From the Desk of the International President…

November 24, 2020

This is a time for giving thanks!

With restrictions on gatherings, Canadians found safe ways to celebrate Thanksgiving a few weeks ago and this week it is America’s time to give thanks! Happy Thanksgiving to all Gyros and their families.

We have many things that we can be thankful for at a personal level – heightened by an appreciation for the simpler things in life given the restrictions on our busy activities prior to the pandemic. With the recent Remembrance Day and Veterans Day services we are reminded of those who fought for our freedom in major wars and we are thankful our countries in North America are not in such a conflict now. The poem “In Flanders Fields”, written by a Canadian field surgeon during the war in Belgium in 1915 inspired Moina Michael of Athens Georgia to create a poppy that the American Legion adopted in 1920 as a symbol of remembrance and thanks.

In the Gyro realm, I want to recognize and thank the following:

1. New Members:  In the past seven months we have welcomed 43 new members to clubs across the organization. I want to thank the clubs for their recruitment, the sponsors for encouraging their friends to join, and of course the new members for joining.

2. District Executives:  In September and October six of our nine Districts changed their executive. I want to thank those who moved from Governor to Past District Governor for their service; those that moved from Lt. Governor to Governor; and those who stepped forward for election to become Lt. Governor. I am looking forward to working with the new executives on the Gyro International Board of Governors and engaging clubs more actively. To facilitate Board effectiveness, Orientation Sessions were held on Nov. 17th and 24th.

3. Clubs:  I want to also thank the clubs that are continuing to engage their members by any means of communication available. It is this time when members need contact, and it is an opportunity to explore the use of different technologies.

4. Volunteers:  Persons at all levels of this organization are contributing time and talents for the benefit of all of us – Thank You! By example, the gyro.org website now has a Club Resources site, an Our Clubs site for a non-member to find a club, and clubs are receiving generic websites where they did not have one before (see District IX under “Our Clubs”). Those of you that see any other need – please step forward with an idea or a proposal to your club, to the District or to me. If you just want to enlighten us, please contribute to the next Gyroscope by December 15 at editor@gyro.org.  We all can use news about how others are enjoying life or finding ways to enjoy Gyro fellowship.

In closing I want to thank you for being a Gyro and please stay safe.

Alan Pentney

PS.  I encourage you to contact me with anything for the good of Gyro. my email address is: 

Prior Newsletters...

October 15, 2020

Dear Gyro Friend:

The Gyro Board of Governors is contacting you as a result of the recent reported increases in cases of COVID-19 throughout North America. This is a serious threat to many of our members given age and health conditions. We are pleased that reports of Gyro members being affected have been few and want to commend you for taking precautions these past seven months. For those whose families or friends have been affected by the virus we want to express sympathy for those who have passed. We also extend wishes for a speedy recovery for anyone testing positive and being treated for the virus.

We recognize the difficulty in maintaining friendships due to the risks of in-person meetings and support your decision to not participate in club activities if you or your loved ones have compromised immune systems. Those of us not compromised must take every precaution possible to protect those around us as well ourselves. We are pleased to hear that Club and District executives are advocating strong safety measures when hosting in-person events or have postponed events. We are also impressed by the number of gatherings and events being conducted by electronic means.

We encourage you to contact your fellow club members and personal friends frequently by phone or electronic means to keep the lines of communication open and to provide support during these trying times. It is also a good time to plan for activities over the next two years once the pandemic is under control (club celebrations, district conventions, special events, executive changes, update bylaws and procedural manuals, update websites). You can also use the time available to review the new Gyro website updates, the latest Gyroscope publication and connect with more Gyros through Facebook to share life experiences.

We care about you and are confident that Gyro will come out of this stronger than ever as people realize how important family and personal relationships are for our mutual well-being. Thank you for being a Gyro member and we look forward to enjoying your company when we get through this; in the meantime, continue to Stay Safe!

Yours in Gyro Friendship

Gyro Board of Governors:

Alan Pentney, President

Blanton Bessinger, 1st Vice-President

Peter Carter, 2nd Vice-President

Ted Shewchuk, Past President

Mike McNally, Secretary Treasurer

Timothy Wright Sr., Governor District 1

Dan Blohm, Governor District 2

Dan Bliss, Governor District 3

Matthew Williams, Governor District 4

Ross McIntosh, Governor District 6

Derek Hay, Governor District 7

Derm Jackman, Governor District 8

Mike Eisner, Governor District 9

Steve Anderson, Governor District 10

August 28, 2020

The intent of the President’s Newsletter is to keep members informed of what is happening beyond their club at the international governance level.  The Board of Governors took an eight week break so there is no new decisions to report.  However, it is inspiring to hear about the resilience displayed by Clubs and Districts as they meet the challenge of staying safe while socializing in a variety of ways.  This says a lot about why we belong to this long standing organization. I will have more to say about being “Resilient” in my message in the September edition of the Gyroscope.

