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By Lonnie Huhman,

lhuhman@thesuntimesnews.com

For the past four decades, the Dexter Lions Club has had one big goal and that’s been to serve.

In 1979, the service club was established in Dexter and over the years the Lions have earned a reputation for commitment to community.  This year marks the 40th anniversary of its service.

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A celebration of the club is happening this month and Lions Club chairperson Terry Walters said the celebration will be combined with the installation of the 2018-2020 Dexter Lions Officers.

He said they have invited all of the past presidents of the Dexter Lions who are still around to attend. Also they will be recognizing three business leaders out of the 70 businesses that continue to support the Lions each year with their projects.

This leadership and support has helped lead to the club fulfilling its big goal.

“The Dexter Lions Club has been so successful in that we really believe in our motto, ‘WE SERVE,’” Walters said. “We have over 30 projects we do each year along with supporting 15 different groups and/or organizations each year.”

The club’s main fundraisers are Christmas tree sales, Dexter Daze Food wagon and Fall Sports programs. Walters said the Dexter Lions also support the mission of Lions Clubs International, which is to support the visually impaired and blind. He said this is done through financial support to Leader Dogs for the Blind, Penrickton Center for Blind Children, Eversight restore vision through cornea transplants. The Dexter club provides eyeglasses for local families who cannot afford them and collect eyeglasses for Eyeglass Mission trips.

Walters said the, “Dexter Lions have always been involved in the Dexter Community.”

“They had the gazebo built in Monument Park, sell name bricks to be placed in Monument Park, provide food wagon for Dexter Daze, provided the funds for the playground equipment in what is now called Lions Park, sponsor music groups for the Friday music in the park and Dexter Daze, provide for the winter ice rink, assist with the Christmas Luminaria and assist with the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run,” he said.

And the club runs Apple Daze each fall.

When Dexter had the tornado in 2012, Walters said the Dexter Lions received $10,000 within 24 hours of the tornado from Lions Clubs International to help the local families hit by the tornado. He said the Lions always try to help Dexter families in need of medical help in extreme situations.

And the club works with and supports other Dexter organizations either financially or with manpower and these include: Dexter Historical Society/Gordon Hall, Kiwanis Club, Dexter Rotary, WAVE, Dexter Community Schools, Faith In Action, Dexter Social Services, Dexter District Library (Summer Reading Program), Relay for Life, VA Hospital, Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce, Shop with a Cop, Dexter Senior Center and Eye of the Sparrow.

The club has pride in all that it does, especially its support of local youth.

“The Dexter Lions are proud to work with and support the Dexter youth,” Walters said.

The club supports the Leo Club at Dexter High School, which provides the students an opportunity for development and contribution, individually and collectively.

It also provides scholarships to Dexter High School Seniors, $138,000 since 1985; provides gift certificates to the C,S,& L students at Mill Creek Middle School for their community service hours; support the Dexter High School Prom; provide a Fall Sports program at the Dexter High School Football games; support the Special Education Summer Camp; provide funds for students who need winter coats; provide dictionaries for all third graders; holds a Peace Poster contest at Mill Creek, financially contributes to all of the Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops in Dexter; support youth who take part in the Lions Youth Exchange program and the Michigan Lions All State Band and they have also provided funds for Dexter Elementary schools playground.

It’s the Lions hope the club will continue the mission well into the future and to do this Walters said they are always seeking new members to help with certain projects and to come up with ideas for new projects. He said 14 new members joined in 2017-2018.

He said the club is open and looking for men, women and couples between the ages of 18-100 who want to give back to the Dexter community and/or support the community.

Anyone interested can contact Walters if they would like to learn more about the Lions and/or attend a Dexter Lions Meeting.  He can be reached at 734-426-4983 or twalters02@comcast.net.

The Lions meet at the DAPCO cafeteria in the Industrial Park off of Dan Hoey Road on the first and third Thursday of each month from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The club presently has nine Lions who are Charter members who joined in 1979. Walters said there is one local Lion who has been a member for 61 years, which includes serving in another club. Presently, the Dexter Lions have 65 members, which include five couples and nine female members.

“We would love to grow with many more new members,” Walters said. “Attendance is based only on the time you feel you can contribute.”

In the end, he said if there’s anything the club wants the community to know, it’s this…

“The Dexter Lions are most proud of their service to the Dexter community and to all the great support they receive from members of the community and all the businesses in the Dexter area,” Walters said.

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