Building a Place to Come Together In the northwest corner of Kansas, the towns are small but the need for a community center was large. Thankfully, the Lions are mighty. For many years Lions in the town of Brewster, population 214, managed to operate from Hunter Hall, an old shop converted to a clubhouse in the 1950s. But other community groups from their town and the two larger towns that border them needed meeting space as well, and the old building needed updates and repairs. It was also way too small. The Lions were considering erecting a new building when the opportunity to refurbish a larger one came about. The 27 Brewster Lions made plans to move, committing money, time, and labor. “The rest is history, and lots of time and hard work,” recalls President Fred Juenemann. They tore out flooring and walls. Plans were drawn. Votes were taken. Donations from the club members totaled US$54,288 to start the project. A grant from the Pete Henry Foundation and donations from area businesses and individuals added another US$96,000 to complete the project, Juenemann says. Considering that many of the Lions are also farmers, there was little spare time to work during the growing season. But when the crops were out of the fields, the Lions moved quickly ahead. Henry Hall was completed and ready for use two months ahead of schedule. Juenemann says the new place is named for Pete Henry, a Brewster farmer who generously left his money in a foundation to support scholarships and improve the community. And the community is grateful for the new space. Weddings, anniversary parties, class reunions, fundraisers, 4-H, and Boy Scout meetings all fill the calendar. “This project is one of pride for our members and the community,” says Juenemann. “We’ve replaced our old building with a more spacious one that is totally handicap accessible and much more energy efficient. “The guys are proud of this. I think it’s helped our club as far as bringing everybody together.” Blanketing the Community With Love Gaines Area and Linden Lions in Michigan know how cold and windy their winters can be, but they’ve found a way to provide instant warmth and comfort for community members in emergency situations. The club’s sewing group is making blankets to keep in the trucks of police and fire departments in four rural townships, so when there’s an accident—a fire, any emergency that forces people to be out unexpectedly—there are blankets to warm them. Gaines Lion Mary DeMott says the project started with their club forming a sewing group to make blankets for a senior center. One good thought turned to another, and soon the Lions’ “Covered In Love” Blanket Project began. Blanket makers from the Gaines Area and Linden Lions get together twice a week to make hand-sewn blankets in different sizes for babies, youth, and adults. It wasn’t long after the group began that they had completed 57 blankets for the first responders, plus one for a 100-yearold who expressed the need for one. The group hopes to get some financial backing to keep the program going, says DeMott. “It’s rather expensive, but there’s so much need out there. We wanted to do something to help the community and to bring the community closer together.” Linden Fire Chief Brian Will and Linden Police Chief Scott Sutter expressed their gratitude for the work of Lions. “We can’t purchase this amount of blankets and covers because you never know how many you’re going to have; whether it’s a whole family or just one or two,” says Will. “It will be nice to have them available if we need them.” The Lions are also making weighted blankets to give to schools for special needs and autistic children. “It just shows the heart,” says Sutter, “the warm hearts the Lions have for the community.”
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