The June meeting marks the end of the fiscal year for all Lions Clubs. New officers are installed to start their term beginning July 1 and many awards are presented to members for their service to the club and community.
The first award presented at the FFG June affair was for “Lion of the Decade.” It was presented by Venita McAlvey, last year’s honoree, to Bob Gruber for his outstanding service. Gruber has been a dedicated Lion member for more than 21 years. One of his greatest contributions has been to share his bird carving talent for distinguished guests who attend club meetings. The birds are real life-size and painted to appear on a stand as the actual creature. It is certainly a gift to be cherished and displayed. He has also contributed his time and effort to many Lions Club programs. Gruber and wife, Genie, celebrated 62 years of marriage on June 14.
Last year’s winner of the “Lion of the Year” award was Marty Smith. He performed one of his last duties as this year’s president by awarding Bob Garwood with the honor for 2014. Garwood has been an active Lion member for more than 12 years and has served many club functions. He has been one of the secretaries for the past several years and will continue in that position for the coming year. He also took over the responsibility as benevolence chairman and member of the board of directors for the 2014-'15 year. Garwood and his wife, Peggy, celebrate 48 years of marriage on June 26.
The next presenter was past Lions President Ed Litman. Litman was honored in 2013 with the “Melvin Jones Fellow” Award. Melvin Jones was the founder of the Lions organization. This award is the highest honor a Lion can receive from the Lions Clubs International Foundation. Litman selected two FFG Lions, Dick Leach and Roger Quackenbush, to receive the award this year.
Leach has been a member of the Lions for 48 years. He transferred to the FFG Lions in 2001 after serving as president of the Deckerville and Bad Axe, MI clubs. He immediately became active with many programs and took on the duties of Tail Twister for several years and served three years as a member of the board. Leach is also active as a greeter with his church, volunteers at the Playhouse and is a regular visitor at the dog park with his good friend “Cooper.” Leach and wife, Barbara, have been married for 57 years.
Quackenbush joined the Lions in November 2004. He has served with sight and hearing testing, White Cane days, Travelogue program advertising, cheese sales and golf and charities committees. He also has been committee chairman for the laser and ink cartridge recycle program. Quackenbush and wife, Myrna, have been married for 53 years this December.
Darryl Wharton received the “Virginia Lindsey Award” last year and selected Paul Horman to accept the honors for 2014. This award was created for Virginia Lindsey, wife of Edward Lindsey who served as international president in 1966-'67. It is presented to a Lion who quickly demonstrates the purpose and mission of Lionism. This person shows willingness to serve and offers leadership skills and team participation. Horman has been a member of the FFG Lions for three years and has certainly demonstrated these qualities as an active member and committee member for photoscreening/KidSight testing program. Horman and wife, Karen, have been married 42 years.
The last presenter, but by no means the least, was Byron Buell. Buell received the “Lindsey-Jennings Fellow” award last year from the Tennessee Lions charities. This is the highest award given to a Tennessee Lion. It is in honor of two Tennessee Lions, Edward Lindsey and Austin Jennings, who served as international Lions Club presidents. Buell selected David Dougherty to receive the honor for 2014. Dougherty and his wife, Jeanne, both joined the FFG Lions Club 12 years ago. They have both been very active members with service to many programs including cheese sales and Travelogue ticket sales and perfect attendance. They have been married for 47 years.