The South Edmonton Lions Club was chartered on May 17,1954.  They were sponsored by the Edmonton Host Lions Club.  Eight local clubs joined the South Edmonton Lions Club for a banquet and social evening at Baron’s Fiesta Room in Edmonton.  Mayor William Hawrelak attended the first charter night and extended his best wishes to the newly formed Lions Club with its 29 members.


Charter members included: 

President:  C.H. Annable,  Secretary:  L.R. Coombe,  Treasurer:  R. Osten 

Members:  A. H. Allen, J.F. Belk, E.R. Boynton, D. Breakwell, G.L. Davies, J.C. Dubeta, E.L. Dinneen, A.S. Gibson, P. Guenette, J.R. Holmes, C.E.Johnston, W. Korli, G.O.Lundgren, G.D.McNamara,  D.H. Moore, M.L.Reeson, S. Riskin, V. Sadaway, H.A. Scott, R.D. Smith,  J.H.Stephanson,  J.A.Stewart, R. Teskey, W.J. Urquhart, G.R. Scott, E.A.Wattie                                              

 Special Projects: 

Callow Coach

In 1959 South Edmonton Lions Club purchased a wheelchair bus (The Walter Callow Coach), named after Walter Callow, a paraplegic veteran of the First World War. Mr. Callow invented a hydraulic ramp to allow wheelchair access onto a bus. This type of bus was the first of its kind in Edmonton and the second in western Canada that allowed transport of handicapped people. With the purchase of this bus handicapped people, especially war veterans who had been confined to their beds for many years now had the opportunity to go on outings for such activities as viewing the Christmas lights, picnics, public events, shows, etc. The Lions raised over $35,000 dollars for the bus as well as additional $40,000 in funds to operate it including a driver, nurse, operating, expenses and storage.  They were very enthusiastic and inventive in their fundraising for this project.  Revenue was raised from auction sales, first aid kit sales, CHED Radio support campaign (March of Dimes), Donation from Leduc Lions Club. The coach operated for approximately twenty years and was the forerunner of the Edmonton Handibus Association which eventually evolved into DATS operated by Edmonton Transit System.


Sung Kwang Won Orphanage, Pusan, Korea

South Edmonton Lions began supporting this orphanage in Korea in 1961, beginning by sending food parcels through Care of Canada.  In 1974/75 the club began sending small cash donations to the orphanage at Christmas for treats for the children.  Larger cash donations were sent on an annual basis for upkeep and furnishings. Over the years, various Lions had the privilege of visiting the orphanage on their way back from Lions International conferences in Japan. Correspondence with the Directress of the orphanage, Hong Ung Soo, continued over the following years.

In one of these letters the club was informed of a young child, Chin Wook who was found wandering the streets of Pusan and was taken in by the orphanage.  As he grew older he acquired a talent for wood carving.  SELC received 60 statues carved by Chin Wook.  These statues came to be known as “Chin Wooks”.  Although the statues were meant as a gift for each club member, SELC decided to donate money for them and collected $1,000 from their members.  It was specified that some of this money be set aside for Chin Wook for his future schooling. 

The relationship with the orphanage continued for more than 30 years.  Chin Wook was sponsored in a Lions Youth Exchange program.  He stayed four weeks in Edmonton during the Japanese student exchange.  The Directress, Hong Ung Soo was also provided assistance to visit SELC while she was in Iowa visiting some relatives.  She later developed cancer and passed away at age 62.  Chin Wook provided SELC with details of her work and legacy.  The orphanage closed and became the Korean Welfare Center, providing training for poor Korean women.

Chin Wook eventually married and had a family.  He and his wife assisted at the Welfare Center and he went on to become a professor of economics at Pusan National University.  Edmonton Host member, Lion Harry Anderson visited Chin Wook in Pusan on his return from an International Convention in Seoul.  Chin Wook was very grateful for SELC support of the orphanage and also how his life was changed forever by the club’s generosity.


Funabashi Higashi Lions Club Twinning

The Funabashi Higashi Lions Club in Japan initiated a twinning request with the Edmonton Host Lions Club.  Since the Edmonton Host Club was already twinned, they recommended the South Edmonton Lions.  After many meetings and discussions the twinning ceremony took place on June 8,1980 at the #700 Wing of the Royal Canadian Air Force in Edmonton.  Lions International President Lion Lloyd Morgan of New Zealand was present to conduct the ceremony.  Dr. T. Natori, President of the Funabashi Higashi Lions invited South Edmonton Lions members to attend their 10th charter anniversary in Funabashi City, Japan to be held on October15,1980.  Thus a close relationship began between the two clubs.  Each club encouraged its members to attend the other’s “milestone” charter anniversaries over the years.  Both clubs participate annually in the Lions International Youth Exchange.  They also welcome personal visits between individual Lions, their families and friends.

The Nepal Water Project was a joint project with Funabashi Higashi Lions Club and South Edmonton Lions Club in 1997.


Historical Projects:

South Edmonton Lions Club has been involved in a variety of projects for the past 60 years – all supporting both local and international recipients.  They embody the Lion’s motto, “We Serve” with hard work, fun and the spirit of camaraderie.  Some of these projects have included:  Cardiac Centre, YAG Laser machine for the Cross Cancer Institute, Palawan Hearing Aid Project, Christmas Hamper Delivery,  Donations to Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Strathcona Place Seniors Centre, City of Edmonton Police Helicopter Fund, Fort Edmonton Historical Foundation, Palliative Care, Grey Nuns Hospital, School Lunch Program, Lions Eye Bank, STARS Air Ambulance, Royal Alexandra Hospital –Haemonetic Cell Saver, Sponsor for Lions Quest Training Program for teachers and support staff, Habitat for Humanity, Edmonton Food Bank, BrightNights Christmas lights display in Hawrelak Park.


Current Projects:

Some of the club’s current projects include:  Preschool Eye Screening, Lion’s Cavalcade for Diabetes Awareness, Serving dinner at the Mustard Seed Church for the needy, Highway Cleanup, We Serve Foundation, LCIF –Lions Clubs International Foundation.


Fundraising Methods:

Past fundraising ventures have included: Sand Bagging, Bingos, (including TV Bingo), Telephone Book Tabbing, Dream Home Ticket sales.

Current fundraising opportunities:  Grey Cup Ticket Sales, Casinos, Food Ticket Sales at Heritage Days.


Sponsorship of New Lions Clubs:

Just as South Edmonton Lions were originally sponsored by the Edmonton Host Club, they have in turn sponsored other Lions clubs in our district:  Drayton Valley Lions Club, South Edmonton Lioness Club, Edmonton Southgate Lions Club, Wabamun and District Lions Club, Millwoods Lions Club, Edmonton Northeast Lions Club, City of Champions Lions Club, Edmonton Strathcona Lions Club.


As the South Edmonton Lions Club continue their service into the future, they invite those interested in serving their community to join them in their projects, fundraising and fellowship and to foster a spirit of understanding among the peoples of the world.

Lions Clubs International News
Connect with Us Online