Joan Donaldson

Rotary Club brings in guest speaker on human trafficking



By Ron Giofu


Human trafficking is around us and information about the subject was shared at the most recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Amherstburg.

The Rotary Club’s meeting at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 saw guest speaker Amanda Pierce educate both Rotarians and those from the general public that attended on the subject of human trafficking. Pierce is the project co-ordinator with Legal Assistance Windsor’s (LAW) “WEFiGHT” initiative.

“This is an international problem,” Pierce explained. “This is happening in our communities.”

Pierce went over the various types of human trafficking during her often blunt presentation. She described what goes on during forced labour types of trafficking. That includes luring people from other countries with the promise of a decent job and living wage, only to find out they are forced to work under adverse conditions and often threatened in different ways such as deportation and with violence. Many of the victims of this form of human trafficking are men, she noted.

Another form of human trafficking is via sex trafficking, where individuals are lured through false promises then forced into sex work. Many victims are often poorly fed and that they come from other countries as well as Canada. People are often in vulnerable situations and could be found in shelters, group homes, schools and on the internet, but Pierce cautioned it could also happen in any neighbourhood should a victim be seeking a desire to belong.

“This can absolutely happen to anyone in our communities,” she said.

Amanda Pierce from LAW’s “WEFiGHT” human
trafficking program speaks to Rotarians from Amherstburg and Harrow March 13 at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157.

While women are often the victims, Pierce added that men can also be victimized though men don’t often feel safe enough to report it.

“I want to be clear – this knows no gender,” she said.

Forced marriage was also outlined as a form of human trafficking with mainly women and girls being forced into marriage. Victims may be abused physically, sexually and financially and could be treated as slaves in their homes. If they are from out of the country, they may not have control over their immigration documents and identification.

Pierce noted the there were 219 cases of forced marriage in Ontario from 2010-12.

Another form of human trafficking is through theft and petty crimes, where people are forced to move guns, drugs and forced to do acts of fraud and other crimes. Victims are often made to feel as if they have no choice and could have immigration or addiction issues.

“WEFiGHT” is developing plans to meet victims’ needs and provides food and shelter to those victimized. Human trafficking charges can be tough to get a conviction on, she noted, as those arrested in such cases are often convicted of lesser charges.

The key to combat human trafficking is education, Pierce noted, and that she will speak to as many groups as possible to spread the word. Their initiative sees four to six new clients per month with their current caseload being about 80 people.

“That’s the tip of the iceberg,” she said.

Rotarian John Sutton (left) shakes the hand of guest speaker Amanda Pierce after Pierce’s talk on human trafficking March 13.

“WeFiGHT” does get threats occasionally, she noted, but “we handle them on a case-by-case basis.” Pierce added the biggest need they see right now is housing. She also called for a consistent strategy to help deal with the issue.

“We know it is out there. We know it is happening. We don’t have a consistent way of dealing with it,” said Pierce.

Rotary Club president Joan Donaldson said she learned about human trafficking and wanted to share the message with the Rotary Club and the public.

“I didn’t realize it was such a global issue,” said Donaldson. “It’s not a subject we want to talk about, it’s a subject we should be talking about.”

For more information on “WEFiGHT,” visit or call 519-256-7831.

Rotary Club donates $10,000 to ACS thanks to charity game proceeds



By Ron Giofu


The Rotary Club of Amherstburg teamed with the Montreal Canadiens Alumni last month and now the final results are in.

The Rotary Club donated a cheque in the amount of $10,000 to Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) as part of its meeting at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 last Wednesday night. The bulk of the proceeds came from the Dec. 1 charity hockey game with the Montreal alumni though the Rotary topped up the final amount to $10,000 with funds from their Ribfest account.

“I really enjoyed this event,” said event co-chair Susanne Bergeron. “The club came together in a short period of time.”

Bergeron said while the community enjoyed the sold-out event, they didn’t see the “bumps in the road” along the way. She also thanked Amherstburg Admirals co-owner Wes Ewer and the town’s manager of recreation programming Rick Daly for their help in assisting the club in organizing the game.

The Rotary Club of Amherstburg presented a $10,000 cheque to Amherstburg Community Services last Wednesday night. Most of the proceeds came from the Dec. 1 charity hockey game at the Libro Centre.

“We know the funds are going to be appreciated,” said Bergeron, noting that ACS has programs and services for both children and adults.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said the non-profit agency was very grateful for the donation.

“I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for being so selfless, so generous and so caring,” said DiBartolomeo. “I’m honoured to accept this donation on behalf of Amherstburg Community Services and humbled that the Amherstburg Rotary Club chose to support our small, local charity this way.”

DiBartolomeo said that the money will be utilized to help people in the community who need it most.

“This donation gives us the opportunity to take a serious look into ways we can be more efficient in providing the services people rely on and to consider new ways of helping Amherstburg residents overcome the unique challenges they may face.”

