By Starrla Cray
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Touching a life can be as simple as giving eyeglasses to an elderly woman, planning an Easter egg hunt for local children, or donating scholarship money to a dedicated student.
The Lester Prairie Lions Club is made up of 25 people who help in a variety of ways.
“The Lions’ motto is “we serve,” and that’s how I try to live my whole life,” president Shellie Guenther said.
Sunday, Dec. 5, the Lester Prairie Lions are having a community breakfast at the Lester Prairie City Hall from 9 a.m. to noon.
“We’re having pancakes, scrambled eggs, and sausages,” secretary Dale Klaustermeier said.
Later in December, the Lions donate goodie bags for children who come to see Santa in Lester Prairie.
“We also put on the Easter egg hunt every year,” Klaustermeier said, adding that it’s one of his favorite service events.
Klaustermeier has been part of the Lions Club since it began in 1986.
“It’s a good social thing to do, and a way to volunteer in the community,” he said. The club is open to anyone, male or female, who is interested in improving the quality of life in Lester Prairie.
Meetings are the second Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m., either at the Lester Prairie City Hall or at One-Eyed Willy’s.
“It’s not a time-consuming club,” Klaustermeier said. “You can put in as much, or as little, time as you want.”
Pull-tab sales (at the Dodge House and at One-Eyed Willy’s) are a big fundraiser for the Lions Club, along with other fundraisers throughout the year.
Money raised goes towards Lester Prairie’s city, school, and park projects.
Recently, the club donated to help students at St. Paul Lutheran Church go on a mission trip to Oklahoma. They also gave money for the new park in town, the after prom party, the bicycle rally, the food shelf, and more.
One new project involved giving dictionaries to each third grader at Lester Prairie Elementary.
“We just started that last year,” Guenther said. “They’re dictionaries they can use throughout their high school careers.”
The Lions are very active in Lester Prairie School, and even have a tailgate party each fall.
“What we do is, we serve sloppy joes and pickles and other food in the park the Friday of the homecoming game,” Guenther said.
In addition to serving the Lester Prairie community, the Lions are also interested in helping people from afar from diabetes prevention and hearing testing to sight programs and environmental protection.
One example is Project New Hope, which allows veterans and their families to reconnect through free-of-charge retreats.
“It’s out of town, but it’s near and dear to our hearts,” Guenther said. “It helps families transition back into civilian life. That’s a really neat project.”
Another project the Lions have helped with is Vision Honduras, which takes eyeglasses to people who don’t have them.
“People literally walk for weeks to get to these eye places to be tested,” Guenther said. “They find glasses to match the people who come in.”
Guenther was especially moved by a story she heard of an elderly woman who walked for several miles with a large book in her hand. When the woman finally got to the eye center, the organization found a pair of glasses in her prescription.
“Then, the woman picked up the book, and began to read out loud, ‘In the beginning, God created. . .’ She was reading the Bible,” Guenther said. “She hadn’t seen the printed word in 40 years. That’s why I’m a Lion stuff like that.”
To join the Lions Club or for more information, contact any Lions member or Guenther at (320) 395-2850. Yearly dues are $50 per member.
“We’re always looking for new members,” Klaustermeier said.
LP Lions members
The 25 members of the Lester Prairie Lions Club for 2010-11 are as follows:
• Shellie Guenther, president
• Joe Miller, first vice president
• Dan Guenther, second vice president
• Lloyd Weisenburger, third vice president
• Dale Klaustermeier, secretary
• Dale Mensing, treasurer
• Bryon Weisenburger, tail twister
• Paul Mohwinkel, lion tamer
• Charlie Suedbeck, newsletter editor
• Lloyd Wortz, gambling manager
• Fred Blaser
• Perry Buesing
• Joel Burgess
• Bob Carlson
• Joe Casavant
• Wayne Hasz
• Gordon Houk
• Loren Jilek
• Jim Jorgenson
• John Klobe
• Earl Machemehl
• Ralph Machemehl
• Jim Moller
• Stewart Ruwersma
• Matt Schuldt
• Bryon Schuldt