Extensive travel, after-hours meetings and being away from home for a great deal of the year he was Lions Club District Governor has all been worth the effort for Max Oberlander.
While undertaking his official duties as governor, Max was instrumental in raising much-needed funds for flood-stricken communities across Australia, and in Japan after the devastating tsumani and earthquakes in New Zealand.
He also provided much-needed hands-on assistance with other Lions members, filling sand bags in Horsham before the 2011floods .
As District Governor, the semi-retired manufacturing manager also found time to introduce Coins for Kids to help raise money for the Australian Lions Children’s Cancer Research Foundation.
Max spent up to five days a week undertaking his official duties, which included attending an international convention in Sydney, cabinet meetings five times a year, not to mention the hundreds of other meetings with the 68 clubs in his district.
But he's used to the long hours. At one stage Max travelled from Portland to Mt Gambier every day for work. Despite the 5.30am starts he found time to be president of the Heywood Lions Club and never missed a meeting.
'Everyone says I’m over-committed, always being out and about but it’s important to help your fellow man. You need commitment but everyone also needs a hobby and to give back to others as well.'
The Lions Club has been Max’s hobby now for close to 23 years.
During this time he has been involved in a variety of projects and assisted a range of causes including diabetes, mental illness, the environment, disaster liaison, children’s mobility, organ donation and youth work.
The appreciation of those the Lions Clubs assists drives Max’s commitment and motivation.
'The projects you do and the people who thank you and show their appreciation is what keeps you going. At Lions we don’t like awards for what we do, that’s not why we do it,' he says.
'Everyone says Lions are the best kept secret.'
And keep going he does. His latest endeavour will see Max and wife Chris play 'mum and dad' for a week to 36 young people from around the world at Camp Koala, a Lions Youth Exchange initiative.
Lions Club cabinet secretary Bill Mathers says Max was typical of most Lions, in that he is focussed on making his community a better place to be.
'Max gives back to his community, he uses his skills and abilities to improve the lives of others and help others deal with adversity.'
Lions Clubs are part of community life, in the cities and in the country. Membership is open to all. Lions Clubs provide services or raise money for their local community.
Most of the money raised goes back into the community, either directly or indirectly through national and international projects.
Take the first step in getting involved by visiting www.lionsclubs.org.au