From the longest-serving member to the newest one inducted that night, the Wadena District Lions Club celebrated its annual district governor’s night last week.
(Left to right) Wadena District Lions Club past-president Bernie Rutko, district governor Ellie Mae Bishop, district secretary Harvey Bowers, local club president Kerry Ziola, first vice-president George Mayer, Claire Enright, Dale Elphinstone, MaryAnn Rutko, Dave Clark, Don Auchstaetter, second vice-president and treasurer Don Tait, and Martin Cho. Missing are secretary Korinna Turkenburg, Garnet Vigoren and Chad Moir.
After about 20 people enjoyed dinner, local Lions president Kerry Ziola handed over the floor to visiting district governor Ellie Mae Bishop. Accompanied by her husband Harold, she had made the drive that evening from North Battleford. An eight-year member of the club, she brought greetings from Lions International president Joseph Preston as well as giving a message based on her own idea of what being a Lion means.
“When was the last time your club performed a community-needs assessment?” Bishop challenged the members to take a look at what they do for the community. She went on to give examples of how the club can demonstrate leadership, noting upcoming leadership conferences on the schedule. She also suggested that strength can come through partnerships with other organizations in the community, and through engaging young people on social media.
Past-president Bernie Rutko gave a brief history of the club and all that it has accomplished.
“The Wadena District Lions Club has hosted the Lions District Governor’s Night for 48 years. We are proud to have one of the original charter members, Lion Don Auchstaetter,” he said. “In those 48 years, Wadena Lions have helped the community with fair days, the building of a new community hall, minor hockey, assistance for people in need, and more.”
It was estimated that $800,000 had been raised over the history of the club and had gone directly back into the community. A recent donation of $1500 was to the Wadena fire department for the STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service) helicopter fuel trailer. The International Lions Clubs’ logo is also on the helicopters, said Rutko.
One of the highlights of the evening included the formal induction of new member Martin Cho. Cho, who was accompanied by his wife Clara, is new to Wadena; the couple has taken over management of the Blue Willow Inn.
According to the Saskatchewan Lions website, the Wadena Lions Club was originally chartered on April 29, 1966.
By Alison Squires