Paris Lions Club History – 1970s by Lion Diane McHutchion
Through the 1970s, the population of Paris grew by 1000 people. Our town was still a very attractive place in which to live and work. The boom of the 1950s and 1960s gave way to “stagflation” in the 1970s. “Stagflation”, a combination of stagnant economic growth and rise of inflation saw many “baby boomers” struggling to find their first jobs. Increasing numbers of families were spending close to half their incomes on housing alone. Women were going back to work in large numbers to financially help meet increasing household expenses. With both parents working, the return of “the latch key kids.” occurred. The needs of our community still existed and grew with this increased population. Our Paris Lions Club was there to help in so many varied ways.
Lions Park still had to be maintained and upgraded. In 1974, our Club received a grant to help build washrooms for the Park. In 1975, the Club donated $3500.00 to assist with the installation of a water heater in the pool. In 1979, a donation of $400.00 was used to help with the expenses of creating a soccer field between Lions Park and the Nith River. This was on top of the regular assistance our Club was providing the community.
Throughout the 1970s, our Paris Lions Club continued fundraising events. The purchase of a food truck greatly enhanced our fundraising efforts.
The Willett Hospital, as mentioned in previous articles, was (and still is) an absolute necessity for our community. Concerned with the possible closing of the Willett, our Club sent a letter to the then Premier of Ontario, William G. Davis, expressing serious concerns about this possible closing. Lions Clubs do not get involved with politics so sending this letter to the Premier demonstrated how serious this problem was for our community!
To demonstrate how much our Club supported the Willett Hospital, our major project for the 1970s was the purchase of a van with a hydraulic lift for the Hospital. With a grant received from Wintario plus monies raised by our Club, this van was finally presented to the Willett Hospital in January, 1978. Our then Mayor, Jack Bawcutt, said, “What we as a community think of our Hospital and the part it plays in our community is very evident. The Paris Lions Club is to be thoroughly commended. It was a first-class effort!”
A first-class effort……these words certainly defined our Paris Lions Club. There was a need, and our Club met that need, reflecting the dedication of our members to and for our community. This first-class effort continues, despite financial or social upheavals. This is what Lions do…. WE SERVE!!!