Lions clubs rally in Little Current to boost morale during pandemic

Lions International District A5 Governor Carmen Portelance, left, stands with new Lions recruits.

LITTLE CURRENT – Lions International District A5 Governor Carmen Portelance had a key message for the communities her Lions clubs serve in Ontario and Quebec: “We’re back!”

Lion Portelance said she was “pleased” with the turnout at a recent rally held at the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre.

“This is the first rally of its kind we have held,” said Lion Portelance. “We are here to let people know that, not only are we back, we never left. Lions clubs across the district have continued to follow our motto ‘We Serve’ throughout the pandemic, we just have not been as visible as we would normally be during the pandemic.”

Lion Portelance said her club members have been engaged in more one-on-one and individual works during the COVID-19 restrictions. “Our clubs have found innovative ways to continue to serve our communities,” she said. “I am very proud of the work Lions have done and continue to do.”

Lion Portelance was joined by her first and second vice-governors as they brought words of encouragement and hope from Lions International president and council chair Douglas X. Alexander.

The messages from HQ exhorted Lions to show their colours, as the distinctive gold and blue have been too long missing from the streets of their communities.

Each of the messages from the council table relayed stories of how Lions wearing their colours in public in recent days were hailed with salutations saying how pleased people were to see Lions making their presence known once again.

The rally held at the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre was the first of several such events the A5 District governor is planning to help Lions re-engage with themselves and the communities they serve.

“This pandemic has been hard on everyone, especially here,” said Lion Portelance, pointing to her temple. Lions, she noted, tend to be very community-minded and engaged. The service club also has a very important social aspect, as club members join in a sense of mutual accomplishment when they pull off major, or even minor, events. It is a sense of camaraderie that holds a club together and, unfortunately, without being able to gather together for meetings or hold events, many Lions clubs are seeing their numbers drop.

Lions attending the rally were encouraged to bring along a friend and several did just that. Lion Portelance handed each prospective new member one of her pins (many Lions Club members collect such pins, their vests festooned with a colourful variety that they have amassed over the years.)

Lion Portelance expressed the hope felt by many that events such as the Little Current Lions Haweater Weekend could be held once again this summer. “Our clubs are beginning to re-emerge from isolation,” she said of the pandemic. “Hopefully, this will soon all be behind us.”