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Mitchell Lions Club celebrates 100 years of service to the community

During the event, which was hosted at the Moose Lodge in Mitchell, guests enjoyed a three-course meal, open bar, as well as a few keynote speakers and an awards ceremony for longstanding Lions club members.

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The Mitchell Lions Club celebrated 100 years of service on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.
Cassie Williams / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — The Mitchell Lions Club celebrated 100 years of serving the Mitchell community Thursday night.

During the event, which was hosted at the Moose Lodge in Mitchell, guests enjoyed a three-course meal, open bar, as well as a few keynote speakers and an awards ceremony for longstanding Lions club members.

In a written statement, President of the Mitchell Lions Club Ryan Boyd boasted of the club's involvement in community events throughout the past 100 years.

"The Mitchell Lions have been, and still are, very active in community activities," Boyd said. "We have helped promote and support such projects as Highway 16, the Mitchell Airport, and the Indian Village, which was supervised by the Lions Club for many years ... and, in 1927, we fundraised $300,000 for Lake Mitchell, which would be equivalent to nearly $5 million today."

Boyd went on to say that the club continues to provide for the city of Mitchell and surrounding areas, with most of its emphasis now turning toward sight and service.

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"Each year, we donate several thousand dollars to help people in our community with their eye care needs," Boyd said. "Our service extends beyond our community through our donations to the South Dakota Lions Foundation, the Lions Sight and Health, and Lions Club International."

The event also saw multiple speakers, including Palace City Lions club member Kay Thomas, who spoke of the missions trips funded by the Mitchell Lions Club to help provide eye-glasses to third-world countries, followed by speaker Marcy Dimond, CEO of Dakota Lions Sight and Health, Eye and Tissue Donation.

Dimond spoke in depth on the processes of the eye bank, which has been providing corneas and tissues for transplants for over 30 years across North Dakota and South Dakota, noting their groundbreaking services and advances toward skin and eye tissue grafting to date.

"To give you an idea on how many people are impacted every year," Dimond said during a presentation on Thursday, "in 2022, we had 915 total donors. 707 of (those) were eye donors and 144 were tissue donors, and we provided over 1,000 sight restorative transplants — 19 of which were provided by the Gratis program."

Dimond described the Gratis program, which was initiated by the Lions of South Dakota.

"That program allows us to provide the cornea tissue to patients who can't afford the surgery, and so we work with the surgeons that are doing the surgeries, the insurance companies — we basically provide the tissue and the procedure at no charge to these patients," Dimond said.

During the event, multiple awards were also handed out. The awards ceremony recognized multiple club members, with the Verlin D. Lowrie Award for Outstanding Service in First Year Membership going to Joe and Julie Lichter; the Lion of the Year Award presented to Bobbie Clark; the President's Award presented to Zach Flood; and the Legacy Award presented to Lyle Swenson.

In addition to the Legacy Award, to honor his 55-year-long commitment to the Mitchell Lions Club, Lyle Swenson was recognized by the renaming of Lion of the Year Award, which is now formally known as the Lyle Swenson Lion of the Year Award.

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The Palace City Lions Club, which was formed as an extension to the Mitchell Lions Club for members who were unable to attend the regular noon meetings, also donated $1,000 to the Mitchell Lions Club. The donation was recognized as a Melvin Jones Award and presented by the Palace City Lions Club in member Dave Jorgenson's name.

To learn more about the Mitchell Lions Club, click here.

Related Topics: EVENTSMITCHELL
Cassie Williams joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2022. To get in contact with Cassie about potential stories, feel free to email her at cwilliams@mitchellrepublic.com.
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