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Morris Lions Club celebrates 70th anniversary

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The Morris Lions celebrated its 70th anniversary on May 18, and several members received awards.

International Director Debra Wasserman brought the Morris Lions Club congratulations from Lions Club International President Al Brandel. Wasserman spoke to the Morris Lions and several guests on "Service from the Heart" and "Everyday Heroes - Miracles Through Service".

"That is people like you, doing what needs to be done every day to make your community a better place," she said.

A few special awards were presented to members of the Morris Lions Club:

Minnesota Hearing and Service Dog Recipient: Lion Marcia Gilman

This "Top Dog" award was given in honor of Lion Gilman's commitment to raising awareness about service dogs and also raising money for this program.

Joining the Morris Lions Club in 2002, Marcia has been a very active member serving for 2 years as the club's secretary and most recently our Peace Poster Chair. She has served on the board and several committees.

At the District level Marcia is presently serving as Chair for Hearing/Service Dogs. Along with her husband Lion Jim, they have raised hundreds of dollars for the Minnesota Hearing and Service Dogs on their annual Heel and Wheel Walk held each September.

Melvin Jones Fellowship was presented to two members, Lion Jerry Freese and Lion Barry Erdahl

The Melvin Jones Fellowship honors Melvin Jones, the founder of Lions Clubs International. It is the highest form of recognition conferred by the foundation. It is largely due to the growth of the fellowship program that LCIF has been able to meet humanitarian needs in communities worldwide. In many cases these needs are reflected in the eyes of disadvantaged children. Or perhaps made apparent by a common sense of hopelessness shared by the elderly whose community has been unable to care for them. LCIF continually meets needs such as these through the generosity of Lions, and others, who have contributed to the Melvin Jones Fellowship Program.

Recipient Lion Jerry Freese:

Lion Jerry is retired as the Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds from the Morris Area High School. He also worked many years in the construction business as a carpenter and drove school bus.

A Lion member since 1972, Lion Jerry has held many offices including President in 1995. He has sponsored 3 new members. As an active member of the Morris club, Jerry is always ready and able to help with many of our various projects. He has chaired and pulled together our annual World Service Day at West Wind Village for several years.

Being a carpenter Jerry was instrumental in building our current Lions Bingo stand at the Stevens Co Fairgrounds.

He has had perfect attendance for 33 years and has been awarded 100% President's Award and Membership Chair Award.

Lion Barry Erdahl:

He has been a member of the Morris Lions Club for 28 years. Lion Barry has held many offices within the club including President and presently serving as Membership Chair. He currently is the Zone Chair for 5M4, serving three terms.

As an active member Lion Barry has sponsored seven new members and has had 22 years of perfect attendance. He received the Governor's Award in December of 2000.

Lion Barry has raised a Leader Dog Pup, takes care of the Morris Lions highway signs and has chaired many major fundraising events. The years of 2005-2007 Barry was the Campaign Sight First II Group Coordinator. This position led him around the District raising money for the Campaign. With his efforts and dedication along with many others, Lions International was able to reach their goal of 200 plus million dollars.

Helen Keller Award was presented to Dr. Michael E. Lair. This award is given to honor those who have distinguished themselves on behalf of sight.

In 1925, when Lions International was only seven years old, the legendary Helen Keller spoke to Lions members at their annual convention and challenged them to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." That speech set the Lions' course. Since then, millions of Lions members worldwide have devoted their service careers to helping people with visual impairments.

Lion Dr. Lair is currently an Optometrist at the Stevens Community Medical Center.

A member of the Morris Club since 1986, Lion Lair has held many offices including President and Membership chair.

Lion Mike has taken 3 trips to Mexico with the VOSH program. Each of his three boys, Ryan, Adam and Matthew, has taken a trip with him. This program recycles eyeglasses and then provides new prescription for needy people. Lion Mike is instrumental in collecting eyeglasses at his place of business.

Tail Twister Lion Jay Dietz presented Lion Jim Overland with an apron and chef hat that said "I Serve". Lion Jim is always the first Lion to provide help at our barbeque or pancake fundraiser. He volunteers his time readily to help our club fundraise or just to have a little fun.

"From the Heart" award was presented to Lion C.F. "Kett" Ketterling. The Morris Lions Club honored Lion "Kett" with a "From the Heart" award for going above and beyond the role of a Lion. He has been a member with perfect attendance for 36 years and is very active yet today at the age of 92. He has held several offices up to the level of District Governor. He has been on several committees both locally and at the district level. Lion "Kett" collects eyeglasses for recycling and gets the Lions mints out to the business. He attends several conventions each year and will attend yet another International convention held in Minneapolis this July.

Lion Ted Dosdall is a retired farmer and past county commissioner. He is a Life member of the Morris Lions Club since 1976. Prior to the Morris Club he was a member of the Hancock Lions for 10 years. Lion Dosdall is our most eldest member; will be 94 years young on July 25. During his many years he has held many offices including President for both Morris and Hancock clubs. Lion Ted has 21 years perfect attendance, has sponsored five new members and was the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award winner in December 2000.