Dominic Caputo reaches 50 years of service with the Lions Club of Port Pirie

For 50 years, Dominic Caputo has been serving the community as member of the Lions Club of Port Pirie.

Joining the club in 1969, just three years after it was formed, Mr Caputo has had a long journey with the service organisation, taking part in the many contributions Lions has made to the community.

Looking back at when he first became a member, he said it was Harry Madigan who had approached him and asked why he wasn't already part of the club.

Mr Madigan sponsored him to join the group and he became the club's youngest member, then aged 38.

"I had a lot to do with the Virtus Soccer Club. I wanted to do some jobs in the community, so I thought I'd join the Lions Club," he said.

He was given a task in his first year, being a Lion Tamer, and has held positions in the club for most of his time as a member.

Mr Caputo looks back with pride on the many achievements the club has made, and especially his year as president in 1980-81.

It was in his presidency that the club hosted its first District Convention, with 400 people filling the basketball stadium.

Mr Caputo presided over the donation of an electric wheelchair to a boy suffering from Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone disease).

Mr Caputo was also responsible for introducing Lions Christmas Cakes to the club.

Being a member of the club has taken him across Australia and the world to national and international conventions.

Mr Caputo vividly remembers attending a convention in Adelaide with the late Mayor Bill Jones who had whisked him away to a building in the city.

Entering the room, Mr Caputo met Bob Hawke. It's something he still remembers to this day.

Over the years, he has enjoyed the many contributions the club has made to the community including:

  • The massive tree planting project that took place in 1991 at the Port Broughton Road entrance to the city
  • The contribution Lions made to Rosemary's Cottage at the hospital
  • The donation of a portable infant heart monitor to the hospital
  • Contributions to Hammill House, Orana and the foreshore skate park
  • The club's current project, a Liberty Swing for the Mid North Education Centre

Today, he is the club's oldest member but still plays an active role in Lions' many activities. He's a familiar face at the group's regular Cheap as Chips barbecues. At these barbecues, he said he sees many people make donations to the club.

"The people in Port Pirie really appreciate what Lions do," he said. "We've got a good name in this town.

"I have enjoyed the fellowship with the club members over the years, and our fundraising programmes."

He said he hoped to still contribute to Lions in the next few years.

"It's been a great ride," he said. "I thank the Lions Club for having me for 50 years."

Mr Caputo was presented with a special honour from the Australian Lions Foundation on Saturday night, at the club's annual handover dinner, acknowledging his 50 years of service. He is only the second person in the local group's history to reach half a century of service.