By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN In less than a year, the Winsted Lions Club has shown the community what teamwork is all about.
The club, which was originally an extension of the Silver Lake Lions, became an independent club in April 2010, electing its first officers June 28 of last year.
Since that time, the club’s motto, “to serve,” has been practiced over and over again in all of its projects, and there were many.
The club’s first fundraiser was in May to help the youth program at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Winsted raise funds for a mission trip.
Soon after that project, the Lions began planning for a food booth at Winstock Country Music Festival in June, where they served pork burgers and turkey legs.
When the Winsted Summer Festival began in August, the Lions were once again ready to participate, this time selling popcorn and lemonade. To show their spirit, they secured a float for the festival’s parade.
The very next weekend, the Winsted Lions were ready again to try their luck at selling food at Higher Ground Music Festival.
Through all of the fundraisers, and some miserable summer weather, the Winsted Lions showed great team effort. They have considered 2010 a good learning experience for upcoming projects in 2011.
Proceeds raised through the various fundraisers are given to local people in need or used for local community projects, as well as national and international needs.
One of the goals of the Winsted Lions Club is to strive to initiate projects that support area youth.
In October, the Lions made many students in Winsted happy with its annual dictionary presentation.
All of the third-graders at Holy Trinity and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Elementary School received a dictionary.
The objective of this project is to provide school children with their very own dictionary for use in school and at home, starting at the age of “Learning to read” to “reading to learn.”
The Lions dictionary project and the dictionary publisher provide the dictionaries as an aid for third-grade teachers to help all students end the school year as good writers, active readers, and creative thinkers.
Another annual Lions project is its WriteOff program, giving local students in grades nine through 12 an opportunity to write an article expressing their thoughts and ideas on a specific topic relating to Lions. Students compete locally, and the winner then competes with other students up to regional level. Winners have the opportunity to win $675.
Region 1 chair, Janet Hall, was impressed with Winsted Lions Club’s organization and teamwork and asked if the annual 5M2 Region 1 meeting Sept. 29 could be hosted in Winsted at the Blue Note Ballroom.
The region meeting is a time where committee chairs of Lions projects are able to update other members on what is happening, and solicit support for various projects.
The event was successful, entertaining a large number of the region’s Lions in Winsted.
In Minnesota, the Lions represent some of the state’s most dedicated volunteers. There are more than 20,000 Lions and Lioness members in Minnesota, and more than 600 Lions Clubs statewide, according to the Minnesota Lions eyebank website.
Lions Clubs International is the largest service organization in the world, with 1.3 million members in more than 180 countries.
The 2010-11 Winsted Lions Club officers are President Ron Wagener, 1st Vice President George Schulenberg, 2nd Vice President Paul Gatz, Treasurer Kurt Landin, and Secretary Pam Fiecke.
Consider donating used eyeglasses or hearing aids to the Lions
The Lions accept prescription eyeglasses (frames with lenses intact), non-prescription sunglasses, and reading glasses. They will also accept used hearing aids.
For donor convenience, drop off sites have been set up in Winsted at Dueber’s, Distinctive Dental, Flagship Bank Winsted, Glenn’s SuperValu, Holy Trinity Church and School, St. John’s Lutheran Church, St. Mary’s Care Center, Winsted Chiropractic, and Ridgeview Winsted Clinic.
After the eyeglasses have been collected, they are sent to a company where they are cleaned, repaired, and sorted by prescription.
In Minnesota, Lions have collected more than 6 million pairs of eyeglasses, which they dispense free of charge to individuals in developing nations.
Learn more about the Winsted Lions
Anyone who wants more information, may attend a Winsted Lions Club meeting, scheduled the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the lower level of the Winsted City Hall at 1st St. N.
A dinner is provided, with the meeting following right after.
For questions about the club or to join, contact President Ron Wagener at (320) 485-3251 or Membership Chair Arden Severson at (320) 286-6599.