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History
of the
Lawton Northeast
Lions Club
of
Oklahoma

Downloading Proudly Serving the Lawton-Fort Sill Community Since 1975

by Lion Al Granger
Club Historian

The Lawton Northeast Lions Club held its organizational meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, 22 February 1975 at the Sandpiper Motor Inn. The meeting was called to order by District 3-L Governor James A. Dunn, to whom our club is dedicated.

The host club was the Lawton Northwest Lions Club, which had the following members present; District Governor Dunn, President Bob Cook, Guiding Lion Bob Wilson and Lions Charles Miller and Lee Klieoer. The following members of the Lawton Evening Lions Club were in attendance; Bob Stanett and Dr. H. R. Seesaran, Membership and Extension Chairman. The special guest was State Secretary Odell Beck. Charter members at that time were; Jim Hobbs, Bud Dyer, Barry Koren, Gerald Pellerin, Kenneth Mack, Donald Tate, Charles Taylor, Don Thomas, Horace Whetsone, Jacob Prince, Claxton Bone, William Prout, Raymond Polk, James Smith, Donald Burton, and Bobby Nipps.

Don Thomas was elected as the President of the newly formed Lions Club. President Thomas asked the membership for suggestions as to the time and place for meetings, and for a name for the new club. The club membership voted to meet the first and third Saturday of each month at 7:30a.m. at the Sandpiper Motor Inn, and to name the club the Lawton Northeast Lions Club.

The club's Charter Night was held on 25 April 1975. The Charter Officers of the new club were; President - Donald W. Thomas, First Vice-President - Charles Taylor, Second Vice-President - Kenneth Mack, Third Vice-President - Don Tate, Secretary-Treasurer - James S. Smith, Tail Twister - Horace Whetsone, Lion Tamer - Tom Curl, One-year Directors - Ray Polk and Bob Nipps, Two-year Directors - Jere Thorpe and Barry Koren.

On July 25th, 1975, the Lawton Northeast Lions Club was notified by the International Associations of Lions Clubs that our charter was now considered complete, with 32 members after the addition of Lions P.E. Franklin, D.J. Lopes, T.A. Thomason, L.R. Thorne, J.C. Thorpe, H.P. Wood, L. Zimmerman, C. Stien, and R.M. Sterret.

The first club project after the club was chartered in 1975 was to clean up the playground in Pioneer Park. This project continued for several years until the city started maintaining the playground.

In 1976 the club built a cinder block building (10’ x 20’) at Pioneer Park Elementary School. The building is used to store sports equipment and it still looks good today. Aluminum cans were used to fill the holes in the cinder blocks in order to save money on cement.

On July 14th, 1977, Lion Charlie Taylor received the first 100% President's Award for the Lawton Northeast Lions Club from the International Association of Lions Clubs.

On June 1st, 1978, Lion Jere Thorpe became the first member of the Lawton Northeast Lions Club to receive the Membership Key Award from the International Association of Lions Clubs.

On August 19th, 1978, the Lawton Northeast Lions Club was the sponsoring club for the Los Amigos Lions Club, which held their Charter Night at the Montego Bay in Lawton. Lion Bud Dyer was awarded the Guiding Lion award for his participation and work in getting that club organized. Many members of our club attended this event.

On March 23rd, 1979, Wayne Gilley - Mayor of the City of Lawton, proclaimed the week of March 25 to be "White Cane Week".

On Friday, March 4th, 1979, the Lawton Northeast Lions Club donated the marquee for the sign in front of MacArthur High School. Taking part in the event were Lions Leo Thorne, Bob Sterret, Bud Dyer, and Wendell Ward.

On May 14th, 1979, Lawton Northeast Lions Club volunteers began to help build a partition between the boys' and girls' sections of the Marie Detty Youth Center. Lions Jim Hobbs and Dale Swordes accepted a Certificate of Appreciation from Dick Hoffman, Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Board of the Comanche County Juvenile Bureau. The certificate was presented to the Northeast Lions Club for the more than $2,000 worth of labor donated by lions to construct the partition. The club contributed more than 100 man-hours towards the project.

