by Paul Rignell
The Elk River Lions Club began a new year of service June 18 by inducting its board of officers for the next 12 months. The ceremony included a special first for the club, as Deb Weston became the first woman to be sworn in as club president.
Weston joined the Elk River Lions five years ago. She approached them with interest after having worked as director of fund development for Guardian Angels senior services, based in Elk River, for less than a year. She recognized the great support that the Lions had given to meet needs for Guardian Angels, Weston told the Star News.
“It’s been very rewarding,” she said of her local volunteer work as part of Lions International, which she noted is the world’s largest service organization.
The Elk River club joins with other Lions to preserve and improve vision for people in their communities and elsewhere, including a common project of collecting used eye wear at established sites. Local clubs ship those items to be fitted with new lenses for reuse around the world.
Among other causes, Lions clubs everywhere promote awareness of diabetes, Weston said, as it can cause blindness.
Lions in Elk River have supported area food shelves and many school projects. They have sponsored programs such as the Boys and Girls clubs and the Elk River Area Arts Alliance’s ArtSoup festival.
The Lions raise funds to support their giving partly through preparing and serving food at several annual events. They have hosted pancake breakfasts each April and December in the Lions Park Center, located at 1104 Lions Park Drive, and Weston said that the club looks forward once again to selling hamburgers, hot dogs, cheese curds, French fries and mini-doughnuts from its booth at the Sherburne County Fair, coming up July 18-21.
Weston said that the club has supported schools and projects throughout the county: “We have a large service area,” she said.
She was a club leader when the Lions joined with other community groups to present an inaugural German Heritage Festival at Lions Park in May, with the club serving bratwurst, sauerkraut, Bavarian pretzels and German chocolate cupcakes, Weston said.
She looks forward to a new year of volunteering.
“It’s really an honor for me to be the first woman as president,” she said.
Weston noted that the club meets for dinner at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday each month, and they would welcome other area residents to learn more about their service with an option to join them.
“My goal is to recruit more volunteers,” Weston said.
Anyone interested in attending a meeting can call her at 763-360-4696. Club information is also available by visiting www.e-clubhouse.org/sites/elkriver.