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1943 — The Golden Lions became an official club in December 1942. There were 27 members.
1956 — On Nov. 2, the Golden Lions Club hosted its first chili supper.
1968 — In March 1967, talks between the Jaycees and the Golden Lions Club began about the putting on an annual Fourth of July event, which first happened in 1968. The Lions took over the entire event in 1981.
1973 — After about three years of being in-the-making, on Nov. 24, a ground-breaking ceremony for Lions Park took place.
1988 — Golden Lion Don Johnson started collecting eyeglasses for the Lions International’s Recycle For Sight program, which takes donated eyeglasses and sends them to countries in need around the world.
2018 —The club celebrates 75 years of good works. It is comprised of nearly 40 active members and about 20 at large members.
For the past 75 years, the Golden Lions Club has had its paws in a little of everything Golden.
“Giving back to the community,” said Golden Lion Ed Dorsey. “That’s what we do.”
More specifically, you’re likely to see Lions serving attendees at almost every community event. The club donates funds that help local organizations flourish or sends high schoolers to college. And their efforts help beautify the neighborhood parks.
“I’m extremely proud of the kinds of things we’re able to do,” said John Spice, who joined the Golden Lions Club in 2000 after he retired the year prior. “We do a lot of good. I’m glad to tell anybody I’m part of the Golden Lions Club.”
The Golden Lions truly go above and beyond for the community in so many ways, said Golden resident Vicki Wagner and longtime volunteer at the visitors’ center.
“Over the years, they’ve done so much,” she said. “They’re always there to lend a helping hand.”
MORE: Get to know some of the Golden Lions
At the Golden Visitors Center, the club laid the brick pathway and installed a drip irrigation system for the flowerbed, Wagner said.
The Lions “are a great group of men and women always willing to step up,” Wagner said. “They’re wonderful.”
The Golden Lions welcome all to its annual free chili supper and organizes the community Fourth of July celebration. Ask the membership about their favorite volunteer activity and many say the Colorado Lions KidSight Program — which provides free vision screening and follow-up for children six months through six years.
Often, a young child can’t articulate a vision problem because they may not know they have one, Dorsey said. The screenings can help detect a problem so it can be tended to and corrected early in life, he added.
The Lions’ say that the 2016-17 fiscal year, 54,097 children in Colorado were screened through the program, and 6,036 of those children were referred for a complete eye exam.
“It’s about finding problems in kids before it becomes a worse problem,” Dorsey said.
But, he added, it’s also a fun volunteer event. “Going out and working with the 4-and-5-year-old kids can really be a hoot.”
Aside from their presence at well-attended community events — serving free hot cider at the Candlelight Walk in December and volunteering at Buffalo Bill Days in the summer, for example — Golden Lions have also been long associated with their work in the city’s neighborhood parks. They’ve built dugouts, tennis courts, restroom facilities, gazebos, picnic pavilions and worked on a number of roof replacement projects.
“Those are really nice amenities that people enjoy,” said Rod Tarullo, director of Parks, Recreation and Golf for the city. “They care about the community.”
Prime examples of parks that have benefited from the club’s work include Ulysses Park, and of course the club’s namesake Lions Park.
But Tarullo pointed to a couple other projects: a re-roofing project at Tony Grampsas Memorial Sports Complex, commonly known as Grampsas park, 4471 Salvia St.; and another at Vanover Park, located Ford and Water streets, expected to be complete this spring.
Although Spice especially enjoys the outdoor projects — he spent most of his career at a desk in front of a computer, and he likes working with his hands — the Golden Lions do much more: providing scholarships to Golden High School students, sponsoring special needs children to attend the Colorado Lions Camp, supporting the city’s police, firefighters, faith-based groups and nonprofits.
And “we’re just a small piece of the largest service organization in the world,” Spice said. “That’s a good feeling, too.”
The Lions are priceless to the Christian Action Guild’s cause and mission, said Kelly Ivan, the operations manager for the nonprofit. The Christian Action Guild is a food bank and thrift store.
And “they’re a pleasure to work with,” Ivan said. “They always have smiles on their faces.”
The Lions are a vital part of the Golden community, she said, and everything that Golden has to offer.
“Their generosity trickles down. You can’t be untouched by the Lions Club in some way,” Ivan said. “They make up what Golden is.”
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