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River Falls Lions Club prepares for their anniversary party

River Falls Lions Club International members, from left: Mel Germanson; Tom Carroll, current president; Larry Testa, Byron Dopkins and Alan Stewart, get ready to celebrate the River Falls Lions Club's 75th anniversary. Jillian Dexheimer photo

With their yellow vests and numerous tradable pins, the River Falls Lions Club will mark 2012 with a 75th anniversary celebration to acknowledge the club's beginning.

On November 22, 1937, Lions Club International was started in River Falls with 27 founding members. The club's original charter stated that C. Behlmer Carisch was the president at the time.

Since that time the club has grown to about 64 members, which includes men and women of all ages, over the age of 18.

To celebrate the occasion the club will host a banquet on Thursday, Oct. 4, at Kilkarney Hills Golf Club. Past and present Lions Club members as well as out of town Lions Club members have been invited to the festivities. Lions Club International district speaker Ron Duffy will present during the anniversary banquet.

According to current Lions Club president, Tom Carroll, the Lions Club's purpose is " serve -- try to help people that need help." One of the main areas of service is for individuals with visual disabilities such as blindness.

Visual issues have been a mainstay of the Lions since its inception in Chicago in 1917. At that time, according to River Falls Lions Club past president Byron Dopkins, Helen Keller was the first guest speaker at a Lions Club event.

See the full story in the Sept. 27 edition of the Journal.

Jillian Dexheimer

Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.