A desire and willingness to give back to his community has led to half a century of dedicated service for a Summerside resident.
Roger Richard was in his early 20s when he joined the Summerside Lions Club in 1970.
“I got approached by a local member at the time,” said Richard.
“I was in business and figured I wanted to get involved in the community and this was a good stepping stone.”
Richard, who had perfect attendance for 23 of his first 29 years, celebrated his 50th anniversary with the Summerside Lions Club in March.
The Lions Club is the largest service club in the world in terms of numbers.
“If there’s a meeting you go there,” said Richard, who pointed out he could not have committed so much time over the years without the support of his wife, Louise.
Although he acknowledges it’s a milestone, Richard added it doesn’t seem like 50 years. He said “self-satisfaction and helping people out” have been the two biggest rewards.
Richard, who has held every position in the club except secretary and is a two-time Lion of the year, has been the manager of the Summerside Lions Housing Project for the last eight years. His versatility, dedication, strong work ethic and honesty has earned Richard the respect of his fellow members.
On the board
Positions Roger Richard has held with Summerside Lions Club:
- President (three times)
- First vice-president
- Second vice-president
- One- and two-year director
- Membership chair
- Tail Twister
- Deputy district governor
- President of Lions Housing
“He’s a guy full of wisdom and anything going on with the club,” said 30-year member Keith Small. “He always had his hand in a project and he did it right.
“You have to admire him for this and it made us stronger and eager to do it as well.”
Small added Richard’s point of view on things was always very clear and he was not afraid to let people know if something was bothering him.
Greg Deighan, who is also in his 30th year as a Lion, says it's been challenging to attract members these days. The club had approximately 35 members when Richard joined in 1970 and today there are just over 20.
“He's seen the good old days of fellowship and getting things done in the community,” said Deighan.
“Roger has the experience of what to do and how to get it done.”
One of Richard’s most memorable moments came in 2009 during a parade at an international convention in Minneapolis, which featured between 12,000 and 20,000 Lions from across the world.
“I just happened to turn around and there was this elderly lady behind me and we had our vests on with Summerside, P.E.I., and this lady said, ‘Thanks for coming’,” recalled Richard.
“The way it came out of her, you could tell it was coming right from the heart.”
Richard went on to say that memory “really hit home” while watching the recent news coverage following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
Richard has been recognized with three international awards. He received the International President’s Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of distinguished achievements in fulfilling the mission of Lions Club International in November 2014.
He was recently presented with a Milestone Chevron Award for 50 years of service that included a congratulatory letter from international president Dr. Jung-Yul Choi. The Chevron Award is named after the chevron symbol about a badge or insignia for rank or length of service.
Richard was also presented with the Gold Centennial Award.
When a person has worked on as many events as Richard has over the years, is there one in particular that stands out?
He answered one of favourite events is the club’s annual roast pork dinner, where approximately 550 meals are served.
“That has been a good money-maker for the club,” said Richard.
“You plan your project, follow your plan and you will be successful.”
At a glance
- The main purpose of the Lions Club is to promote the principles of good government and good citizenship. To take an active interest in the civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the community. To unite the clubs in the bonds of friendship, good fellowship and mutual understanding.
- Lions Club international was founded in 1917.
- The motto of Lions Clubs is “We Serve.”
- Lions Club International’s membership is 1,400,000