The following history was written by Jean Bodensteiner and presented by Lion Doug Jamieson at the 60th Anniversary Celebration of the Nevada Lions Club, held May 3, 2008 at St. Patricks Catholic Church in Nevada, Iowa.
SIXTY YEAR ANNIVERSARY
THE NEVADA LIONS CLUB
MAY 3, 2008
The Nevada Lions Club is a service club that organized in the spring of 1948 and chartered on May 6, 1948 with 57 members. The club was sponsored by the Ames Lions Club. Club meetings were the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month at 6:30 pm in the Story Hotel and remain on those same days but now at Gates Hall. The first officers were Dennis Shay (President); R.L. Golly (1st Vice President); Clyde O. Steward (2nd Vice President); Argyll Thompson (3rd Vice President); O.W. Bierma (Secretary) Leslie Henderson (Treasurer); W.L. Lawhorn (Lion Tamer); James Collins (Tail Twister); and O.E. Cooley, Lyle Baumgardner, C.A. Ryan, and B.M. Soper (Directors). Bill Tipton is our sole living charter member.
At the time of charter, each person was given a classification reflecting their occupation. Only three persons with the same classification were allowed in the club at any one time. Often there was a waiting list for membership in certain occupational classifications. Dayton Countryman remembers not being able to be a charter member because there were already three lawyers as charter members; he was not able to join until 1950. Later some unique classifications were invented to get around this limitation. Years later the classification scheme was abandoned. In June 1952 membership had risen to 74. Currently we have ten members with 30-60 years of Lions service, two with 20-29 years, eight with 10-19 years, and twelve with less than 10 years.
When chartered, the Nevada Lions Club became a part of what is now Lions Clubs International which was established in 1917. In 1925, Lions were challenged by Helen Keller to take up the cause of the visually handicapped and to become "Knights for the Blind in preventing darkness". Since that time, work with the blind and seeing-impaired has remained a major humanitarian service of Lions around the world. Through the years, major service areas have expanded to include the hearing-impaired, diabetes awareness, and drug awareness. But, above all, the many varied grass-roots projects at the local club level not only provide service to the community but also provide the backbone of the international organization. Since those first years, Lions Clubs International has grown to include 1.3 million men and women who work together to answer the needs that challenge communities around the world in more than 43,000 clubs in 202 countries and geographical areas.
Sight conservation has been a goal since the club's inception. Eyeglasses, eye exams, braille machines, and electronic magnification units have been provided for those unable to afford them. Used eyeglasses and sunglasses are collected for recycling. The Club also has sponsored area diabetic youth to attend Camp Hertko Hollow.
Sponsoring the Nevada High School marching band trip to Ankeny for a football game was the Club's first major activity on October 15, 1948. Holding a March of Dimes Dance on February 8, 1949 was the Club's first fundraiser with $177 profited. The dance became an annual event for several years. Building a storage shed at the Nevada High School football field was the Club's first work project. An Air Show having 241 planes and a Flight Breakfast serving 850 people was held in August 1951. Numerous activities have followed throughout the years.
Over the years, Club funds and man hours have supported Nevada community projects such as the swimming and wading pools; park improvements and playground equipment; high school football and softball shelters and storage buildings; 4-H tennis courts; Gates Hall dishwasher/other furnishings, marquee, benches, piano fund, & landscaping; cemetery, hospital, & daycare center fences; library book drop; girl's softball field lights; Story County Hospital heliport, landscaping, Ambulance Fund, & parking lot surfacing; thermal imaging camera for Nevada Fire Department; move of historical School House to Evergreen/Brigg's Terrace; American Legion Flag Endowment Fund, Habitat for Humanity; Iowa KidSight preschool vision screenings; and Christmas food baskets to needy residents for over 40 years.
Many Club fundraisers became annual events. Fish Fry Dinners began in September 1962 with members donating cakes for dessert. The first Frozen Fish Sale was held in January 1977 and was conducted annually for almost 20 years. The Lions Chicken Barbeque during August Lincoln Highway Days also started in 1977 and continued until 2003. The first annual Pancake Day was in March 1964 and remains a good fundraiser for the Club. Club funds more recently have been raised through annual activities at Iowa State University including ticket-taking/ushering at ISU football games and working for ISU Dining at summer conferences. Soon Nevada Lions will offer a community recycling program for newspapers, magazines, & cardboard.
