Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
In 1981, a group of 14 men met for the first time as the Kimball Lions. Ken Schmidt was president, Gene Gohmann first vice president, Gene Haugen second vice president, Wayne Paulson third vice president, Sherill Fischer secretary/treasurer, DuWayne Orbeck tail twister, Ben Lutgen Lion tamer; and the others were Norm Hansen, Alvin Fischer, Dean Mozena, Russ Roth, Tony Bollman, Ken Bates and Carl Hoffman. With the sponsorship of the Fair Haven Lions (who are about to celebrate their 40th anniversary, by the way), the Kimball Lions Club was born. And they haven't stopped. Saturday night, Sept. 9, the Kimball Lions celebrated their 25th anniversary with a dinner and program at Powder Ridge. The 123 attendees included Kimball Lions Club members and their spouses, award winners, and members of many area Lions Clubs (Clearwater, Fair Haven, Cold Spring, Sauk Rapids, Paynesville, Staples, and more). Kimball mayor Karla Davis spoke, thanking the Lions for their many years of service to the Kimball community. Past district governor Bill Landwehr and governor Robert Hoofnagle spoke briefly, and introduced the guest speaker, past international director Ross Thorfinnson. Thorfinnson entertained with a number of favorite "bumper sticker" lines he found on the Internet, then spoke seriously about the work of Lions throughout the world in preventing blindness - their chief mission - and other projects like relief work after the 2004 tsunami in southeast Asia. He lauded the millions of dollars donated by Lions world-wide, the thousands of vision centers established by Lions, and the hundreds of hospitals around the world that have been equipped by Lions with early detection equipment for prevention of deafness in newborns. He also encouraged Lions to continue that good work, as the mission has not yet been achieved. A video slide show by Chad Cooper was shown, with photos highlighting the many projects the Kimball Lions have contributed to the community. With well over $250,000 in donations, the Kimball Lions have donated to the Kimball schools, built a cabin at Camp Friendship and do other work there, built the ice rink and park shelter in Willow Creek Park, and were instrumental in acquiring the land for Willow Creek Park in the first place. The Kimball Lions work hard to raise money throughout the year and, while some of that money goes to Lions International projects like preventing blindness, most of it stays here in Kimball. The Lions' motto is "We Serve." The Kimball Lions can be proud of their 25 years of living that motto.
Established in 1917 in Chicago, there are now more than a million Lions in about 45,000 clubs in 200 countries. Anyone interested in joining this dynamic, effective service group in Kimball (or any other community) can contact any active Lions member for an invitation. The Kimball Lions meet at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. Both men and women can join.