DiBartolomeo added they look forward to “continuing to work with the Rotary Club of Amherstburg to further the missions of both of our organizations.”

Montreal Canadiens Alumni thrill fans at charity hockey game



By Ron Giofu


Usually when the home team loses a hockey game 18-7, there aren’t as many smiles in the arena.

Last Saturday night was an exception.

The Montreal Canadiens Alumni came to the Libro Centre and played against the Amherstburg Rotary team, the latter made up of area residents, business owners, town employees and first responders. The charity hockey game was organized by the Rotary Club of Amherstburg and was a fundraiser for Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

The Amherstburg Rotary hockey team poses for a group photo with the Montreal Canadiens Alumni team following their Dec. 1 game at the Libro Centre. The Rotary Club of Amherstburg presented the game as a fundraiser for Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

“It was an amazing night,” said Rotary Club president Joan Donaldson. “It was exciting. It was fun. I think everyone had a good time.”

Susanne Bergeron, another Rotarian who helped organize the event, estimated they had at least 20 volunteers helping out Saturday night.

“It was a big success,” added Donaldson. “It exceeded our expectations.”

Close to 700 tickets were sold, she added. The monetary amount being donated to ACS was not known as of press time.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo was happy with how things turned out.

“I think it’s very exciting,” she said. “I think it’s great for the town and the Rotary Club. It’s great for the town to support such a great event.”

The proceeds will go into ACS’ programming, she indicated.

“We will continue to expand and develop new programs,” said DiBartolomeo. “We’re very grateful that Rotary chose us as their designated charity.”

Montreal’s Guillaume Latendresse tucks the puck behind Amherstburg Rotary goalie Justin Rousseau.

Chris Nilan, one of the Montreal Canadiens Alumni that played in the game, said it is enjoyable to travel the country and raise money for charities.

“It’s a lot of fun to get together,” said Nilan. “We are all part of the Canadiens family.”

Nilan stated it’s nice to be able to get to smaller communities as a lot of fans may not get a chance to meet pro hockey players unless they travel to an NHL city. He said he had been to Windsor before but this was the first time he had been in the Amherstburg area, though noted he didn’t have a chance to see much of the town. He joked that “it’s another nice hockey rink” and that they saw a lot of farmland travelling from Windsor to Amherstburg.

Yvon Lambert, a Habs’ legend from the 1970’s and coach of the Alumni team, liked what he saw Saturday night.

Police chief Tim Berthiaume drops the puck for the ceremonial faceoff between Councillor Peter Courtney and Habs legend Chris Nilan.

“It’s always well organized. It’s a good cause,” said Lambert.

The Alumni tour gives the retired NHL stars a chance to get together, have a good weekend and have a few laughs all the while helping local charities, he added. Lambert said the Alumni has about 30 players or so on the roster with about 10-11 of them travelling at one time to cities and towns to play. It was his first time to Amherstburg as well, and he stated he was impressed with the Libro Centre and the community as a whole.

For more photos from the Dec. 1 charity hockey game, visit our Facebook photo album.


Rotary Club bringing Montreal Canadiens alumni to town for charity game



By Ron Giofu


A charity hockey game will be coming to the Libro Centre Dec. 1 with some NHL heroes pitted against some local heroes.

The Rotary Club of Amherstburg has announced that Amherstburg will be a stop on the Montreal Canadiens alumni tour with the Habs alumni going head-to-head with local heroes and business owners. Rotary Club of Amherstburg president Joan Donaldson said they are trying to line up local firefighters, police officers and business owners to play against the Montreal alumni.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Montreal Canadiens Alumni to bring this unique event to Amherstburg,” said Donaldson. “It’s going to be an exciting event at the Libro Credit Union Centre Dec. 1, with local players from our police force, fire department, and businesses.”

Donaldson said the Rotary Club was approached about taking on the event and decided to do so.

“The (Montreal Canadiens) alumni does charity events all over the country,” Donaldson explained.

All funds raised will continue to support the work of the Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

“We looked at the organization and what they do for the community,” said Donaldson.

As for which former Montreal players are coming, that won’t be known until later in the month, but Donaldson assured “these are high calibre players that are coming.”

Donaldson said “this will be a big event for us” with the Rotary Club possibly entertaining more such events, depending on how the Dec. 1 game turns out. She said manager of recreation services Rick Daly has been very supportive, as has Brian Da Silva from the Montreal Canadiens Alumni.

The Montreal Canadiens Alumni will be at the Libro Centre playing against local Amherstburg heroes Dec. 1. The game is presented by the Amherstburg Rotary Club with proceeds going to Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

“The Montreal Canadiens Alumni team is composed of some of the Habs’ most loved players over the years,” stated Da Silva.

