The Haliburton and District Lions Club has received recognition at the international level thanks to the dedication of two members.

Mary Lawr was awarded the International Leadership Medal for her role as club Service Chair, with the club placing among the top 20 in Canada. Betty Mills was awarded the International President’s Medal as Global Service Chair for local District A-16, which was counted as one of the top 10 districts in Canada.

These honours are made even more important by the club’s small size, at 32 members. The club covers Stanhope, West Guilford, Haliburton, Wilberforce, Harcourt, Cardiff and Highland Grove regions.

Due to pandemic precautions, the certificates and medals were couriered to the winners.

“I was very honoured and proud, but I would not have received this medal without the work of our club members,” said Lawr.

Mills called her award “a wonderful surprise” and also pointed to her team for their part in the achievement.

Lawr’s service has included tree planting and gathering food for the Food Bank. She operated the Good Food Box program, which is now overseen by the local Rotary Club branch.

“My passion with Lions is really Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides program and raising funds through our Walk for Dog Guides, and of course our wonderful Santa Claus parade with our great float,” said Lawr.

As Global Service Chair, Mills worked for two years to help the 52 clubs in District A-16 improve their service reporting.

“Those clubs were doing lots of service work, they just weren’t telling anybody about it,” said Mills. She held workshops and increased reporting significantly.

Mills noted that service reports help the international office prove to large investors that funding Lions projects is worthwhile. They also enable clubs to encourage local fundraising by demonstrating effective results.

The local club raises at least $15,000 annually from the popular Polar Plunge alone. Fundraisers such as the toll bridge campaign have gone virtual because of the pandemic. With everything the club takes on, it appears there’s never a pause in finding good causes. According to Mills, local Lions are now investigating whether service clubs can be helpful when coronavirus vaccinations are available to be administered.

Lawr and Mills have been full club members for 15 and 14 years respectively and highly recommend the experience.

“Being there for the community when they need us is important and if you decide you want to join our club be prepared to work hard, enjoy social events, and just be proud to serve your community,” said Lawr.

“Consider joining a service club, helping others and enriching your life,” said Mills.

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