‘YAHOO FOR 70 YEARS’ - Lions Club celebrated for tradition of service in Dell Rapids
August 12. 2014 1:32PM
Traveling from Dell Rapids to Sioux Falls was no small task in the 1940s when hard-surfaced roads were a rarity. But for 44 men and women who called Dell Rapids home, they faithfully made the trip monthly in the name of public service. They were Lions.
Then, Dell Rapids didn’t have a club of its own so the civic-minded locals had joined the Sioux Falls Downtown Lions Club.
But in 1944, they chartered their own chapter and began a seven-decade long era of aiding their hometown with service projects that have evolved throughout the years along with the community’s needs.
“It took an awful lot of foresight by some people to start a Lions Club when (World War II) was going on,” said Lion Dennis Van Asch, District 5 SE Governor, during a celebration dinner Thursday at Rocky Run Golf Course to honor the club for 70 years of service in Dell Rapids. “There were probably a lot of things to do to serve the area of Dell Rapids back in 1944 with a war going on and with a lot of the men gone to war and a lot of the women back here trying to keep the fires burning.”
Dell Rapids Lions Club director Tom Earley said charter members, like Harry Dieson, K.T. Faris, John Hermanson, C.H. Reuschlein, Peter Schmidt, Nick Schwebach, Jr., T.J. Unger and the 37 others, saw value in the mission of Lionism, which is to create and foster a spirit of understanding among all people for humanitarian needs by providing voluntary services through community involvement and international cooperation.
Today, the Dell Rapids Lions Club sponsors the Dell Rapids Boy Scout Troop 53, offers a scholarship to a student from either Dell Rapids High School, St. Mary High School or Baltic High School, financially supports the Haven, the South Dakota Lions Eye Bank, the Leader Dog School for the Blind, provides assistance to individuals needing eyeglasses and carries out many other projects to aid in the needs of Dell Rapids.
“The Dell Rapids Lions Club can be very proud of the service that our club has provided these past 70 years,” Earley said.
South Dakota First Lady Linda Daugaard, who gave the keynote address at Thursday’s ceremony, said the Lions Club, in Dell Rapids and worldwide, epitomizes what it means to be community driven.
“It all comes down to service and you guys know what that means here in the Lions Club. Yahoo for 70 years and 70 more,” she said.
Whether it’s the thousands of eye glasses donated, the million pounds of paper recycled since 2008 or the winter meat raffle, the Lions are always up to something. And Earley assured the club will continue to explore ways to help where it is needed.
“We must continue to understand the changing needs of people and the changing needs of our community,” Earley said. “We’ve taken a risk now and then, we’ve done things differently now and then, and we have been open to new ideas and constructive criticism.”
For 50 of the 70 years the Lions have been in Dell Rapids, local lawyer and former city attorney Allen Brown has been an enthusiastic member. In attendance Thursday, Brown was recognized for his five decades as a Lion.
Earley and fellow Lion Tom Schwebach were recognized for 20 years of service with the club, and Dell Rapids Lions president Virginia Miller was awarded a 15-year service pin.