WENATCHEE CENTRAL LIONS CLUB HISTORY.
Wenatchee Central Lions Club was first chartered March 22, 1922, but for reasons unknown the Club disbanded (The opinion of one of the later charter members was that the members of this club didn’t understand what a Lion Club was all about). Wenatchee Central was reorganized and chartered again in March of 1930 sponsored by the Yakima Lions Club and has been and continues to be a very active Club that has drawn International attention.
Lions Club members were there when Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon landed in Wenatchee after completing their historic flight across the Pacific in October,1931. The Club made Pangborn and Herndon Honorary Life Lions. Lion Jack Schubert a member who joined the Club 1 month after it was chartered filmed the landing and it became part of a newsreel of the flight. In 1931 Jack Columbus of the State Patrol who was a member of the Club, was instrumental in starting the first School Boy Patrol west of the Mississippi. This has spread throughout the United States and is now called the School Patrol. Wenatchee Central as it did then has continued to support this very worthwhile safety project. For a number of years the club entered a float in the Apple Blossom Parade. The members also built a field house at the Apple Bowl that provided a concession stand and restrooms for those attending sporting events. Later the Club would be involved in renovating the seating for baseball at Recreation Park. In the earlier years the Club sponsored a magazine stand in the lobby of the Post Office that was staffed by a blind person. The Club also assisted in the renovation of the Y.M.C.A. Camp at Lake Wenatchee with both money and Lion power. Later they would assist in renovating a cabin at the Camp Fire Camp.
Wenatchee Central Lions Club has always been recognized as a leading Club in the Multiple District. During some of the earlier years it was best known for its Quartet that won the music contest so many times that it was able to retire the trophy. The Club has also had a number of members that served the Multiple District above the Club level going as far back as 1936-37 when Member Clark L. Nichols served as the Governor for the entire Multiple District. Member Fred C. Koch who also served as the Governor for the entire Multiple District followed him later in 1942-43. Since the Multiple District was divided into individual districts there have been 10 members of the Club that have served the Zone, District and Multiple District above the Club level. Three of those have served as Council Chairmen and one Vern France as an International Director.
In 1964 a Friendship Arch designed and built by the Club was accepted as an International project and several were built and placed on the borders of several countries, Canada/U.S border, the Belgium/German border being two.
Wenatchee Central Lions Club has a reputation for helping the Community and having a great deal of fun in the process. A few of the club’s projects are: Assisting the community with the Apple Blossom Festival by hosting a party for the top 10 girls running for Queen and then planning, designing the sets, and putting on the Apple Blossom Queens Selection night. Assisting with the Ridge To River Relay Race in the spring. Along with the other Lions Clubs in the city assisting the Schools by helping provide glasses and eye exams, hearing exams and aids plus various equipment needed to assist youth with vision and hearing disabilities. Providing a Youth‘s Christmas party each year for students selected by the schools. Recognizing a number of youth from elementary through high school for excelling in various areas. Providing Lions power to police the sidelines at high school football games, holding an All-Star basketball game made up of local area boys and girls. Add to these other activities as: Salvation Army bell ringing prior to Christmas, White Cane Days, Leader Dogs for the blind, assisting the blind in the community. These are just a few of the projects that keep the members involved.
The Club has become involved in three recent fund raisers: The club members now man and sell all the tickets for the Carnival that visits Wenatchee for the Apple Blossom Festival, this lasts for a week. The club members sell and collect tickets for the local baseball team at their home games. The club members also sell and collect tickets for the Chelan County Fair in early September. These are three rather unique fundraisers.
It is also interesting to note that the Club has never had a president that served more than 1 term. It also is a Club where two fathers and sons have each served as the Club President.
When women were allowed to join the Club in 1987, one of the club’s members PZC Dick Woods sponsored a local businesswoman into the club; now women make up a large percentage of the membership.
Wenatchee Central has been able over the past 80 years to have a membership that is made up of a good mix of older and younger men and women. It is the largest club in District D and one of the largest in the Multiple District 19. The membership has ranged from approximately 130 to 185 members. Much of this membership is due to one member PZC Dick Woods who has sponsored over 75 members. The Club meeting held at noon on Friday every week is known to be interesting along with being a lot of fun. Wenatchee Central is a club that lives the motto: “WE SERVE”.