A high bar was set for the Waukee Lions Club chartering ceremony Friday, Nov. 8 at the Country Lane Lodge in Adel. The last group of Lions lasted 82 years. Past international director Gary Fry jokingly encouraged the 22 charter members to lay the foundation to keep the latest iteration of the club to stand for at least 83 years. His joke was serious in its message though.
After serving the community for over eight decades before finally dissolving in 2010, the Waukee chapter folded. A group was started in 2012 but never reached the required member count to officially charter. Following 18 months of coordination with fellow Iowa members, the club is officially back to work in Waukee after already hosting a number of community outreach events before Friday’s official launch.
At the head of the table is club president Clint Cole, who said he learned of the Lions Club’s interest in Waukee while covering a city council meeting. Through the expressed desire at the meeting to start a new chapter in the city, Cole said he asked about membership for himself. He publicized the proposed club and the first five members came together in 2018 to get the ball rolling.
Club treasurer Josh Larson, a college friend of Cole, is one of the five original members. He said between Cole’s thoughts on joining the club along with his parents’ work with the Stratford chapter, he “thought it’d be a great way to get involved” with the community and is excited about the service opportunities to expand in the area.
“My goal is to be more involved with outdoor activities, kids activities, family stuff,” Larson said. “We want to be a strong presence in the community.”
Since gathering the original group of members over the past year, the group grew to the required 20 members to make the group an official fixture of the community. In that time, Cole said the club has already spread its impact through a food drive at Hy-Vee that raised $1,200 for the Waukee food pantry and vision screenings.
“We’ve been doing the screenings. We check their vision before they go into kindergarten. We take picture of their eyes and send those to the University of Iowa and they check for any problems they may have to be able to correct their vision early,” Panora representative Pat Parker said.
Also one of the guest speakers for the night, Parker will serve as the Waukee chapter’s Guiding Light for the next two years.
Along with Parker, a number of regional reps were on hand for the charter ceremony. Adel, Panora, Winterset and Mitchellville clubs were present to usher in the new era. Waukee now also rejoins the Lions in Dallas County with established clubs in Dallas Center, Dexter, Linden, Perry and Redfield.
“Four years ago Dallas County was a target for us because we had five cities that had a thousand or more people that didn’t have a Lions Club,” Parker said. “It’s easier for us to get 20 people to come together to do it. At the time it was over 10,000 [in population], now it’s way up there. Once we got going, it just fell together.”
The Waukee Lions Club will hold meetings at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month at the Waukee Community Center at 675 Walnut St. Membership costs $80 per year paid on a semi-annual basis with a minimum age of 18 years old.