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Lions Club turning 80

 

The Grand Coulee Dam Lions Club celebrates its 80th birthday this week.

The international service club was founded here in 1935, with P.A. Bertrand its first president.

The club now has about 15 members and is led by President Rick Bako.

The Lions Club was originally established in 1917, and now has over 44,000 clubs sprinkled all over the world. It is the largest service club in the world.

Internationally, the Lions Club is noted for its efforts to eradicate blindness, the program starting in 1925, after Helen Keller challenged Lions members to do something about those who suffered from blindness.

Through SightFirst, Lions Club members are preventing blindness on a global scale and internationally have raised $346 million toward this effort.

Locally, Lions Club members host a community Easter Egg Hunt each spring and have done so since 1936. Next spring will be that program's 80th year.

The local club owns and runs Spring Canyon Cemetery, and is directly involved in assisting the American Legion with its Isle of Flags Ceremony each year on Memorial Day. The cemetery is host to some 500 flags during that event.

The local Lions Club purchased the land for the cemetery, which was dedicated on May 30, 1959.

A handful of burials occurred prior to the dedication. There have been about 1,700 burials in the cemetery to date.

The local club held its charter night on Aug. 15, 1935, with then-district governor W. Baxter issuing the club its charter.

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