Community pride: Central Wisconsin Lions clubs make a difference
By Marv Kohlbeck
A dog trainer leading Lions? Yes, that is right. Deb Delie, the incoming president of the Marshfield Lions Club, is a hard working, dedicated, and dynamic leader, and to prove her desire to help those who are visually impaired, she trains puppies to become leader dogs for those who need assistance.
If you are looking for an informative, lively program for an upcoming meeting, give her a call. Deb will be happy to tell her story.
I was pleased and proud to be asked by the Marshfield Lions to install their officers and induct a new member at a spouses night dinner held at Wildwood Park in Marshfield last Tuesday evening.
Other members who will make up Delie’s leadership team include past president Tom Stram and club officers Arden Rindfleisch, Rita Berg, Dennis Suckow, Ken Krahn, Ken Zittleman, Lily Michalski, Tom Ptak, Lance Lubach, Charlotte Merwin, Richard Savage, and Jenny Bitner. Ptak also received a Melvin Jones Fellowship and Stram the Birch-Sturm Fellowship, the highest honors bestowed upon Lions members for leadership and community service.
Lions clubs are made up of more than 1.3 million members in approximately 45,000 organizations worldwide in over 200 countries. Organized in 1917, International Lions clubs will celebrate their 100th birthday next year.
The central Wisconsin clubs that have been serving their communities the longest include Marshfield and Thorp, both being organized in 1931. Stratford formed a Lions club in 1939, Spencer in 1941, and 16 more have been formed in small communities ranging alphabetically from Arpin to Withee. Unity is the newest Lions club in the central district.
Lions clubs were originally organized to aid the visually handicapped and hearing impaired. More attention is also being given to aid those affected with diabetes due to the correlation of diabetes and blindness. Lions take their motto, “We serve,” to heart.
Year-round fundraising projects may vary from one community to another. Traveling throughout central Wisconsin communities during the course of a year, you will find Lions club fundraisers in the form of fisherees, pancake or smelt feeds, corn roasts, bowling and golf tournaments, 4th of July celebrations, food stands at fairs, fall festivals, and deer hide collections.
All of these efforts, and more, raise funds to support the Wisconsin Lions Camp at Rosholt and many other endeavors deemed vital by the communities that Lions clubs serve. Practically all cases involve men and women, young and old, who work together for a common cause. It binds friendships and communities. People working together can accomplish so much more, and Lions clubs have proven that point time and time again.
One fundraiser that has closely bonded four area clubs — namely Stratford, Pittsville, Auburndale, and Rozellville, better known as SPAR — is the hosting of the state Lions bowling tournament. Most recently held in 2007 at the Rose Bowl in Marshfield, it generated satisfying profits to aid each club’s budgeted goals. These same four clubs look forward to 2017 as they will again host the Wisconsin Lions bowling tournament in Marshfield.
There are thousands of gratifying stories that can be told not only by the receivers but also by the givers to communities and those less fortunate. No matter if you are a receiver or want to be a giver, your community Lions club will welcome you with open arms. I know. I have been a member for 59 years. Consider becoming a member in celebration of the Lions’ 100th birthday.