Current and former Delavan Lions Club members celebrated 80 years of service to the community Sunday, May 20 at Lake Lawn Resort. Lake Lawn was also the site for the Club’s 40th anniversary celebration in 1957.
District dignataries and members of other clubs in District 27-A1 were at this year’s event to help celebrate and reminisce about the past. District Governor Gerry Gibbons spoke highly of the Club and its service to the community, which includes a long list of service projects made possible by contributions from the Club’s annual fundraisers. This currently includes the Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner at the Village Supper Club, the Corn Roast at the Walworth County Fair and a Pancake Breakfast with the Easter Bunny. A list of 30 service projects funded by proceeds from these events was listed in the program.
Lion Marilyn Carlson, who is a past president of the club and will take on that honor again starting next month, chaired the Planning Committee for the event, and Lion President Ryan Schroeder, who also served on the committee, were Masters of Ceremony for the celebration. Other Planning Committee members included Lions Steve Cass, Ken Gissing and Karen and Rick Heine.
The presenters provided information on the Club’s numerous contriutions to the community including the start-up of the Mill Pond, an ice skating rink that once graced Veterans Park, Aram Library additions over the years, the circus animal statutes located Downtown, the Delavan Lions shelter in Veteran’s Park, and many other contributions to the community.
The 15 charter members who founded the Delavan Club in 1938 were also remembered, and a historic display included their orginal signed attendance sheets. It included the one for Dr. J.A. (Joseph) Carroll who was at one time the longest living founding member.
The Club honored some of its own members with special awards. Lion Deb Gasser and Lion Deb Schwaan earned Melvin Jones Awards (named after Melvin Jones, Fonder of Lion International, it is the highest award a Lion can earn). Burch Sturm Fellowship Awards for dedication to humanitarian projects went to Lion Marilyn Carlson, Lion Deb Schwaan, Lion Karen Heine and Lion Ryan Schroeder.
Proceeds from the 80th anniversary meeting will go to Congdon Gardens and be added to other funds the Club is contributing in the future for a Lions garden circle there.
The Delavan-Darien High School Jazz Band, with guest director Mark Butzow, helped keep spirits high by providing the entertainment. Lion Schroeder thanked the band members and their director near the end of the celebration and presented them a check from the Club for $500.