Rotary honour for Dover Rocks Boxes volunteer

Paul Harris Fellow for Meika Matthews

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Accolades continue to pour in for Meika Matthews of Port Dover.

The community newspaper in Matthews’ hometown recently named her Port Dover’s Citizen of the Year.

And this weekend, the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise recognized Matthews with a Paul Harris Fellow.

Matthews made her presence felt in 2018 as an organizer of Folkin’ Vote – a grassroots movement to raise the profile of local issues in Norfolk County in time for the municipal election three years ago.

More recently, Matthews has put her shoulder to the wheel on behalf of Port Dover and area businesses with the Dover Rocks Boxes campaign.

With the latter, Matthews has overseen the delivery of merchandise from struggling local businesses to customers who are hunkered down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matthews’ Paul Harris Fellow is just the latest of a long series of associations with Rotary and Rotary International.

“As a former long-term exchange student through the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise, Meika spent a year in Finland and made the most of this once-in-a-lifetime exchange opportunity, honing skills in leadership, independence, confidence, and global citizenry,” Rudi Atkinson, past president of Rotary of Norfolk Sunrise, said in a news release.

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“Meika also participated in the Rotary Youth Leadership Award program, a week-long leadership program designed for young people aged 19 to 25, and later joined the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise as a member, engaging in numerous initiatives with the club alongside her late aunt, mentor and club member Sue O’Dwyer.”

Atkinson added that Matthews’ long association with Rotary prepared her well for the challenges of a pandemic.

“As an organizer of the Dover Rocks Boxes campaign, Meika contributed literally hundreds of hours to promote, distribute, collect, communicate and assemble beautiful Port Dover products, uniting many Port Dover businesses and generating well over $100,000 for them,” Atkinson said.

Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise notes Matthews has served as treasurer of the Port Dover Foundation, chair of the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce, and has been a member of the Port Dover Board of Trade as a business owner. She also created and launched Project Friction, a free financial literacy program designed to support at-risk, low-income individuals.

The Paul Harris Fellow is named after the Chicago lawyer who founded the Rotary movement in 1905. There are 35,000 Rotary chapters world-wide. Chapters earn the right to award a Paul Harris Fellow with a US$1,000 donation to Rotary International.

“Congratulations, Meika, on being the latest recipient of this award and especially for your initiatives and leadership in a multitude of community projects,” Atkinson said. “The world will continue to benefit from your goodwill initiatives. Thank you for your service.”

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com

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