Annual donations are made to the Lions Clubs International Foundation, the Iowa Lions Foundation, Leader Dogs for the Blind & NCCF Puppy Program, and Diabetes Awareness. In addition, funds have supported national and world projects. Large donations were made for the 1972 South Dakota floods; the 9/11/2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon; and Tsunami Relief Fund in 2005.
The Club established the annual Ray McDaniel Lions Scholarship in 1984 and the annual Dr. Leonard Maliet Lions Scholarship in 1991. Each is given to a Nevada High School senior and each is now in the amount of $1000. These scholarships have benefited 39 youth.
In 1987, Lions Clubs International voted to not restrict Lions membership by gender. Susan Radke was inducted as Nevada Lions Club's first female member in November 1994 and also served as its first female president in 1998-99. To date, seven other women have become Nevada Lions.
Several Nevada Lion officers have served multiple terms since the charter in 1948. Multi-term Club Presidents include Don Williams (1962-63 & 1987-88), Jack Argotsinger (1974-75 & 1988-89), and Bob Andresen (1976-77 & 1989), and Harry Gandrup (remainder 1989-90 & 1990-91). Multi-term Club Secretaries include Bob Hobson (13 yrs), Milo Pitcher (10 yrs), Jack Argotsinger (9 yrs), Jerry Radke (5 yrs), Les Henderson (4 yrs), Richard Smith (3 yrs), Dr. Earl Laughlin (3 yrs), Robert Lattig (2 yrs), and Warren Curtis (2 yrs). Multi-term Club Treasurers include Dean Howell (21 yrs), Gerald Warren (6 yrs), Charles Wilson (5 yrs), LaNair Niblock (5 yrs), Norman Olsen (3 yrs), Leslie Henderson (2 yrs), Tom Wolfe (2 yrs), Mort Cockshoot (2 yrs), Harold Walter (2 yrs), Ray McDaniel (2 yrs), and Bob Hunter (2 yrs). Multi-term Lion Tamers include Harold Walter (18 yrs) and Lynn Harris (9 yrs).
Four Nevada Lions have served as District Governor -- Janice Whaley (9x7 DG, 2000-01; and now in Maxwell Lions Club); Jean Bodensteiner (9x7 DG, 2005-06); Jerry Radke (9x7 DG, 2006-07); and Susan Radke (9MC DG, 2007-08). These Nevada Lions have served on various District Cabinet positions -- Jean Bodensteiner (2000-08), Jerry Radke (2000-08), & Susan Radke (2005-08). These Nevada Lions have served as Zone Chairs: Wes Ebert, Everett Carman, Susan Radke, Loren Heckathorne, and Jean Bodensteiner.
By contributing $1000 over a 3-yr period to the Iowa Lions Foundation, Nevada Lions have received and designated Warren Coleman Awards to Everett Carman (posthumously, Jul 2001), Dean Howell (Apr 2004), and Jerry Radke (Jul 2007). By contributing $1000 over a 5-yr period to the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), Nevada Lions have received and designated Melvin Jones Fellowships to Bob Hobson (Apr 2002), Don Williams (Feb 2006), Steve Jordening (Apr 2006), and Susan Radke (Aug 2007). At the Midwinter Leadership Conference (Jan 2008), Jean Bodensteiner received the International President's Leadership Award (3rd highest Lions Clubs International recognition).
Several members have attended International Conventions -- Wayne Bierma and Jim Collins in Mexico City; Jim Taylor in Tokyo, New York, and Los Angeles; Jack Argotsinger in Dallas; Jean Bodensteiner in Osaka, Hong Kong, and Boston, Jerry Radke in Boston and Chicago, and Susan Radke in Boston and Chicago.
Our Club web site was initiated in 1997 and is maintained by Web master Jerry Radke. Nevada Lions activities can be viewed at http://www.nevada-lions.org/.
The Nevada Lions Club continues to serve the Nevada community and, through networking, to serve people in Iowa, our nation, and the world. The Nevada Lions Club fulfills the Lions Motto of "We Serve".
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