Past President and current Program Chair Tracy Bray introduced her definitely Irish friend Tom Moran for a little fun on St. Patrick's Day.  Tracy met Tom through coaching soccer, he is now the head coach for the Belleville Soccer Club.
Tom came to Canada from Ireland in 1989.  The plan was to settle in and earn a decent living and have a brighter future than what was available to him at the time back home.  Tom was a skilled tradesman at a time when technological skills were sought after, making his prospects not that golden.  His mother bid him a tearful farewell, hoping that he would not land on a stool in a pub like so many of the lads he used to hang out with.  After two weeks in Canada, Tom was employed in the automotive industry as a jolly Irish car painter.  Worked initially for Brad and Grant Devolin and then at McCurdy's in Stirling.  Tom considered it an honour to be asked to speak to the Rotary Club and so he went on to tell us a little bit about St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland.  St. Patrick was originally from Britain, a son of a wealthy man who was a deacon and leader in his village.  It is said that a group of pirates kidnapped St. Patrick when he was 16, sold him to a farmer where he spent six years as a slave.  During captivity, he strengthened his relationship with God through prayer, eventually leading him to convert to Christianity.  He eventually escaped, went into the priesthood and eventually brought Christianity to the people in Ireland.  St. Patrick converted many Irishmen and would give sermons on Croagh Patrick, eventually becoming the first bishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland.  The feast of St. Patrick takes place during the holy time of lent and it is the only day during that time, that the Irish can break their vows of abstinence, so they always made sure they had a good time.  Somewhat sadly, St. Patrick's day has changed over time from a solemn religious celebration to a $5.2 billion dollar industry involving clothing, accessories, decorations, travel, hotels and alcohol consumption over the five days around March 17th.  Tom said to us -- may your wishes come true and your truth be wise!
And a few Irish jokes to round out the lunch hour.  The quickest way to Cork -- Billy stops Paddy in Dublin and asks for the quickest way to Cork.  Paddy says "are you on foot or in the car?".  Billy replies "in the car".  Well that's the quickest way says Paddy.  Digging a hole - two Irishmen were working in the public works department.  One would dig a hole and ther other would follow behind him and fill the hole in.  After a while, one amazed onlooker said "why to you dig a hole, only to have your partner follow behind and fill it up again?"  The hole digger wiped his brow and sighed "well, I suppose it probably looks odd because we're normally a three person team, but today the lad who plants the trees called in sick".  Rotarian Steve Cook thanked Tom for entertaining us on St. Patrick's Day.