By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN “To serve” is the motto of the newly established Winsted Lions Club, with most of its efforts focusing on the Winsted community.
Previously, the Winsted Lions Club was an extension of the Silver Lake Lions, but just last week, it was determined it has enough members to become its own charter club, a status it has been seeking since July 2009.
A charter banquet is set for Wednesday, April 28 with District Governor Darwin Mathwig making it official. More details will be announced later.
Founded in 1917, Lions Clubs are best known for fighting blindness by conducting vision screenings, equipping hospitals and clinics, distributing medicine, and raising awareness of eye disease.
But Lions Clubs help wherever they are needed, volunteering for all kinds of community projects.
Numerous Lions projects support local children and schools through scholarships, recreation, and mentoring programs.
Other projects that involve the Lions include caring for the environment, feeding the hungry, and aiding seniors and the disabled.
Since 1968, Lions Clubs International Foundation has awarded more than $700 million in grants to support Lions humanitarian projects around the world.
“Where there is a need, we serve,” past Lions Club district governor Rick Wagener said.
Winsted Lions Club Vice- chair Sue Wagener and her husband, Lions Club member Ron Wagener, attended the mid-winter 5M2 District Lions Club convention Feb. 14, to learn more about the Lions impact on local communities.
The 5M2 convention takes place once a year in Mankato, usually the second week in February. It covers 10 counties; McLeod, Carver, Sibley, Scott, Nicollet, LeSeuer, Rice, Blue Earth, Waseca and Steele.
From the 10 counties, there are 63 clubs, with a total of 2,400 Lions members.
“It is important for Lions to attend the convention so that we can stay connected as a district, region and club,” Sue Wagener said. “It is also a time for learning about how other clubs are doing and how clubs can work together to make this world a better place for all.”
“So, for me, the convention was educational, motivating, and energizing, as well,” Sue Wagener said.
Lions Club youth programs such as Leo Clubs, the dictionary program, and the Lions Quest program impressed the Wageners.
The dictionary program for area students was the first project the Winsted Lions Club took part in last fall, giving each third grader in Winsted Elementary School and Holy Trinity Catholic School their own personal copy of “A Student’s Dictionary.”
The dictionaries were provided to students through the Lions Club Dictionary Project which is funded through a joint effort of the publisher and local community fundraisers hosted by the Winsted Lions Club.
Another youth program is Lions Quest which is being considered by Holy Trinity School.
“The program equips teachers to empower students to make positive life decisions, communicate effectively, and to avoid drugs and violence,” Sue Wagener said.
“This program is used in grades kindergarten through 12th grade and has proved to be successful, with over 50 countries using it, and having materials translated into 24 languages,” Sue Wagener said.
Today, another Lions youth program, Leo Club adopted in 1967, is stronger than ever.
There are approximately 144,000 Leos and 5,700 Leo Clubs in more than 140 countries worldwide, according to the Leo web site.
The objective of the program is to provide youth of the world with an opportunity for development and contribution, individually and collectively, as responsible members of the local, national and international community, according to the Leo web site.
“The more I learn about what the Lions do, the more I want to be part of this organization,” Sue Wagener said.