Humble Lions award winner is committed to helping others

By Daniel Adam
Staff Writer
dadam@fortfrances.com

A few years ago, Lions member Bill Michl ran around Lake Superior to support the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). He was able to raise just over $15,000.

Starting in Thunder Bay, Michl ran clockwise around the lake, about 15 miles a day for 104 days. On the days he didn’t have a support vehicle, he brought his bike with him for the way back to his vehicle.

Now 67-year-old Michl stayed in a van and motorhome and did speeches at Lions clubs along the route for LCIF.

About midway through his journey, he had a leg injury which sidelined him for about a year before he finished the route in June 2019.

“It was something that really touched me on a personal level — the people I met around there, the different Lions Clubs and what they do,” he said. “But when I finished, and look back on it… it really got to me.”

Michl was recently presented with the International President’s Award, which is given to an outstanding Lions member. It is the second-highest award a Lion can get. He won it in winter, but did not receive the physical award until a few weeks ago.

Michl said the Lions do lots of good worldwide.

“There’s not a whole lot we aren’t involved in as far as helping communities,” he said.

Michl wanted to share the message that the Lions Clubs are suffering and aging out.

“I’d like to put a shout out to younger people who would like to help in the community, to join,” he said. “Join our Lions Club so we can keep relevant in the area and keep doing what Lions do.”

Though he tries to downplay his work ethic, Michl’s dedication to the community is not lost on other members.

“I am not surprised that Lion Bill gave you a short interview with little information,” wrote Lions district governor Susan Winner in an email to the Times. “That is Bill — a hard working Lion, serving his community with little need for accolades.”


Bill Michl accepts the International President’s Award from Lions district governor Susan Winner on Tuesday, June 7. Starting in Thunder Bay, Michl ran around Lake Superior, raising over $15,000 for the Lions Club International Foundation.
—Submitted photo

Though he may not say it himself, Michl is a greatly-appreciated member.

“Last fall when I visited their club, I asked them to write down what they thought was the best thing about their club,” wrote Winner. “I asked every club I visited, and usually got answers like ‘serving the community,’ ‘the fun we have with members,’ ‘the good we do for our community,’ or the name of a special project. The best answer at Bill Michl’s club was simply, ‘Bill Michl’.”

Winner said Michl works hard and doesn’t seek recognition.

“Bill Michl is the leader in his club; not the president because he believes that other members need this leadership opportunity. However, he is the force behind many of their service projects and fundraisers,” wrote Winner.

She said they are working with the Emo Lions Club to finish a playground at Devlin using grant money received from the Lions Clubs International Foundation, along with fundraising money earned by both the Emo and Fort Frances Voyageur Lions Clubs. She said Michl also spends hours on the road driving community members to medical appointments.

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