Lions roar on

The Prince Al­bert Lions Club cel­e­brates 70 years of ser­vice

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - FRONT PAGE - JA­SON KERR

“It gives you great sat­is­fac­tion, help­ing out some­body” -- Garry Beaudry

Garry Beaudry’s mem­o­ries of the Prince Al­bert Lions Club be­gin long be­fore he of­fi­cially joined them.

The big­gest that stand out were the peanut sales and snake dances the club con­ducted while he was in high school. His fa­ther was also a Lion, prior to moving away from Prince Al­bert.

On the day the club cel­e­brated its 70th an­niver­sary, it was those mem­o­ries that came flood­ing back.

“That was a lot of fun, as a high school stu­dent,” chuck­led Beaudry, who cur­rently serves as the club’s pres­i­dent. “Re­mem­ber­ing back, I think the Lions them­selves used to have just as much fun with it.”

Times have changed since Beaudry first joined the Lions, but the club’s mis­sion hasn’t.

Orig­i­nally char­tered in Septem­ber 1947 at the Prince Al­bert Mu­nic­i­pal Air­port’s Air­liner Club, the Lion’s first goal was to sup­port the blind and vis­ually im­paired. Dr. D. V. Chip­per­field was named the club’s first pres­i­dent, over­see­ing a body of 39 char­ter mem­bers.

The club still sup­ports that cause to­day through the used eye glasses col­lec­tion drive and the Lions Eye Bank, but they’ve also ex­panded their ser­vice to in­clude the spon­sor­ship of high school schol­ar­ships, and the op­er­a­tion of Op­er­a­tion Red Nose, among oth­ers.

For 70 years, pro­vid­ing ser­vice has been the goal, and Beaudry said he’s proud of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s past ef­forts.

“It gives you great sat­is­fac­tion, help­ing out some­body,” he said. “Some of our projects, you feel re­ally good when you’ve com­pleted them.”

On Satur­day, the re­main­ing club mem­bers and a few spe­cial guests gath­ered at the Prince Al­bert Trav­elodge to cel­e­brate those years of ser­vice. Lions Club dis­trict gover­nor Dan Babyak and past in­ter­na­tional di­rec­tor Marvin Cham­bers were both in at­ten­dance, and to cel­e­brate the oc­ca­sion, the club made a se­ries of do­na­tions, in­clud­ing $1,000 to the STARS air am­bu­lance ser­vice. At its peak, the club boasted more than 100 mem­bers, but these days it’s down to 33.

Re­gard­less, long time mem­bers like Jim Wilm, who joined in 1970, say the pas­sion for ser­vice is still there, as is the need in the com­mu­nity.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant, I think, to the com­mu­nity that you have groups that they can turn to (and) say, ‘we need some help,” he ex­plained. “Be­cause we’re in the busi­ness of serv­ing the com­mu­nity … we’re al­ways get­ting those re­quests.”

Wilm has put a lot of hours into the club, serv­ing in just about every role imag­in­able. Cur­rently he’s the club’s sec­re­tary, but he also served a stint as the dis­trict gover­nor, where he rep­re­sented the re­gion at in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions in San Fran­cisco and Tai­wan.

He’s hope­ful that new Lion’s will rise up and carry on the club’s work in the future, but find­ing new mem­bers is get­ting dif­fi­cult.

“It’s get­ting harder and harder to make those com­mit­ments to their com­mu­nity,” Wilm said. “Or­ga­ni­za­tions like ours are no dif­fer­ent than any­body else’s. Mem­ber­ship is a big thing.”

The de­cline in club mem­bers is some­thing Beaudry has no­ticed too. He says life­styles have changed, mak­ing peo­ple busier than ever. There’s no guar­an­tee Lion’s Club mem­bers will gather for an­other cel­e­bra­tion in 70 years, but he still re­mains hope­ful.

“It would be nice,” Beaudry said. “You put your heart and soul into some­thing, so yes, I hope they’re still around.”

JA­SON KERR/DAILY HER­ALD

Long-time Prince Al­bert Lions Club mem­ber Bill Sko­morowski (seated) re­ceives a spe­cial com­men­da­tion from past in­ter­na­tional di­rec­tor Mervin Cham­bers (stand­ing) for 66 years of ser­vice.

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