The game will take place at the Libro Credit Union Centre and tickets will go on sale Oct. 9 for $20 each. There is a family pack (four tickets) available for $70 and $75 VIP tickets also available.

The VIP tickets also include a pre-game reception and “meet and greet” with the Montreal Canadiens Alumni team. Donaldson said there will be a limit of two items that can be signed for VIP ticket holders.

Tickets are available at and in person at the Libro Credit Union Centre, though Donaldson stated advance tickets may not be available at the Libro Centre until roughly one week before the event. Tickets will be available at the door, unless the game is a sell-out beforehand.

In addition, super fans can purchase a chance to share the ice with the Montreal Canadiens Alumni with spots as referees, linesmen and assistant coach with the Habs.

“This event brings together all that is truly Canadian about hockey and promises to delight fans of all ages,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo in a press release. “We are honoured to welcome the Montreal Canadiens Alumni team to our premier facility, and we extend a special thank you to the Rotary Club of Amherstburg for their tireless fundraising efforts within our community.”

Donaldson said the Rotary Club of Amherstburg is very excited to be hosting the event and that she is pleased with how engaged club members are in presenting the game.

“We are ongoing in looking for people who want to contribute to our program or be a sponsor,” she added. “The more we make, the more we can give to (ACS).”

For additional information please contact Joan Donaldson 519-817-5728, or Susanne Bergeron at
Rotary brings together a global network of community leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. The Rotary Club of Amherstburg can be found on Facebook at, on Twitter at or the public can visit the club’s website at
The Montreal Canadiens Alumni team plays 50 to 60 games a year and last year raised over $1 million for different charitable organizations.


Rotary Club of Amherstburg welcomes new president



By Ron Giofu


There is a new person at the helm of the Rotary Club of Amherstburg.

Joan Donaldson was sworn in as the local Rotary Club’s president at its meeting last Wednesday night at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157. She takes over from Dan Hunt, who was the president for the last six months.

Donaldson will be president for the 2018-19 term. She unveiled a banner reading “Be The Inspiration,” the 2018-19 theme from Rotary International president Barry Rassin, and encouraged her fellow Rotarians to inspire others.

Joan Donaldson receives her president’s pin from past president Dan Hunt.

“We could inspire people to who wish to serve but don’t know how,” she said, adding one way to do that is to simply ask people.

Donaldson said youth can be inspired to serve and by doing that, they can grow up to protect citizens in need and people who are vulnerable.

There is a need to get more people to join the Amherstburg club as well, Donaldson added, as she has a goal of having over 20 people in the Rotary Club by the end of 2019. There are 14 members currently in the Rotary Club of Amherstburg.

“We know that more hands will make the work lighter,” she said.

Donaldson thanked Hunt for stepping into the role of president in January “when we had a need” and both Donaldson and Hunt mentioned the accomplishments the club has had in recent months including hearing from the students that went to the Rotary’s RYLA conference, the Martin Breshamer Memorial Pasta Dinner that raised over $2,500, a $500 donation towards polio eradication in Pakistan, the club’s involvement in the recent bike rodeo and the new five members that have joined in recent months.

Rotary Club of Amherstburg president Joan Donaldson (right) with husband Scott.

The new members include Jean Hunt, John Sutton, Susanne Bergeron, Ann Marie Favot and Corey Rainhard.

The party celebrating Hazen Price’s seven decades in Rotary and 95th birthday was also cited by both Hunt and Donaldson.

“I think one of the highlights of the whole six months was Hazen’s birthday and the time he has spent in Rotary,” Hunt said of his presidency.

Rotary members have also logged more than 1,500 volunteer hours over the past year, Donaldson noted.

Donaldson also thanked fellow Rotarian and former president Laura George for her efforts as George was credited for trying new ideas and also for her efforts as part of the Ribfest committee.

The Ribfest, which is this Friday through Sunday at Centennial Park, is run by a committee and those committee members were also thanked. Carl Gibb, who is also a Rotarian and Ribfest committee member, was thanked for his ongoing service as club treasurer while Susanne Bergeron was welcomed as secretary.

Hunt expressed confidence that Donaldson will do a good job, calling her “a driving force” in the Rotary Club.

“I think the club is going to go far with Joan,” he said, using a sailing metaphor to describe the direction he thinks the club will take.

Rotary Club past president Dan Hunt (right) with wife and fellow Rotarian Jean Hunt.

“With more members, the better we’ll sail,” said Hunt.

Hunt also said that Bergeron will serve the Rotary Club well as secretary.

“I know she’ll do a great job,” he said.

For more information on the Rotary Club of Amherstburg, visit, “Like” their page on Facebook by searching “Rotary Club of Amherstburg” or follow them on Twitter by searching that name or their Twitter handle @RAmherstburg.

The Rotary Club of Amherstburg welcomed Joan Donaldson as its new president June 27.