Belton Lions Club turns 75

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Published April 24, 2014

By David Tuma, Journal reporter

Belton’s Lions Club celebrated their 75th anniversary Tuesday night at Cathedral Oaks. The  event highlighted a variety of members and featured a Lions Club Show and services the club has provided for decades. It also was the start of a new UMHB Crusader Campus Lions Club, with students sworn in.
The original charter of the Belton Lions’ Club was on display, and Mike Butler, the past Lions Club International Director, was the guest speaker.
“The original founders were a variety of business leaders in the community, a Lions Club President Robert Jones, said. “The unemployment rate back in 1939 was 17.2 percent, and a stamp cost $0.03.”
Jones read a proclamation by the City of Belton and pointed out that Roy Potts, Joe Pirtle and Joe Smith were on hand. Danny Dossman worked up a video display, with sound, for those in attendance. It brought back memories of some of the Lions Club shows, and the voice of Dr. William Long.
There have been so many community projects the Belton Lions Club has sponsored over the years, and those also were highlighted. Long-standing active members were recognized: Rob Potts, 35 years; Mac Hickerson, 35 years; Joe Baisden, 44 years and Dennis Holle, 50 years.
“When I moved here I never gave a thought about how long I would serve,” Holle said. “Johnnie Melvin was always looking for fun. He made a big impression on me. I can still see him turning chickens loose during one of the Lions Club shows. Those chickens were flying around the auditorium. I thought, ‘What have I gotten into?’ You had to be careful back then at the meetings. Members would pour water in your chair if you got up and left. Didn’t matter how many times it happened, people would forget and sit down in the water.”
Robert Jones was awarded one of the International Clubs top awards for helping found the UMHB Lions Club. Other clubs in the area donated funds to help the club get on its feet.
“Why has the club lasted 75-years? It is the dedication of individuals,” Butler said. “We are in the people business. Volunteers are huge for any community.”