The following history was written and presented by Lion Jack Argotsinger at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Nevada Lions Club, held May 20, 1998 at Gates Memorial Hall in Nevada, Iowa.




MAY 20, 1998

The Nevada Lions Club began May 6, 1948 with 57 members. The first officers were as follows:

President - Dennis Shay
1st Vice President - R.L. Golly
2nd Vice President - Clyde O. Steward
3rd Vice President - Argyll Thompson
Secretary - O.W. Bierma
Treasurer - Leslie Henderson
Lion Tamer - W.L. Lawhorn
Tail twister - James Collins
Director - O.E. Cooley
Director - Lyle Baumgardner
Director - C.A. Ryan
Director - B.M. Soper

The Club was sponsored by the Ames Lions Club.

The Club, therefore, got off to a good start and has continued to be a great service club for the community of Nevada. According to records obtained from Lions International there have been 344 members at one time or another in the Lions Club these past Fifty Years. There are too many projects to be listed individually in this presentation, and I don't want to take up too much time going over each individual one. However, some seem worthy of mention at this time. The wading pool at the East Story County Swimming Pool was an early Lions donation. The Heliport at the Story County Hospital, the dishwasher at Gates Hall plus the lighted sign that graces the front lawn here at Gates, the resurfacing of the Tennis Courts at the 4-H Grounds, and the Alzheimer's fence at the Story County Hospital are lasting tributes to the generosity of our club.

Along with the other smaller gifts both to our Community and individuals, the Nevada Lions also continue to support State, National, and International projects.

There have been may firsts for our club and I would like to mention them. The FIRST activity was to sponsor a bus to a High School Football game in Ankeny, Oct. 15, 1948. The FIRST money raising project, a March of Dimes Dance Feb. 8, 1949, realized a profit of $177.00. The FIRST Ladies Night was held in May 1949, on the first anniversary of the Club. The FIRST working project was to build a storage shed at the High School Football Field. In April 1949 our club held its FIRST Senior Boys Night. I know that at least one present member of our club attended, as a Senior, a Boys Night a few years later. Apparently he was impressed with what the Lions in Nevada had to offer. In Nov. 1951 our FIRST Farmers Night was held. In Aug. 1951 a major event was sponsored by the Club: an Air Show and Flight Breakfast. There were 241 planes and 433 people ate a free breakfast. 850 people were served breakfast, non-flyers being charged. Planes came from Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, and Iowa. The Air Show in the afternoon was well attended and the Lions operated food stands. The entire event resulted in about a break-even circumstance, but the Club felt the good publicity was well worth the effort.

In June 1953 the FIRST Lions Family Picnic was held at Indian Creek Country Club. A major project was launched in 1956. The Lions contributed to the building of the wading Pool in connection with the Swimming Pool project. In 1958 was the FIRST record of our club omitting the 2nd meeting in December and contributing the meal money to ILSCF. In Sept. 1962 we held the FIRST Fish Fry Dinner. All members whose last name began with letters A thru M were to bring cakes for dessert. The following year M thru Z were to bring cakes. Therefore, Ray McDaniel had to bring a cake each year. That went on for many years, but Ray never complained, too loudly. In 1968 was the FIRST time that the Lions Glaucomobile was in Nevada. By March 1969 the Lions had completed a 4-year project of paying for the Dishwasher in Gates Hall. A $3400 project.

In January 1977 we held our FIRST Frozen Fish Sale. Several problems existed. One, not many members knew much about the exotic fish we had to sell. Another problem -- the scales was outside on the sidewalk and it was too cold for the scales to work properly. Another problem for us was the fact that we didn't round off the price of the fish to even numbers. When you had an order at $1.23 a lb. and the weight was 2 5/8 lbs. few could figure the right price to charge. Some people got really good deals and others got took. Later that year we held our FIRST Chicken BBQ Dinner. Let me read a note from the Board Meeting about our first effort to have this project. Considerable discussion was carried on as to how many servings to plan for since this was our first adventure barbequing chicken. It was finally agreed to prepare servings of beans and cole slaw for 500 and an additional 200 servings of chicken. Lion Loyd Brown felt the need for enough chickens and hoped the members would take any home that were not sold. Lion Gene Spencer hoped that this whole project didn't lay an egg. It didn't and has become one of our major fund raisers.

