A special ceremony took place at the Cobourg Lions Centre on Thursday, May 11, 2023.
Along with the Probus Club of Northumberland celebrating their 23th anniversary a special a special National Award was presented to one of their members.
Jamie Doolittle was presented with The John R. Morris award by National Probus incoming President Martin Capper. Past President Brenda Andrews and Craig Greenwood, our District Director were also in attendance.
Doolittle among many in attendance were unaware of presentation until it was announced.
Probus members gave Doolittle a standing ovation for his work with Probus since 2008.
Doolittle is only the 12th recipient of the seldom granted award and has a long and prestigious journey with Probus.
“Jamie – well deserved and we look forward to seeing more of your impact on Probus, particularly in this area,” said National President Martin Capper before presenting the award.
Doolittle said, ‘I really enjoy, as all of you know promoting Probus. It’s fun, fellowship and getting together and just doing things as one.”
“I am delighted and honoured and I will continue to help Probus in anyway I can.”
Jamie Doolittle and his wife Carol joined the Probus Club of Northumberland.
Jamie enjoyed a career in consumer lending and management with Scotiabank in Toronto before moving with his wife, Carol, to Cobourg in 2004. For the next six years he dabbled part-time in petroleum sales and joined the Probus Club of Northumberland in 2008. He hosted golf events and social functions, edited the newsletter for two years, and served as the club’s vice-president, and then president. Visits to several other Northumberland Probus clubs led him to introduce new committees and events to his own club. He and his wife attend Probus events and spend time with their two children and two grandchildren. Their golden retriever, Chloe, guards the house in their absence!
2011 – 2012
Jamie Doolittle Vice-President:
On October 13 President George Lawrence passed the gavel over to incoming president Jamie Doolittle who would lead the club for the next two years.
2012 – 2014
Some interesting personnel changes occurred during these two years. Jamie Doolittle stepped up as President in October, 2012 and on assuming the presidency, stated “We will continue trying new things, as well as repeating many of our tried and true successes”. He urged all members to consider volunteering their time and expertise to ensure that the club continued to be vibrant and interesting.
The following “new things” were introduced.
Appies & Drinks: Someone would offer to host this event and fellow members were invited to sign up, bring an appetizer and liquid refreshment, and join fellow Probians for an afternoon of relaxed socialization.
Singles Club: A monthly outing to various restaurants throughout the area was instituted to be enjoyed by interested “single” members.
Ride Committee: Arrange transportation for any member who needed a lift to attend a meeting or any other Probus outing.
May Day Extravaganza: Seventy members from six District Clubs joined together for a morning of socializing and entertainment, followed by a buffet lunch.
Meeting Format: Having a Canadian flag on display and opening each meeting with the singing of the National Anthem was instituted. The practice of acknowledging members birthdays and anniversaries began.
Club Bylaws: Revised, clarifying the definition of “Honourary Membership”, specifying that age is not a criterion.
Most of the tried and true successes continued.
2015 – 2016
In April, Jamie Doolittle was congratulated when he was elected to a three -year term as the new Director of Ontario District 1, an area that stretches from Port Hope to Cornwall and as far north as Ottawa. The Management Committee, on behalf of the club, committed to cover Jamie’s PROBUS Club fees during his tenure to help defray out of pocket expenses in his new position.
During his tenure as District 1 Director, Jamie visited all 23 clubs in his district, attending many anniversary events, social events and speaking at many meetings about his experiences in Probus and the national club.
2017 – 2018
In 2018 Jamie was elected to the post of Probus Canada Treasurer. He continued as District 1 Director during this time.
He attended the charter meeting of the Prince Edward County Probus Club as their guest speaker; this was the 246th club in Canada.
Jamie participated in planning and organizing the Interclub Bowling Tournament held in Cobourg for the clubs in Northumberland County.
2018 – 2019
Jamie was elected to the position of Vice President of Probus Canada and he continued on as Director for District 1 during his year as Vice President.
2019 – 2020
Jamie was elected President of Probus Canada, a challenging time with the Covid 19 pandemic bringing a halt to many normal club activities. He kept clubs informed about the importance of following Federal, Provincial, Municipal and local Health Unit guidelines in the Probus National Newsletter. Members were encouraged to “Get Connected – Stay Connected!” during this difficult time.
During 2020, prompted by a note to him from the Probus Club of Whitby/Brooklin, Probus Canada had a Thank You to Front Line Workers published in the Globe & Mail newspaper which read in part “acknowledge the tremendous contribution and lack of selfishness by those workers”.
2020 – 2021
Jamie served his year as Past President of Probus Canada.
Jamie rejoined the management team as a member of the Speakers Team at Probus Northumberland.
2022 – 2023
Jamie is continuing to source speakers for our local club and continues to be an active and valued member of our management team.
The club voted unanimously to endow the status of “Life Member” on Jamie for his contribution to the club and to PROBUS Canada.
Dear PROBUS Canada Board Members
Subject: Nomination of Jamie Doolittle for the John R Morris Founders Award
It is my privilege and pleasure to unreservedly endorse and approve the Probus Club of Northumberland Cobourg nomination of Jamie Doolittle for the prestigious John R Morris Founders Award.
