COMMUNITY MINDED: Ipswich Lions Club president Jim Wright has received the Melvin Jones Award.
COMMUNITY MINDED: Ipswich Lions Club president Jim Wright has received the Melvin Jones Award. Rob Williams

High recognition for Lion who lives to serve others

JIM Wright's father had a saying that always stuck with him; work 28 hours a day, eight days a week.

Mr Wright can recall getting up in the early hours of the morning in pouring rain to help his dad, who worked for the RACQ for more than 50 years, fit a new windscreen.

The 63-year-old is the president of the Ipswich Lions Club, an organisation he joined in the 1970s and one he has been a part of while working as a second class welder for four decades.

He followed in his father's footsteps, who was involved with the Lion until he died at the age of 72.

The clubs across Australia sink the money they raise back into the communities they serve.

The Redbank Plains resident has lost count of the amount of sausages he has cooked in the name of a local cause in his time with clubs in Toowoomba, Withcott and now Ipswich since 2015.

For his dedication he received the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award, the highest form of recognition a Lion can be given.

Mr Wright's name will be immortalised in a special room at the international headquarters of the organisation in Chicago, Illinois, the city where the American businessman established the institution in 1917.

"I've enjoyed helping out other people that are less off than I am," he said.

"I'm only a pensioner but I tell you what, I've seen a lot more out there worse than me. I can do what I can for anyone."

He knows what it's like to hit rock bottom.

Mr Wright found himself in Baillie Henderson Hospital in Toowoomba after attempting to take his own life.

But from that low point, he decided to complete a unit in behavioural science from the University of Southern Queensland to give him a better idea of how to "understand other people's problems".

"I just love helping people," he said.

While a member of the Toowoomba City Lions Club, he fondly recalls his time assisting the Sailability program, which helps disabled people out onto the water.

"I used to run a barbecue for them," he said.

"Whatever I made I gave it back to the club to keep them going. The extra $50 or $60 every second Sunday helped them out a bit."

Lions are often most commonly seen outside a Bunnings or at a community event with a pair of tongs in hand and a sizzling barbecue in front of them.

Although the onions don't go where they used to, Mr Wright said the Ipswich club are always ready to go at a moments notice wherever they are needed.

"They can ring us last minute and we can get a team together," he smiled.

"They rang at 10.30am one morning to see if we could do a barbecue. There were five of us there ready to go at eight minutes past 11.

"There were days where we didn't have the idea of putting the onion on the bottom. We used to do it how we wanted to."