On Tuesday the 11th August Club Meeting- Marg introduced us to Damien and his Assistance Dog Maxx.
Maxx is 4yr old Labrador, who was rescued at 6mths of age by the Defense Community Dog Program (www.dcdogs.com.au). Damien is ex-Army of 25yrs who needed support to his physical and emotional wellbeing since his discharge from the service. Maxx became his saving grace 3 yrs ago as his Assistant Dog! A position very similar to Guide Dogs – which Damien has also work with via the Royal Society of the Blind (RSB).
Damien went on eight deployments while in the Australian Army. Damien has been a body guard to the Commander in Chief; been deployed East Timor; he has built & destroyed bridges as an engineer; and worked in the military police. A wide range of duties in his distinguished career.
All DC Dogs are rescues, Max himself was very mistreated before he was saved. Maxx had 200 hours of formal training at Bathurst Prison. All the dogs live with the inmates while training to be an Assistance Dog. It cost $15,000 to train a DC Dog and when a dog is placed with a suitable person they are set for life! Maxx showed us how dedicated these dogs are to their charges by being very protective and intuitive to their emotional needs.
When Maxx has his work coat on he is in full Assistance Dog mode but when the coat is off he switches off and is a dog to Damien and his family!
It was an amazing night and an inspiration story to hear. Maxx is one of 2 dogs from DC Dogs in South Australia and they hoping to expand the program more to improve veterans lives.
The Defence Community Dog program provides dogs trained to Assistance Dog level, to serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members who need support to deal with injuries and illnesses including Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since the program commenced, over 45 dogs have been given to Veterans and are proving to be a valuable part of their rehabilitation program.
On July 14th 2020 our club had its Annual 20-21 Change-over dinner at the Highbury Hotel to introduce the new year’s MGG’s club president –Dean Bartley and the club board members.
New board consists of Kevin-Immediate Past President, Otto- Vice President, Rob Carthew- Secretary, Peter Rundle- Treasurer, and John -Community Director (who was an apology for the dinner).
We had a number of special guests on the night, including local politicians, but we would love to thank past District Governor Jane Owens. She gave a great presentation on Rotary International, this year’s Theme, and the recent merger of our Rotary District to 9510.
This new Rotary year sees us become a new District- District 9510. As you know this has been the making for the past 3 years. We will, undoubtedly have some challenges and opportunities with it. It may not all happen in the first year but as we have all seen in the year just gone we have perseverance and endurance and we will make sure we have a bigger and better district in 9510.
Jane introduced us to a new area of focus for the District- “Supporting our Environment”. This now makes 7 areas of focus for clubs to contribute to and support. The others causes follow: Peace & Conflict Resolution; Disease Prevention; Water & Sanitation; Maternal & Child Health; Basic Education & Literacy; Economic & Community Development. We also still and always engage in the GLOBAL eradication of Polio!
Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
During the evening we unveiled this year’s Rotary Theme: “Rotary Opens Opportunities” with the iconic symbol of three open doors in red, yellow & blue. This was chosen by this year Rotary International President, Holger Knaack– in his opening address he said“Rotary isn’t just for people to join but rather an invitation to endless opportunities. We have many and interesting and diverse ways available to us. Each and every club has it’s own unique culture and context upon which to do so…our opportunities are endless”. Since 1949-50, each RI President has chosen a theme based on something that is important to them and its designed to inspire us to continue to make the world a better place! President Knaack is a CEO of a real estate company in Germany and I guess no stranger to charging through an “open door” when its presented.
President Dean commented on a number of changes over the last 15 years, with less regular meetings; E-clubs; no vocational memberships; relaxing of attendance rules; and satellite clubs. But we must continue to evolve and we have to look to the future to grow and develop our membership. He proposed our next year’s focus should be supporting young people and local schools- to look for new projects, local and perhaps international.
We need to honor our past and embrace our future that way Rotary will not only remain relevant but thriving. -Jane Owens
Immediate past president Kevin, gave his annual report for 2019/20.
The Rotary Theme for 2019-2020 was “Rotary Connects The World”. In my introduction last year, I first noted that I intended to consolidate the beginnings of our new club that Otto has worked on. I am pleased to observe that the club now operates almost as if it has always existed as such. Thanks to the hard work of IPP Otto in bedding down the new entity the Rotary Club of Modbury Golden Grove has emerged as a stronger group, maintaining the ideals of Rotary.
Kevin was an energetic president who should be proud of his work and leadership of the club in past year. You can read his full report HERE.
A successful night of friendship, family, networking and fellowship. We look forward to the next year’s challenges and opportunities. Please see the gallery below of more pictures from the event.
Tonight’s ZOOM Meeting we finally caught up with our last Good News Award recipient of 2019: Ken Stephens.
Ken spent more than 2 months kayaking solo 2400km down the Murray River, starting back in October 2019 at Bringenbrong just below the river source in NSW and ending at the Murray mouth in South Australia. He took on this amazing adventure to fundraise for DEBRA and raise awareness for Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). EB is a rare genetic disease that causes very fragile skin. Because the skin is so fragile, it can be injured very easily (even from heat, rubbing or a bump) and result in blisters and wounds- very similar to living with third degree burns. It is estimated that there are around 1,000 people in Australia who have some form of EB and over 500,000 worldwide.
Ken learned about DEBRA and the work they do from his walking group, and after meeting with parents of children with EB he was inspired to do this epic trip. His initial target was to raise $5,000 for the cause, as this is the approximate amount it takes to provide two weeks in home nurse care for a family caring for a loved one suffering from Epidermolysis Bullosa. But Ken exceeded expectations and raised more than $6,400and is still hoping to add to this through the sale of his kayak/ camping equipment and news of his journey.
Ken’s lone adventure took him to some beautiful parts of the Murray River and also led to some very rough living- having to paddle in heatwaves, getting soaked, camping in random fields along the banks and having to rely on the kindness of strangers. He actually met some amazing people during his journey, who when learned about his cause, welcomed him with open arms to feed and shelter him and even donate money to the foundation. It is these people that we should thank for Ken safe return.
The club first learned about Ken Stephens’ initiative from the local Messenger newspaper back in November of 2019, and we have been closely following his journey ever since. However, we had to postpone our December 2019 Good News Award till now, as Ken was still up river when we nominated him, and this was the first opportunity we had to hear from him. Ken Stephens asked the club to donate his GNA prize to DEBRA and if you also like to learn more or donate, please follow the below links: