Southeast Manitoulin Lions mark 40 years of service in their community

Guest speaker Kim Groen, a past district governor, thanked the club for its service.

ASSIGINACK – The Southeast Manitoulin Lions Club marked their 40th anniversary, or Charter as it is known in Lionism, recently with a special evening at Rainbow Ridge Golf Course in Assiginack.

Lion President Lisa Hallaert thanked everyone for coming to the 40th Charter night. Lions, past and present, from Valley East, Little Current, Blind River and beyond joined the Manitowaning group on their big night.

“When the Lions first came to Southeast I was 10 and my dad was one of its first members,” Lion President Lisa said, joking that she likely owes $10 or $20 because of a childhood fascination with Nevada tickets (her dad was the Lion in charge of Nevadas).

“They’ve always done good things on the Island, so when my husband and I moved back here seven years ago with the kids I decided I wanted to be part of the community,” the president said. “I looked at various clubs and joined the Lions.”

“This club means so much to so many people, not just locally but worldwide,” Lion President Hallaert said. “I’m very proud to be a member. I like how the club’s support touches so many people.”

To mark the anniversary, the Southeast Lions struck commemorative pins that include the charter year, 1979, as well as a picturesque shot of Manitowaning’s iconic waterfront.

Past A5 District Governor Kim Groen was the special guest speaker. Lion Kim was born in Little Current and is daughter of Sherman and Cathy Bailey.

Lion Kim explained that she joined the Lions Club in 1997 and held the post of district governor in 2017. She thanked the Southeast Manitoulin Lions for providing their share of the community service there for the past 40 years.

“I’ve been told that every Lion touches the lives of 75 people in a year … In 40 years, that overall impact is 45,000. I’m thinking you may have got one or two or more a couple of times,” she laughed.

“Maybe one child is touched at Christmas; it’s not just the child, it’s the whole family,” Lion Kim added. “There’s such an impact you don’t even realize.” Lion Kim called all the Lions present “community leaders” and thanked them for their leadership. “Being a Lion is about leading by example and building relationships.”

“We’re needed now more than ever,” she continued. “There are more frequent floods, devastating fires, the numbers of people with diabetes and cancer are rising, as is poverty. It sounds like fires, floods and pestilence, but that’s where we are today. We all have our own reasons in becoming a Lion. I always call Lions my Lions community.”

Lion Kim shared that she met her first husband through Lionism and that when he passed away in 2004, it was her Lions community that helped her through her loss. She met her current partner at a Lions convention and he joined her in Assiginack that night.

Lion Kim finished with a quote from Mother Teresa. “People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

Councillor Hugh Moggy also spoke, saying he likes to believe he was part of the movement that led to the club.

The councillor shared the story of the old board of trade that became defunct in the late 1970s. “As reeve, I hoped to see an organization that would carry on those good deeds, so the late Robbie Chatwell and I decided to get a club here.”

Councillor Moggy said they set up a meeting with the late John Dunlop, a Little Current Lion, to start a club in Manitowaning. Because of his involvement over the years as a municipal politician, the councillor said he never did join the club.

“I really do appreciate what the club has done in the community,” Councillor Moggy concluded. “I know there have been times of controversy, but you stuck together regardless. I hope you continue on for the next 40 years. You are an asset in this community. I thank you for all you have done.”

The names of the charter members were then read aloud: Stanley Allen, Bert Anstice, Lorne Armstrong, Carl Brown, Gary Brown, Robert Brown, Harry Case, Harold Clarke, Harvey Drysdale, Joe Duncan, Fred Fry, Wally Harasym, Jim Hembruff, Donald Hembruff, William Hobbs, Dennis Hudson, Lynn Hughson, Vincent Hull, Earle Johnston, Garry Kerr, Norman Mcleod, John Mero, William Moggy, Lennard Moggy Jr., Eric Morphet, Wayne Myers, William Noon, Grenville Phillips, Morgan Pitfield, Randy Robinson, K. Roy Shaw, William Sim, Ivan Sisson, William J. Smith, Denzil Spence, Eric Stillwaugh and Ross Stillwaugh.

Lion President Lisa concluded by thanking Rainbow Ridge for the meal, the Little Current Lions for being their charter club in 1979 and her “Uncle Hugh” Moggy for his support through the years.

Lion President Bruce Burnett of Little Current then paid homage to the Southeast Lions who have just recently passed on, including George Pennie, Jim Hembruff and Bill Smith.

“Congratulations for 40 years and Lisa, whether you know it or not, this job goes forever,” he added with a chuckle.

“It’s a privilege to do work in our community,” Lion President Lisa responded.