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Long-time Killingworth resident and Lions Club member Greg Wind strives to foster collaboration in order to help those who need it most. (Photo by Margaret McNellis/The Source | Buy This Photo)
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Greg Wind has been a Lion for a decade; his top community service priority is helping the youth of Killingworth.
The 27-year Killingworth resident says his journey with the Lions began in his own neighborhood in Killingworth, with Hilary Kumnick and charter member Charlie Smith.
“They were after me for a while,” he says, “but I had to finish my MBA first.”
Smith sponsored Greg’s Lions membership, and continues to mentor him to this day.
“Charlie is the glue,” Greg says.
When Greg first embarked on his journey as a Lion, he rode along with Charlie to collect food bank donations, and saw firsthand the type of help the Lions Club provides the community.
“I joined the Lions to get some balance,” Greg says. “To volunteer. I like to help people who are less fortunate. Joining the Lions was the best decision I made.”
Greg has served in several leadership positions within the Killingworth Lions Club. He started out on the board of directors, and then served as treasurer. After that, he was the third vice president, then the second.
Now, he’s the first vice president—until July, when he will step into the role of president of the local club.
Of the many programs and initiatives the Killingworth Lions support, helping the town’s youth is Greg’s goal.
“Being involved and supporting Youth & Family Services” of Haddam-Killingworth is a top priority. “There have been a lot of transitions in Youth & Family Services,” he says.
But according to Greg, those transitions are helping kids.
“I see all these things going on with youth today,” Greg says. “I would say it’s a dangerous world.”
Greg wants to help make it safer by informing the community and parents. One way the Lions Club does this is through supporting The Healthy Communities-Healthy Kids Coalition, run by H-K Youth & Family Services.
“Lindsey Lehet, the prevention coordinator, has done so much in the last six months,” Greg says.
Instilling leadership qualities in the community’s youth is another way to make the world a little less dangerous. Haddam-Killingworth High School and the Lions Club have partnered to run the Leo Club, and now the Lions want to introduce the club at the middle school level.
“We have full support from the school,” Greg says about the after-school club.
The middle school Leo Club would provide ways for kids to gain leadership experience while serving their community, just like its high-school counterpart.
The collaboration between Youth & Family Services and the Lions, or between the schools and the Lions, is reflective of how the club itself serves the community.
“It’s just not one person that makes this successful,” Greg says. “It’s a combination of so many skillsets.”
An example of a project that required a cooperative effort is the Irene Sheldon Park playscape. The playscape itself cost $10,000, and the Lions physically installed the equipment at the park.
“We all come together,” Greg says, “and it makes us a strong organization. We can do a lot of good.”
The Lions Club in Killingworth helps support a myriad of initiatives, but it also helps individuals on a personal basis.
“If someone is ill or needs fuel,” Greg says, the club can help. “The key is being engaged and listening.”
It’s up to community members to contact the Lions Club when they or their neighbors are in need.
“People are afraid to reach out. We hear a lot through the grapevine,” Greg says.
Part of Greg’s motivation to give back to the youth in the community in particular stems from being a parent himself. Greg and his wife, Carrie—the band director at a school at the Lyme/Old Lyme Middle School—have a 23 year-old son named Eric.
Eric “came up through the schools” in Killingworth, Greg says, and recently graduated from Central Connecticut State University, where he studied hospitality.
Being a parent solidified the desire to give back to the community that Greg already held dear.
“Over the last two to three years,” he says, “I’ve had a flexible schedule so I could balance between the community” and other commitments.
With the time his flexibility allows, Greg plans to focus—with his fellow Lions—on upcoming events.
On Sunday, April 7, the Lions host their annual Sporting Clays Invitational Tournament. On Wednesday, April 17, there will be a joint chamber meeting at Killingworth Church, with the Middlesex and Killingworth chambers of commerce coming together. In May, Greg looks forward to the Night of Giving, when the Lions Club will distribute more than $30,000 to local charities.
Greg’s most fervent wish is for continued collaboration and support between the Lions Club and the community—whether that’s the Killingworth Women’s Organization, the Fire Department, schools, or Youth & Family Services—especially where the betterment for the sake of local youngers is concerned.
“Our youth is so important,” Greg says.
To nominate a person of the week from Killingworth or Madison, email email@example.com.
The eighth annual Edward Hayash & Ron Fine Memorial Sporting Clays Invitational Tournament takes place on Sunday, April 7, beginning at 9 a.m., at the Guilford Sportsmen’s Association, 501 Hart Road, Guilford. Registration fees vary based on whether registrant is solo or part of a four-person team. This event includes continental breakfast, lunch, a goody bag, and a door prize ticket. For more information, contact Charlie Smith at 860-663-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Mark Torello at 860-663-2559 or email@example.com.
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