Tough love

By on February 21, 2014

‘Roar’ Comedy Central-Style roast for Chris Halsey
Wednesday, March 12
Elburn Lions Park 500 S. Filmore St., Elburn 6 p.m.
$25 donation per person RSVP by Friday, Feb. 28, at (630) 365-6315

Friends, colleagues to ‘roast’ Elburn Lion Halsey 
ELBURN—”Fun-loving” and “big hearted” are words mentioned quickly whenever Chris Halsey’s friends and fellow Lions Club members are asked to describe him. But it’s not long before they start talking about his leadership.

Those leadership skills will soon come to his biggest test thus far, when he takes on the role of District Governor for Lions Club District 1J. As District Governor, Halsey will have responsibility for working with the 63 Lions Clubs in the district, mentoring and providing leadership for the club’s presidents.

But before he takes on that mantle, his fellow Lions Club members, as well as anyone else who wants to pile on, will have one last opportunity to show a little disrespect to Halsey, the longtime Elburn Lion, at a roast in his honor.

The event, a Comedy Central-style roast, or “Roar,” will take place on Wednesday, March 12, at 6 p.m. at Lions Park, 500 S. Filmore St. in Elburn.

The fundraiser, a $25 donation per person, will raise funds for the extensive travel Halsey will undertake during his term as district governor.

Among the “roasters” is Elburn Village President Dave Anderson, who will join in the fun remotely from his vacation in Arizona.

Anderson has known Halsey since they were in grade school, and he said the two have always been friends. Anderson said that he has nothing but the utmost love and respect for Halsey, with the admission of, “Oh man, did we have fun.”

“I could tell you a million stories,” Anderson said.

And that’s just the idea.

“I’ll probably be red-faced through all of it, but that’s OK,” he said.

Halsey said he’s looking forward to seeing all of his friends and some former classmates. He knows they will pull out all the stops on anecdotes about his life, from the time when he had light red curly hair to the present time, with his shaven “Mr. Clean” look.

Halsey said he probably won’t be able to dispute most of the stories, but noted that sometimes the story gets bigger with each telling, including John Stoffa’s version of the time Halsey started a “small-scale riot” outside of McDonald’s, when he stepped in to defend a disabled boy who was being harassed by some other kids.

But when it comes to his involvement with the Elburn Lions Club, Halsey gets serious for a moment.

“The greatest thing in the world is to be able to help somebody less fortunate than you,” he said.

The Elburn Lions Club certainly has given him that opportunity. The Lions Club’s primary mission is to help the blind and visually impaired, locally through providing service dogs to individuals, as well as internationally through providing vision screening and glasses to people around the world.

The Lions are also involved in a variety of other activities to improve their communities and help people in need, such as assisting the hearing impaired, as well as working with diabetes awareness and education, environmental projects and youth programs.

Halsey, who has been a member since 1996, has made many contributions to the club, initiating such fundraisers as Bingo and a club motorcycle ride, as well as a free spaghetti dinner. He is a key organizer for the annual Lions-sponsored Elburn Days community festival, working tirelessly throughout the event to make it the success that it is.

With 185 members, the Elburn club is the largest in the state, as well as the most active in raising money for the various charities they support. They also work hard to maintain the 26-acre park where three ball fields serve Elburn baseball teams, and children can play on handicapped-accessible playground equipment.

“The Elburn Lions Club works as a team; we work well together and we get a lot done,” Halsey said.

Halsey will have the distinction of being the first Elburn Lions Club member to be chosen district governor. As the governor of one of 11 districts in the state, he will travel approximately 30,000 miles during his year-long term, visiting clubs and attending club events, as well as the international convention in Toronto.

His goal for his term as governor is to help ensure that club presidents are effective leaders, and he hopes to work with them toward that end. Halsey said the last two clubs that folded within the district were due to a lack of leadership, and he hopes to help others develop those strengths.

Friend and past district governor Leo Smith of South Elgin, Ill., said that Halsey will make an outstanding governor. He said that being a district governor is a big honor and a whole lot of work, and that Halsey is definitely up to the task.

“He’s up-front with everyone, and he tells it as it is,” Smith said. “He knows what he’s talking about, and he’s a good leader all the way around.”

Halsey said that everyone is welcome to attend the Elburn Lions Roar to enjoy a great meal and hear some interesting stories. To attend the event, RSVP to (630) 365-6315 by Saturday, Feb. 28.