“The Lions are a family! Pure and simple. Lions are there for each other and for the community they serve. I am proud of what we do and what we stand for,” said Christine Hartle, a five-year member of the Iroquois-Matilda Lions Club.
Her words were echoed by many fellow Lions in this active and involved service club.
The Iroquois-Matilda Lions Club was chartered 70 years ago and is actually in the process of planning a celebration of that milestone this year.
And this club has been a noted and vital part of the community for all of its 70 years.
“Having joined the Lions five years ago as one of the first female members, from the very first meeting all the members of the club were extremely welcoming and they continue to be supportive,” said Lion Nancy Barkley.
This is a club that has always been at the forefront when people or organizations in the area have needed help or support.
The Iroquois-Matilda Lions have raised funds for initiatives at Winchester District Memorial Hospital, and for Heart and Stroke, Diabetes and Glaucoma Foundations.
“There is no more efficient way to raise money for one’s community than by joining a structured organization such as the Lions,” said long-term Lion Rick Mackenzie.
His comments were seconded by other club members who stress how much they enjoy “helping the community” and being really “involved in the community and in area projects.”
Students at Seaway District High School have been the recipients of generous bursaries from the Lions at every graduation ceremony. Elementary and intermediate schools have always found the club ready to lend support either financially, or hands on, at events.
The Lions hold Hearing and Sight Clinics, and members of the club turned out to support a recent PSA testing clinic at WDMH. Lions also raised funds for mental health initiatives.
“I feel great when we help local people and support our local hospital and projects for the town,” said Lion Dale Roberts, a 25 year club member.
The Band Shell at the Point in Iroquois, used by many organizations for special outdoor activities, was built by the Lions.
This fall, members of the club are constructing brand new picnic shelters at Iroquois beach as part of the waterfront renewal project.
Christmas parties for area seniors, a joint Christmas party with the newly chartered Ingleside-Longue Sault Lions, and a St. Paddy’s Day celebration are just some of the Lions’ upcoming social events.
Iroquois-Matilda Lions are always at the forefront of Iroquois Canada Day celebrations. They are getting ready for a spectacular 150th birthday “party” in 2017.
In April of 2016, as this club has done every second year for more than 40 years, the Iroquois-Matilda Lions staged a theatrical production at Upper Canada Playhouse.
The Count Will Rise Again or Dracula in Dixie, completely staged by Lions, their spouses and friends, packed four houses.
And over the four decades since the club decided to “put on a play” as a novel way of fundraising, it is safe to say that Lions’ efforts have brought over $200,000 into the community.
“All these funds, and any funds we raise, 100 per cent of them, go directly back into the community,” said Lion Jacques Asselin and Lion Steve Wilson, co-chairs of the Iroquois-Matilda Lions membership committee.
“When the Lions fundraise, it’s always for the sake of others. We are very proud of that,” they said.
Following a very successful membership drive in 2014, the Iroquois-Matilda Lions club is again inviting people throughout the community to come out and join them.
“We want everyone to know that this is a very active, involved club,” said Lion Steve.
“Like many service groups, some of our members are aging, and we really welcome new people to come and join us.
People will love being part of a dynamic organization, one that is really involved in its community.”
“The Lions once seemed to me to be this mystery group that showed up to help people and the community,” laughed five year club member, Lion Tony Hall.
“Then I joined the Lions and I can honestly say, there is no mystery. It’s just good-hearted people who give back to the community and enjoy it.”
Lions Steve and Jacques, and the Iroquois-Matilda club welcome potential new members to get in touch with them and find out how “becoming a Lion can make a difference in your life, and in the life of your community.”
Contact Jacques Asselin at 613-652-2246, or any Lion.
“It’s great belonging to a group of like minded individuals who accomplish lots for our community,” said Lion Brian Speer. a long term member.