Prestigious award given to loyal Lion

After receiving the most prestigious award that the Whyalla Lions Club has to offer, Gary Pattingale found that for once, he didn't exactly know what to say.

"Not much keeps me quiet, but this certainly has," he said, holding the award in his hands.

Mr Pattingale became one of just six Whyalla Lions volunteers to receive the prestigious Melvin Jones Fellowship Award at a special presentation on Tuesday night.

The award is presented by the Lions Club International Foundation and is the highest form of recognition which embodies humanitarian ideas consistent with the purpose of Lionism.

A Past President of the club, Gary began his service club involvement with Apex and later joined Lions while working with the Bank in Adelaide.

Since then he has been President of the club three times, secretary seven times (his current position), and treasurer three times.

In addition to these he has been involved in the Youth of the Year for many years, where he mentors the youth of today through his extensive knowledge of community service.

Gary has also been involved in many Lions projects, including Carols in the Park, Whyalla Show catering, Whyalla Christmas Pageant catering and many, many barbecues.

The award was presented by Past President Greg Byrne, with wife Colleen Pattingale and former award recipient Allan Smith watching on.

The award was a complete surprise for Gary, who said it was one honour that he never expected to receive during his near 40 years with Lions.

"I wanted to give back to the community so that my kids and everybody else can enjoy it, I've got a lot of satisfaction out of this," he said.

"You meet people, you make inter-club visits, you go to conventions where Lions from other clubs attend ... you make friends all over the state."

Because of some bad knees and issues with his neck muscles, Gary has been restricted in what he can do in the community, but he still assisted by helping out whenever he can.

"I aim to continue for as long as I can," he said.

Volunteers Meg Hill, Bianca and James Babidge also received Lions Awards, while the support of One Stop Foodland Owners Bruce and Sharon Fidde was recognised with an award.