On Nov. 5, the Vernon Lions Club marked 70 years of active community service with a special dinner party, invited guests and dignitaries.
Among the attendees were multiple district 19D’s governor Shelley Costello, Zone D-1’s chairman Gary McLaughlin, Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund and visiting Lions from our neighouring clubs in Armstrong, Enderby, Lake Country and Lumby.
As a service club with a motto of “We Serve,” Vernon Lions Club members have volunteered an enormous number of hours over the seven decades of their charter. Projects have ranged from large to small, benefitting many different local groups and individuals, and have either been very visible within the community, or carried out in a behind-the-scenes manner.
The Vernon Lions Club is part of the International Association of Lions Clubs, the world’s largest service club organization with 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs. The association’s vision is to be the global leader in community and humanitarian service, and among their major causes is restoring sight and preventing blindness from such causes as cataracts, trachoma, river blindness, diabetes and glaucoma.
Through the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), millions of people around the world have benefitted from financial grants for disaster relief and the development of large-scale humanitarian projects. Just recently district governor Costello was successful in obtaining $10,000 towards relief of those affected by forest fires within our district. Although LCIF grant funds are received through gifts from various foundations, corporations, governments and non-Lions, the vast majority comes from donations from Lions clubs and individual members.
Two other major Lion-sponsored organizations are Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides, which raises and trains dogs for people with vision, hearing, diabetic, epileptic, or physical challenges, and the BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities, which operates the Easter Seals Camp Winfield. Vernon Lions Club members are very active in contributing time and funds to both of these causes.
Even though the Vernon Lions have been in existence since 1945, the parent organization, Lions Clubs International (LCI), will be celebrating an even bigger milestone with its centennial year in 2017. The website for LCI — www.lionsclubs.org — has much more information and many interesting videos on past and current service projects of members from around the world.
Members of the Vernon Lions Club represent different age groups and both genders, with many couples and some families serving together. Meetings are held twice a month, on the first and third Thursdays, from September through June. Projects are more frequent in the spring, summer and fall months, but delivery of the Schubert Centre’s Meals On Wheels takes place almost year round.
If you were to ask any Lion member what they most enjoy about being a Lion, you’d probably hear that it’s rewarding to “give back” in service to the community, but also that it’s fun to belong to a great group of like-minded people who come together from different backgrounds. There are opportunities to get involved in different areas of interest.
For more information about the Vernon Lions Club, please call membership chairman Les Andrew at 250-503-0917, or visit www.vernonlionsclub.ca.