‘Compassionate’ Lion of the Year

Mike Russell and his wife, Lisa, laugh at comments as photos from his past flicker across a screen as he was awarded the title Lion of the Year by the Grand Junction Lions Club. Russell received the honor Tuesday during the Lions’ weekly lunchion at Two Rivers Convention Center.

Mike Russell believes many members of the Grand Junction Lions Club are deserving of the Lion of the Year award. He just didn’t count himself among them.

His fellow Lions thought differently, though, as Russell received the prestigious annual honor Tuesday during the service club’s weekly meeting at Two Rivers Convention Center.

“There’s a lot of people deserving of this award. It’s nice to be singled out, but I can’t say I deserve it more than anyone else,” Russell said.

Described as “energetic, attentive to family and friends” and a bit jokingly as “in touch with his feminine side,” members of the club say Russell was an obvious choice for the honor.

“He has great compassion for the club,” said last year’s Lion of the Year, Gregg Palmer, addressing the crowd.

Criteria for the award included an “emphasis on being a good person” and “service to the community at-large.” Russell displayed those traits and more, fellow Lion Reford Theobold said.

“He has a good leadership ability,” Theobold said. “He’s solid, dependable and has a sense of fun, which works well in this club.”

The recipient’s identity was kept under wraps until the award was presented, which is why Russell said he was caught off guard by the announcement.

“It’s humbling,” he said. “I was surprised. I had no idea.”


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