Lions of the Lions Club of Grand Cayman and Tropical Gardens, alongside Leos and other community partners, marked a milestone for the organization this month and welcomed new members.
Lions donned their blazers in pride on Jan. 14 at Ragazzi restaurant, where they celebrated the 138th birthday of founder Melvin Jones and recognized 100 years in “Lionism,” which aims to provide global community service. They also welcomed eight new Lions, a press release states.
In 1917 at age 38, Mr. Jones, a Chicago businessman, along with other businessmen, founded Lions Clubs to improve the community, according to the press release.
Mr. Jones urged members of his local business club to reach beyond business issues and address the betterment of their communities and the world. He asked, “What if these men, who are successful because of their drive, intelligence and ambition, were to put their talents to work improving their communities?”
A celebratory event is held annually to bring awareness of his achievements and devotion to service.
According to the release, the first Lions Club in the Cayman Islands was founded in October 1972 under the leadership of the late Thomas “Tommy” Hurlston.
Today Lions have more than 46,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and 1.4 million members worldwide, a press release states.
The new Lions inducted this month were Patricia Forbes, Michael Havlin, Georgia Harding, Florette Ancel and Patrice Hanson, who joined The Lions Club of Grand Cayman, and Andra Ebanks, Phillip Laing and Dionne Nmai, who joined the Tropical Gardens club.
Out of the Lions community, three were awarded the Melvin Jones Fellowship award: Ian Yearwood, Letitia Lawrence and Ewan Jacques.
Lions Tannya Mortimer, Alphonso Wright and Andrew Eden received Progressive Melvin Jones Fellowship awards.
“I am so proud to be a member of this honorable club and be a part of to this momentous occasion,” said Lions President Tannya Mortimer.
“As we approach our 100th anniversary in 2017, it’s a moment to look back on our long and proud tradition of service and the numerous achievements of our association with Lions around the world who continue to change lives through humanitarian service.”
Zone Chairwoman Deborah Ebanks noted the year brings a new era for the Cayman Lions family in forming their very own Zone: Zone 4C.
“As the inaugural chairperson, I am extremely proud that we continue to volunteer service to the less fortunate and to increase our numbers by another eight members which speaks volumes to the commitment of Lions ensuring that ‘Where there is a need, there is a Lion as We Serve.’”
Guest speaker Joel Walton, a past Leo, reflected on the evolution of Lions locally over the years, unity in Lionism and how collaboration achieves more.
He also encouraged Lions to continue the great service provided locally over more than four decades, concluding that no matter how long a Lion is absent, coming back to the club always feels like home.