Lions Clubs celebrate charter night


By Sheila Runions

      Banner Staff


When you see a lot of vehicles at Rivers Legion Hall on Saturday, April 4, do not be fooled into thinking it’s an Easter celebration, this occasion is Governor’s Night.




Rivers and Area Lions Club is part of the 5M13 district which includes clubs from Rivers, Rapid City, Hamiota, Kenton, Oak Lake and Virden; every sixth year, Rivers is responsible for hosting the official visit. Representatives from each of these clubs, along with special guests, will gather here not only for the annual district governor visit, but to also help Rivers celebrate its 40th anniversary. Among the honoured guests will be charter members Ben Ward and Scotty McIntosh, both of whom now live in Brandon, and district governor Omer Champigny of Oak Lake.


Fifty-one members were chartered on April 24, 1975 at Oo-Za-We-Kwun Centre (Rivers airbase); Lloyd Diener was the first president. Meetings were held in Rivers Civic Centre and Rivers Cinema until they bought their own clubhouse, the former Inter City Gas office, which they sold in 2005. Life memberships have been presented to Scotty McIntosh and Don Young. The highest honour given by Lions International is the Melvin Jones Award; three have been presented by Rivers — to Rose Madder (community service) and Lions Basil Montague and Wally Hillier.


Ben Ward was the principal at Rivers Collegiate from 1969-76 and in 1977 he opened B.J.’s Solo Mart, an ancestor of Rivers Bigway Foods. Ben was also Lions president for two years (1976 and 1977); he has agreed to be the guest speaker for this invtiation-only gathering at which 90 people are expected.


Virden Lions sponsored Rivers and accepted only men as members; this was changed in 2010 when Tanya Cameron became the first female member. Today there are 22 active members (five women) in Rivers and Area Lions Club, a group whose goal is “devotion to community betterment.”