By Marv Kohlbeck
If you ever see a pink Buick being driven down the highway by what appeared to be a clown, your eyes are not deceiving you.
More than likely the driver is Leroy Dehnel, a member of the Berlin-Hamburg Lions Club of the Wausau area. You can venture a guess that he is heading toward a Lions Club meeting, conference, or convention in central Wisconsin or beyond. Often times his wife, Sharon, is with him as they partner up to provide fun and laughter at gatherings as tail twisters. In Lions Club jargon, a member elected as tail twister is a fun-loving individual who generates enthusiasm and spirit and, in the process, twists Lions’ tails to generate funds for good causes.
For Leroy, age 77, it all began 34 years ago when he joined the Berlin-Hamburg Lions Club. Then in 2000 he was elected tail twister and has held that position ever since. Around the state of Wisconsin he has been acclaimed as the most outstanding tail twister by generating more fines and funds than any other. His costume is an attention getter, and his soft approach encourages many to support his worthwhile requests.
When asked what keeps him wanting to dress up like a clown, he stated, “I love to meet and greet strangers and sell them on the idea of supporting community Lions causes. Over the years I have built up a great number of new friends in many central Wisconsin communities and turned over a lot of contributions in support of our Wisconsin Lions Camp near Rosholt.”
Leroy’s wife chimed in, “When I saw how much fun my husband was having, I decided to join him and added to my wardrobe. I have been a Lion for 28 years and share the same approach of raising funds and also gaining new friends.”
The Dehnels have not gone unnoticed in Lions circles with their dedication and effort. They each have been acknowledged by local, state, and international Lions organizations with awards of appreciation for their leadership, untiring dedication to sponsoring new members, and carrying out tasks that Lions seek to aid those who are less fortunate.
Lions planning to attend the state convention in La Crosse May 4-6 will see the Dehnels in action as they greet convention goers and seek tail twisting funds.