Travis Sokolyk and Terry Wilson of the Kenora Kinsmen Travis Sokolyk and Terry Wilson of the Kenora Kinsmen receive life memberships.It's been quite a weekend!

At their district convention, Kinsmen honoured new life members Gord Patterson of Gladstone, as well as Travis Sokolyk and Terry Wilson of Kenora.

Since becoming eligible to join the service club, Patterson has been willing to serve his community, as well as other members. In Gladstone, he's helped build a new community hall, while also adding playground equipment. Along the way, he saved the life of his uncle in -40 weather.

For more than a quarter-century, Patterson has led at every level and won awards along the way.

"A few years ago, there were a bunch of people, who told me I couldn't do things. It gave me a lot of pleasure to prove them wrong," he said. "When they told me I shouldn't run as governor. I showed them. When they told me I shouldn't be on the national board, because I didn't have the experience. I showed them."

Still, he emphasized this wasn't the most important part.

"The most important is the friendships I have," he said. "You are my family."

Larger-than-life describes his approach to life, as well as his volunteer work. A farmer, he was moved by the gifts of a new belt and handmade buckle, which are usually reserved for rodeo champions.

Patterson, who hasn't missed a district convention in 25 years, has also been known to drive long distances to attend life membership ceremonies.

girardsokolykLife member Phil Girard congratulates Travis Sokolyk, after he receives the service club's highest honour.A die-hard fan of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, he got a cheer from the current roster of players via video clip, and the first to congratulate him by phone was CFL Hall of Fame member Pinball Clemons.

While Patterson was surprised by all the accolades, Travis Sokolyk of Kenora got a bit misty. He was called to the stage earlier in the day, along with his long-time friend Terry Wilson.

Sokolyk had spent months organizing the convention, but he was still taken aback by the honour.

"This is not what I was expecting," he said, wiping aside tears of joy.

It's been very much a family affair, as his parents Wasyl and Jan Sokolyk are also life members.

Wilson was also humbled by the service club's highest award.

"It's a really great honour to have this happen in Kenora," added Wilson, who has served the community through the service club for close to 20 years.

"It's not what I've done for Kinsmen, but what Kinsmen has done for me. I have learned. I have grown. I've made friends. I've had fun. I've enjoyed serving the community," he said. 

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