by ADAM GRUENEWALD
What started as a community organization almost 25 years ago has grown into a quarter century of service by the NYA West Carver Lions Club.
Members, including some of the original members, gathered to celebrate that milestone on Friday, April 24 at the Willkommen Park Pavilion in NYA.
The group first formed as a Lioness charter in 1989 with 20 members, becoming an official Lions Club in 1993 with 23 members and had 30 members as of April of this year, including some men of the formerly all-women organization.
In addition to NYA West Carver Lions Club members, area Lions Clubs members and several Lions International representatives were on hand to celebrate the anniversary, including District Governor Harry Klenke and guest speaker International Director Mike Molenda.
Molenda, an attorney from Hastings, has been a member of the Rosemount Lions Club since 1984 and has served in various positions within Lions International.
In his speech, Molenda congratulated the NYA West Carver Lions Club on their success as well as shared some history of the Lions Club organization which started in 1917 in Chicago.
“You don’t really get very far unless you start doing something for somebody else,” said Molenda.
Since then Lions Clubs International has become the world’s largest service club organization, with 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs all following the motto of “We serve” with a significant emphasis on blindness efforts through SightFirst initiatives started in 1990.
Highlighting some of the 1989 events when the West Carver Lions were chartered as a Lioness group, Molenda compared historical events that year with some of the initial efforts by the club.
Some of those initial community efforts were a donation to multiple sclerosis, annual calendar sales, Peace Poster contest, garage sales, foster child support, donation to Young America Library and a scholarship.
Leading those efforts were Lioness President Sue Nelson and other charter members Linda Braunwarth, LaVonne Kroells, Miriam Brelje, Bergetta Mason, Mona Clark, Darlene Mondor, Patricia Clark, Sue Nelson, Karen Curfman, Joyce Saarloos, Yvonne Dammann, Mary Spille, Monica Dertinger, Rosemary Thies, Janell DeSutter, Cathleen Williams, Carolyn Durbin, Mary Wilson and Jan Hilgers and Nancy ZumBerge.
Among activities the group took part in its early years were a mystery trip to Spicer, a carnival fundraiser for Jason Richter raising over $10,000, a cake pants fundraiser, a fundraiser for a storm-damaged home as well as other donations. More recently, the group has taken part in National Night Out, donated dictionaries to local students, helped out at Feed My Starving Children, purchased boots and shoes for children in need, assembled cards for soldiers and made several donations.
Malinda congratulated group members on their ongoing success and commitment to the community.
“You are doing all those things and you are doing a good job doing it,” said Malinda. “Your club is doing so much.”
Malinda also shared the story of Rosa Parks and ensuing bus boycotts that made a difference, using the story as an example of the success of group efforts.
“It was the community that did so much to change the world,” he said. “That’s what I love about Lions. None of you are doing it alone, but together you are doing so much. I’m very proud of you and congratulations on your first 25 years and best wishes on your next 25.”
Current NYA West Carver Lions President Tricia Mackenthun is among those newer members making a difference.
“I could not have asked for a better club to join,” she said. “It’s such a wonderful group of men and women. It’s an amazing club to be part of and Lions is an amazing organization to be a part of… Our club is 25 years young and I cannot wait to see what our future holds and what we can accomplish in the next 25 years.”
For more information on Lions International, www.lionsclubs.org.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]