President’s Year End Report

Gyro Club of Sherwood Park

June 17th, 2020

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve as the President of the Gyro Club of Sherwood Park for the year 2019/2020.  It has been an interesting and unusual year in that the last seven meetings of the year had to be cancelled due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

Serving as President was made easy and enjoyable because of a remarkable Board of Directors who provided advice and assistance throughout the year.  Rick Craddock and Ted Ewanchuk provided exceptional support and advice on every occasion.   Eric Braun, as usual, did a stellar job as Treasurer, and Ray Davis kept everything on track as Secretary and Club Webmaster.  As Directors, George Ward, Ian Bannatyne, Roger Delveaux, and Brian Wolfe, stepped in at every opportunity to make sure the programs ran smoothly. Unfortunately, Brian sadly passed away during the year, and Bernie Kropp volunteered to replace him as a Director.  Scott Brisbin continued to do his remarkable version of William Shakespeare in serving as our Bulletin Editor.  And John Williams continued to serve as the Club Administrator, as he has done for many years.  And last, but not least, Dorne Hunt served as the club Registrar and kept the 50/50 draw on track.  With this incredible team, serving as your President was a joy and a great reward.  Thank you.

 The highlights of the year included:

  1. The AGM meeting on Sept. 4th, which approved the budget, the annual meeting program, and simplified New Member Procedure.  And, once again, the Curlarama budget was denied.
  1. On September 18th, Dorne Hunt, Jim Malott, Terry Bajer, and Milt Lanes won the Horseshoe tournament.
  1. On October 2nd, we enjoyed an interclub Bocce tournament with the Edmonton Club with 48 members in attendance from both clubs.  Bocce has become one of the meeting highlights of the year.
  1. October 16th was Founder’s Night, which was another interclub meeting with the Edmonton Club, attended by more than 80 members.  Our guest speaker was Dr. Jasneet Parmar, who spoke on the issue of Seniors in Society.  Keith Bradley delivered the Founder’s Night speech in his usual and gifted way.
  1. Curlarama was held on November 1st through 3rd, and the team of Ray Davis, Don Grieg, Terry Bajer, and guest player Dave Rozak, brought home the trophy.  Thanks to Bill Austin for organizing this event.
  1. Our annual Crib tournament took place on November 13th, with Paul West and Brian Wolfe were the first-place winners, while, Les Bellan and Ray Davis came in second.
  1. November 27th was Billiards Night with 22 members attending.  Ted Ewanchuk and Ian Bannatyne were the first-place winners, while Ken Lesniak and Art Merrick placed second.  Each of the players went home with a fine bottle of wine.
  1. November 11th was Bowling Night.  Bill Austin and Ray Davis were the first-place winners and Al Govenlock and new member George Huybregts were the follow-up winners.
  1. Our annual Christmas Party took place on December 21st, at the Belvedere Country Club, with 64 members in attendance.  As usual, it was a great mixed meeting, and everyone was decked out in their party best.  It was great to have Bill and Jeanne Carter in attendance.
  1. Darts Night took occurred on January 15th, at the German Club.  It was a crowded event, which took place in the basement.  Having lost in the first round, I left early and do not know who won the event.  The good news is that no one was injured by an errant dart throw, although there were some close calls.
  1. One of the best events of the year was our Valentines Dance organized by Garry Jones.  It occurred on February 14th, at the OLPH, which was magnificently decorated for the evening.  In included a live auction and it is rumored that the last Gyro couple left the party around midnight.
  1. Poker night occurred on March 4th, and Peter Elzinga, Augie Annicchiarico, and John Williams were the winners.  As usual, everyone had a good time.  Unfortunately, because of COVID 19, this was the last Gyro meeting of the year.  Based on the restrictions issued by the Alberta Government, all other meetings for the year had to be cancelled.

COVOD 19 tossed a real monkey wrench into our Gyro year.  Not only did the club have to cancel the remaining meetings of the year, the District and International Conventions were cancelled.   Of some concern, was the fact that Auction night was cancelled, which is a critical meeting for club finances.  However, Erik Braun worked his magic and advised that the costs saved by not having the seven remaining meetings offset the revenue expected from Auction Night.  As a result, Erik was happy to report the Club is in good financial condition.

Rick Craddock and his election committee carried out election night by phone and email and was happy to report that Peter Elzinga had volunteered to serve as Vice President and Bruce Copeland and Art Merrick had volunteered as the two new Directors.  It was agreed that the Gyro summer events would be turned over to be handled by the new Executive.

While not a participant in their events, it is understood that the Gyrette Club had another great year as well.  They too, had to adjust their program year because of the need to self-isolate.