On April 19th, 1980, the Lawton Northeast Lions Club celebrated our Fifth Anniversary at Montego Bay in Lawton.

In May of 1980, the Northeast Lions took part in the annual Armed Forces Day parade held in Lawton. The $75 dollar Second Place prize for the best entry in the parade went to the Northeast Lions. Our entry was a burro-pulled cart towing a "lion" on roller skates.

On September 26th, 1980, the Lawton Northeast Lions Club donated a brand-new $500 school zone warning signal to Pioneer Park elementary school in Lawton. Participating in the event were Lions Bud Dyer, Gene Day, Charlie Taylor, and Leo Thorne.

During the early 1980’s (no specific date is known) Lawton Northeast Lions Club members painted the playground equipment at the Robert E. Greiner School for the Handicapped and installed soccer goals for Pioneer Park Elementary School.

For two years in a row in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Lawton Northeast Lions Club members acted as sponsors for foreign exchange students. Lions Charlie Taylor, Charlie Miller and Bud Dyer went to Salisaw, Oklahoma to pick up two young men who were from Finland. The young men stayed at the homes of club members for two weeks. Many club members spent time with the boys, taking them to different places and activities in the local area. Lions Leo Thorne and Charlie Taylor also met exchange students at the airport in Tulsa the following year.

The Lawton Northeast Lions Club sponsored a coat drive for the local Salvation Army during the winter of 1997. Over 40 coats were collected. Lion Judy McCarthy was the coordinator.

In February of 1998, club members PDG Bill Middleton and Lion Claudie Lott appeared on the local TV show “This Week in Texoma”. Channel 7 News Anchors Jan Stratton and Lynn Walker interviewed them about club activities and programs. PDG Bill Middleton was also interviewed “live” on the air by local radio station KLAW. Lion Al Granger arranged the television and radio interviews.

On April 4th, 1998, local radio station Z-94 conducted a live on-site broadcast during our annual White Cane Day activity. Several club members were interviewed “live” on the air. Local radio station KLAW also made several public service announcements about the White Cane Day event. For the first and only time in our club’s history, a club event was advertised on two different local radio stations at the same time on the same day. Lion Al Granger coordinated the radio station broadcast and public service announcements.

The Lawton Northeast Lions club entered the computer age in the summer of 1998 with the establishment of our official web site on the Internet. It was the first club web site in District 3-L. The web site contains information about club activities (with photographs), club history, club members, club officers, our meeting place, and links to other Lions web sites. The site is dedicated to the memory of the late Lion William J. Martello. Lion Al Granger, Web Site Chairman, provides written information, design input, photographs and graphics. Harold Whitley was the club’s very first volunteer Web Master. Bob Hughes and Lion Al Granger assisted. Phil Berchtold was the Web Master for a few years. The current Web Master is Lion Joey Vazquez. The web site address is members.tripod.com/~lawtonnelions.

The club had a newsletter called “THE LIONS PRIDE”. A pride by definition is “a group of lions”. The word PRIDE is also symbolic of our pride in our club, and an acronym for the characteristics common to Lions, as shown below:

Perseverance Resolve Initiative Duty Enthusiasm

The newsletter won 2nd place recognition from the Oklahoma Lions in 1988, 1989 and 1990. Lion Bud Dyer, Charter Member, and his wife Betty were the editors during this period. The newsletter won 1st place while Lion Jack Love was the editor during the early to mid 1990’s. For several years Lion Al Granger was the editor.

In the spring of 1999, the club introduced its first official brochure, designed by Lions Al Granger and Bob Hughes. Curt Cooper, local businessman and supporter of the Lawton Northeast Lions, printed the brochures at no cost to the club. The brochures were placed in the Lawton Library, The Lawton Chamber of Commerce, and in other locations throughout the city of Lawton.

On Sunday, 14 November 1999, the club hosted the District 3-L Cabinet meeting at the Great Plains Area Vocational-Technical School. PDG Bill Middleton, along with Lion Paul McCarthy, coordinated the event.

