Prestigious Lions honours awarded to long-serving actors and director

Award winners Margaret Swerdfeger, Wendy Gibb, and Reina DeJong. (Contributed photo)
MORRISBURG – Although she has played an integral role in helping the Iroquois-Matilda Lions raise about $250,000 for its service to the community over the last 40 years Wendy Gibb has never expected anything in return.
But, at the end of this year’s show Drop Dead!, Lions International honoured Gibb by presenting her with a special honour. She was named a Lions International Melvin Jones Fellow for her dedicated humanitarian services to the Lions Club International Foundation.
Gibb has directed all of the Iroquois-Matilda Lions Club’s 20 biennial theatre productions.
The retired Seaway District High School drama and history teacher, said that she was completely taken by surprise by this honour.
While she is proud of these shows raising so much money to support the community over the years, Gibb says, “I do this because I love doing it. This is the best group of people in the world to work with.”
She says that she keeps coming back to direct the shows time and time again because she loves seeing the real results of their efforts.
“When the Lion actors take to the stage, I get to see the crowds of people of all ages coming out to the shows, laughing and enjoying themselves. That’s why I do it.”
“My dad was a Lion, so I grew up knowing all the good that Lions do, and how important they are to the community,” said Gibb.
She recognizes the great honour of this very special award.
Asked how long she plans to continue to direct these Lions theatre productions, she said: “As long as they want me, I will be there.”
As a Melvin Jones Fellow, Gibb’s name was added to the listing of all individuals in the program at Lions International Headquarters.
She also received a Melvin Jones Fellowship lapel pin to represent “dedication to humanitarian service to the highest degree.”
After this week’s print deadline, Iroquois-Matilda Lions Club president Evonne Delegarde provided information requested about two further awards that went to long-serving actors Reina DeJong and Margaret Swerdfeger.
DeJong, who was the person who initially came up with the idea of the Lions staging a play for the community, was awarded the Judge Brian Stevenson Fellowship Award. It honours outstanding Canadian Lions and other deserving individuals for outstanding achievement or involvement. DeJong received the Judge Brian Stevenson Fellowship Medallion and lapel pin.
Margaret Swerdfeger, a retired educator, who along with her husband Lion Glenn Swerdfeger, has acted in all of these shows since they started almost 40 years ago, was awarded the Lions Quest Fellowship Award.
This award recognizes Lions and other deserving recipients who truly care about Canadian children, regardless of the challenges they may face or the gifts they may possess. Along with this award, she also received the award lapel pin and congratulatory letter.

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