An exceptional volunteer force, the Sooke Lions Club was formed in 1965. The Sooke Mirror of May 9, 1990 carried the accompanying photo, taken at their 25th Anniversary celebration at the Sooke Community Hall. If my memory is correct, it was Milt Gibson who spearheaded the formation of the Lions in Sooke.
It’s hard to believe that another 25 years have passed since these 12 former Lions presidents posed in a rare photo. Mainly, they seem to be men who avoid the cameras and consider their good deeds are even better if they are unheralded.
Left, Ian MacDonald, Evan Haldane, Roy Girling, Milt Gibson, John Wilson, Melvin Elrose, Cliiff Beange, Ken Shepherd, Pat Forrest, Mike Thomas, Leo Moreau and Tuck Vowles.
While the intervening 25 years has taken several stalwart Lions from us, some are still active in the community today. Of the first four fellows on the left, Ian, Roy and Milt are gone, but when I go out hiking on the Goose some mornings I meet Evan Haldane keeping in shape on his walk as well. Next in the line is John Wilson. John has had so much community involvement, both as president of the Sooke Community Association and the Lions he’s really well-known, but he’s a bit restricted now, with Ayre Manor as his home base.
Mel Elrose and Cliff Beange are each keeping the home fires burning in Otter Point, but Ken Shepherd, stalwart of both the Sooke Region Historical Society and the Lions, has gone to his rest. Pat Forrest, next, used to spend summers fishing in the Pacific and now grows fish at the Jack Brooks hatchery.
Mike Thomas is easy to recognize in his Town Crier outfit, a responsibility he carried out for the following 25 years as well. Leo Moreau is in front (I think he’s living up-island) while Tuck Vowles is trying to avoid being struck by Mike Thomas’ bell. While Tuck has gone, his influence carries on – Tuck made Mike take on the Town Crier job, threatening he wouldn’t take him out fishing unless Mike said ‘yes’. Tuck figured very prominently in building the museum and saving the Muir cemetery.
In 2015, the Lions will celebrate their 50th Anniversary, and you can be sure that both the hard work and the hi-jinks will still be carrying on.
Elida Peers, Historian
Sooke Region Museum