Lions Club to celebrate 75 years in Osage City

Osage-City-Lions-Club2By Osage City Lions Club Secretary John Ashcraft

On Sept. 27, 2014, the Osage City Lions Club will celebrate the 75th anniversary of their charter night with a banquet. The celebration takes place on the exact date that the club’s charter was given on Sept. 27, 1939.

The club began with 23 charter members and over the years increased their membership to over 100 at one time. Current membership stands at 46 members.

The club sponsoring the Osage City Lions Club was the Topeka Sunflower Lions Club. Later the Osage City club acted as a sponsor for three other area clubs, the Burlingame Lions Club, the Lyndon Lions Club, and the Harveyville Lions Club.

Through the first 74 years our membership was made up of all males. This year we are breaking new ground and are proud to initiate our first female member, Diane Scott. We do note that the wives of our members have been significant supporters of our activities the past 75 years, especially helping out at the food stand and providing delicious homemade pies to serve. Now all women will have the opportunity to become full members of our club.

L.C. “Mack” McClintic was elected the first president of our club. The club meetings were first held upstairs in the building occupied by the Burlingame Branch Bank.

At its inception, the Osage City Lions Club was to add its name to over 2,600 Lions Clubs in seven countries with a total membership of 75,000. Today, 75 years later, there are over 46,300 Lions Clubs in over 160 countries with a total membership of 1.35 million members, making the Lions Club International the largest civic organization in the world. In the past five years the Lions Club International has gained over 60,000 members to its rolls.

Our club found an important role in serving the needs of our community and the surrounding area. Regardless of the economic conditions there is always a need to help others. Providing assistance to other individuals and organizations, as well as initiating our own projects, has always been a part of our club’s efforts.

Obtaining funds to achieve these goals is one of our major activities. Since 1964 the Lions Club food stand at the fair has been our primary source of funding. With the support of the community and hard work of the membership and their wives, the Lions Club food stand has generated countless funds over the past 50 years to maintain a high level of service to the community. Most people in Osage City and the surrounding area have great memories of the great breakfasts and the best tasting hamburgers served from the stand. Lion members have memories of the long lines and the continuous efforts to keep up with the orders fast coming in. These and other great memories were generated by its presence in our lives.

But, with the recent addition of the new football field and track, the food stand had to be sacrificed for the greater good of enhancing the lives of our children and youth. The Lions Club, however, has added other sources of funding to supplement our fair stand, which is now using the Osage City Community Building as the food stand.

Among our other sources of income are our annual golf tournament to raise money for the Lions Site Foundation, beer garden at Smoke in the Spring, MMA Wrestling sponsorship, chili feed, and tractor pull, among several others.

From its beginning the Osage City Lions Club has been a significant organization in initiating community projects and supporting the activities of other organizations and individuals. For the past 34 years, the Lions Club has made an annual $1,000 donation to the Lions Site Foundation. Each year the Lions Club presents at least one and, many times, two or three, $500 scholarships to selected Osage City High School seniors to assist with their higher education goals. The Ecumenical Christian Action Team and the local Warmth Fund, groups organized to assist those with various personal and family needs, have depended upon the Lions Club as a major source of financial support from their beginning. The city digital sign at the corner of Ninth and Lakin streets received a substantial donation to ensure its addition to the community. Lions continue to be present and support the annual fishing derby for children as well as the annual Christmas bicycle give-away drawing for both a boy and a girl. Our most recent activity, the MMA wrestling event at the county fair was a major success. New picnic tables have been purchased for the community building, and grants have been given to our local wrestling club, the youth football league, Lions State Band scholarships, and the local high school drama club.

As we reflect on the last 75 years, we can truly say the Osage City Lions Club has a record to be proud of. The club has been good for Osage City, and looks forward to the next 75 years as we proudly continue to follow our motto in all that we do, “We Serve”.

The 75th anniversary banquet will be held Saturday at St. Bridgid Hall, in Osage City. Several dignitaries from the International Lions Club will be present in addition to civic dignitaries. Past International Director Ernest Young Jr. will be the featured speaker at the celebration. Osage City Lions Club President Will Kerns will serve as master of ceremonies for the evening.

For more information about Osage City Lions Club, contact Kerns at 785-633-6716.


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