Lions roar into 50th birthday celebrations
FOR president Marj Johansen, being a member of the Lions Club of Gatton is all about giving her time - a precious commodity for many - to help others.
Mrs Johansen, who is preparing for the club's 50th anniversary celebrations to be held on February 16, said the work of Lions clubs locally and globally make significant differences for many people.
"It's giving people your time. And it gives you a thrill that you're doing something to help others,” she said.
Mrs Johansen said years ago, through the Goondiwindi Lions Club, she helped support a couple who were deaf and dumb through the sponsorship and training of a hearing dog.
She kept in touch and recently saw the woman they had helped and "her face just beams when she sees you and, to me, that's what 'Lionism' is all about”.
The Lions Club of Gatton was formed on April 3, 1968, with the induction of charter members, and Len Agnew as the first president.
The club now has about 15 members, including Mrs Johansen's husband Lawrie as treasurer and Bea Wallace as secretary.
"We inducted three new members into the club at our meeting last week so that was great,” Mrs Johansen said.
Mrs Johansen, who was the Gatton club's first female president in 2003, has been a member for 15 years with Mr Johansen clocking up 39 years of service - 21 of those in Gatton.
"We're out serving the community and trying to make a difference in the community. We try to help people,” Mrs Johansen said.
"We're a Lions family and one club looks after the other.
"It's a good club to be in and you get to meet people. Lawrie used to be a local postmaster and when you shift around with Australia Post we would get to know the community and get involved through Lions.
"It's a good way to meet people when you first move to a town. We've got friends all over Queensland.
"And we're just one big happy family when we all get together.”
Mrs Johansen said the club had been involved in various projects including the Potato Carnival (since 1968), Lights on the Hill, Blue Care and fundraising for a BMX track and a Lions Park.
"The club provided Blue Care with its first car 1n 1970 and we are still supporting them financially each year,” she said.
"And during the 2011 floods, the club donated tens of thousands of dollars to people in the area who were affected by the floods.”
Other projects have included Heavy Horse Day and Street Sprints, as well helping families with walkers for children with special needs and disabilities.
"In our community we may seem to be doing barbecues and bars but behind the scenes we also collect used spectacles which are refurbished and sent overseas to third world countries,” Mrs Johansen said.
She said the majority of local fundraising was for the chaplaincies at the Gatton State School and High School and Lockyer Blue Care.
Recently, the club also set up their own shed on Saleyards Rd for storage.
Mrs Johansen said the group was trying to get in touch with as many past members as possible for the 50th anniversary celebration at the Shire Hall.
For details about the celebrations or to share contact details about former club members, contact Marj Johansen on 54624864 or 0431252758 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.