by Dennis Dalman
Charlie Schafer of Sauk Rapids, who is the only living charter member of the Sartell Lions Club, received two major awards during the Sartell Lions’ 50th birthday celebration Oct. 19 at the Blue Line Bar and Grill.
Schafer was given the Lions International Award and the Lions Hearing Foundation Award for his long-time work to help the hard-of-hearing.
Schafer was one of about two dozen men who signed a Lions Charter document in Sartell in October 1965, with the Sauk Rapids Lions Club serving as its sponsor, thus initiating one of the most successful Lions clubs in the state.
About 70 people attended the celebratory dinner Oct. 19 at the Blue Line, including past Lions International President Brian Sheehan of Bird Island and Lions District Gov. Ted Peterson.
Guest of Honor Sheehan spoke about how Lions clubs have adapted through so many decades to changes in society to better serve the people in their areas and beyond. Lions, he said, know the meaning of the word “share,” and in the Lions’ behavior and philosophy, it’s the people they serve who come first, not the Lions themselves. Sheehan also praised the teamwork the Lions are known for and attributed the 50-year successes of the Sartell Lions to that kind of tight-knit teamwork.
The event was emceed by long-time Lions club member Jack Paulsen. Former Sartell mayors Joe Perske and Bob Pogatshnik also attended the celebration and dinner.
Another long-time Lions member, Mike DeLuca, gave a speech praising the city’s people, businesses, organizations and fellow Lions from other Lions clubs for their unstinting generosity. Without their ongoing support, the Lions could not do what they do, he said. DeLuca especially praised Liberty Bank and Scott and Esther Widor, owners of the Blue Line for constant generosity. Scott is a Sartell Lions Club member.
Members from many other Lions clubs joined the celebration. They came from clubs in Le Sauk Township, St. Joseph, Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud, Avon, Kimball, Princeton, Staples, Cold Spring, Little Falls and Ramsey-Mora.
The Sartell Lions is in the 5M8 District, which covers central Minnesota. There are more than 70 clubs in the district.
“The celebration worked out very well,” DeLuca said. “We had good speakers, good turn-out, good food.”
The following Sartell Lions members were honored with awards: Lions Club President Javier Nevares: International Presidents’ Award and Melvin Jones Award; Tania Nevares (Javier’s wife, club secretary): Can Do Canines Award for her work in the service-dog organization; Jack Paulsen: Dream Catcher Award for his work in diabetes; Charlie Schafer: Lions International Award and a Hearing Foundation Award for work in helping the hard-of-hearing; Kathy Sell (vice president): Can Do Canines Award for work with that organization; Mike DeLuca (membership chairman): Leader Dog Award for work with helping the blind; Judy Giffin (editor): Presidents’Appreciation Award; Herb Gross: Helen Keller Award for collecting used glasses for distribution far and wide to those with impaired vision; Janet Gross (treasurer): Presidents’ Appreciation Award; and Karen Maruska, advisor for the young Lions (dubbed Leos) at the junior high and high school level: Lion of the Year Award.