An event titled “Annual Appreciation Dinner” was held by the local Fernie Lions Club as an expression of gratitude to their volunteers this past Saturday, February 25, 2017 at the Legion Hall.

Members from Fernie and Sparwood gathered to enjoy a delicious meal prepared by the Earl McPeek and his crew. But this was no simple meal, It included a huge assortment of salads, fresh and pickled vegetables, fruit trays, devilled eggs, mashed potoatoes, roast beef and chicken cordon bleu, with all the fixings, and a wonderful cake smothered with blue berry compote and fresh cream for dessert.

Long-time member Rick Ganter, a recipient of the Fernie Citizen of the Year award a couple of years ago for the many hours of dedicated service to this community helped to organize the event along with Tom Murdoch, Paul Storey and Chuck Shoesmith, also strong volunteers and long- time members.

President Ted Shoesmith introduced the head table with Majors David and Edith Dean of the Salvation Army, Mayor Mary Giuliano and husband Nick and himself. Corinne Hoetmer was unable to attend this year but has retained the position of secretary, Lions treasurer is Rick Ganter with Ted Shoesmith remaining as president.

The Fernie Lions have been a supportive club for this area fundraising to help the hearing impaired and those with special needs. They are identified with and well known for the hugely popular Demolition Derby event that they organize each year on Labour Day that attracts thousands of people from surrounding areas to view the exciting competition.

Members present from Sparwood included longest member Ron Linkert (44 years).

This year local author Keith Liggett attended and brought along a box of his books “Fernie Originals” to gift to all the attendees which was a lovely surprise for everyone. Ted said Keith is very much an appreciated volunteer for the Lions Club.

In my role as Mayor, I thanked the Lions and all the volunteers on behalf of Council and the City of Fernie, saying “Congratulations for all the enthusiasm and diligence you show year after year and for all that you accomplish. Volunteers like you are the heart and soul of our communities; without you the clubs wouldn’t survive and events such as the Demo Derby wouldn’t exist. Council is fully aware of the important contributions all of you, our most valued volunteers make towards making life easier for citizens and for the communities as a whole and we are grateful and thank you for what you do.

The Lions Club is always willing to assist other groups in need, the members do a lot of things together as a collective aside from the work they do on their own. Members help with the Salvation Army Kettle campaign in December as well as donate hampers to those in need. They serve treats at the senior homes like Rocky Mountain Village and Tom Uphill Manor and provide funding to Girl Guides, Brownies, the junior golf program and the junior Ghostriders hockey team.

They tend bar at social events, and perform security at the figure skating events and hockey games, they donate to Stars, to seniors cribbage and tournaments, to the Ghostrider team, and they have purchased kids golf team jerseys. These are only some of what this group does to assist the communities in the area.

The Club is always looking for new members, if you enjoy being part of a group that accomplishes so much for your community please get in touch with any Lions member for information to join.
To end the evening Ted Shoesmith thanked all the volunteers for coming and those that prepared the meal.

It bears repeating that volunteers are special people, this community wouldn’t be what it is without the efforts of volunteers. We can’t thank those that give of themselves enough for all that they contribute.

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