Bringing back the Lions

  • Mar. 1, 2011 7:00 a.m.

Pipestone Flyer

Vol 15. Issue 9, Leduc – Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer

A group of community-minded individuals who wish to help humanity in general through the mandates, mission and vision of the Lions Club, are reviving and restoring the Thorsby and District Lions Club. As a premier fundraiser, the newly-formed Club hosted a fabulous pancake breakfast on Family Day morning at the Thorsby Community Hall from 7 a.m. until noon.

A Family Day Breakfast

 “Were there actually people here at 7 a.m.?” “No,” laughed Maggie Culford, “we had a bet going.  First ones arrived at 7:50.”  But the hall filled up nicely.  A large turnout, everyone was treated to fresh, hot-off-the-grill pancakes, sausages, and eggs.

Cooking outside in front of the building were Sean Cooke, Sam Kobeluck, Jim Robb, and Rick Hart, four gentlemen who did a fabulous job of making sure everyone got fed, and seemed to be having a good time doing it. Inside, displays were set up for guests to peruse, Lions Club pamphlets and other information, and historical items from the original Thorsby and District Lions Club.

Mitch Williams, current President of the Lions Club, “Interim,” he smiled, explained that they are not official yet, as they need to acquire a charter number.  The Club requires 20 to 25 members in order to receive a charter number.  They have 13 members so far.

Williams also explained that the Devon Lions Club was sponsoring them, and any fundraising conducted by Thorsby Club will be held in trust by Devon Lions until such time as Thorsby obtains its charter number and becomes official.

Several years ago the Original Thorsby Lions Club shut down, due to low membership and difficulty recruiting new, younger members.  Now, the town is resurrecting the Club and welcoming and encouraging residents and community members to join up.  As Dan Claypool of the Devon Lions chapter said at the Thorsby Lions pancake breakfast, “We are renewing history here.”

History of the Lions Club

The Lions club has been around awhile.  Since 1920 in fact.  It began with a thought of Chicago businessman Melvin Jones in 1917, who wondered what a difference it would make if individuals combined their efforts and talents to make their communities a better place.  Acting on his idea, Jones convinced twelve members from several cubs to join forces and form a club that would “help their communities and serve humanity.” Three years after their founding, Lions became international and established the first club in Canada. Today, nearly a century later, Lions clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization, with 1.35 million members in over 45,000 clubs (www.lionsclubs.org).

The phenomenal growth of Lions Clubs includes both in-number of members, and services and programs offered.  The Lions Clubs are serious champions for assisting the blind, which began in 1925 when Helen Keller addressed the Lions Clubs International Convention in Ohio, appealing to the Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”  Ever since, the Clubs have tirelessly worked to provide sight programs aimed at preventing blindness, restoring eyesight and improving eye care for millions worldwide.  Youth programs such as the Lions Services for Children Program, construction of hospitals, schools, and orphanages around the globe for kids in need, and many other programs and services are conducted or offered by the Lions Club Inernational.

At Home

In addition to the worldwide work of the Lions Clubs International, local Lions Clubs carry out an extensive list of activities, services, and good deeds right here at home.  Once the Thorsby Lions group are up and running, the Club is already looking at a number of projects such as upgrading the town ball diamonds, working with Communities in Bloom, said Mitch, and looking into maintenance of the Lions Campground. For more information, email Mitch Williams at mitchwilliams@telus.net.

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