Current Montezuma Lions Club President Eddie Pierson, left, visits special guests Vice District Governor Jimmy Bacon, right, of Des Moines, District Governor David Coates, second from right, of Des Moines at the club’s 75th anniversary picnic on Monday, September 12, at Diamond Lake. The club, which is involved in numerous community service projects throughout the year, was established on April 21, 1947. (JO Parker/Special to The Poweshiek County Chronicle Republican)
Members of the Montezuma Lions Club celebrated the club’s 75th anniversary with a picnic on Monday, September 12 at the main lodge in Diamond Lake.
According to longtime Lion Roger Allen, 52 Lions and guests, including several former members, attended the picnic. Everyone enjoyed the burgers, hot dogs and all the toppings on the night.
Special guests included Vice District Governor Jimmy Bacon of Des Moines, District Governor David Coates of Des Moines and Gary Fry, a former International Director and former Secretary of State and longtime State and National Leader. of Mitchellville. Also speaking was Bondurant’s Steve Halstead, who coordinates the West Central Iowa Corneal Tissue Transport Program at Lions Eye Bank in Coralville.
“He was thrilled to meet in person several of the Montezuma Lions who are tissue carriers, relaying from Grinnell to Coralville,” Allen noted.
In an article written by Allen, the Montezuma Lions Club held its Charter Night Banquet on April 21, 1947. Wayne Hill was elected president of the newly formed club. The other officers and their committee chairs were: Irving Gabriel, first vice-president and membership chair; Gene Hopton, second vice president and program chair; Maynard Hutchinson, Third Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; Jack Swink, Secretary and Treasurer; David Sutherland, lion trainer; E. W. McNeil, Tail Twister; Cletus Harden and Carroll Byers, trustees for a two-year term; and Thomas Ross and Keith Steffy, directors for a one-year term.
The Montezuma Lions Club currently has 33 members. Membership is by invitation but interested citizens are invited to express their interest to any member. There is a one-time, modest initiation fee and annual dues, currently $80, with dues for a second adult household member being half that amount. There are no rituals involved. Providing community service – from local to global – and enjoying camaraderie in the process are the primary goals.
Current members would like interested individuals to express their interest. Members are encouraged to attend the bi-monthly meetings, but it is not compulsory. Attendance at the few fundraising events the club holds is an expectation as personal schedules allow. Lions International is the largest non-governmental service organization in the world – and has the lowest dues among major service organizations.
The Montezuma Club is actively involved in four service projects that can change the lives of those served, as listed below:
Since 2009, volunteer members have served as “tissue transporters” in a network of clubs that deliver sight-saving corneal eye tissue to the Iowa Lions Eye Bank in Coralville. The Montezuma Lions have traveled more than 100,000 miles, from a venue in Grinnell to Coralville.
Since 2002, the club has been part of “Iowa KidSight”, eye screening for children six months to 5 years old. Early discovery of vision disorders requiring attention can be corrected at a young age. About 5% of screened children need to be referred for further examination.
Projects 3 and 4: For many years, local Lions have helped people with insufficient resources obtain eyeglasses or replace damaged ones. Lions also help eligible individuals obtain hearing aids, through the Iowa Lions Hearing Aid Bank. The club collects used glasses and hearing aids as part of these efforts.
The Montezuma Lions Club has been involved in many community service events from the early days of square dancing festivals and horse shows to the annual chicken barbecue served at the “Let Freedom Ring” celebration at the pancake breakfasts of the fall hunters. The club has donated to many community and school projects, including recently donating tables and table carts for the school, as well as 220 padded folding chairs for the auditorium floor seating. school. In addition, the club has built and maintained shelters in the park and built bike paths and walking paths, notably at Wayside Park south of the city. The club donated $4,000 to purchase land for building the Sunnyview Apartments and for more than 40 years sponsored the Honor M Banquet, an event recognizing student achievement in sports and other extracurricular activities. The club has also been a major supporter of the After Prom Party. They also hold an annual citywide street cleanup in the spring of each year. And for 28 years, the club has held the annual Lions Toy and Craft Show.
The club meets at the First Presbyterian Evangelical Church on the second and fourth Monday evenings of each month, with exceptions. A meal is served at 6:30 p.m. and meetings begin at around 7 p.m. A change is expected in the above details in the near future due to the retirement of Terri Salnave who had been responsible for the meal at the church since 2013. Her team used the proceeds from the meal service to support a missionary .
(Editor’s note: Roger Allen, a longtime Lion, provided much of the information for this article.)