Countless community programs and individuals with vision or hearing loss have been impacted since the Huron Noon Lions Club was organized 95 years ago.
It was 1922, and similar clubs were reaching across the nation and world through Lions Club International, which turns 100 this year.
Long known for collecting used eye glasses and hearing aids to be recycled, the Lions organization today has 4.4 million members in clubs in 209 countries.
Besides vision, other focuses of service for the Lions Clubs are diabetes, youth programs, hunger, environment and pediatric cancer.
The Lions Club helps purchase needed eye glasses for children, and in some cases can offer assistance for eye surgery.
The Huron Noon Lions Club was the first of three clubs that are now active in the community. Others are the Huron Eye Openers Lions Club and the Lioness Club.
All three clubs work together to sponsor the annual Pancake Days held each April and the Scarecrow Festival held in Campbell Park each October. This year’s festival is planned Oct. 12-15.
The Huron Noon Lions Club is active in the community through Meals on Wheels, and they help parks cars for the S.D. Women’s Expo and the Huron Community Foundation Pro Baseball game.
Members also clean a two-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 14 twice a year, and provide eye screening for children at day cares, preschools and schools in the Huron area.
This club is also responsible for installing the life preserver rings for public safety at the Third Street dam.
Besides giving their time and effort for the community, the Huron Noon Lions Club also gives donations to local youth and service projects.
Money given to these groups is mainly earned at their biggest fundraiser — 50/50 ticket sales at the summer races and the Bull Bash at the South Dakota State Fair.
Each year they provide a scholarship for a Huron High School senior and sponsor a child to attend Camp Gilbert, a camp just for children with diabetes. They also sponsor a youth from Huron and Wolsey to attend the HOBY Leadership Camp.
They donate money to help the Hope Therapeutic Ranch, Ski for Light, Jan Manolis Family Safe Center, James River Royal Kids Camp, Angel Tree and Salvation Army Christmas Basket program, Junior Achievement and the Leader Dog Program.
The Huron Noon Lions Club presents Record Book awards each year to 4-H youth.
4-H’ers who received awards from the Huron Noon Lions Club for their record books in 2016.
Kathy VanHeukelum, front row, at left, accepts a donation for the James River Royal Family Kids Camp from Judy Beltz. In back are Huron Noon Lions Club members, from left, Gene Chapman, Deb Wenz, Andrew Gutormson, Rocky Mohr, Greg Peck and Art Zambrano.
Making a donation to Hope Therapeutic Riding are, from left, Art Zambrano, Les Klinkel, Tom Hansen, Leanne Gutormson, Andrew Gutormson, Hope Therapeutic co-owner Bill Fisher, and Frank Palleria.