Various Districts are making plans for the Fall and the International Officers have done the same this week which I will summarize here:

1. District 4 – Convention

District IV had 3 milestones occurring this year: the Victoria Club 100 anniversary combined with an International Convention; and the Vancouver BC Club was going to host the District Convention on its 100 anniversary. All were cancelled but I am very impressed with the innovation of the Executive as they planned their Virtual Convention. 

The Convention program includes an Annual General Meeting on September 12 followed by a party and installation of officers the following week on September 19.  Their plan is to have a number of virtual hospitality rooms with a rotation of persons after 20 minutes. This is brilliant – since that is usually the amount of time it takes for me to be asked to leave most hospitality rooms.  Some are asked before me and you know who you are.  The installation will be formal with a new Governor and Lt. Governor to be sworn in.  There will be a report in the Gyroscope so stay tuned.

2. District 7 Convention
I was really looking forward to the DVII convention this fall in Thunder Bay Ontario where I started my first job out of college. The Nor-West Club was to celebrate 50 years.  In lieu of face-to face, Governor John Barber is arranging a Virtual Annual General Meeting and Installation in the evening on October 1.  John Stephenson, Nor-West President, is Host and Lord Derek Hay of Winnipeg will be incoming Governor.

3. District 1 Convention
The planned District I convention in Akron Ohio is now going to be a smaller event in nearby Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, on October 3. But given that there are no club members that need to cross an international border, this Convention will be in person.  Bonnie and Blanton Bessinger, International 1st Vice-President, will be doing their best to attend from St. Paul MN.

4. District 3 Event
This event is so secret I’m not sure the organizers know what is going on. It is going to occur in October, maybe, and could involve incoming Governor Dan Bliss’s tasty concoction.  I’m going to be in Toronto around that time so I hope to get an invite.

5. Bryan Flanigan Recognition
I am very sad that I had to miss Past 2nd Vice-President Bryan Flanigan’s dedication ceremony held at the International Headquarters by the Painesville Club on July 31. Thank you Governor John Hollendonner, Lt. Governor Tim Wright Sr., Chris Snider, PIP and others for organizing this recognition of his Gyro service. The Gyroscope will have more information

6. Centennial Clubs
As we all know, the organization started in 1912 so having a club achieve a 100th anniversary is to be expected. Surprisingly to me, only two active clubs have achieved the 100 year milestone to date. These are Buffalo in 2016 and Toronto in 2019 (still waiting for that celebration). This year congratulations are extended to Syracuse NY and Vancouver BC on their respective centennials.  Then in 2021 seven clubs will join them including the Convention Host Winnipeg.  Another eleven follow in 2022-24.  This shows the surge of gyro growth a hundred years ago across the continent – remarkable.  I am planning on contacting centennial club executives to determine an appropriate Gyro International recognition to commemorate their achievement.

7. District Executive Orientation Seminar
As you can tell by this letter there is a changing of the guard occurring in most Districts this fall. In the past, training seminars were held at the International Convention to target Club executives and some new District executives – although everyone took advantage of the learning experience. However, the topics primarily focussed on membership and social media. It has been noted over time that communication from International Officers to Governors to Clubs and members has not always met expectations with a resulting lack of knowledge of resources, responsibilities and opportunities occurring at all levels.  The good news is – in the past 2 years there has been good engagement by Governors in virtual Board meetings on all topics that make the organization run.  So to maintain this momentum, increase communication and to avoid new Board members trying to absorb information during meetings, it has been decided by the Officers that a virtual seminar or two if necessary will be organized this fall for District Executives to be better informed and more productive in meetings and in dealings within their District. 

As noted in my last newsletter, the next Board of Governors meeting is scheduled for September 9 at 6 PM CDT so if you wish to observe, please send me a request and you can be added to the invite.  Another important date is the deadline for the next Gyroscope on September 15.  We all can use news about how others are enjoying life or finding ways to enjoy Gyro fellowship. 

Keep the Fun in Gyro!

Alan Pentney

PS. I encourage you to contact me – several have this past while with useful information. Here is my email address:

July 24, 2020

I really hope each of you and your families are keeping well and staying safe.  It is quite a challenge to remain alert when venturing out in the public.  Giving others a wide berth takes planning and remembering to wear a mask and to wash hands also takes an effort – but it is important because this disease is not to be taken lightly.  Apparently, it also has long lasting side effects.  Speaking of long-lasting, Tara and I are on day 40 of moving to a new home – whew – never again.

 Your Board of Governors has been too busy to get out so is staying safe.  

