Golf­ing to Hon­our a Great Lion’s Legacy

The Goderich Signal-Star - - Classifieds -

A Golf Tour­na­ment has been or­ga­nized to hon­our the mem­ory of a lo­cal Lions Club mem­ber who has left an amaz­ing legacy. The late Bruce Mur­ray was a pop­u­lar fig­ure, in the com­mu­nity and with the Lions Club, in both Grand Bend and St. Marys. In fact, as a Lions Club mem­ber, he was suc­cess­ful in launch­ing re­mark­able ma­jor projects. “He had done so much for Lion­ism and made a dif­fer­ence in so many lives, that we wanted a way to en­sure he was re­mem­bered,” says Lion Club mem­ber and Past Pres­i­dent Jody Cher­wonak of the West Coast Lions Club in Grand Bend. In the 1980s, Mur­ray ini­ti­ated and helped found the Lions Foun­da­tion of Canada, an or­ga­ni­za­tion based in Oakville that started its first pro­gramme in 1985 with Ca­nine Vi­sion, known then as ‘see­ing-eye’ dogs. Since then, the Foun­da­tion has grown to in­clude Hear­ing, Ser­vice, Seizure Re­sponse, Autism As­sis­tance, Di­a­betic Alert and Sup­port Dogs. These dogs are pro­vided free to el­i­gi­ble Cana­di­ans from coast to coast de­spite cost­ing $25,000 to train and place them. The Foun­da­tion re­lies on do­na­tions from Lions Clubs, in­di­vid­u­als and cor­po­ra­tions and re­ceives no gov­ern­ment fund­ing. “Bruce was trav­el­ling in the United States to a Lion func­tion, and saw what they were do­ing there with dog train­ing,” says Lion mem­ber Sher­man Roth, “He was told it is re­ally dif­fi­cult to start up a dog train­ing fa­cil­ity, but that was just the chal­lenge he needed. He built up in­ter­est, and got the pro­gram off the ground soon after that.” Mur­ray also founded Canada’s first In­ter­na­tional Youth Camp, where stu­dents from around the world come to­gether each sum­mer, and served as a di­rec­tor for six years. Most re­cently, Bruce had taken on the chal­lenge of bring­ing Lions Quest back to its fully op­er­a­tional sta­tus. Lions Quest helps to­day’s youth deal with life sit­u­a­tions such as self-es­teem, bul­ly­ing, and so­cial me­dia. Mur­ray, born in 1933, was an ac­tive Lion for over 50 years, first in St. Mary’s and then with West Coast Lions of Grand Bend. As a Lion, he had vol­un­teered his time in­ter­na­tion­ally, build­ing Canada’s rep­u­ta­tion around the world. He served as In­ter­na­tional Di­rec­tor from 1981 – 1983 as well as hold­ing nu­mer­ous po­si­tions within the as­so­ci­a­tion, in­clud­ing Club Pres­i­dent, Zone Chair and Dis­trict Gover­nor.

“Bruce could al­ways be counted on to take these roles. When I was a new Lion mem­ber, I was proud to be men­tored by Past In­ter­na­tional Di­rec­tor Bruce. In my eyes, he was a gi­ant in Lion­ism,” says Ros­alind Mac­Don­ald, also a mem­ber of the West Coast Lions Club. Lion mem­ber and per­sonal friend of Mur­ray’s, Mar­garet Stead­man, adds “He left these great lega­cies – the guide dogs and the youth ac­tiv­i­ties – that we want to make sure he is re­mem­bered.”

With Mur­ray’s re­mark­able works in mind, the West Coast Lions will host the First An­nual Bruce Mur­ray Me­mo­rial Golf Tour­na­ment on Fri­day, Septem­ber 21 at Oak­wood Re­sort in Grand Bend. It will be a scram­ble for­mat with a shot­gun start at 11:00 a.m. The price for 18 holes with a cart and in­clud­ing din­ner is $75. For those who pre­fer just din­ner, it is $30, served at 5:00 p.m. “There will be an abun­dance spe­cial prizes and an auc­tion, with items do­nated by var­i­ous com­mu­nity-minded busi­nesses which have been happy to sup­port the tour­na­ment,” says or­ga­nizer and Lion mem­ber Ron Breen. In ad­di­tion, there is a putting con­test, spon­sored by Smack­wa­ter Jacks Res­tau­rant and Tours. To register, please call Roz at 519-238-8211 or Mary at 519238-6760.

Sev­eral Lions mem­bers noted that he was an ex­cel­lent speaker, and could have the au­di­ence rolling in the aisles with his jokes and sto­ries. “He is missed,” added Lion mem­ber Jenny Roth, “But he will be fondly re­mem­bered on Septem­ber 21st.” Pres­i­dent of the West Coast Lions, Art Parkes, stresses that every­one, whether they per­son­ally knew Bruce or not, is en­cour­aged to sign up for this tour­na­ment. The pro­ceeds of the tour­na­ment will be go­ing to one of Mur­ray’s in­ter­ests and a very good cause, Lions Foun­da­tion of Canada Dog Guides, the guide dog train­ing fa­cil­ity in Oakville.

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