Rosemount Lions celebrate 50 years of giving backRosemount’s Lions Club chartered in 1962
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
Ray Barton is a charter member of the Rosemount Lions Club. A newcomer to town in 1962, he joined the club to get to know people and to do some good in the community.
50 years later, Barton knows a lot of people in town, and he and the club have done a lot of good.
“I still enjoy going and the associations,” said Barton of his membership in the club.
The Rosemount club chartered March 27, 1962. At the time it was a men’s organization and the club started with 29 members. Barton said the members were mostly businessmen in town. Over the years, some things changed. Women were allowed to join in 1987 and many different faces in the club have come and gone. Barton and Paul Vorwerk are the only two charter members left in the club.
The club’s aim to make the community a better hasn’t changed, though. And Barton said since the Rosemount club chartered it has gone about the business of doing that.
Proof is all over town. The Rosemount Lions sponsor the city’s annual Spring Egg Hunt. Each year they participate in the Haunted Woods Trail and Leprechaun Days. The club gives out dictionaries to all of the third graders in Rosemount schools each fall. They provide scholarships for high school seniors. They clean a two mile stretch of County Road 42 between Dakota County Technical College and Highway 52. And the club supports organizations including Meals on Wheels, the CAP Agency and 360 Communities.
“We try to do a lot locally,” said longtime member Mike Molenda.
Their impact doesn’t stop at Rosemount’s borders, though. As an international organization Lions adopted vision issues as a focus after Helen Keller spoke at their 1925 convention. Over the years the Lions have raised more than $346 million to eliminate preventable blindness and to assist people with vision related problems.
Lions Club International boasts more than 45,000 clubs around the world and includes 1.3 million members.
Molenda said in Minnesota the efforts have led to the Minnesota Lions Vision Foundation, and the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank, a partnership with the University of Minnesota. The Lions also support other organizations that help visually impaired people such as Can Do Canines.
To raise money to support its various causes the Rosemount Lions hold a variety of fundraising events including a Christmas tree lot, pull tabs at Celts, bar bingo at Celts on Tuesday nights and occasional spaghetti dinners and pancake breakfasts.
Currently the Rosemount Lions have 28 members. Over the years clubs like the Lions have seen declining membership, which Barton said is a shame. The club still does a lot of good, and Molenda encouraged people to get involved.
“We are always looking for people to help us make Rosemount a better place to live,” he said
The club will celebrate its first half-century with a party Friday.
The celebration will start at 6 p.m. at the Rosemount Community Center. The event will include a social hour, dinner and a program. Past International director Diane Wasserman will be the keynote speaker.
Barton and fellow charter member Paul Vorwerk will be the guests of honor. Barton said he’s looking forward to it.
The club meets the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at Celts. To learn more about the club, attend a meeting or call 651-437-4271. Residents can also email email@example.com.