Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Oct. 23, 2000

Lioness Club celebrates two decades

By Lynda Jensen

Twenty years ago, 29 women decided to step outside of their own lives and make their community a better place to live.

Since then, almost no part of the community has escaped the generosity of the Howard Lake Lioness Club.

The club works in partnership with the Howard Lake Lions Club International, although its membership is open to the public.

The Lioness' list of accomplishments is astounding, ranging from helping victims of house fires, car accidents, floods and those suffering serious illnesses; to gentler contributions such as raising money for May baskets to hang on senior citizens' doorknobs.

A sample of their community service work includes: hosting drug awareness poster contests, making Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets for senior citizens, hosting birthday parties at the Howard Lake Good Samaritan Center, conducting Friendship Ventures ice cream socials (for handicapped people), judging the school homecoming parade entries, hosting a children's Halloween party and breakfast with Mrs. Santa.

This doesn't include donations made to everything from the after prom party, Meals on Wheels, the Howard Lake Fire Department, the public library, playground equipment for city parks, service animals for the blind and deaf, cancer society and summer recreation, among others.

Their generosity doesn't stop at Howard Lake's borders, since they also do things for people in neighboring towns and even outside the country, such as sending packages to troops in the Gulf War and giving to organizations such as the American Red Cross.

Why join such an organization?

For Lioness Dorothy "Duff" Novak, the choice was clear after being on the other end of the Lions' generosity.

About 19 years ago, her husband needed open heart surgery, which was only performed at Stanford University in California at the time.

"I didn't have any way to get to the airport," Novak remembered. A total stranger - a member of the Lions Club - drove her to the airport to be with her husband and another Lion picked her up in California.

It was hard for her to accept charity, Novak said. "It's easier to give than to humble yourself," she said.

Novak's husband died about six months later, but she never forgot the kindness of the Lions.

"It was so meaningful to me at a time when I needed it," she said.

A year after the charter of the Lioness Club, Novak joined and has been a member since.

Lioness Hazel Oberpriller, the charter president, joined the Lioness Club because of her concern for the needy.

Oberpriller was instrumental in the formation of the club.

For example, at the onset of the Christmas season, Oberpriller is concerned about needy children through the holiday season.

Lioness Bonnie Jones also joined the club to serve others, she said. Her favorite event is the Halloween party, which is scheduled Tuesday, Oct. 31, 5-6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the city hall.

Nowadays, the organization has dwindled to 12 women, although the donations and work still continue.

"We're still kicking," Novak said. The women celebrated the anniversary of the club together Saturday at the city hall with a special program.

Anyone interested in joining the Lioness Club may do so by calling Novak at (320) 543-3128 or Marcy LePage at (320) 543-3101.

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