By Lawrence Zalasky President
December 15, 2013
The Gyro Club of Sherwood Park was chartered on October 4, 1975 when 30 members were inducted. Today we are privileged to still have Augie Annacchiarico, Terry Bajer, Rikke Dootjes, Barrie Pratt, Ed Shultz, and John Williams as members in our club.
Although chartered on October 4, President John Quinlan organized the first Presidents Christmas event in December of that year which took the form of a cocktail party hosted at his home.
The cocktail hors d’oeuvres party format continued at the home of the President until about 1986/87 when it became a dinner party still hosted at the Presidents home.
Stories I’ve heard suggest that many Gyros thru the years struggled to get home from those home parties and even today aren’t entirely sure how their home coming occurred except through stories that abound.
As the membership grew so did the need for a larger facility for the Presidents dinner. In 1990/91 the event moved to The Millwoods Golf Course, then to a variety of venues like the Norwood Legion, the Strathcona Legion, the Sawmill/H & G Catering Bldg on 76 ave, etc. before Al Beiken secured and settled us into the German Canadian Cultural Club in 2001. Each year since, we’ve held the December Presidents Dinner as well as our regular meetings at this venue.
Marge and I are pleased to welcome all Gyros, Gyrettes and guests tonight to the 38th Annual Gyro Presidents Christmas Dinner, an event and a club that is steeped in history and tradition.
When we talk and describe Gyro, people marvel that strangers of different backgrounds can join and develop lifelong friendships so easily. These friendships don’t stop at only the club level. They develop and extend to members of other clubs on both sides of the border. They are fellow Gyros that we’ve met at functions such as a golf tournament, a curling bonspiel, a club visitation, a district or an international convention.
As a club we are very proud of our history, our accomplishments, and our achievements.
We have hosted 3 District Conventions ….the first in 1990, then 2000 and the latest in 2010.
Five current members have represented District VIII as Governor.
They are, Keith Bradley, Don Greig, Eric Braun, Bernie Kropp and the current District VIII Governor Jim Malott …….all who are in attendance tonight. I would ask them to please stand and be recognized.
Our club has won numerous District and International bulletin awards over the years. The latest was the 2012-13 international bulletin award by Scott Brisbin…. Past award winners are Al Gordon, Don Greig, Keith Bradley, Eric Braun, Rikki Dootjes, Barrie Pratt, …… and, there are more but our historic data does not currently reflect all, so I would ask all the afore mentioned and anyone else who has received either of these awards to stand and be recognized.
As well, Keith Bradley, along with Marty Larson and the late Rick Little was awarded the Prestigious Gyro International Jimmy Hubble Award for external expansion for his involvement in the formation and chartering of the St Albert Club.
As a club we continue to be the envy of Gyro for our participation and contributions to District VIII. This year about 25% of our membership have registered for the District VIII Convention in Wallace Idaho.
Yes, our Sherwood Park Gyro Club is an active participant at all levels of Gyro. We have created history and tradition since receiving our charter on October 4, 1975.
As a club and as friends we revel in the laughter and camaraderie each time we meet. Whether at a regular meeting, a chance meeting on the street, on the phone or vacationing down south, we enjoy the banter, the conversation and the opportunity. Gyro is all about friendship…… it’s nice to be with friends.
Gyros come from many different ethnic, religious and work backgrounds, none of which is or has ever been an issue. Some Gyros may like their roast beef and Yorkshire pudding…….I like my perogies.
Gyros share a most important value, one that the world strives to achieve………….that value is “EQUALITY”. In Gyro equality has no boundaries. “There are no back seats on a Gyro bus”. Gyros take pride in maintaining this value.
Christmas likewise is a time of history and tradition. Christmas is a time for caring and sharing, a time for reflection. As we prepare for the Christmas season we will continue to maintain and follow the ethnic traditions passed down thru the years from our grandparents and parents.
Are we traditionalists???? Yes, the foods we prepare and the recipes we prepare them from are those handed down to us over the decades. Oh, we might introduce some new item to the Christmas table but it’s more likely to be a Santa and Mrs. Claus salt and pepper shaker than a new recipe or food. Yes, we are traditionalists…….
The Christmas carols we listen to, hum or sing along with are those we’ve grown up with. Johnny Reid and Michael Buble are great vocalists who have some great Christmas songs out but it’s still White Christmas, Jingle Bells, and Silent Night that we most familiar with, listen to and enjoy. Yes, our tendencies are to maintain history and tradition. We are traditionalists…….
At this time let us not forget to be mindful of those less fortunate, the homeless, those in war torn countries, those in need and for those who have gone before us.
Family and friends are of utmost importance, not just at or during the Christmas season but always. Give Thanks for family, Give Thanks for friends and in particular give Thanks for your Gyro Friends…..
I wasn’t sure how I was going to close this address so, I wrote the following:
A Christmas Poem
It is 10 days before Christmas and the Gyros are here
For laughter and friendship and to spread Christmas cheer
Their ladies how lovely in their best evening wear,
With special attention to make-up and hair
The Gyros in their suits even polished their shoes
As usual rushed down not to be late for the booze
The happy hour how lively as all mixed with the crowd
Made Jim Malott our Governor very happy and proud
For he represents District VIII but belongs to our club
Where all things run smoothly with nary a flub
Noise generally if not always dictates the level of fun
And it sounds by the noise you’re enjoying this a ton
The program, the venue, the menu were all done
By the President and 1st lady who worked on it as one
We hope you’ve enjoyed everything that we’ve planned
Cause the only choice you have is to experience it first hand
So as we wrap up the 38th Annual Presidents Ball
Marge and I send our love and a “Merry Christmas to all”!
Health and Happiness, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
presidents christmas dinner
december 15, 2013