What a stellar meeting held this week!! The agenda was packed with exciting topics, including a new strategic plan for the Club, updates on the international water project, and confirmation of the Blackwood Halloween event. On top of that, three Paul Harris awards were presented to very deserving volunteers and club members. Seeing such outstanding leadership and dedication to the community is always inspiring. 
 Our guest speaker for the evening, DG Paul Roger, reflected on the Paul Harris Award commemorating the founder of Rotary in 1905. He spoke of the new International President, Gordon Mc Nally, a retired Edinburgh, Scotland dentist who has adopted the theme "Create Hope in the World". DG Paul Roger awarded the recipients of the Paul Harris to Club President Ralph Davies for his continued outstanding leadership in the community and within the Club; Helen Moriarty acknowledged the land we were meeting on and thanked Rotary for the award, Helen has been a dedicated Bushcare volunteer for 23 years and Co-ordinator for the Tuesday Tree Liberators for 16years along with an abundance of community initiatives targeted at environmental sustainability, Helen thanked Keren and the Tuesday Tree Liberator Bushcare volunteers. Helen also thanked her husband, Harold Charles, for his support and all the construction projects to support the Bushcare group. Keren, another 25-year veteran and mentor to new volunteers of the Bushcare group and current president for the Brook community garden, thanked Rotary for the award and noted that when you are weeding with another person, you can have conversations about mental health, also reflecting on how the floods have also helped to build resilience in the community. Guest speaker, DG Paul Roger, shared some great insights on the importance of togetherness and the power of working together to create positive change in the world. We also appreciate the emphasis on raising awareness for mental health issues and saying no to domestic violence. It's essential to prioritize these issues and act to make a difference. 
To continue this vision, Paul asked, "How can we create Hope? reflecting that "Together people can create change to lives, in communities and ourselves; Paul spoke of his emphasis this year will be on "Togetherness", with Clubs working together, with each Club able to do more as a combined team and highlighting Rotary as a global charity with 1.4 million members in 44,000 clubs with the motto of "service above self". Alongside our steadfast position of providing assistance to those in need, International President Gordon Mc Nally has asked all Rotarians worldwide to continue to raise awareness of mental health issues to overcome the stigma and encourage people to have conversations on mental health issues; this initiative will be guided by PDG Eric Woods for Paul in D9620. The second focus for the year is "Saying No to Domestic Violence". Identified tee shirts have been developed in partnership with both NSW and QLD police which will be used to raise awareness of this issue, based on a campaign started in Ballina 4 years ago. There will be events, including walks, promoting the campaign in shops and coffee shops. T-Shirts can be purchased from Rotary at $25 each. A cluster approach is recommended.