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Lions Club of Grand Cayman name John Ebanks as its ‘Golden Lion’

Front Pages 19 Nov, 2022 1 Comments Follow News

Lion John Ebanks receiving his golden jacket from Lion President Michael Havlin.

Lion John Ebanks and his wife Sharon.

Former Premier and former Lions President Sir Alden McLaughlin delivered the feature address at the Lions Club of Grand Cayman’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Neals Godfrey one the Clubs few surviving charter members.

The event was well attended.

Lion Alphonso Wright announcing the Golden Lion award.

Former Leos gather for a photo call at the event.

Lione Club President Michael Havlin and his wife Victoria.

John Ebanks is a recognizable face at every Lions project, giving loyally serving the Cayman Islands community for more than five decades and on Saturday night he was honoured the Lions Club of Grand Cayman’s “Golden Lion” as the Club marked its milestone golden jubilee.

The Officer of the Order of the Cayman Islands recipient became the first to receive the prestigious award as the local service club celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special gala at the Grand Marriott ballroom on West Bay Road.

Ebanks, a former older persons’ ambassador and National Roads Authority executive, was overcome with emotion he received a gold-coloured jacket to mark his achievement.

Following his award Ebanks said he was “shocked to say the least.”

He said from the beginning of when Master of Ceremonies Alfonso Wright began his presentation he said he knew he was the only lion to fit the description.

“But I had no Idea what the outcome would be at the end. Right now, I’m still in awe of how well my fellow Lions did the entire programme, it was well put together truly. My commitment to the Lions Club goes much broader than just at Club level. The Zone, the Region, the District, Lions Club International. I do what I do from the heart not really for rewards but to help the less fortunate,” he said.

Lions Club President Michael Havlin, in his speech at the event, lauded the commitment from the Lions members who continue to carry on the tradition of service.

“Fifty years ago, Charter Members brought together a group of successful men and asked them to put their talents to work improving the community here in these islands. When I look out at this audience this evening, I see a mixture of Charter, Life Member, Affiliate and Honorary Lions, and others who are no longer with us will be honoured later in the programme. We, 99 Lions, on the roster, continue the tradition of outstanding service to our community and country,” he said.

Former Premier and former Lion President Sir Alden McLaughlin, the guest speaker at the event, reflected not only on the contribution Lions made and continue to make over the last 50 years, but the personal changes that occur when one is involved in service to others.

“We serve is the Lions’ motto and by serving we grow and develop and become better at leading,” he said, adding “we develop better attitudes to people and to life, develop empathy. ”

He pointed to the Lions’ code of ethics as a guide that he uses in his life, and implored Lions present to continue to uphold the tradition of selfless service as he recited ‘A Psalm of Life’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow at close of his presentation.

He also led the ‘Lions’ Roar’ to celebrate Ebanks’s award.

About John Ebanks

Ebanks is a prominent face at every Lions’ event and is well-known for his culinary skills at Lions’ breakfasts and other associated events.

Shortly after the Lions Club of Grand Cayman was chartered in October 1972, Ebanks was invited by the late Lion Patrick Johnson to a meeting preceding the Charter night Ceremony in November of the same year, Wright said.

“That was his first meeting and he never stopped as that acquaintance became a member in February of 1973,” Wright said as he announced the award.

Ebanks was voted in as vice governor of Lions district 60B, the first Lion from the Cayman Islands to do so and a year later in 2007 he became governor of district 60B – the first Caymanian to attain that status.

The next year he assumed the position of Chairperson of the Counsel of Governors of the Multiple District, another first for the Cayman Islands in the Lions movement.

“Needless to say, we are very proud of this great Lion, his remarkable accomplishments and his ambassador-like travels representing all of us throughout the Caribbean and the rest of the world. He has managed to stay grounded and humble throughout is Lionistic Career, one of his greatest attributes. He does not walk around with his head in the air,” Wright said.

Yet Ebanks remained humbled by the accolades bestowed on him.

He said the Lions movement and community service was a personal pursuit as he was never able to finish school, instead going to sea at age 15 and spending his 16th birthday in Japan to bring out a new ship, the SS Ore Meteor.

“So that I could send my two brothers and three sisters to school and build a home for them to call their own. It wasn’t easy at all I know what hardship is, I come from there I know there are many who don’t know this but thought I would share that’s who I am, from humble beginnings,” he said.

He recalled his grandmother Rhena would always remind her grandkids “‘you do good and good will follow you and you do evil and that too will follow you,’ I live by that motto every day of my life.”

He said every day he makes a concerted effort to do one good deed if not two or more some days “because of the way I were brought up, and now I’m reaping the benefits not realising it at first (pay back) is an amazing thing.”

The Club, which has been hosting various events to celebrate its milestone, including an upcoming golf tournament which will be announced soon, has been a central figure in the community from its Christmas Day deliveries to its restoration projects.

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Ena Nosworthy-,Cohen

21 Nov, 2022

Lion John, Congratulations. This could not have happened to a more deserving person. You have been a beacon to us all. May God continue to bless and keep you.