Lions host convention and celebrate 60th anniversary

With 139 registered delegates, 28 guests and 43 club representatives the Ponoka, Alix, Clive, Lacombe and Red Deer Lions Clubs were ready for the District 37-I annual convention held on Oct 24 and Oct. 25 in Ponoka.

  • Oct. 29, 2008 9:00 a.m.
Pictured above from left to right is members of the Hobemma Community Cadets Corps

Pictured above from left to right is members of the Hobemma Community Cadets Corps

By Kim Hutchison

Staff Reporter:

With 139 registered delegates, 28 guests and 43 club representatives the Ponoka, Alix, Clive, Lacombe and Red Deer Lions Clubs were ready for the District 37-I annual convention held on Oct 24 and Oct. 25 in Ponoka.

On Friday the Lions toured the Centennial Centre for mental health and brain injury then got together for an evening of entertainment and a meal. On Saturday morning the Lions gathered at the Ponoka Kinsmen Centre where the convention got underway.

District Governor Lion Terry Dunn gave an official welcome to all in attendance and members of the Hobemma Community Cadets Corps led by Piper Dick Cameron marched into the room bearing flags followed by the singing of the Canadian and American national anthems. Chair of the Convention Committee and moderator of the first session, Bill Chorney, introduced the head table and the dignitaries said a few words.

“The world is a better place because of programs such as this one,” said Member of Parliament, Blaine Calkins acknowledging the amount of work the Lions do for the community and the country is time consuming but appreciated.

Member of the Legislative Assembly, Ray Prins, thought it was great to see so many people from so many places coming together for such a great purpose. “The Lions is not only a service, but friendships that are instrumental in building stronger safer communities,” he said before congratulating the Lions on not only hosting the convention, but celebrating a 60th anniversary as well.

Mayor and longtime Lion Larry Henkleman stated he was thankful to be one of the 1.3 million Lions in the 45,000 clubs in 202 countries helping to better the lives of citizens. “The work of Lions members can be seen everywhere you look in Ponoka from the bucking bronco to the Lions Club community bus,” he said. “As mayor and council, we greatly appreciate everything the Lions do.”

The convention was broken down into five sessions that included an election for next years key positions, speeches with regards to progress in the multiple organizations the Lions give to, a generous cheque presentation, a memorial service for past Lions officiated by Reverend Barbara Zimmerman, a speech given by past president Judge Brian Stevenson, a fundraiser that raised $2010 for charity and the results of the earlier cast votes highlighting a select few of the many topics covered throughout the day before the closing of the convention at 4 p.m.

First year International Director, optometrist and noticeably talented singer Dr. Jerimiah Myers was the convention’s special guest. “I am truly impressed with the town of Ponoka – so much so that I would live here if time would allow it,” he said.

He was a Lion for 27 years and, with his new title, will engage on 30 trips within the next 20 months to pass out awards in recognition for outstanding service and to motivate clubs to grow. “There has been a steady decline in membership over the past ten years and this needs to change” he said. “We need growth. The wellspring of the future lies in the new members. It’s so important for club members to speak with one another and to look in their communities to increase these numbers,” he said. “You work for nothing in order to give money, but the reward is the satisfaction of a job well done.”

Following the convention there was a grand march and a governor’s banquet.

The convention committee and attendees would like to thank those whose donations made the event possible.