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Snohomish Lions Club 85 years strong

Photo courtesy Freeda Easley

Members of the Lions Club during their dictionary giveaway including Ned Carrick, Merle Kirkley and Freeda Easley,

The Lions Club invites the whole community out to their open house and celebration of their 85th anniversary on Sunday, April 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Waltz building, 116 Ave. B. 

SNOHOMISH - The Snohomish Lions Club is celebrating its 85th anniversary, and in those eight-and-a-half decades of service to the local community, the mission of “we serve” has remained clear to current members.
Chapter president Merle Kirkley and treasurer Sue Sullivan offered their insights on the club’s enduring qualities and what, exactly, they do for their beloved community.
“She (Sullivan) runs the club, and I’m the president,” Kirkley jokingly said. Kirkley joined in 1978 and Sullivan joined in 1997. The Lions is the oldest service club in Snohomish, and the group still regularly holds meetings every first and third Monday of the month in the historic Waltz building downtown. They are accepting new members, and encourage adults of any generation and age to join.
“One of the things we are trying very hard to do, because we are an aging club, is figuring out who replaces us,” Kirkley said. “If you’ve grown up in a community, and you’ve reaped all the benefits of the community, we would hope it’s time for some of those younger folks – knowing how busy they are with families – would join. Communities cannot survive without service clubs. Maybe it’s time that they could take a look and see what they could carve out, if just a short snippet of time, and join a service club. Of course, we would love for it to be Lions.”
The Lions Club is active in many events and issues around Snohomish and highly values education and assisting those in need. They annually give scholarships to high school students, honor local top scholars, and Kirkley’s favorite - distribute dictionaries to local third graders.
“When you talk about programs, a favorite is probably giving those dictionaries,” Kirkley said. “To go into those classes and to be able to represent the dictionary, and talk about the value of a dictionary, and talk about Lions Club, and the questions that those little kids ask – it’s great. Some of those kids have brothers and sisters that are in college that still have their dictionary.”
The Lions Club gives money to the local Boys & Girls Club, and the senior center.
There’s more than that, though, as they are involved with transporting eyeballs to the University of Washington for research, providing hearing aids and eyeglasses to those in need, and also help run a booth at the Evergreen State Fair each year.
Decades ago, the club raised funds for constructing Hal Moe Pool. The pool was named after Lions Club member Hal Moe, a former Snohomish school district superintendent.
For their own club fundraisers, the club gets creative while sticking with what they know.
They’ve sold fireworks, cut and sold firewood as well as produced and sold calendars, Sullivan said.
“We’re also in the food business,” Sullivan said in reference to their famous Weenie Wagon hot dog stand that comes out every Easter Parade and Kla Ha Ya Days.
But their main focus, Sullivan and Kirkley said, is raising money to help the community.
“I think the term, ‘we serve’ really encompasses that people are willing to go out of their comfort zone and do things that maybe they wouldn’t normally do in order to serve and in order to help others,” Kirkley said. “I think that says a lot about our club. We’re an old club. But at the same time, those same people are still willing to step up and do things for this community.”
The club’s longest-serving member, Ned Carrick, has been part of the Lions Club since he was fresh out of college in 1952.
Carrick joined the South Whidbey Island chapter at Langley, and when he and his family moved to Snohomish in 1956, he transferred his membership.
When asked why he has remained serving for so many years, Carrick jokingly replied, “it keeps us off the streets.”
“No, scratch that – really it’s an organization that the main goals are public and community service,” Carrick said. “It’s just fun getting out an doing things, and knowing that we’re helping people is the satisfaction you get from being with a service club.”
The Lions Club invites the whole community out to their open house and celebration of their 85th anniversary on Sunday, April 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Waltz building, 116 Ave. B. 

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