Past International President Barry Palmer often talks about the day he joined Lions. No, it wasn’t the day he was inducted, but the day he first became aware of what our Organisation does and why we are here to serve.
Today was such a day for me. Having been inducted by the late PDG Reg Tiller in 1991, I have held many positions at Club, District, Multiple District and even International levels, however, today was far more important than any of those roles.
Late yesterday afternoon, I became aware of a local family whose house had been completely demolished by fire around midnight, the day before yesterday. Mum, Dad (who is severely disabled) and three teenage girls got out with only the clothes (the girls in pyjamas) that they were wearing at the time.
At the suggestion of SA/NT ALF Director, Yvonne Bradford, I rang ALF Chairman, Tony Benbow who informed me that an emergency grant of $5,500 would be available. He asked if I could put the details in an email and he would run it by the other ALF people around Australia. His email arrived this morning confirming that the grant had been approved.
I was about to leave and go to inform the family, however, was interrupted by two new potential Lion members who had been sponsored by one of our members and called in to complete application forms to join our Club. They had been to 3 meetings and had seen enough to want to be involved. WOW, 2 new members!
After an hour or so of getting to know these lovely people and filling in forms, they left and so did I.
I met with the family (who literally had lost everything), to introduce myself and inform them that Lions had approved (in less than 24 hours) a grant of $5,500 to assist them with their immediate needs. After much emotion and many tears (all around) the message had finally sunk in. I could only imagine what they must have been going through, no clothes, money, credit cards, house, furniture, cars, the list goes on. The eldest daughter was due to sit for her final year 12 exam the day after the fire.
Fortunately, the husband’s mother lives close by and had room to take them in and at least provide a temporary roof over their heads. They are insured and their insurance company is seeking out rental accommodation until they make other arrangements.
All they could do was give me a hug and say “Thank you Lions”.
What a day in the life of a Lion – 2 new members and helping a devastated family in their darkest hour.
PDG Don Pritchard
Crystal Brook Branch of the Lions Club of Rocky River