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Lions look to create a memorial forest in St. Clements park

Janet Pfaffinger at the newly constructed picnic shelter at St. Clements Lions Park. [Veronica Reiner / The Observer]

Long used as a living tribute for those who’ve passed on, memorial trees are the newest addition to the St. Clements Lions Park.

Saturday saw the Paradise and District Lions Club host a free community barbecue and dedication ceremony, putting in place a new memorial option for township residents.

Memorial trees were planted to honour several members of the community who were instrumental in helping the local Lions Club over the years: Joe Brick, Gerard Stemmler and Brad Voisin.

“They are three very wonderful people,” said Janet Pfaffinger, a member of the Paradise and District Lions Club.

Joe Brick was a 35-year member of the club. Along with his wife, Helen, he organized the very profitable weekly bingo, which continues to be held every Tuesday at 9 p.m. upstairs at the St. Clements Community Centre. Proceeds of all Lions events are always returned to the community.

Gerard Stemmler of Stemmler’s Meats aided the Lions at many of their functions through food donation, and advocated for the club. Brad Voisin was the Wellesley Township recreation director who helped out the Lions with many of their charitable efforts.

Along with the planting, the group celebrated the construction of a new picnic shelter, a $50,000 project funded by the Lions and now administered by the township. The event also featured free hot dogs, sausages, and refreshments; donations to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region were accepted.

“If people would like to remember a loved one and have a tree planted, we’re certainly willing to assist them with that,” said Pfaffinger. “They need to contact one of the Lions members, and we will make it happen.

“We’re not out to make any money off this, we simply want to provide the members of our community with the opportunity to plant a tree for one of their family members or loved ones.”

The trees planted would be located at the same location as the original three at the rear portion of St. Clements Lions Park. The goal is to fill the space with a memorial forest eventually.

The group used materials similar to that of the memorial trees found in Elmira along the Kissing Bridge Trail: stainless steel stakes with plates and a plaque.

Anyone interested in planting a memorial tree can contact one of the members of the Paradise and District Lions Club.

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