Community

Lion of the Year named

John Moralek, president of the North Surrey Lions Club, was named Lion of the Year for District 19H this week – the same week he learned  Mayor Dianne Watts had proclaimed today (Friday, March 18) International Lions Day in Surrey.  - Boaz Joseph / The Leader
John Moralek, president of the North Surrey Lions Club, was named Lion of the Year for District 19H this week – the same week he learned Mayor Dianne Watts had proclaimed today (Friday, March 18) International Lions Day in Surrey.
— image credit: Boaz Joseph / The Leader

In the wild, lions feast on wildebeest, zebras and the odd water buffalo.

Locally, the staples of the North Surrey Lions – a group of more than three dozen volunteers dedicated to helping community groups – are pancake breakfasts, burger sales and meat draws.

The cash donations the club receives from doling out sausages and flapjacks – along with silent and live auctions – support such charities as the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Surrey Christmas Bureau and the Centre for Child Development.

There were nearly 30 organizations that benefitted last year from the $25,000 raised by the North Surrey Lions, says president John Moralek.

Moralek, a former auctioneer who has been with the club for five years, was named Lion of the Year for District 19H this week – the same week he learned that Mayor Dianne Watts had proclaimed today (Friday, March 18) International Lions Day in Surrey.

“There’s a lot of hard-working Lions out there,” Moralek says.

“They had to choose one, and I happened to be fortunate enough to be the one chosen. It’s not something one person can do, they have to have a good club supporting them.”

The North Surrey Lions is one of 45,000 Lions Clubs with 1.35 million members around the globe. It’s said to be the largest service organization in the world, and has recently pledged $1.25 million to aid post-earthquake Japan.

Locally, the North Surrey Lions have built wheelchair ramps in homes, donated to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. and supported community sports teams.

This weekend, they’ll have concession stands at Newton Athletic Park at the Mayor’s Cup Soccer Tournament. (The Cloverdale Lions will have a similar setup at Cloverdale Athletic Park).

Ongoing projects include Mile of Toonies, which is hoped to collect $110,000 for SMH with the help of Prospera Credit Union (where they’re collecting donations from the public) and other fundraising ventures.

Membership at the North Surrey Lions has remained stable over the years at 39.

“It’s actually pretty even this year – we hope to grow a little bit yet,” says first vice-president Chuck Leblanc, who is also the zone chair for the nine clubs of Zone 19H.

To bring fresh blood into their ranks, the North Surrey Lions formed a local Leo Club for students aged 14-16 last fall. The group’s 13 young volunteers, based at Kwantlen Park Secondary School, helped raise money for the Surrey Christmas Bureau.

The North Surrey Lions Club meets the first and third Tuesday of every month from September to June at the Compass Point Inn (9850 King George Hwy.) from 7-9 p.m. New members are welcome.

On April 29, the club will host its Reverse Draw Dinner at 7 p.m. at Compass Point Inn. Tickets for this fundraiser are $50. Visitors have a 10 per cent chance of a free dinner with the reverse draw. One winner will get $1,000. For more information, call John Moralek at 604-230-4244.

For more information about the club, visit www.northsurreylionsclub.com

bjoseph@surreyleader.com

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