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In its twenty-five years of service to the community the Erickson Lions Club has donated varying amounts of money to a multitude of causes and projects. Following the tradition of Lionism's Special concern for the blind it collected old eyeglasses, canvassed for eye donors, donated to the CNlB and the Blind Golfers Association, and contributed to the Lions Sight Conservation Committee. Along the same line, it made regular donations to groups such as the Children's Aid Society and the Canadian Arthritic and Rheumatism Society. It also supported the Lions Hearing Foundation. It helped a child from Rainy river who was in need of heart surgery, and donated a radio to a local student in hospital with cancer. It made contributions to the Erickson Cubs, the 4-H, the Science Fair, and the school-sponsored field trips. It regularly provides a Grade 12 scholarship. In the field of sports and youth, the Lions built and maintained a kiddies' playground. It provided raincoats for the school patrol, sweaters, hockey sticks, and goalie equipment for hockey teams, and uniforms for baseball teams. It built a track for Track and Field meets.
Ditch Lake, the site of numerous Lion fish derbies, was the scene of many Lion work parties. There they cleared and enlarged the beach, provided another change house, and built a stone dam, a barbecue and a pier.
In the area of health, as in other fields, nothing was too small or too great not to deserve the Lions Club at tention. A hospital room was furnished, and hospital signs were put up. In pre-ambulance days needy persons' trips were paid by the club. Then when the need arose the club lobbied for an ambulance. And with the help of the community, as usual, it made the initial large con tribution that made the dream possible. Later came the two-way radios. And the two wheelchairs that were purchased brought some independence to two deserving individuals who, by their courage, inspire everyone.
The Erickson Lions Club owes a large part of its success to the support of the community and its different organizations. In turn it has always strived to cooperate with these organizations and to help them if the need arose. It has helped the Women's Institute, the Flying Club and the Legion, when they needed new or renovated premises. It helped with the construction of Parkland Home, and later provided the residents with a shuf fleboard. It has, on numerous occasions, donated money to the old Memorial Arena, and helped with its main tenance. Finally, after starting the movements for a curling rink-recreation centre and a new skating arena, the Lions Club made substantial donations to these two projects to insure that these dreams would become reality.
The Erickson Lions Club has given Christmas hampers to the needy, it has provided Main Street with garbage receptacles. It has helped the village celebrate its sixtieth anniversary, and it sponsored Pastor Fredrickson on his marathon swim across Clear Lake. Truly, the Lions have observed their motto "We Serve".
No history of the Lions Club of Erickson would be complete without a reference to their Viking Valley Snow Festival. This winter activity has been a major un dertaking of the club for many years. It did not very often bring in much profits, yet it required on the part of
its members tremendous amounts of time and energy. But it has been all very worthwhile. The festival put Erickson and the Vikings on the map, and provided past and present residents with an opportunity to come to town and celebrate together. Who remembers these events associated with the Snow Festival? The Teen Hop at the collegiate and the Festival Queen, the Monday night old-time dance and the Mad Vikings, the smoosh races and the hootenaney, the beard growing contests and the snow sculptures, the Casino Royale and the Viking bucks, the festival buttons and the painted transfer truck, the Ski-doo Rally and ... the Manitoba Power Toboggan Championships.
The Erickson Club is a member of Lions International.
The Erickson Lions have therefore always looked beyond the borders of their immediate community. They have visited other clubs, attended district conventions, and entered the Erickson float in their parades. Many of its members have accepted the responsibility of positions on the district cabinet, such as zone chairman, and even as deputy district governor. The Erickson Club is proud to have sponsored three Lion Clubs, namely Rossburn, Minnedosa and Sandy Lake.
In 1982 the Erickson Lions Club celebrated its 25th anniversary. A highlight during these twenty-five years of service must be the part it played in the visit by Her Majesty the Queen. As few people may know the Erickson Lions were asked by the Brandon District of the RCMP to help set up and maintain crowd control on that occasion. And on that day the Lions, with the Legion, were there to see that everything went smoothly when Her Majesty received, from the native students, a history of their Reserve.
The Erickson Lions Club feels that it has served Erickson and district well. This was possible through the dedication and hard work of its members, and the cooperation of the community. More than a hundred men have, at one time or another, been members of the club. The Lions' wives, and many other individuals in the community, all have helped to make the club's work a success. Because of the Lions Club, Erickson is a better place today.
ERICKSON WOMEN'S INSTITUTE
During the First World War, the women of the Erickson Community had an active Red Cross which was discontinued when hostilities ceased. The only women's organizations continuing to function were those within the churches. However a local need was felt and "The Relief Society" was organized which served the area as needs arose. When the depression came and demands for help were more frequent and there was less with which to meet the needs, the burden became too great for the few remaining members and they were forced to disband. At times the suggestion for organizing a Women's Institute had been discussed. Opposition and disinterest, due probably to lack of knowledge of the aims, and work of this national organization, caused it to lie dormant a few years.