Longtime Lloydminster local, businessman and philanthropist Ray Tatro has been singled out for Citizen of the Year by his peers in the Lloydminster Lions.
The award was announced in a well conducted surprise on Monday evening as Tatro was also a member of the selection committee which was chaired by Vic Juba.
The supper at the Legacy Centre was followed by a speech from Lions member Frank Spenrath under the guise of an insurance presentation. The presentation included a history quiz on Lloydminster which took participants back to 1903 and came through the years to the 1970’s and 80’s.
Jean Claude Dauphinais, past president shared that somehow they managed to keep the surprise a secret from Tatro. He says the recipient is an inspiration.
“I’ve never seen somebody so dedicated to the community. He’s truly inspired myself and I’m sure many others. He’s inspired me to be a better person and a Lions member.”
The accolade bestowed in Volunteers Week comes as a tribute to someone who has nearly four decades of service in the area. Organizers say Tatro’s volunteerism dates back to when his daughters were growing up and he was on the board of directors of their playschool.
Tatro’s involvement in Lions goes back to 1987. He has served on most of the executive positions including president and is a recipient of the Melvin Jones Award named in honour of the founder of the Lions Club world-wide.
Tatro has put in over three decades in service at the Mount Joy Ski Club. His volunteerism pitched in for maintenance as well as increasing the number of runs at the ski hill.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s Lloydminster had the distinction of being credited with donating the most corneas per capita than anywhere else in Saskatchewan. This meant a Lion had to transport these organs to Saskatoon regardless of the time of day or night. Those efforts now see Tatro serving on the board of the Saskatchewan Eye Bank. Sight Conservation is a universal project for Lions Club International. Tatro has teamed up with Helen Rogers at the Lloydminster Hospital to assist with education of those who are visually impaired. His input also helped in the purchase of eye surgery equipment at the hospital.
Tatro is also a familiar face in the annual Organ Transplant Walk serving in whatever capacity he is needed.
Selection committee chair Vic Juba writes that,”Ray through his business has to be one of the most generous businessmen in Lloydminster. I’m sure if I asked him how many clubs or agencies he supports, he wouldn’t know. There is no doubt that the axiom Ray must live by is,’It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
Tatro with emotion in his voice says he was perfectly surprised by the recognition as he saluted the teamwork.
“You don’t do it without a whole bunch of people.You join or other people join you. And they also find there’s a need there. Or something that’s going to make life better for the citizens of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, the world.”
Tatro expressed his gratitude and humility to the Lloydminster Lions and the community for the accolade.