When it comes to the Lions International’s motto “We Serve”, few take it to heart like Mary Heimbecker of Port Elgin.
A Lion for almost 20 years, she has worked tirelessly for the organization and has served in a wide variety of capacities, including secretary and treasurer, ‘caller at the televised bingo games’ and is seen at Lions’ fundraising events such as local BBQs.
Heimbecker is so committed to the organization that she has an entire room in her home dedicated to Lions memorabilia, including the brass door knocker at the entrance.
Once inside the room, there is evidence of her achievements everywhere, from special certificates of appreciation on the wall to the special Melvin Jones Fellow award for dedicated Humanitarian Services.
In addition, she has hundreds of Lions’ pins from around the world that not only adorn her wall but also the vest that she wears proudly on special occasions, such as Club donations to various causes like the support of children’s events at the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre.
Throughout her home are Lions given to her by fellow Club members and those who know she is an avid collector.
Local Lions Club programs include sight conservation, hearing and speech conservation, diabetes awareness, youth outreach, international relations, environmental issues, and many other programs. The discussion of politics and religion is forbidden. The LIONS acronym also stands for Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nations’ Safety.
As of June, 2018, there is a membership of over 1.7 million members worldwide in the organization that was was founded in Evansville, Indiana on 24 October 1916 by Dr. William Perry Woods. All funds raised by Lions Clubs from the general public are used for charitable purposes, and administrative costs are kept strictly separate and paid for by members. Some of the money raised for a club’s charity account goes toward projects that benefit the local community of an individual club.
The Lions’ motto “We Serve” is one that Mary Heimbecker lives by … not only at Lions’ events but in her daily life.