Posted by Dave Schulz on Jun 11, 2024
This annual gathering was held this year at the Town of Pelham’s Meridian Community Centre on June 5th. The Paul Harris Fellow Award is one of the highest honours Rotary can bestow upon an individual. Recipients are Rotarians and community professionals and volunteers, in recognition of their outstanding contributions, exemplifying the highest ideal in Rotary, which is “Service above Self.”
This year the club was pleased to honour two club members, two community members and one retiring Charter member.  Congratulations to all recipients and a special thank you to all who attended this memorable celebration.


Gail Levay – Charter Member - retiring

In recognition of her long standing contributions to the Fonthill club, Gail was awarded a lifetime honourary membership, as well as her second Paul Harris Fellowship.  Club President Carolyn Mullin gave an extensive account of Gails history with the club.  A detailed article published by fellow retired Charter member Cathy Berkhout-Bosse is posted on .
Mike Chechalk – 4-H Niagara,  Vice President of Niagara Federation of Agriculture

As a pillar in the agricultural community in Niagara for decades, has always stepped up to assist wherever he can. His love of the industry, his generous support of community organizations such as Rotary and his passion for helping develop young leaders is an example for all and unmatched in our community.  Mike was instrumental in the organizing of Rotary’s Niagara Family Farmfest in 2023.
Len Stolk – Stolk Construction
Len is the President of Stolk Construction, a Living Wage employer.
Len was a member of the  Police Auxiliary for 10 years.  He is a long time hockey coach in Wainfleet and Pelham. An avid cyclist, Len participated in the  Tour du Lac ride three times to help raise $250,000 for Wellspring.  Len is a vocal supporter of Port Cares.  Len donated Human Resources/Labour to build basketball court for Youth Resources Niagara.
Len is a past board member of the United Way and established an employee donation match program at Stolk Construction. Other boards that Len has participated on include the Niagara Industrial Association and Welland Pelham Chamber of Commerce. 
Len is an active member of the Rotary Club of Welland.

John Ruscitti – Educator and Rowing Coach – E.L. Crossley Secondary School

Born and raised in Niagara, John Ruscitti has been a teacher, mentor and rowing coach at E.L. Crossley Secondary School in Fonthill for over 30 years.  In that time, he has built the rowing team at the school into the best in Canada while also coaching at the local club, Provincial and National levels.  John consistently displays a commitment to ensuring his students and rowers experience success.  John’s impact on youth through his teaching and his coaching is hard to measure but it can be said that for many – their life took a completely different direction than it may have had they not been coached by such a dedicated individual.

Janet Cripps – Educator - E.L. Crossley Secondary School Guidance Department

Janet is an EL Crossley graduate and continues to be an integral member of the school alumni community. She graduated from Brock Goodman School of Business and then followed up with an education degree.  
As a teacher, Ms Cripps is a caring adult role model for Crossley kids. She is always quietly looking out for students. If anyone is in need, she goes about collecting gift or grocery cards and discreetly gets these in the hands of the student. 
 The extracurricular activities that Janet is involved with include the Ski Club, a student leadership program called Link Crew. In addition to her work, students and family, Janet finds time to step into leadership roles for school events such as Crossley’s  50th and 60th reunions and their Tech Trade show along with Rotary events such as Family Farm Fest, our annual online auction, and purse bingo.
Janet is an active member of the Rotary Club of Fonthill.