1. By-Laws Update
This Spring Immediate Past President Matthew Johnson asked PIP Ian Greig to “modernize” the Constitution and By-Laws.  Blanton Bessinger, International 1st Vice President, was included in the review that went to the Board for discussion on June 17 and July 8. The following are key changes approved to the By-Laws (the Constitution can only be amended at a Convention):

a) When notice is provided to a Club or a Club is to provide notice to Gyro International then it may be by mail or electronic means – removed telegraphs.

b) If a Convention cannot be held in person, as happened this year, then, a convention will be held by any means feasible – meaning a web-based meeting using audio visual for all clubs to participate.

c) Also, we removed a number of outdated sections that are no longer relevant.

The ‘Revised’ document, which was unanimously approved, is now on our website (‘OTHER INFO’ / CONSTITUTION & BY-LAWS).

2. Betterment Fund:  Board of Directors and Board of Trustees
The Board approved the addition of two new Directors to the Betterment Fund Board. I want to thank Past District Governors Ross Davis, District 7 and Roger Lindley, District 9 for agreeing to sit on the Board with PDG Lew Lause of District 1, as well as PIP’s Ted Shewchuk and Matt Johnson. The Fund has had an infusion of funds and the Board increased the amounts that clubs can access to recruit new members. Please visit the gyro.org website – ‘SPECIAL FUNDS’ – to review the new application form, fund description and a pledge form, as donations are welcomed.  I also want to recognize the three trustees who track funds:  PIP Dana Davidson, District 3, PIP Chuck Field, District 7 and newly appointed PIP Harold Bernard, District 6. Thank you, gentlemen for volunteering.

3. Website Enhancements
Peter Carter, International 2nd Vice President,
has taken over Chair of the Technology Committee and immediately began making welcomed changes to the website. Please visit gyro.org and view the ‘WHAT’S NEW’ Section, which identifies  additions/changes to the website, such as:  more visual identity for District & Clubs , an updated Gyroscope Page, Gyro Store and information about the next two International Conventions; more.

4. New District 10 (Florida) Governor
I was very excited to hear that Steve Anderson of the Caloosa Club has been installed as Governor, District 10.  Steve and his wife Patty are great supporters of Gyro.  They think nothing of jumping in a car and traveling across the continent to visit Gyro friends especially at organized events.  Steve also has recently come up with a proposal to find members – see item #5, below.  I do not want to steal the Secretary-Treasurer’s thunder in announcing the Awards for the past year, but I can’t help but note that the Caloosa Club had the most new members added for a small Club in Gyro.  Steve might have something to do with that.

5. Member Recruitment at Independent Living Communities
Steve recommends that “independent living communities” could be an excellent opportunity for marketing Gyro.  Given the constraints on socializing it has been especially hard to pass time without interacting with likeminded people.  Once socializing is able to be done safely persons “cooped up” for months will be eager to find persons to converse with.  Combine this with the Betterment Fund assistance and this is another opportunity to grow Gyro.

The next Board of Governors meeting is scheduled for September 9 at 6 PM CDT so if you wish to observe, please send me a request and you can be added to the invite.  Another important date is the deadline for the next Gyroscope:  September 15.  We all can use news about how others are enjoying life or finding ways to enjoy Gyro fellowship.

Keep the Fun in Gyro!

Alan Pentney

PS. If you want to contact me, here is my emails address: 

June 26, 2020

I sincerely hope all of you and your families are taking all recommended precautions to lower the risk of the COVID virus.  Last month I sent an email about the new Executive and this month I wanted to report on budget items endorsed by the Board of Governors on June 17.  The Budget has a substantial surplus because there is no Travel for International or District Conventions this year.  As a result, the Board is anticipating that there will be a noticeable reduction in the Dues for the next budget year when invoices go out in March.

1) Virtual Meeting Fund

One of the best ways to stay in contact with your Gyro friends now is the use of web-based software platform like Zoom, WebEx, Google Hangout, or ezTalks. Some of these have a free program but these can have limitations. As a result the Board of Governors identified funds, under the committees line item, for reimbursing Clubs if they wish to purchase a program for 5 months to host meetings.  All we ask is that you commit to hosting meetings and that a receipt is submitted for no more than $75 US or $100 CAD. to the International Office Manager, Sheila Kucera at sheila@gyro.org.  Peter Carter, 2nd Vice President would be pleased to assist you in obtaining a program and learning to host – email peter.carter@shaw.ca.

2) Website Updates

The Budget also included funds to bring all Club websites to a state where they are either maintained by Clubs; are provided assistance to post information or are provided with a generic website that directs inquiries to the International website.  This initiative will commence in the Fall.  The benefit will be prospective members and current members will have easy access to information that is current or is able to contact the Headquarters to get information on Club contacts or Gyro resources.  Each Club will be contacted to determine its needs prior to any changes being made.

I, also, plan to pass information on to you in the near future about happenings in Gyro including the 2019-20 Award winners, By-Law changes and the Betterment Fund for recruiting new members.

Stay Safe and Keep the Fun in Gyro!

Alan Pentney

PS. If you want to contact me, here is my emails address: