Every year in April, the Lions hold a charter night to celebrate with club awards and presentations. This year will be extra special as they celebrate 40 years in Millet on April 26, with a gala banquet at the Millet Agri-Plex.
In 1973, trying to increase membership in District 37F, a couple of representatives of Lions International visited Millet to talk to men in the community about starting a local club. “You paid $10 and were invited to an organization meeting. There were 41 men who signed up” says Garth Rudulph. “We were sponsored by the Wetaskiwin Lions Club and our official name is Lions Club of Millet & District.” At that first meeting Wayne Meyers was elected as President and Garth Rudulph as Secretary – Treasurer.
The first project was buying and repainting an old school bus for the club to use to provide transportation for local hockey teams, seniors and visiting other clubs. That year was also the first time the Lions participated in the Millet Days parade. “As we were lining up for the parade some bikers lined up in the parade too, so my wife gave them some lilacs to carry and they did.” Rudulph reminisces, “They became regulars at our parades and dances for many years.” At the curling rink they held their first dance. They put up a tent the next year at the outdoor skating rink next to the curling rink and had a beef supper and dance. The dances have since been discontinued, but the Lions involvement in Millet Days parades and activities continues to this day.
Over the years the Lions have been busy in the community with providing transportation with their bus for seniors and other local groups. They sponsor the Millet Boy Scouts and the Tom Thumb hockey team. A bus shelter was built at the school for bus students. The club also donates $500 a year to a local student, who is in secondary education and qualifies, to be used toward tuition and books. Along with the Millet Legion they put in the local tennis court. There was also the Lions Youth Exchange with Australia and Japan. The club is probably best known for its Christmas hampers of food, gifts and money to help out local families experiencing tough times during the holidays.
The Lions have funded their good works with different fundraisers including raffles, but their longest and steadiest fundraiser has been bingos. Thanks to these fundraisers the Lions were also able to renovate the hall they bought from the IOF (International Odd Fellows) for $1.00 in 1990. About that same time the Lioness Club was disbanded and absorbed by the Lions Club.
The club also has Lions Memorial Park with 6 serviced lots for camping and are in the process of developing a new full service park on land north of the Agri-Plex.
The Lions Club of Millet & District has been a huge asset to the Town of Millet. When asked if there are any projects that stand out as a favorite over the years, Garth Rudulph says, “We’ve worked hard over the years on many projects, but the most important part has been the fellowship.”
If you would like to know more about serving the community with the Lions, or would like to purchase tickets for the banquet on April 26th call Garth Rudulph at 780-387-4588.