On September 25, 2019, the Rotary Club of Welland held its annual Paul Harris Celebration at the Welland international Flatwater Centre. 50 Rotarians, partners, friends and recipients attended. The Paul Harris Fellow is the highest form of recognition given by Rotary clubs world-wide. It can be bestowed on a person, either inside or outside the club. The award acknowledges "Service Above Self" which an individual has offered to their community, their nation or indeed to the world.

The Club honoured three (3) community volunteers this year with Paul Harris Fellowships.

Rosie Smith, known as the Heart and Soul of Welland making Welland a better place to live, was recognized posthumously.  For over 50 years she was a tireless volunteer, dispatching kindness, generosity, understanding and most of all love for her community, especially the children. She willingly gave her time and touched so many people along the way. Her passion in life was family and ensuring that children, regardless of economic status, had access to free recreational activities. Born out of Rosie’s passion was the Welland Recreation Projects Association which she chaired for decades.

Port Colborne’s Jack O’Neill was a driving force behind the Niagara Gatekeepers program which supports seniors so they could live safely in their own homes. It started as a pilot project in Port Colborne and is now a network co-ordinated by Niagara Region. At age 85, he continues to volunteer as the hands-on President of the Friends Over 55 Recreation Centre in Port Colborne and Northland Pointe Nursing Home. 

Sue Barnett of Welland has been a volunteer with Scouts Canada for 50 years as a leader, commissioner, and provincial trainer where she was awarded a Scouts Canada Community Service Award for her many years of service. Sue’s volunteer experience also includes assisting the Out of the Cold program at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, providing assistance at Rapelje and St. Charles Village for their Sunday services and visitations. She is also a lead organizer and volunteer for the food and hygiene pantry food bank in Welland. Sue is currently the Chair of the District School Board of Niagara.

Three (3) Paul Harris Fellowships were also awarded to Welland Rotarians for their dedication to the Club and to the ideals of Rotary. Melissa Wells was recognized especially for her dedication to hosting international Youth Exchange students during the past couple of years. Ralph Malcolm, Chair of Youth Services was honoured for his support of the various Rotary Youth Programs during the past few years. Past-President David Alexander was acknowledged for his commitment to the Club during his presidential year.  

Rotarian Fred Farnham was presented an Avenues of Service Citation from Rotary International recognizing, with deep appreciation, his outstanding efforts in each of the Avenues of Youth and Community Service..

Photo L-R: Past President David Alexander, Melissa Wells, Greg Smith, Fred Farnham, Sue Barnett, Jack O’Neill and Ralph Malcolm