Dunnville Rotary Club hosts Dinner with Bobbi Ann Brady

Dunnville Rotary Club hosts Dinner with Bobbi Ann Brady
DUNNVILLE— MPP Bobbi Ann Brady posing with members of the Dunnville Rotary Club following her speech, who were all smiles following a delicious dinner and informative talk. Brady noted that she was nervous coming to the event knowing it had sold out and so many people were coming to hear her speak. —Haldimand Press photos by Kaitlyn Clark.

By Kaitlyn Clark

The Haldimand Press

DUNNVILLE—The Dunnville Rotary Club hosted a Dinner with MPP Bobbi Ann Brady on Friday, February 24, 2023.

The event filled Debb’s Cuisine with 67 guests for a social hour, dinner, and a speech from Brady, with everything kept on track thanks to Master of Ceremonies Brad Spencer. Lynn Spencer, Rotary Past President and President Elect noted, “We should have booked a bigger hall; however, we wanted the ambiance and everything that Debb brings to an event like this.”

DUNNVILLE—Current mayor Shelly Ann Bentley, past mayor Marie Trainer, and Kelly Smith.

“Dunnville is a very special place,” said charter president Archie Merigold, who has lived in Dunnville since 1973. He recalled the Blizzard of 1977 and snowmobilers working to bring supplies where they were needed, adding, “I realized the value of a community coming from the city of Hamilton.”

Merigold also recalled how the Ontario government threatened to close the Dunn-ville hospital in 1997 but that the town refused to let the doors shut: “Dunnville, God bless us all for what we did…. It was a huge moment in the history of our town. It bonded our community together and made us proud to be members of Dunnville.”

He applauded the people who helped the Rotary Club get started locally, noting that the “women have been the glue that held this club together”. As the club approaches its 30th anniversary this year, Merigold said of their success, “Mathematically we calculcated we hit $2 million in today’s money (donated) internationally and in the town of Dunn-ville. That is an incredible achievement.”

Brady echoed Merigold’s sentiment, noting that Haldimand and Norfolk have the best people and that “amazing things are happening here.” She thanked everyone who is “working hard to make this community a better place.”

She noted the various community organizations in Dunnville, adding, “Those like you who put community ahead of self are passionate about making a difference.”

DUNNVILLE—Bill Smith, an Ontario and Canadian fiddler champion who has lived in Haldimand all his life and provided musical entertainment during the social.

Brady is certain there are more people like the Rotary members ready to make a difference, and encouraged those in community groups to ask everyone they know to get involved, as “some are too afraid to come forward or don’t have the confidence.”

She spoke of Queen Elizabeth’s passing and the comfort she provided, which she says was rooted in tradition: “It is tradition that keeps us connected to the past and we know that so well in small towns.”

She also spoke of the need for hope, noting that following the tragedy of Officer Greg Pierzchala’s death “our communities became tighter” in response, finding hope in being together.

Brady concluded her speech with an overview of her current undertakings at Queen’s Park, including her role on the Finance Committee as she awaits the spring budget. Ultimately, Brady hopes to “return politics to the way it was…. We need to return the power and return the decision making to you (the people).”

Penny Banks of Dunnville Hospital and Healthcare Foundation was one attendee and said, “I can honestly say that I have never been so moved by a talk from a politician…. There is no doubt that she will be a force to be reckoned with…. (Dunnville Rotary) knocked it out of the park!”

Spencer thanked Debb’s for helping to make the event a success and added, “What an honour and pleasure to meet Bobbi Ann and have a chance to talk one-on-one with her…. And thanks to Dunnville and beyond for the great support.”