Luther Lions Club honors founding members

LUTHER — The Luther Lions Club honored two of its most beloved members this week for the role they played in founding the Lake County branch of the organization.

Those men are Don Robins and Rich Brazaski, the last two surviving charter members of the club.

"We wanted to show everyone how much they have done for us and for the community as a whole," said Luther Lions Club President John Potts. "They have worked to raise a lot of money over the years for this organization and helped make it what it is today."

Brazaski and Robins were given a surprise reception and presented with plaques from the other Lions to show their appreciation.

"Don and I are the last two charter members left," said Brazaski. "It was very unexpected for the rest of the Lions to do this, but it was a very happy surprise."

Robins agreed.

"It was very nice of them," Robins said. "This is a good organization and I would like to see it continue into the future."

The Luther Lions have been in existence for 37 years. Brazaski said he was approached by a member of the Big Rapids Lions Club, Jim Chipman, back in October of 1978, who suggested a branch of the Lions Club be formed in Lake County. Brazaski discussed it with some other Luther residents and they agreed it would be a great addition to the community.

"Starting up a Lions group up here was all for charity," explained Brazaski. "We do a lot of health programs like hearing or vision tests, we help people in the community who need help building wheelchair ramps or fixing up their houses, and we put on charitable events to raise money for the community's needs."

The new Lions Club chapter hosted their meetings and events at bars, restaurants, churches and almost anywhere else they could find room. After raising enough money from events like bingo nights (which Brazaski said were becoming quite popular at the time), they built the Luther Lions Hall, which still stands as a pillar of the Luther community.

"It's the only place in Luther to hold an event with a large group of people," said Potts. "We can hold funerals, use it as an emergency shelter or stage events there. It's really given so much to this town and these two men helped make it happen."

Brazaski and Robins both expressed their appreciation, but both said as important as remembering the past is, people should ensure a group as beneficial as the Luther Lions should be preserved well into the future.

"We hope to keep this organization going as long as we can," remarked Brazaski. "As long as people need help, the Luther Lions will be willing to help."