Lions come from near and far for Halsey

By on March 22, 2014
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ELBURN—Lions Club members came from close by and far away to roast—and to honor —Chris Halsey, who will soon become the first Elburn Lions Club member to be chosen district governor.

The event, a Comedy Central-style roast—or “ROAR,” as the Lions Club calls it—took place on the evening of March 12 at Lions Park in Elburn.

The fundraiser, at $25 donation per person, raised money to help with expenses for the extensive travel Halsey will be doing during his term as district governor.

Lions were there from Elgin, Bartlett, Ill., Sycamore and DeKalb, as well as those from the Elburn Club, for the evening of entertainment, raffles, drinks and dinner.

Elburn Lion Cliff Johnson, who at 98 years old is the club’s oldest living member, was on-hand for the festivities. Johnson stopped counting how many years he’s been a Lion after he received his 60-year pin.

“I was a member when we bought the land for the park,” he said.

Johnson, who currently lives in Oak Crest in DeKalb, said he was “very happy to be at the doings.”

“I’m real proud of him getting to be governor,” Johnson said of Halsey.

One Elburn Club member had the distinction of attending via speaker phone from Arizona: Elburn Village President Dave Anderson.

Anderson, who’s been a friend of Halsey’s since the two were young boys, regaled the audience with stories of Halsey’s youth.

Additional roasters imparted their own humorous stories about Halsey throughout the night.

Some common themes were “liquid refreshment” and his life “BC,” or “Before Cindy.”

Halsey’s wife Cindy took all the joking about how many wives Chris has had in stride, and also had her turn at the microphone.

“Chris gives his heart to the club,” she said. “He will do the district and the club proud.”

As the governor of one of eleven districts in the state, Halsey will provide mentoring and leadership for the 63 clubs located in the district. 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.

Halsey has been in training for this position for the last 14 years, when he became Elburn Lions Club president. Since then, he has taken on roles of more and higher responsibility within the Lions International organization.

Most importantly, Halsey said that the Lions Club has given him the opportunity to continue to do what he considers to be the greatest thing in the world: “to help somebody less fortunate than you.”

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, and working with diabetes awareness and education, environmental projects and youth programs.

With 185 members, the Elburn club is the largest in the state, as well as the most active. The club also has an active Leos Club, made up of young people with a desire to help.

When children even younger than the required age to become a Leo showed interest in participating, Halsey was instrumental in creating the Jr. Leos, getting the children started in service at an early age.

Halsey wrapped up the evening with his own words to the group.

“Next year, I will be representing District 1J and the village of Elburn, and I promise you I’ll work hard and I’ll be the best governor I can possibly be,” he said.