75 years of service: Lions have a long list of community accomplishments

December 2014 Posted in Community
Lions Club members in the back row: Scott Walker, Jon Debo, Dick Drake, Tomina Wolff and Nick Robinson. Front row: Beris Brickles, Hal Werner and Otto Stadeli.

Lions Club members in the back row: Scott Walker, Jon Debo, Dick Drake, Tomina Wolff and Nick Robinson. Front row: Beris Brickles, Hal Werner and Otto Stadeli.

By Kristine Thomas

Several Silverton Lions Club members confessed they don’t always agree on politics or even about the Oregon State Beavers or the University of Oregon Ducks. They attend various churches and participate in different groups.

But while they may have their differences, there’s one thing they all agree on – they believe in the importance of serving their community.

“We all love our community and we want to do something for our community and we found we can do that through the Silverton Lions Club,” Nick Robinson said.

The Silverton Lions Club celebrates its 75th anniversary with a banquet on Dec. 4. The list of what the club does for the Silverton community is long: providing hearing aids and eyeglasses; giving American flags to every third-grader; awarding scholarships to Silverton High seniors; helping to administer vision tests to all kindergarteners as well as other students; delivering eye tissue; working with Mark Twain students to remove evasive weeds at The Oregon Garden; volunteering at Free Fish Day … plus they help other organizations with their projects.

“Celebrating our 75th anniversary gives us a chance to step back for a moment and look at what we have done for the community,” Jon Debo said.

Silverton Lions Club President Tomina Wolff said most of the time, Lions Club members steer away from discussions about politics. “We are all focused on doing community and world service,” Wolff said. “Our motto is ‘We serve.’ We overcome any differences we have because we want to give back to our community.”

Silverton Lions Club
Meets the first and third Thursday of
each month at 6:30 p.m. at the
Silverton Hospital Birthing Center Conference Room.
Lions not only help people in need but have
opportunities to develop personal friendships
and gain valuable leadership skills.
Those interested in finding out more
are invited to call Hal Werner,

One misconception people have about service clubs is that they need to volunteer many hours, Wolff said.

“If more people joined and volunteered a few hours every month, it would benefit our community,” she said.

The Salem Downtown Lions Club recruited 19 Silverton businessmen to start the Silverton Lions Club on Sept. 28, 1938. Eighteen different vocations were represented on that night from a doctor to a shoe salesman.

Debo said after World War II the membership rolls grew steadily to a peak of 75 but then it began to slip to a steady 30-35 members as it is today, but it doesn’t keep the club from serving the community.

By taking a quick tour of Silverton, it’s easy to see some of the Lions Club projects. In 1947, the club chartered what is Boy Scout Troup 485 today; in 1948, the club initiated the annual Harvest Breakfast which eventually became the Lions Harvest Breakfast around which eventually developed the Homer Davenport Community Festival and in 1964, the Lions Pavilion was completed in Coolidge McClaine Park. They built the handicap fishing platform at the Silverton Reservoir and the kitchen at the Coolidge McClaine pavilion.

“The Silverton Lions Club has a rich tradition of service to the community and we look forward to whatever we can do within our means,” Debo said.

Scott Walker joined the Lions Club because he appreciates all the work the Lions members do to benefit the community. To raise money for various projects, Walker said the Lions hold several fundraisers including the fireworks booth during Fourth of July and the Harvest Breakfast during Homer Davenport Days. Members are currently selling See’s Candy at a booth near Rite-Aid from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from now until they sell the last box of candy – which happened on Dec. 23 last year. The money from the candy sales goes toward scholarships.

When asked why they dedicate their time to the Lion’s Club, Beris Brickles, Hal Werner and Debo all had the same answer.

“I think we all enjoy doing things to benefit our community and helping people,” Werner said. “We also enjoy the friendship and the fellowship.”

Robinson joined the Lions Club because of its work to help with sight and hearing projects. When needed, he delivers eye tissue to the eye bank in Portland. “I like playing a small part in helping with a miracle to give someone their sight,” he said, adding he’s also proud of the work the Lions does to provide eye exams and glasses to people in need.

Dick Drake is the newest member. He appreciates how positive everyone is and their commitment to service.

“If you want to help, this is an excellent group to give our time to,” Drake said.

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