Our club’s association with SAPOL spans over 40 years and involves joint cooperation with them over a range of several diverse and worthwhile community projects. The original link between our two groups was established when senior COA Lion, Bob Calvasbert, saw the benefit of mutual cooperation becoming beneficial to both organisations.
With assistance from Lions Dean and Graham, we delved into old bulletins and annual reports, plus our personal memory of past events from which it was established that the first joint project between us was the Lions/Police inaugural “Bravery Award”. The award was presented to both Mr Roger Cardwell and Mr Roland Sheppard jointly, in July, 1979. Mrs Ann Christerson was granted a similar award in 1993, but it was not until a decade later when the Award was presented specifically as “Acts of Bravery” in 2003, 04 and 05.
However, from 2006 the award criteria were changed to embrace a greater community persona – “to the person/s who most assist the Police in the performance of their duties.” The criteria have remained this way throughout each of the subsequent years to the present when President Petrea declared Mr Grant Fensom a most worthy 2020 winner. Then on August 13th, 1984 the COA sponsored the Lions Club of Adelaide Police. The charter occasion was held at the Fenwick Function Centre of the Police Club. While our new daughter club and its Charter President, Sgt. Ken Harrod, displayed interest in several community projects in association with SAPOL, it was “Identikid” on which it concentrated and thrived. For the benefit of readers unfamiliar with “Identikid”, it was a card which included a photograph, plus fingerprints, of a young child, just like an ID card. In the event of a child becoming separated from its parents at the Royal Show or similar such mass function, “Identikid” would become an invaluable aid for Police in the recovery process.
Due to ever-changing rosters, in the main, the Police Lions Club sadly returned its charter in 1990. Thankfully, shortly thereafter their members ceded to us the “Identikid” van and all of its equipment, including the valuable camera and stationery items, in the hope that the COA would carry on this very special and much-valued project. Lion Graham rose to the challenge and gladly took on “Identikid” lock, stock and van. With fellow Lions rostered throughout 9 Royal Shows, and, subsequently, with Lions Ladies Maxine and Shirley assisting him at kindergartens, the COA team rendered 6,955 children safely “Identikids” – a great relief to both parents and Police alike. Furthermore, the Burns Unit of the ACH became the major beneficiary of the sizable funds raised!
In 1992 a request for assistance on behalf of the Police Sexual Assault Unit was positively answered when the COA donated 10 teddy bears for the benefit of young children traumatized or abused in broken homes or similar situations. Over the ensuing three years the club also donated a further 124 soft toys, initially known as Care Bears and finally as Kind Lions, when the toy appeared in a Lion format.
It must also be recalled that the three most recent SAPOL Commissioners each accepted Honorary Membership of the COA, including Mal Hyde (1997 – 2013); Gary Burns (2013 – 2015); and Grant Stevens (2013 – present).
We have also been favoured with various musical items by the very popular SAPOL orchestra, or ensembles within that talented group of entertainers. These included Lions District and MD conventions, and elderly citizens outings, even a visit to the Adelaide Gaol!
Written by Lion Warren Wood