Not unfamiliar to recognition for his efforts through the Elmira Lions Club, Art Woods was awarded the International President’s Recognition Award at the District A-15 convention in Elmira last weekend.
He was one of only three members in Canada to receive the honour, and he says there are many Lions members who have helped make the local club such a success.
“I would like to emphasize it’s easy to generate ideas and get things done when you’ve got great people like the Elmira Lions Club to back you and support you. I couldn’t do it alone. It should be an award for the whole club, really,” Woods said.
There are three main areas of involvement that Lions can have been involved in to qualify for the award. A Lions member recommends someone to the international president, gives them the background information on the nominated member’s contribution and the international president decides by his or herself.
“This year our international president is from Japan, so it’s quite special in my world to have received it based on the judgment from someone from Japan,” Woods said.
He says the award is given out to members who have provided services beyond the usual expectations of a Lions member, as deemed appropriate by the international president.
Woods previously was the director of The International Association of Lions Clubs from 2001-2003 and has been a member of the Elmira Lions Club since 1972.
Some of his past awards include the 100% Club President’s Award, Membership Key Award, the 100% District Governor’s Award, three International President’s Awards, the International Leadership Award and the Ambassador of Good Will Award.
It came as a total surprise when he was given this award.
“I thought I was over my award receiving days. I’ve been around for a long time and have received most of the awards available in the world of Lion-ism, and hadn’t even thought of this coming up, for sure. Obviously I can thank a few people for making it happen,” Woods said.
One of the reasons he was given the award is through the years he’s given a lot of pro-bono services to Lions clubs and other not for profit organizations. Woods is a retired lawyer.
“One thing that was mentioned is I’ve incorporated close to 100 of these organizations around Ontario primarily, and offered my services to a variety of projects, and I’m happy to do it,” Woods said.
Some of the Elmira Lions Club work he’s proud of includes the trails, Lions Park, and Lions Hall. He started the first Lions trail in Elmira and has been involved with the trails for the past 35 years. Now, he looks after Lions Hall.
“The main Kissing Bridge Trail on a nice, warm Saturday or Sunday afternoon is almost becoming like the 401,” Woods says with a laugh. “And that’s wonderful, that’s what they’re for.”
Lions Club International is focused on helping with the wildfires in Fort McMurray right now. Locally, they’re getting ready to do spring work on the trails, roadside cleanup this Thursday, and their memorial forest dedication on June 12.
“I joined because I wanted to be involved in something to help the community and beyond but I had no idea when I joined what all Lions were doing. We are the biggest service club in the world, 1.4 million members roughly, a huge amount of work being done worldwide… If you’re interested and any good and want to continue, you can have things to do for the rest of your life.”