For over 80 years, the Bradford Lions Club has been serving its community.
And this week, it welcomed two more lions into the pack.
Lucia Kuzhargaira and Andrew de Baeremaeker were inducted as local Lions on May 22, receiving their centenary pins and Lions vests, and a roaring welcome from other members.
“I grew up in Bradford and just wanted to start giving back to the community,” said De Baeremaeker, who played at Lion’s Park as a child and later attended the annual Lions car draws.
Kuzhargaira first learned of Lions Clubs in Zimbabwe, where a cousin was involved.
“She’s going places, she’s doing things, she’s helping the underprivileged,” Kuzhargaira said. After coming to Canada in 2011, she saw how the Lions were active in the community, Googled “Lions International,” and was invited to join the local club.
At the induction ceremony, the new Lions promised to uphold the club’s code of ethics, which encompasses quality of service, a commitment to honest dealing and true friendship, dedication to providing “aid to the weak, substance to the needy,” and meeting all obligations as a citizen with “unswerving loyalty in word, act and deed.”
They received members pins from their sponsors, certificates from current president Bob Pegg, and their blue-and-gold vests from incoming president, Jennifer Pegg — and three cheers from their 30 fellow Lions.
The service club has provided “unparalleled service to Lions Club International and the local community,” said Gavin Mclean, A-12 Zone chair, at the induction ceremony.
The organization is now “the largest and most active service club in existence” with 1.4 million members worldwide, he said. “Membership in the Lions Club is a privilege.”
Lions International was founded in 1917 by businessman Melvin Jones.
The local branch was founded in 1937, and it has supported a number of groups and causes, including minor sports, Southlake Regional Health Centre, the food bank, and events such as the Santa Claus Parade.
It has also supported the town’s recreational facilities — from the Lion’s Park on Colbourne Street, to an accessible addition at the Bradford & District Memorial Community Centre, ball diamonds at Joe Magani Park, the new Bradford Lions Aquatics Centre at the Bradford West Gwillimbury Leisure Centre, and now newly-opened Henderson Memorial Park.