On health and welfare, it was not such a good year for our Club.  We lost two members, Brian Wolfe and Les Bellan, and several our Gyros and Gyrettes experienced serious health issues.  This brought great sadness to every member of our Club and our deepest condolences to the families of Brian and Les, and our heartfelt best wishes to those who suffered illness.  As has often been said, words cannot begin to express our sadness and hope for all members of our Gyro family.

In closing, my sincere thanks to every member of the Gyro and Gyrette Clubs.  You have been wonderful friends to Kay and me.  And my thanks again to an incredible Board of Directors, who have made the job of being President so easy and so enjoyable.

Allan Bleiken, President

PS – One more bit of good news is that we have a new member, George Huybrechts, who was sponsored by Bill Austin and seconded by Lloyd Wilson – Welcome George.

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Presidents message April 4th

April 4th, 2020

Dear Gyros and Gyrettes

The COVID 19 pandemic has changed our world, and with it the activities of our Gyro Club.  Over the past several weeks, the Board has reviewed the status of the remaining meetings in the current year and has come to the following conclusion:

  1. The remaining Gyro meetings scheduled for this calendar year ending June 30th, have been cancelled.  The assessment by the Board was that it was highly unlikely the restrictions on public meetings of more than 15 people would be lifted and that it is doubtful that there would be any place to hold a meeting.  More importantly, the Board felt is would be unacceptable to put any Gyro or Gyrette member at a risk of contracting COVID 19.
    1. The remaining meetings include: Wills and Estates on April 8th, the Mixed Supper on April 25th, Election Night on May 6th, the Auction on May 20th, Horse Racing on June 5th, and our Wind-up Meeting on June 17th
    2. The summer events including the Pot Luck Picnic, Mystery Golf, and the Outdoor Bocce, will be reviewed by the incoming executive to determine if they can be held as planned.
  2. The cancelled meetings in this year’s program will be reviewed by the incoming Board following June 30th, to determine if they should remain cancelled or deferred to a later date in next years program.
  3. It has been agreed that Rick Craddock will organize an election process for this year to seek two new Directors and a Vice President who will become part of next year’s executive.
  4. In terms of the Club’s financial position, Erik Braun has advised that with the cancellation of the remaining meetings in this year’s program, the meal costs saved would be the general equivalent of the revenues normally raised in the auction.  Therefore, there is no requirement to hold an auction this year.

Several of our members have asked for an update on our program schedule for this year.  Hopefully, this letter will answer your questions, but if you want additional information, please let me or any Board member know.  Please make sure to inform your Gyrette member or your significant other of these changes.

Hopefully, this letter will find everyone to be healthy, happy, and not too constrained by the need for self-isolation.  And, hopefully, we can put this dreadful pandemic behind us and return to our normal and happy lives as friends in Gyro.

Kind regards and best wishes on behalf of the Board,

Allan Bleiken, President

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Message from our President

As previously announced, all Gyro meetings are cancelled until further notice.  The Board has followed up on this matter and the consensus was to review this matter on a monthly basis and make future decisions as required.  Accordingly, the next two meetings, the Wills and Estate Speaker, and the Mixed Supper have been cancelled.  The Board will review future meetings in a timely manner to allow Program On-To Chairs to cancel commitments such as Race Night, if and as required.

Should you as Gyro members wish to offer your comments and input on this manner, please advise, so the Board can take your comments into account as they make future decisions on our Meetings.

Thank you, hope you are having a good day, and are staying healthy.


PS – since I can not dance or sing, I am going to hold an outside music concert on my deck and invite neighbours to sit on their deck to enjoy the music and have a cup of coffee or a drink of wine.  I have a huge 500-watt speaker which can broadcast music over a large area, which might be useful for outdoor Gyro get-togethers in the summer.  It comes with a mike.  If any of you have ideas of how to entertain your friends and neighbours, please pass them on.

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Covid-19 Chat Line

Since all Sherwood Park Gyro Club meetings have been suspended for the duration of the Covid-19 outbreak, I have been asked by Rikke Dootjes to set up a place on the Club website where members can keep in contact with each other.

All that is required to use this Chat Line is to Login to the site on the right hand side of this page with your Username or Email address and your Password. You can then reply or comment on any posts made to this page.

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Darts Night

Some felt it essential to ware protection while playing darts.

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Thanks from Al Bleiken

A few minutes ago, Don Greig left after visiting me following my surgery. He left me with a great get well card and a libation that will see me through difficult times in the future.  This type of friendship is what makes Gyros the great club it is, and the great friends in the club. I want to personally thank Don for taking time to visit and to each of you for being a Gyro friend.

