Edwardsburg Lions celebrates 65 yearsPublished 10:17pm Thursday, October 27, 2011
The Edwardsburg Lions Club will host a a spaghetti dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 5 at American Legion Post 365 to honor 65 years of service to the Edwardsburg community.
The club was chartered by the Niles Lions Club on Aug. 8, 1946, with 49 charter members.
One of the club’s first projects was the donation and installation of street markers in the village in 1949. An auction was held in 1952 to raise money toward lighting at Edwardsburg School’s new athletic field. In 1956, the club purchased a used 1946 Packard Hearse from a South Bend dealer to be converted to an ambulance, which was donated to the village.
Later, the club used a Sight Mobile to screen the general public for vision and glaucoma. At one time, the Edwardsburg Club screened about 300 people. The Lions Club was instrumental in helping with the tennis courts at the Edwardsburg High School and contributed to the lighting at the parking lot at the high school in 1984-85.
The Edwardsburg Lions Club was the first in Michigan to Adopt-A-Highway for road cleanup.
The Lions do the cleanup for 3 miles along US12 in Edwardsburg. It is evident throughout the years that the Lions provided eyeglasses, eye appointments, white canes, leader dogs, and built ramps for handicapped and disabled individuals. The club held fund raisers to assist the Edwardsburg School system in their Greenhouse Fund, donated to the Edwardsburg Junior Baseball League, donated to the Little League Fields and donated to the Miss Edwardsburg and Blossomtime Pageants. Whenever they heard of a need in the community or school system the Lions were there supporting either in donations or donations of their time to get the job done. The club was also involved in the Boy Scouts and sponsored a troop each year. Even today they sponsor two soccer teams. The Edwardsburg Club awards two $500 Herbert L. Stiffler scholarship awards yearly to recipients of the Edwardsburg School System.
Family was a great part of the Lions Club. They would host Valentine dinners, ladies night banquets, father-daughter and father-son banquets. The Lion members themselves enjoyed the camaraderie with bowling outings (see a picture from the 1980s of them on a bowling tournament) basketball challenges and dances to raise money.
Today the Edwardsburg Lions Club continues to be very visible in the Edwardsburg Community by continuing to help with eyeglasses, ramps, supporting its parade of checks at the Fall Conference of District 11-B2, Lions of Michigan projects and Lions International projects, participating in the Memorial Day Parade, hosting a pancake breakfast with Kowalski KidSight on hand to screen children, white cane week, awarding scholarships and selling its Christmas trees, which have been sold as the main fundraiser since 1965.
It was in 1985 that the Lions International opened the enrollment for women to join the Lions Clubs. In the Edwardsburg Lions Club, Melissa Weise was the first woman to join the club and became the first women president. Support the local Edwardsburg Lions Club on Nov. 5 and see the display of items from over the years. The club currently has 46 members, 32 men and 14 women but they are always searching for new members so that they can achieve even more projects for the community.
The Edwardsburg Club is hosting a “Meet & Greet” night on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the American Legion for anyone interested in learning more about the Lions Club. The newly formed Leo Club in the Edwardsburg School system will be at the meeting to meet the Lions and also learn more about Lion projects and events. The time is set for 6:30 and appetizers and desserts will be served. We urge anyone from the community to come and visit and learn about the Lions Club and hopefully get interested in joining our club. You can contact Lion President Dave Stiffler or Lion Tanda Stiffler for more information and the pre-sell tickets at the cost of $6.50 per person and $4. for children 10 and under for the spaghetti dinner on Nov. 5. Tickets purchased at the door are $8. Call 663-2005.
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