for her classification talk.
Margie started by showing us one of the best flowers of South Africa. Margie told us about her parents and 2 brothers. Her Father was a Rotarian in South Africa a DG and also a Paul Harris award holder.
Margie was born and raised in Cape Town and then on a small farm with grape vines and small animals. Completed her school at a girls school and then off to The University of Port Elizabeth majoring in Psychology. She did get married to her first husband in 1974 and was married for 6 years. She then spent 4 months in the USA and then 4 months in England.
Then back to South Africa in 1980 as a social worker and back to school to get her masters degree.
Then she met Johan and they were married in 1988 and she became a stepmother to 3 children. She went back to school and earned her PHD.
One of her highpoints was getting to meet and talk to Queen Elizabeth II.
She loved her beautiful city of Cape Town. She spent 12 years as a professor at the University of Cape Town and a lecturer in the Department of Social Development. She had many wonderful pictures of Cape Town.
Margie and Johan immigrated to Canada on Feb 9 2016 to be close to their son who is a doctor and lives in Medicine Hat.
She loves her new home  and has a special Thank you  to all Rotarians for membership and friendship.
Many question were asked and answered.  Welcome to Rotary, Margie!
Courtesy of our Photographer, Petara Panabaker, a few shots of the evenings activities.
Thanks to everyone who organized, sponsored, supported and attended the event.  It was a great time!!
The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat was pleased to welcome several representatives of the Health Quality Council of Alberta.
Andrew Neuner, Chief Executive Office spoke about the role of HQCA, an organization that very few of us know much about.  They are a provincial agency that pursues opportunities to improve patient safety and health service quality for Albertans.  He spoke about the groups role, which includes working collaboratively with healthcare providers and partners, to drive improvement to both the cost and quality of delivered services.  Andrew spoke about the "fact" that Albertans pay more per capita for healthcare than any other province in Canada, but on an outcomes basis rate only average or less than average in the value of that service.  This isn't sustainable, and they attempt to provide factual information from surveys and other learning methods to ensure future Albertans will experience an improvement in the level of care.
Their website is http://www.hqca.ca and their work, and our current statistics can be viewed there.  A number of pieces of literature were left for the club members.
Certainly a popular subject of conversation, Andrew answered a number of questions from members of the audience.
Upcoming Events
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Past President

Medicine Hat

We meet Mondays at 12:00 PM
Medicine Hat Lodge
1051 Ross Glen Drive SE
Medicine Hat, AB  T1B 3T8
District Site
Venue Map