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The Fenelon Falls Rotary Club Thanks All the Volunteers Who Helped at the COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

August 16, 2022

Rotary Picnic at Maryboro Lodge to Thank Volunteers at the Local COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

As we are enjoying a summer that is a little closer to normal, the Fenelon Falls Rotary Club hosted a barbeque at Maryboro Lodge Museum on July 21 to thank the 230 volunteers who made possible the mass vaccination clinics. Thanks to their tireless efforts, we are able to get back to all of those things that make life a little happier.

As vaccines became available, someone needed to do the job of organizing the mass vaccination clinics. For generations, the Fenelon Falls Rotary Club has undertaken huge projects that touch the lives of everyone in the community: building the beach park, community centre, ball diamond and splash pad, while supporting countless charitable organizations. Each year they host a Christmas Dinner at Fenelon Court, and are starting an Interact Club at Fenelon Falls Secondary School. When the Rotary Club of Cobourg called Helen Robinson and asked if she would be interested in helping to organize the local clinic on very short notice, it should come as no surprise that the club stepped up to help. They built three long pod sections in the community centre on a Friday, allowing the clinic to open on Monday.

For a year Helen Robinson worked every day organizing volunteers and ensuring that everything worked smoothly at the local clinic. Councillors Doug Elmslie and Kathleen Seymour-Fagan suggested other community organizations that might help, and before long the Seniors Club of Fenelon Falls, the Fenelon Falls Curling Club, the Fenelon Falls Lions Club, the Coby Lions, the Bobcaygeon Lions Club and the Kinettes of Bobcaygeon were ready to help. Within a few days, she had all of the volunteers she needed.

There were a lot of people who showed remarkable devotion. Every time that Helen posted the time slots, they filled in just a few hours. “The shifts became the only outing many of us had other than for the basics during those first few months,” Helen recalled. “The community came together during the COVID clinic working to make our community a healthier place for all. It was definitely a team effort all round with everyone focused on the same goal.  It was wonderful to experience being a part of this team and working towards such an important goal. The volunteers were thanked by the clients during every shift and came away knowing they had made a huge difference.”

As the months wore on there were a lot of changes to the policies and procedures that needed to be followed, but every time there was a new challenge, the volunteers rose to the occasion. “Fenelon Falls is a community that always comes together when a need is identified,” Helen remarked. “As a small community, we are fortunate to have community-minded people who are eager to give their time and energy to good causes.”

While many of us went to the vaccination clinics and without realizing all the volunteer work that went into organizing them, the Rotary Club recognized the magnitude of the contributions. On July 21, Helen Robinson received a Paul Harris Fellowship, the highest honour that a Rotarian can receive. Long-time volunteer Wayne Hutchinson explains, “Helen does fantastic work, she never complains, and is always one of the first to step up and help. She is really good at knowing who to talk to, and a wonderful person to work with.”

We all owe a great debt of gratitude to everyone who volunteered to ensure that the COVID-19 clinics not only worked smoothly, but showed such care and consideration for everyone they helped. Thank you one and all!

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