Retired Canadian Parliamentarian visits San Jacinto Rotary

Local fundraisers for technology grants, student discount cards and food drives are underway

Photo by Debbie Vena/The Valley Chronicle
Welcoming visitors from Medicine Hat, Alberta Canada, to San Jacinto Rotary. LaVar Payne, retired from Canadian Parliament, on the right.

■ By Debbie Vena / Reporter

Rotarian snowbirds from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada visited the San Jacinto Rotary group recently, bringing a special guest retired from Canadian Parliament as a speaker to the noon club meeting. LaVar Payne took the time to explain the way Canadian government works, which is very different than our American system.
Many questions were asked about how the Canadian health care system was different and one of the biggest differences was in the length of time between scheduling an appointment and getting in to see the doctor. In Canada, it might take you four months to get a CT scan on something important, while in America, you can get one within hours if needed, was just one comparison to how the American system is a bit better, even less expensive perhaps.

Photo by Debbie Vena/The Valley Chronicle
Crowds at the San Drags opener Jan. 27-29.

With tears in his eyes, Payne spoke “about one of the highlights of his political career” dealing with immigration. He said that many immigrants board planes to Canada and then destroy the documents that allowed them to board the plane in the first place, but in particular he intervened for a young Pakistani child who needed medical care for her heart and was adopted by a Canadian family. She is now a permanent Canadian resident and family member, and in a gentle tone Payne shared that it was an honor to serve as a guide through a bureaucracy with tangled international immigration laws that sometimes forgets the individuals, and focus on the higher purpose of government, serving the people.
Rotary is an international organization that often works with other clubs to serve worthwhile goals. Recently, the San Jacinto Club was discussing a Tech Grant that will serve the students in the San Jacinto School District. The fundraising done locally will be matched by funds from a global grant and members of the Hemet Sunset club helped present the details.
Fundraising locally can help students in our valley as well as your own pocketbook through the purchase of discount restaurant cards, which can be ordered for $10. These cards have peel-off discount stickers and multi-use discounts to such Hemet and San Jacinto businesses as AMF Hemet Lanes, Big Daddy’s Cheesesteak, Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, Kids Play World, Juan’s Rotisserie, Stadium Pizza, Steve’s Burgers, The Wheelhouse, Tokyo Sushi & Asian Food, Waba Grill, Rosa Juice Bar, Los Portales Taco Shop and many area chain fast food restaurants. To order discount cards, contact John Norman, club treasurer at (951) 212-8940.

Photo by Mary Ann Morris/The Valley Chronicle
San Jacinto Rotary is selling discount cards to various Hemet and San Jacinto restaurants for $10.

Currently there is another club drive on the way, this time to benefit the local Community Pantry. Inside Emilio’s restaurant in the lobby is a barrel to collect food donations, which will be collected by Jim Lineberger. Canned food items, peanut butter, soup and other non-perishables are greatly appreciated. Speaking with club members and Lineberger from the Pantry, there is also a need for a multi-volunteer effort to coordinate for a larger fund drive.
If you would like to participate for the day or can get your church or organization involved, please contact Jim Roeder at (951) 306-0970 or Jim Lineberger of the Community Pantry at (951) 929-1101.

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