On Thursday, 18 November 1999, PDG Bill Middleton and Lion Carolyn Vaughn of the Lawton Sundowner’s Lions Club were interviewed on the local TV show “Good Morning Texoma”. They discussed the Oklahoma Lions Mobile Screening Unit, which both clubs hosted at Pat Henry Elementary School and at the local Wal Mart. Lion Al Granger, Publicity Chairman, arranged the television interview.

On Wednesday, 6 April 2000, Lion Charlie Taylor was interviewed on the local TV show “The Talk of Texoma”. He discussed the club’s history and activities. Lion Al Granger arranged the interview.

On Saturday, 8 April 2000, the club celebrated its 25th anniversary with a banquet at SEAS Glasshat Catering Manor, 931 SW “D” Avenue. Patricia Shurley, Oklahoma Lions State Treasurer, was the guest speaker. PDG Jim Dunn, to whom the club is dedicated, was in attendance. Lion Charlie Taylor was the Master of Ceremonies.

On Saturday, 20 May 2000, Lion Claudie Lott was honored as the District 3-L Lion of the Year. He was presented the award at the state convention, which was held at the Howard Johnson’s Hotel in Lawton.

On Wednesday, 2 October, 2002, for the very first and only time, the club attended a Retreat Ceremony as a group in front of McNair Hall at Ft. Sill. Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 17th Field Artillery conducted the ceremony. Lion Al Granger was the event coordinator.

On Tuesday, November 19th, 2002, Lions Ed Rall and Claudie Lott presented a check for $150 to the New Directions Battered Women’s Shelter. The club also donated 22 Christmas presents to children at the shelter. Lion Ed Rall was the coordinator.

On Friday, 22 November, 2002, for the very first time, the club took part in the Boulevard of Lights parade. Lions carried the club banner along the entire parade route. Lion Adam Fisher was the event organizer. Lion Adam Fisher’s son, Sam, also took part in the parade and wore a Lion costume. On Tuesday, 24 December 2002, Lion Ed Rall read a Christmas story and handed out presents to the residents of the New Directions Battered Women's Shelter. On Saturday, 11 January 2003, Lion Ed Rall successfully took part in the District 3-L speech contest that was held at the District convention in Altus Oklahoma. In July/Aug of 2003, over 50 pounds of school supplies that included pencils, paper, pens, chalk, rulers, erasers, water colors, etc. were sent to Iraq via Lion (U.S. Army Staff Sergeant) John Williams, who was serving in Iraq at that time. Several club members donated the supplies. This included supplies that Lion Ed Rall had collected at the Red Cross Office. Lion Al Williams, his wife Marge, and his son, Lion John Williams, coordinated this effort.

On Wednesday, August 20th, 2003, the Lawton Northeast Lions club hosted the Oklahoma Lions Mobile Screening Unit at Cameron University. PDG Bill Middleton organized the event. Jenny Jackson, Cameron student, helped to get student volunteers and to promote the event. This event was promoted in the Lawton Constitution with two separate articles, was promoted all week on KSWO Channel 7 Morning News (thanks to Lion Claudie Lott), and was promoted on the KCCU radio station (PDG Bill Middleton was interviewed via telephone). It was also mentioned on the Cameron University web site.

On Friday, August 22nd, 2003, the Lawton NE Lions held its annual Can Dance at the Knights of Columbus Hall. The Kuntry Kuzzin's Square Dancer's brought canned goods as the price of admission. The Lawton Northeast Lions Club collected almost 300 canned goods and donated them to the Lawton Food Bank and the Salvation Army. For the first time ever, several Lions participated in the Square Dance. Eye witnesses reported that it was very amusing. The event was coordinated by Lions Al Granger and Bud Dyer.

In November, 2003, 30 dozen cookies, 3 loaves of sweet bread, plus candy (including Lions Mints) were sent to Iraq for the single soldiers of the 5th Battalion/3rd Field Artillery, 17th FA Brigade. All of these items had been donated by members of the club. This effort was coordinated by Lion Al Williams and his wife, Marge. On Tuesday, December 9th, 2003, Lion Adela Sandusky presented Leslie Watts, Director of the Marie Detty New Directions Battered Women’s Shelter, with a 150 dollar check on behalf of the club. Lions Al Granger and Ed Rall were also on hand. Club members also donated gifts for 16 children for the Shelter’s annual Christmas Party.

