The Hub City Nanaimo Lions will lose a pair of longtime members come the middle of September, as Peter and Renee Thomas are moving to Edmonton.
Overall, Peter has been a member of the Lions Club International for 42 years and Renee has been involved with the club for the same amount of time. Peter founded and chartered the Hub City Lions in 1984.
Lions Club International’s motto is ‘We Serve,’ and Peter said he joined because there’s a need to help the needy. While the Hub City Lions help children with disabilities, the blind and visually impaired and provide support to Camp Shawnigan Lions Easter Seal Camp for children with disabilities, the project he is most proud of is the Lions sports pavilion at Beban Park’s Gyro Youth Sports Fields.
It had a price tag of about $600,000 and it was matched dollar for dollar by the City of Nanaimo, he said.
“What was the greatest part of it, was the corporate section of the community,” said Peter. “I went cap-in-hand to them, so I probably did over $200,000 in-kind from the business community and without the business community, we couldn’t do what we’re doing in Nanaimo.”
Peter said the business sector comes out and supports the service club, not just the Lions club. Money is hard to come by, but he said businesses always step forward.
Peter and Renee will make the move to be closer to family and they will miss the Harbour City.
“Nanaimo, Hub City, it’s been my baby after 32 years, since I chartered that and it’s part of our lives, a major part of our lives,” said Peter.
“Nanaimo is a great place,” said Renee. “Whenever anybody started something, everybody comes and [chips] in.”
Peter was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for his service to the Nanaimo community.