Lions Gary Warriner, left, and Bruce Maynard, right, present a cheque to Donna Easter representing Quilts of Valour. Donna and her team of quilters produced 100 quilts in 2020.
Westport Lions Roar
By Lion Bob Reddick
The Westport Lions in 2020, like everyone else, had to adapt and be creative in delivering our services to the community.
Nancy Grace started the Lions’ 2020 year off by winning the $1,000 New Year’s Day draw in our cash calendar. Congratulations to Debbie Doyle for winning this year’s prize of $1,000.
In January, a former resident of Westport, Patricia McParland passionately gave a talk about her experiences as an air ambulance nurse and supervisor of paramedics for over 25 years in the Yukon. The Lion members were captivated by her stories of the special challenges of operating emergency services in the Yukon, and her survival tips if you survive a plane crash and are attacked by a grizzly bear.
The Westport Lions welcomed two new members in 2020, Wayne (Smokey) Sherwood and Cheryl Couper Scala. Both members did not hesitate in getting involved with various club activities.
In February, the club was busy making plans for the rest of the year. There was so much interest created in the 2019 Santa Claus parade that chief organizer, Lion Paul Thorp, had already picked Super Heroes as the theme for the 2020 parade. Lion Wayne Bent had booked an air castle and an Elvis tribute artist to perform at the Canada Day celebrations. Other plans to attend a curling bonspiel in Carleton Place and challenge other clubs to a night of bowling had to be cancelled as a result of COVID.
Metaphorically speaking, the wheels fell off our medical mobility vans in March. Past president Wayne Bent issued a statement that suspended the MMS program, all meetings, functions and activities until it was safe to conduct them. On a positive note, Lion Mary Hawkins reported that tickets on a 55-inch screen television were selling well. Greg Patterson from Elgin won the draw for the television.
In April, under the direction of Michael Harris, a new initiative was started called Lions Making Social Connections. The goal of the program is to reach out to the elderly that may be suffering from loneliness due to the pandemic.
The Lions beach remained closed in May, but members were busy repairing and maintaining our clubhouse, property and equipment. The metal recycling program re-opened under the direction of Lion Don Baker.
June brought many changes to the club. We held our first virtual meeting and it became evident that we had to look for innovative ways to serve our community. During this time, members and volunteers started selling $1500 cash draw tickets online, and Lion Marty Hawkins set up a table in his driveway where people bought tickets.
The beach opened in June to record crowds, but for the safety of everyone, the change rooms remained closed.
Wayne Bent ended his 4-year term as president on July 1 and passed the torch on to Lion Jim Scala.
The club was honoured to present Aleah Seed the Westport Lions annual award given to a graduate who has shown great improvement at Rideau District High School through hard work and determination.
Our $1500 Spring Draw is normally held on Canada Day, but because of the uncertainty created by COVID, it was held on August the first. This draw is our annual fundraiser that provides the financial resources required to operate the Lions Beach property. Rozalyn Decaire from Verona won this year’s draw, which was record breaking in number of tickets sold.
The swimming buoys were taken out at the end of September marking the end of the busiest summer ever at the beach. The gazebo was painted and a new roof was installed. Three additional shade trees were planted to provide future comfort.
The Lions’ Medical Mobility Service resumed service on October 5th under new protocols to keep volunteers and clients safe.
Winners Bobby Mulville of Westport and Sherri Barr of Burridge elected to split the $10,000 elimination draw. One hundred dollar prizewinners included Marilyn Chisamore, Dave Mantrop, Janet Bain, and Ann Marie Koiner.
Our fall disbursements took place in November, but since that time we have granted money to three more organizations to bring our total donations to $8,625.00 from July 1 to December 31, 2020.
The club was disappointed that we were not able to organize the annual Santa Claus parade. We did, however, arrange for Santa Claus to visit Westport on two different occasions.
We distributed 300 cakes to local seniors on December 5th. This year we attached a note written by a local student to each cake delivered in Westport. By all accounts, the seniors enjoyed reading their letter.
The Westport Lions Club proudly announced in December that Lion Dorothy Maynard had been selected as Lion of the Year for 2019/20. This well-deserved honour is given to the Lion in recognition of exceptional accomplishments towards the Lions Club of Westport.
What will the future bring to the Westport Lions Club as we head into our 75th year in operation? Who knows? One thing I do know is that the Westport Lions Club will continue to adapt, grow and serve our community.