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Lions roar for Citizen of the Year

By April 27, 2022No Comments
Ray Tatro, centre, was presented with the Lloydminster Lions Club Citizen of the Year Award from in-coming president Travis Kniekamp Monday night at the Legacy Centre. Vic Juba, left, managed to make it a surprise as usual. Geoff Lee Meridian Source

 

Lloydminster Lions Club members roared their approval for Ray Tatro as the recipient of their Citizen of the Year Award.

The club made it clear there was no one more deserving than Tatro, who has become a model for volunteerism during his 35 years of Lions membership. 

Past president Jean-Claude Dauphinais was in awe after introducing Tatro’s volunteer history from being a boy scout and coaching girls’ soccer to operating Mount Joy Snow Resort.

“It was quite amazing, a guy that’s been in the community and so big within the community, and a member of the Lions for so long,” said Dauphinais.

“It’s truly a moment that I will cherish.”

The presentation took place during a Legacy Centre supper on Monday night with Tatro’s wife, Shelley, in cahoots with Vic Juba to make it a complete surprise.

“It’s a shock, they snookered me really, really good, that Vic Juba,” said Tatro in a post-celebration interview.

“I never expected this at all. I feel very honoured and humbled, and listening to the report of the activities I’ve been involved with, they’ve added up over the years …”

Tatro went on to state you don’t volunteer without a whole bunch of people you join up with or other people joining you.

He connected with Dr. Raff Sayeed and Greg Hnatiuk, for example, to organize a local branch of the Canadian Transplant Association in 2014 and annual fundraising walks.

Tatro has also worked with staff at Lloydminster Hospital to further the education of the visually impaired with eyesight conservation being a universal project of Lions International. 

He also sits on the Saskatchewan Eye Bank board and delivers harvested corneas to Saskatoon at his own expense.

“Most of the things I’ve been involved with and do are because I like to feel good right here (pointing to his heart) but you got to have the teamwork,” said Tatro.

“You got to try to convince people to come along or see something that you want to join along with and makes our world a whole lot better place for everybody.”

The fun part of the award was keeping Tatro in the dark, a task Juba has excelled at over the years.

He fooled Tatro into thinking the purpose of the supper was to listen to guest speaker Frank Spenrath, and the “decoy” worked.

“It was probably one of the best ones we ever had. It was excellent,” said Juba with a laugh.    

“The look on his face was priceless. Frank fit well into the whole thing. It panned out a lot better than I even thought.”

Juba calls Tatro a great businessman and a philanthropist.

“He’s done a lot that people don’t realize, especially when it comes to financing or being short of money or something—he’d step up to the plate. That kind of stuff isn’t advertised,” he said.

Tatro is the owner of Exhaust Masters, which supports a myriad of clubs or agencies in town.

During his acceptance speech, he said he was once asked by Dr. Sayeed why he became a Lions member, originally with the Border City Lions.      

“I said it’s because I’m selfish. I said I like to feel good. All this stuff we do here as Lions makes us feel good,” said Tatro.

“I do feel very honoured so thank you Lions and I don’t know if I’ll forgive Victor (Juba) and Frank— Frank knows better.”