The award recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond “meritorious” service for the local Club, their community, regionally and nationally. The nominee must have a demonstrated record of commitment, leadership and vision with a resulting impact both regionally and nationally.
The accompanying curriculum vitae and letters of nomination and endorsement from the Northumberland Club, the adjacent Brighton Club and a number of their past presidents, the Ottawa Rideau Valley Club, and National Past President Brenda Andrews, address the Award criteria and the tremendous contribution Jamie has made and continues to make to Probus Nationally, to Ontario District #1, and to his Club, Northumberland. This Includes the creation of new clubs, expansion of existing clubs and active support for ailing clubs in District #1.
Jamie personifies what Probus is and aspires to be from his roles as Treasurer, Vice President, President and Past President on the National Board, as Director Ontario District #1, to his various roles, past and present, in his local Club. He is an outspoken and enthusiastic promoter and supporter of Probus. As an example, Jamie and Club President Florence Fletcher did radio and TV interviews promoting Probus and their Club.
Jamie has a profound belief that Probus is about the Clubs and to that end he has been unwavering in his support for the health and welfare of the Clubs – his own and those in District 1. He has a continuing preference to talk to people rather than email, a very personal touch. He has promoted and organized the gathering of Clubs for in-person interaction to connect and to share ideas and experience.
What I would like to address, which isn’t in the attachments, is Jamie’s unconditional support for me as I embarked on my role as the new District #1 Director. In addition to his persuasive recruitment and number of phone conversations, Jamie met with me on more than one occasion and provided me with all his notes, presentations, files, etc. These along with his in depth advice and guidance made me feel comfortable as I embarked on my new role.
I encourage you to endorse the nomination of Jamie Doolittle for the John R Morris Founders Award, as a most deserving recipient.
Director, Ontario District #1
Craig Greenwood District Director Probus, Canada
It is our honour and pleasure to support the nomination of Jamie Doolittle for the John R. Morris Founders Award. Jamie has been part of our Probus life since we joined the Ottawa-Rideau Valley Probus Club in 2014. As newcomers to Ottawa we were encouraged to join Probus to meet new people and find new ways to be involved with our community.
Like many Probus Clubs, the Ottawa-Rideau Valley was looking for volunteers for the management team so within two years of joining the club, Gary was vice- president, on his way to becoming President and Joy joined the Speakers Committee and then became Secretary and a year later, Vice President and President. We have both been on the management team in one capacity or another for the past eight years. Until this past year, all of our time was anchored by Jamie. First as our District Director and then as President and Past-President of Probus Canada as well as continuing in his position as our District Director.
Jamie was helpful and supportive in suggesting ways to keep our membership active. He told us about “drinks and appetizers” evenings which we introduced to
a great success. He encouraged us to divide tasks between more than one member in order to spread the workload.
Jamie was very much a hands-on District Director, phoning regularly to learn how things were going and what was working, and, what wasn’t. He visited our club on several occasions and all of them included great dinner parties and friendship. He genuinely liked being with us and it showed! We were honoured to have him with us for our 25th Anniversary Luncheon in December, 2019-just before the pandemic struck and we were all confined for almost three years.
His message was always that Probus was about friendship, fellowship and especially FUN. Jamie enjoyed having fun and it was contagious.
After he completed his term as President of Probus Canada he continued in his role as District Director and was constantly supportive and in touch as we struggled to remain connected with our members over the past couple of years.
On a personal note, Jamie was very supportive of our situation. He knew that I was considering volunteering at the provincial level and encouraged me to do so. However, when I told him that my life had changed and that my husband was facing serious health issues and that I felt it important to remain at our club and take on the Presidency for a second time he was concerned and understanding. He still keeps in touch with us, as a friend.
Jamie Doolittle has indeed made an extraordinary contribution and commitment to Probus and to the principles for which Probus stands-fellowship, friendship and fun and it is entirely fitting that he be awarded to John R, Morris Founders Award.
Dr. Joy Bennet
President, Ottawa-Rideau Valley Probus Club
Dr. Gary Bennett Past-President
Dear Board members,
Jamie Doolittle has been a member of PROBUS since 2008 and started his executive career with PROBUS CANADA’s Board of Directors in 2016. First, as Director for Ontario District 1, then in the roles of Treasurer, Vice President, and finally as President in 2021 and 2022.
As a District Director,Jamie had many achievements and was always there for his clubs rain or shine:
– Organized two district meetings every year, in the north and south of his district
– Organized an annual Spring Fling
– Worked diligently to keep struggling clubs afloat and helped start new ones
– Was instrumental in introducing PROBUS to the Cobourg radio station and Rogers television where he promoted PROBUS
– Had the PROBUS logo added to community billboards going into and out of Cobourg
– Hosted Bill Sexsmith, the President of PROBUS CANADA to give a presentation
– Organized PROBUS license plate covers so that today there are many vehicles displaying our logo. Even now, as a club member, Jamie continues his efforts to promote PROBUS. As recently as March, he and his club’s President were interviewed on local Cobourg radio and television to promote the benefits of our wonderful organization.
Jamie is and always has been a positive force and a true Probarian – I’m pretty sure his blood runs blue. I think Jamie is what PROBUS is all about and he would be a very deserving recipient of the John Morris Founder’s Award.
President and Director District ON2