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Sixty years of the Lions Club celebrated in Carlyle

Many people turned out to celebrate the milestone.

CARLYLE - The Carlyle District Lions Club's 60th anniversary’s gala event Sept. 9 was a celebration of the club and Lions International, the members who have been part of it and the generosity of the community.

Due to the unpredictability of the weather and the high chance of rain, the event was changed from the Carlyle Lions' Park to the Memorial Hall in Carlyle.

The hall was decorated with the Lions' colours, and upon entering the building, the music of Hint of Harmony could be heard welcoming the crowd.

Club member Jim Vermeersch gave a blessing of the meal that had been prepared by many Lions' members.

Approximately 80 past and present Lions attended, along with several dignitaries from across the province.

The meal of barbecued pork sausage, homemade perogies, salad, condiments and buns were enjoyed by the group. Chicken was offered to those who had allergies to pork.

Heather Vermeersch, who is the second vice-district governor, welcomed everyone to this special event and read a little from Souris-Moose Mountain MP Robert Kitchen.

Kitchen was unable to attend the evening but wanted to extend his heartfelt congratulations to the club for achieving such a milestone.

He said Carlyle has a great club and they have done a lot of work for the town while helping many people.

Kitchen thanked the past and present members for the services they do for their local community.

Mayor Jen Sedor came prepared in her bright power jacket and said the evening and meal were great. She also thanked the club for all they did, and she said they do it well.

The evening continued with Cannington MLA Daryl Harrison, a Lions' member from Alida. He wanted to keep his speech short, and wanted everyone to have a great evening and enjoy the memories.

Event chairman Craig Savill welcomed life members Norm Riddell and Frank Faber to come to the front and cut the specially-made cake, and members served the crowd.

Staff Sgt. Michael Shortland from the Carlyle RCMP was the guest speaker as a first responder. Shortland said he was not very good at speaking but would do his best to entertain the crowd.

He said many police officers join the force so they can travel around Canada. Apparently this was not Shortland's case, as he has never been out of Saskatchewan and no further than 2 1/2 hours from his hometown.

Shortland was honoured and humbled to be asked to be a part of this important event. He said the Lions have truly done outstanding work in the small community, raising thousands of dollars for the health and wellness of families and individuals.

He has been invited to several activities by the Lions and he is grateful for that.

Being an officer can be a tough job, if one comes from a large city and now resides in a small community, but it is the little things that can make a difference for them when settling in.

Shortland has been an officer for over 19 years and he truly enjoys living in Carlyle.

When Shortland was finished, Alvin Matechuk, a past district governor, told the crowd how the Lions go to Regina once a year and donate blood.

Frank Faber, a 45-year life member, remembers when the club pulled power lines near Antler in the earlier days. They started the work on a Friday and completed on a Monday morning, with 20 people and 80 kilometres of lines pulled down, making $20,000 for the club.

Norm Riddell, another life member, recalls the raffle they had on an inboard, outboard boat.

Riddell said they dragged that boat all over the province trying to sell raffle tickets. The boat cost $18,000 and they were afraid they would not make money on it, but in the end the club received $18,000 for their hard work.

Wayne Wilson is the current president and said they have 35 members, with meetings on the first Tuesday of the month at the Happy Gang Club.

The club has never hesitated to help a family in need. A new event they began last fall is a seniors' supper that seemed to go over quite well.

Heather Vermeersch returned to the stage to thank Savill and the committee on a job well done. She said there was a lot of work done behind the scenes and this could not have been done without this group's diligent work.

The evening finished with a dance and social, with music from Straight Up Country. They belted out classic country music throughout the night.

The following morning, the party continued with a pancake breakfast, which saw a small crowd, and later an interdenominational church service.

The club was chartered on Oct. 31, 1963; 34 members joined this club sponsored by the Carnduff Lions. Two have entered the Lions' Hall of Fame.

Many memories were created during the 60th anniversary celebratioon and it is one that the past and present members of the Carlyle District Lions Club will not forget. They look forward to another 60 years to be put in the books.