Lion Leo Thorne was presented with the prestigious District 3-L George Hazelbaker Award at the 2004 Mid Winter convention held in Elk City. The award honors a Lions lifetime of providing service to the >community.

In the spring of 2004, Lion Susan Smith was selected as one of 32 teachers nationwide for a prestigious international education program. Lion Susan, a member of the Lawton Northeast Lions club and a teacher at Edison Elementary School in Lawton, was selected for the Fullbright Memorial Fund Master Teacher Program. Lion Susan was the only Oklahoma teacher selected. As a result of her selection, she spent six weeks in Japan, teaching a lesson she had developed on the native animals of Oklahoma.

On Friday, April 2nd, 2004, the Lawton Northeast Lions Club supported the Great Plains Area Four Special Olympics games that were held at Lawton High School. Prior to the opening ceremonies, King Lion Ed Rall, club President and Lion Al Williams, club Treasurer, presented the Area Four Director of the Special Olympics, Donna Sparks, with a donation. King Lion Ed Rall also gave the invocation as a part of the opening ceremonies.  Lions Ed Rall, Al Williams and Al Granger acted as volunteer coaches and huggers.  Hundreds of special athletes from Lawton/Ft. Sill, Duncan, Altus, Fredrick, Elgin and other nearby communities participated in the event.

Lion Ed Rall, as an LCI Certified Guiding Lion, helped to re-activate a Lions Club in Walters Oklahoma with 36 charter members on April 24, 2004. He received an Extension Medal for this endeavor.

On Tuesday, May 18th, 2004, King Lion Ed Rall gave the invocation at the Special Olympics Letterman’s Banquet held at Lawton High School. Lions Al Granger, Adela Sandusky and Al Williams were also in attendance.

On Saturday, May 29th, 2004, at the state convention, Lions Ed Rall and John Williams were honored for their contributions to Lionism. Lion (then U.S. Army Staff Sergeant) John Williams was presented with the > Lions International Relations Award for his initiatives to promote peace and cooperation among peoples of different nations and cultures. Lion Ed Rall was presented with a President’s Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of innovative achievements in Lions leadership and service.

On Saturday, October 2nd, 2004, PDG Fred “Mr. Lion” Milton was presented with the “Louis B. Lackey Award” for his contributions to the Oklahoma Lions Service Foundation.

On Friday, April 1st, 2005, Lion Callie Driver gave the invocation during the opening ceremonies of the Great Plains Area Special Olympics at Lawton High School. Lions Al Granger, Ray Polk, Al Williams and his wife Marge attended the event.

On Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, the club, along with Joy Chapman from Perry Broadcasting, and Boy Scouts and Leaders from Troop 187 of Fletcher/Elgin attended the city council where the Mayor of Lawton read a proclamation naming April 16th as White Cane Day in Lawton.

On Saturday, April 16th, 2005, the club celebrated Lions Worldwide Induction Day by inducting four new members. District Governor Travis Cummins inducted Craig Riha, Joe Wotring, Willie Smith and Billy Edwards. Vice District Governor, Al Sikora, was the guest speaker. The event was organized by Lion Al Granger, Membership Chairman.

On Saturday, April 16th, 2005, the Lawton NE Lions teamed up with Perry Broadcasting’s K98 JAMZ radio station, Boy Scouts Troop 187 from Fletcher/Elgin, Airgas, and Wal-Mart to conduct our annual White Cane Day fundraiser. Lions Ron Brown, Al Williams, and Ed Rall organized the event. The on-site radio broadcast and interviews were arranged by Lion Al Granger. Lions Ray Polk, Jay Bousley, Al Granger and Ed Rall were interviewed.

