As the town of Paris entered the 1980s, many challenges faced our citizens due to national events and ever economic worries. The ‘’stagflation” of the 1970s continued into the 1980s with interest rates skyrocketing. In April, 1982, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, called The Canada Act, became a reality. This act guaranteed every Canadian his or her fundamental political and civil rights. We Canadians also had our national heroes during the 1980s. Terry Fox captured the heart and support of our nation during his Marathon of Hope to fund cancer research. Rick Hansen began his worldwide Man in Motion tour to raise funds and awareness for spinal cord injuries.
Here in Paris, the population grew by another 1000 people. Our town continued to attract businesses and those individuals seeking the small-town life that Paris offered. Our Paris Lions Club boasted over 60 ambitious and energetic members. Our membership consisted of business people, individual citizens, and farmers. Meetings were held in various places such as the basement of the Willett Hospital, the golf course, the Arlington Hotel, and the White Horse restaurant. These friendly, dedicated Club members achieved many goals during the 1980s. Their conscientious fundraising resulted in the following successes:
- a $1500 donation to the Leader Dog program
- partnered with other organizations and businesses to donate a Jaws of Life to the Paris Fire Department
- through the sale of Olympic Candles, $925 was raised for the Olympic Torch Relay held in December 1982
- $4000 was donated to the Willett Hospital to furnish a room
- collected used eyeglasses (for 3rd world countries) and skates (for Northern Ontario Aboriginal communities)
- provided a van for the Willett Hospital through the town of Paris over a 2-year period
- donated to the Brantford Home for the Deaf and Blind
- purchased a special tricycle for a young girl in Paris
- purchased 2 talking books for the CNIB
- purchased a Slit-Lamp for the Willett Hospital
- provided $1000 to help upgrade the ice surfacing machine at the arena
- purchased a Sloat Cycle Tricycle that was hand propelled for a young lady with Spinal Bifida
- funded for the Willett Hospital, a telephone device which enabled deaf people to make appointments and enquiries
- donated $1000 to the Stonehenge Therapeutic Community
Of course, Our Club’s main focus was the continued upgrading and maintenance of Lions Park throughout the 1980s. Sadly, in 1983, Lions Park was badly vandalized with even our Lions Club statue being punched full of holes!
In retrospect, the 1980s had its fair share of challenges but many moments to make us proud Canadians. Here in Paris, our Paris Lions Club kept on serving its citizens with enthusiasm and respect. The glow cast by the light of the “greater good” shone brightly!
How can anyone not be proud to be a member of our Paris Lions Club?