In 1984 another FIRST for our club. We awarded the Ray McDaniel Lions Scholarship to a High School Senior from Nevada. Ray was a Charter member and had 35 years of 100% attendance in our Club before he passed away. In 1991 another scholarship was awarded. This is the Dr. Leonard Maliet Scholarship in memory of Dr. Leonard Maliet by Margaret Maliet, a member of our club. In 1994 we initiated into our club our FIRST woman member, Susan Radke. Susan will establish another FIRST next year when she becomes our next President. So we have had many firsts over 50 years and look forward to many other ones in the next 50 years.

Several unusual things have occurred over these many years and I would like to share a few with you. In December 1957 there was a project "One for the Books" sponsored by Dr. Green the Hypnotic Marvel which turned out to be a disaster and a flop. Dr. Green failed to carry out his contract in the number of shows performed and the type of entertainment promised. The Lions Club went on public record as condemning this show and advised all other Lions Clubs to "stay clear".

Another unusual happening took place in 1962. Our Club was in a National Publication: Ripleys "Believe it or Not". This happened when three members of our club drew their own names for door prizes during a Ladies Night Activity. They were Henry Scudder, Bill Dial, and Rev. Jim Dendler.

In 1972 all clubs attending the State Lions Convention in Sioux City were to bring a decorated bed sheet of Lions Activities to be used as room dividers in the Sioux City Auditorium for small group discussions. Several members' wives proceeded to make an attractive sheet. Those ladies were: Margaret Ebert, Cathy Abbott, Marilyn Argotsinger, Doris Andresen, and Rosemary Kreig. The sheet was gorgeous, but won no prize. The unusual thing about this is what do you do with the sheet after the convention is over. Well you return it to the President of the club, who passes it on to the next President. This went on a few years until it finally disappeared. No President would say what happened to it. It is still a mystery. Another mystery took place when our club misplaced, threw away or abandoned several Lions Vest Jackets. We have never worn the Vests at our regular meetings but did need something to identify us as Lions when we sold tickets at the Lions sponsored Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament. Usually two Lions, with Vests on, sold tickets, then passed the Vests on to the next Lions for their shift in selling. After several years the vests simply disappeared. We looked everywhere but to no avail, another mystery unsolved. Today we identify ourselves with Lions Caps which each member has.

During the past fifty years we have had 47 Presidents. That means that some members have served their club more than once. They were Don Williams (62-63) & (87-88), Jack Argotsinger (74-75) & (88-89), and Bob Andresen (76-7) & (1989). Unfortunately, Bob passed away before he could complete his second term. Harry Gandrup served out Bob's term and then completed his own in 1990-91. I would like to ask all Past Presidents of our Club to stand at this time to be recognized for jobs well done.

We have some other members who have served for many years in official capacities. Lion Bob Hobson served thirteen years as Secretary. Milo Pitcher filled that job for ten years as did Jack Argotsinger. Les Henderson was Secretary for four years and Dr. Earl Laughlin for three years. Our current Secretary Chris Schell is in his first year so Chris you have many years to go to beat Bob's record. Another member, Dean Howell, has been Treasurer of our club for fifteen years. Also, Harold Walter has been Lion Tamer for 17 years.

Our club has had two Zone Chairmen of District 9X7. They are Wesley Ebert and Everett Carman. Several members have attended International Conventions. Wayne Bierma and Jim Collins went to Mexico City. Jim Taylor attended Conventions in Tokyo, New York, and Los Angeles. Jack Argotsinger went to Dallas.

So in conclusion you can see the Nevada Lions Club has been very active these past fifty years, and has had a great impact on our city as well as enjoying some of the finest fellowship anyone could ask for. We know the next fifty years will be no different.

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