Approximately 100 Rotarian and Rotarian sponsors attended the annual President's Night Dinner at Casa Dea Winery celebrating President Len Kennedy's year as our club President.
President Len welcome those who attended the dinner, and thanked the LVB Strings for providing the musical entertainment prior to dinner.  Casa Dea Winery provided an excellent setting for President's Night and provided a great meal to accompany our night of celebration of President Len's year at the helm of the club and Rotary fellowship.  John Chisholm lead the group in the singing of O Canada followed by Dr. Hal Wilson's leading the guests in our Community Celebration of Thanks.
MC Bernie Ouellet welcomed our special guests, Len's family which included mother Marie, brother Gerard, nephew Shawn, and other members of the Kennedy clan.    While dinner was served an ongoing slide show presented visual highlights of President Len's year which included Rotary projects in the community such as Camp Merrywood, RLK, Habitat for Humanity home build, preparing meal packets as well as our speakers for the year.
After dinner, Dave Allen lead the group in a game of musical trivia which focused on Len Kennedy with the first part of the game pitting table against table on naming the tv show associated with the theme music of 60s, 70s and 80s tv shows.  The second component of the game was to complete the lyrics of songs that detailed Len's life from his first dance to Len's presentation of his obvious dancing skills (?) to "I Am Too Sexy".  Seeing Len bust a move is a visual I am sure many Rotarians will soon not forget.
Bernie thanked the staff of Casa Dea for the use of their facility and the meal and environment they had provided for this year's President Night's Dinner.
Bernie provided a history of Len's life and passions, which includes a Masters in Social Work from Laurier University in Waterloo to an over 41+ year work career in public service and community service.  Len moved to Belleville in 2000 to lead the CAS of Hastings County a position he held to the amalgamation of the Prince Edward and Northumberland CASs into the HIghland Shores CAS in 2012.  Bernie provided a joke about the Toronto  Maple Leafs which drew a mixed response from the crowd depending on your NHL hockey affiliations.
Len then went onto lead Habitat for Humanity from 2013 till the spring of 2015 when he announced his retirement to pursue other interests including his passion for mountain climbing, which has included Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2007 and base camp Everest and some well deserved time off at the Kennedy compound and his own cottage.  Len joined Rotary in 2001 and became a board member in 2008 and is a Paul Harris fellow x9 and has been involved in many committees and events within Rotary and has attended 5 international RI conventions.
Incoming Rotary Club of Belleville President Kelly McKinney then provided a translated version of the real Len Kennedy.  He sought out the dirt on President Len, and when such dirt was not available, concluded that Len was hiding something, so he approached friends of Len's who also confided there was nothing to hide, which Kelly concluded meant they were also hiding something.  Kelly provided greater detail around Len's involvement with the Poker Stars  which included his playing strip poker with their all male group.  The 9X Paul Harris winner reflecting his guilty conscience from hiding the true Len, a fact further cemented by his decision to walk in Spain this summer.  Kelly also provided details on Len's passion for mountain climbing a result of a medical condition that Kelly uncovered through his research of the mountain climbing group that Len belongs to deal with a rather significant ongoing arising of a certain body part.  Kelly then disclosed that despite his organizational skills  Len was in fact a hoarder and would be spending his first time in retirement building a 4th shed on his property to accumulate more crap.  PE Kelly thanked Len for his leadership and challenged him to come clean about the true person he is.
President Len spoke to his year in Rotary and thanked Bernie for his introduction.  Thanked his family for attending and called a year as Rotary President a call to service.  It has been his honour to lead the club and now a 130 member club with 5 new members in 2014/15.  He was proud of our support of the Rotary Foundation as a club totalling $14,000 and $1, 500 to Polio eradication.  Len paid special recognition to our extended Rotary family which included spouses, partners, children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters who allow us to do the work we do in our community and the world. Some of the highlights for Len included $8,000 raised via the Waterfront Beverage Service and $115,000 raised through RLK which started the year off with a bang.  Len acknowledged our new arts program Porch Fest which PP Sam Brady had started, the new partnership with Habitat for Humanity which included 2 Rotary build days with Trenton and Quinte Sunrise clubs.  The new inter club Spelling Bee which culminated in the regional spell off at Loyalist in May was another new program that saw its fruition during Len's year as president.
Len advised that tomorrow was his last day of work after 41.5 years of active employment and thanked Rotarian Bob Clute who had brought him the ED opportunity at Habitat for Humanity and would be replacing him as ED with his retirement.  Len was looking forward to enjoying the Red Roof cottage for the entire summer, something he has never been able to do since purchasing the place and then his trip to Spain in late August for the walk.
Len closed his presentation and received a standing ovation from the crowd in recognition of his year as President of our club.
PP Sam Brady then introduced incoming President Kelly McKinney, highlighting his passion for travel and the challenges with finding him even when they work in the same building.  Kelly returned to Belleville 10 years ago and became a broker at McDougall Insurance ultimately buying out Ken Wheeler's interest in the business.  One of 7 children, he is one of the boys in the McKinney family who received a gender neutral name.  Kelly is the proud father of 4 children after tricking his high school sweetheart Debbie into marrying him.   Kelly while serving as Rotary Club of Belleville president will also be president of Belleville Sales and Ad, which means in Sam's view he will do a half hearted job for both organizations.  Sam completed his introduction of Kelly by relating a story about a 13 year old Kelly kicking sand into 6/12 year old Sam's face at the Old East Hill park.
PE Kelly thanked Len for sharing his night with him and spoke to the pride he has felt as he has been undertaking his President's training relating to the strength of our Rotary club in comparison to many other clubs in terms of both members, resources and the engagement levels of our members.  He spoke to the new RI President and his passion for Rotary and how one of his only disappointments of the RI convention was not hearing him speak even more.  Kelly is very excited about his opportunity and reminded the members that the 2015/16 Rotary motto is Be a Gift to the World.
President Len provided Kelly the Ceremonial President's Pin and Kelly promptly and smartly gave to Debbie for safekeeping.  The official passing of the President's Pin to occur on Monday.
Bernie thanked everyone for attending and called the President's Night Dinner to an end.