SHAWVILLE Nov. 16, 2019
The Lions Hall in Shawville was packed Saturday night as members of the service club and their families celebrated 70 years of building community.
Following a dinner prepared by Bob Smith and family, the evening’s festivities got underway with a brief introduction by Lion Terry Campbell. He welcomed the local members, as well as their guests from other clubs, such as the Pontiac Lions from Campbell’s Bay, who sponsored the creation of the Shawville Club all the way back in 1949. There was also a contingent from the Quyon Lions, as well as the local Lionettes.
Lion Ed Walsh introduced the evening’s speaker, Stephane Moreau from Soldier On, a program with the Canadian Armed Forces that helps injured veterans and service members on their path to recovery.
Moreau said that he always lived an active lifestyle and was convinced to join the military by a family member. “My uncle was in the army,” he said. “He told me, ‘It’s like going on a sports scholarship.’”
Moreau joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 2000 at 27 years old. Four years later he was involved in a training accident that would scar him for the rest of his life.
“[A colleague] caught on fire because of an equipment malfunction. I was right there,” he explained. “I was actually the one who activated the equipment that malfunctioned. I took it very hard to be honest.”
Though he didn’t cause the accident, the event caused Moreau to spiral into a deep depression. He stopped playing sports, he stopped going out. Eventually, he tried to take his own life. He was eventually able to get the help he needed and started undergoing treatment for his depression. He said that even in treatment it was hard to talk about the accident, as he was in therapy with other veterans and first responders who had witnessed horrific things.
“I’d minimize my accident, like mine’s not as bad as yours, I shouldn’t even be here, like I don’t deserve to be here, because you feel your PTSD isn’t as severe as theirs,” he said. “You realize that trauma is trauma, everyone reacts to different situations in various ways.”
Six years after the accident occurred, Moreau was finally able to open up to his psychologist about the accident.
“Once I told her, she said ‘Oh my god, now I know why you’re like that ... I’ve been treating eight people from that accident, five weren’t even there,’” he said. “That’s a pretty powerful moment. I’m not the only one. That’s when my recovery started to move forward.”
Through Soldier On, Moreau was able to participate in the Invictus Games, a moment that he is very proud of.
He said it was an honour to represent Canada again, and noted how hard it had been for him to give up his uniform when he was honourably discharged from the Navy in 2010.
“To represent Canada well, I don’t have to be in the military, or wear a team Canada shirt and compete,” he concluded “All I have to be is polite and respectful and non-judgmental, because that’s who we are.”
Moreau received a standing ovation from the audience.
Campbell gave the audience a brief overview of the Shawville club’s history, and the activities that members have participated in over the years, from selling Christmas trees to fundraising for eyeglasses and medical equipment.
He spoke about a quote by the late Dale Thompson, who was one of the club’s charter members, and spoke with Campbell’s son Scott before he passed away.
“He used to say, ‘Everybody then grew up poor,’” Campbell said. “’You relied on others for the help that you needed, so when the opportunity came to give back, nobody ever said no.’”
A new cabinet containing some of Thompson’s Lions memorabilia now sits in the hall.
Lions District A4 Region 22 Chair Jim Hall, representing the district governor, presented Shawville Lions President James Howard with a certificate of congratulations for reaching their 70th anniversary.
“Listening to the history of the Shawville Lions, it makes me proud that they are part of my region,” he said. “It makes me proud that they’re Lions, it makes me proud to be a Lion.”
Lionette Claire Tubman also presented the club with a donation towards their elevator fund.
Howard closed out the speeches with a couple humorous tales about Lion Fern Alary, one of the best ticket sellers to ever grace the club.
“If you wanted them sold, he was the man to do it,” Howard said. “He did it whatever way he had to.”
After the tables were cleared away, the Des Allen Band had the crowd moving on the dance floor late into the evening.
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