Winston Joseph has earned the Judge Brian Stevenson Fellowship for 50 years of service to the Alberni Valley Lions Club. The fellowship, which was presented to him in mid-December, is the highest honour a member of the Lions club can achieve locally.
“He was no passive member,” said Russ McLaughlin, who compiled a history of Joseph’s time and volunteerism both within the Lions and in other groups.
Joseph was a founding member of the Lions’ TV Auction, which still runs every fall. He joined the Easter Seals campaign as soon as he signed up in 1967, and in the years since has served as president, secretary, Lion tamer, publicity chair and membership director.
“On seven occasions he initiated a local Lion response to World Service Day, which targeted visiting seniors in residential home care,” McLaughlin said.
Within the community, Joseph—who was born in Trinidad in 1931 and immigrated to Canada to earn university degrees at UBC and Western Washington University—was a teacher, served on the boards of the Friendship Centre and Family Guidance Association, was a Toastmaster, wrote more than one newspaper column and was nicknamed “Mr. Positive Port Alberni” for always promoting the good in the city. He is still a member of the Knights of Columbus and until a couple of years ago was a lay reader at church services.
Joseph has been married to his wife Sheila for 54 years and they have raised four children: Jay, Judy, Janis and Peter.
Joseph was humble about accepting his award. “It is moving to hear yourself described,” he said following the presentation. “It’s part of my philosophy. I’m Christian: ‘Love one another’. This gave me an opportunity to put my philosophy into action.”
Joseph pressed to have women join the Lions Club, even knowing that he would have to field opposition from some members, and recruited the first woman to join the AV Lions from a different club. “In today’s day when you’re talking about living properly, men and women are equal,” Joseph said. “We have a few women who are members now” including the club president, Dianna Dalton.
“As a Catholic it serves me quite well that I could serve my fellow women and men and love God. That’ my belief,” he said.
McLaughlin said the Lions honoured Joseph not just for his 50 years of service, but also for the man he has been to his community.
“It is what you represent, what you have contributed not only to our club but also to our community,” McLaughlin said.