In many ways, Gyro is one of our community’s greatest secret.  Next to family, it gives the best thing in life, friends.  And haveing been a Gyro for the past 20 years, I have great memories of wonderful times and lots of laughter.

I have four new holes in my belly which are healing well.  The doctor said the gall bladder was a mess, so it was good to get it out.  Sorry I can’t join you for cribbage tonight, so I know my money is safe.

Thanks again and have a great evening.


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Crib Night

We had 30 people attend the meeting, 24 played crib. Some better then others!
The winners of the Champions side were, Paul West and Brian Wolfe. 
The winners of the consolation side were, Les Bellan and Ray Davis. Having to put up with a lot of winers the winners were provided a bottle of wine each.
The winner of the 50/50 was Paul West, not sure what he won but believe it was about $80.

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Curling Canmore Nov 1/3

A good time was had by all, Sherwood Park was well represented by three teams. The hotel in Canmore was great and the Saturday supper was super by all accounts. Unfortunately Lloyd had to cancel due to pneumonia so we picked up a recruit from our Senior Curling group at GARC. Dave Rozack joined us and is now quite interested in joining Gyro. We only came away with two trophies this year, with the Bill Austin team defending their rights to the B event trophy (Jim Mallot, Al Govenlock, and Ted Ewanchuk). Ray Davis was able to hang on to the D event trophy for Lloyd with his team of Dave Rozack, Terry Bajer, and Don Greig. Milt Lanes team ( Dick Caddey, Dorne Hunt, and Art Merrick) did not quite make it even though it was them who put the Davis rink down into the D event.
After the Saturday evening meal and before the poker game Terry Bajer was invited to the mike and entertained the group with a few good jokes and was well received, good job Terry.
The poker game was rather small this year only eight players joined in (three from Sherwood Park) Ray came away as the runner up in the winning event walking away with a cool $60.
Of course there was crib games and with out Lloyd there someone had to channel Lloyd, so Ray took on that task losing many games much to the delight of Dorne and Dick. Unfortunately Ray took down the guest with him, sorry Dave.

Cheers Ray

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Caregivers Alberta

 Fellow Gyros:

We had a request to provide the contact information for Dr. Jasneet Parmar who delivered the excellent presentation on Caregivers Alberta at Founders Night.  Her information as follows:

In addition I am providing the link to Caregivers Alberta as follows:



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Founders Night 2019

October 17th, 2019

Members of the Sherwood Park and Edmonton Gyro Clubs

Subject: Founder’s Night, October 16th, 2019

My thanks to each member of the Sherwood Park and Edmonton Gyro Clubs for making Founder’s night such an enjoyable evening.  The success of Founder’s Night would not have been possible if it were not for the exceptional contributions of those involved in organizing the event.  In particular, I would like to thank Ted Ewanchuk for co-chairing the evening and to Ken Lesniak for making the arrangements to hold the meeting at the Belvedere Golf and Country Club.  As well, the outstanding contribution by Milt Lanes and Dunc Mills for their efforts on the registration desk and for dealing with the issue related to the seating arrangements.  As usual, the Gyro members showed their remarkable ability to deal with this matter quickly and effectively.  While we expected 89 members, we had 96 members attend, which filled every seat.

The program began with the witty and entertaining presentation by David Winfield on dining.  This was followed by Keith Bradley’s Founder’s Night presentation, which acknowledged the contributions by Ed Kagy, Gus Handerson, and Paul Schwan for creating 107 years of Gyro friendship and fellowship.  Fred Schulte provided an interesting and informative overview of the history of the Edmonton Club, which was incorporated 98 years ago, just 12 years after the foundation of the Gyro Association. 

Ted Ewanchuk introduced our guest speaker, Dr. Jasneet Parmar, Associate Professor at the University of Alberta, and a Director of Alberta Caregivers.  Dr. Parmar gave an important insight into a growing challenge within society of responding to the issue of caregiving.  As society ages, caregiving will become a serious challenge for everyone.  And, as noted by Dr. Parmar, society is not well prepared to handle this challenge.  As such, not only are those requiring care at risk, so too, are the caregivers.  Dr. Parmar advised that those faced with caregiving responsibilities could seek help and assistance from Albert Caregivers at website, or by contacting her personally at

My apologies to Don Greig and Lloyd Wilson for not calling on them to comment on Cribbage Night and Curlarama, but since the meeting was into its fourth hour, it was decided to conclude the meeting.  Accordingly, I would ask Don and Lloyd to address these issues through email.

In conclusion, my thanks again to those involved in organizing Founder’s Night and to the Gyros who participated so effectively in the program.  My thanks as well to everyone who attended this event.

Yours in Gyro


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