January 6th, 2009, was a historic day for the club as the Lawton Northeast Lions On-Line Branch Club was officially formed at Mike’s Sports Bar & Grille. Lion Al Granger formed the club and was selected as the Branch Coordinator. Lion Joe Wotring was selected as the Vice Branch Coordinator. Lion Ray Polk was selected as the Branch Liaison. PDG Al Williams was the Master of Ceremonies. The following new members were present and inducted by Lion Ray Polk: Laurie Lynn Osbun, Judson Troop, Gary Weise, Jeanette Osbun, Veronica Martin, Geri Childress and Peter Galie. Denis Blackburn and Joey Vazquez also joined the Branch Club. Most of the Branch Club members are Stanley (soon to be CGI) employees. The web site address is: http://e-clubhouse.org/sites/Lawtonnebranchok/index.php and Lion Al Granger is the web master.

The branch club, with the parent club, held an Earth Day tree planting event at Cameron University in April, 2009. A picture of the club planting the tree appeared in the “Cameron Reflections 2009” yearbook. The Cameron radio station, KCCU, covered the event. This has become an annual event and as a result, the club has made many friends at Cameron University. Lion Joe Wotring found and purchased a beautiful Eastern Redbud tree for the event in April, 2010.

The branch club assisted the parent club for the first time in the White Cane Day activity in April 2009 and helped raise a record amount of money for Lions projects. Lion Joe Wotring’s Boy Scout Troop 175 and Lion Gary Weise’s kids were a big help. This has become an annual event with the parent club for the branch club.

The branch club held (along with Stanley and Lion Gary Weise’s Bible Baptist Church Youth Ministries) a food drive for the Lawton Food Bank in the fall of 2009. Six bins of canned food were donated.

The branch club held a Christmas activity at the Lawton VA Center in December, 2009. Stanley donated money for supplies that were provided to the disabled veterans as a Christmas present. Lion Jeanette Osbun helped to arrange the event. Vocalist Buster Swoopes and the Bible Baptist Church Youth Ministry, led by Lion Gary Weise, sang Christmas songs for the veterans. The veterans really enjoyed it, and some of them even brought out pictures of their experiences in WW2 and Korea.

The branch club and members of the parent club served pizza to 40 special needs students at MacArthur Middle School for Valentine’s Day in February 2010 and marched with those students during the opening ceremonies of the Great Plains Area 4 Special Olympics in March. Lion Gary Weise gave the invocation during the opening ceremonies.

The Lawton NE Lions made history by inducting its first ever female President, Lion Susan Smith, on Saturday, June 5th, 2010.

The club also bid farewell to longtime leader and friend, Lion Claudie Lott during the summer of 2010. Lion Claudie spent many years as a very active member of the Lawton NE Lions, as well as being active in other District 3-L activities. Lion Claudie was a true leader and will long be remembered as the “heart and soul” of the Lawton NE Lions. He will be missed and we all wish him well in Colorado.

The Lawton Northeast Lions Club, together with the branch club, continues its proud legacy of service to the community. We pay for eye exams and eye glasses for low income senior citizens. We award scholarships to deserving students every year and recognize students of the quarter from each of the three local high schools in Lawton. The club sponsors special athletes each year to take part in the local and regional Special Olympics. White Cane Day is held faithfully every year. Each year in February, we invite all of the surviving Past District Governor’s of District 3-L to join us at a regular club meeting to celebrate their achievements (we are the first and possibly the only club in Oklahoma to do this).

We’ve held "Can Dances" to collect and donate canned goods to the Lawton Food Bank, the Salvation Army and the Armed Forces YMCA. The Lawton Northeast Lions support Teen Court and Crime Stoppers. Club members put out flags on holidays throughout the city of Lawton. The club collects eyeglasses to be recycled for those who cannot afford to purchase them.

We continue to support the Oklahoma Eye Bank, the Oklahoma Boy’s Ranch, the Oklahoma Lions Mobile Health Screening Unit, and the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). We honor the achievements accomplished during the first 35 years of our club, and we all look forward to a bright future living up to the motto "We Serve".

Our Presidents Past and Present
Our Past District 3-L Governors
Our Lions In Remembrance