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“We Serve” – The Pride of a Community

by Chet Hill

Chet HillThe Williston Korner Lion’s Club members have been donating their time to grill burgers and flip pancakes for over 25 years.  It would be hard to imagine the total numbers of burgers, hotdogs, and pancakes consumed during that time.  In 2009, members worked at over 30 different events, logging close to 1,000 hours of volunteer time during the BBQ season.  Everyone looks forward in assisting at all the summer grilling activities.  It is a real tribute to the Lion’s Motto – We Serve!

The current Lions grill is over 20 years old and plumb wore out.  It has been refurbished several times.  The griddle top is warped, the set up of the grill lacks a sanitary food prep area and the burners do not deliver a consistent amount of heat.  The design of the old grill creates difficult working conditions since one has to step up onto the trailer to work.  The grill is an unattractive site to show the Lion’s pride. 

The goal or objective of this project - Build a grill that is efficient, offers adequate grill space, and provides has a sanitary preparation area.  If possible, include in the design readily available storage for cooking items and utensils and easy accessibility for the members to cook on the grill. 

 I volunteered to be chairman of the committee to design the new grill that would meet all of the member’s needs. The 42 club members provided valuable ideas and concerns as the new grill was being constructed.  The committee met on several occasions and twice with the local grill manufacturer from Ray, to go over the design/layout and specifications of the new grill.  Even a couple of on-site construction visits were necessary to adjust design specifications.       

Funding the project was a major concern with the members.  A finance committee was established in which I co-chaired to raise funds to pay for the new grill. The cost of the new grill was $12,000. The club had about $2,000 in reserves for this type of project, so the remaining portion would have to be generated by donations.  The Korner Lions and the grill are recognized throughout the whole community as a club that volunteers a lot of quality time towards the community.  Members hoped that local businesses would be generous with their support.  The committee met many times to expound a list of organizations and businesses to contact and created a brochure that could be utilized by members as they visited with people, organizations and businesses to ask for donations.  

Before our Lion’s club went out into the public to raise funds, the membership wanted to demonstrate their commitment and support for the new grill.  Over $3,000 was raised within the membership in the matter of two weeks.  By having that member support, the community recognized the club’s commitment and need for the new grill and graciously donated over $6,500.  A total team effort!

To make this project a success, we needed the commitment from Lion members, excellent ideas, a creative person to build the grill, volunteer time from members to serve on the grill and finance committees, and generosity/support from the community. The goal of the Korner Lion’s Club was to have this grill ready for the 2010 grilling season. And WE DID IT - the first event for the new grill was a pancake breakfast feed for the Farm and Ranch show in March. 

It is hard to put a handle on impact from this type project.  The appreciation and smiles we receive from the hundreds of people while grilling burgers/hot dogs at the “Concerts in the Park”, Fourth of July parade, and the football games, etc., tells club members we are making a difference in our community.  The club continues to receive more requests each year from event organizers to assist them with their activities.  The Lion members really enjoy assisting with activities, the social bonding with members and the community along with knowing one is volunteering for a good cause within the community and organization.  Hopefully this grill will last another 20 years for the club like the old one.

Being a part of service organizations, is the backbone of a community.  Recently, there has been a trend seen that younger people are not volunteering and becoming members as much in service organizations and that is a concern for community health.  I really enjoy the getting together with friends and working towards a common goal while giving back to the community.  My RLND experience has boosted my drive for volunteering and providing leadership to another level.  I hope to convey that passion to my kids and others so that they are leaders in their schools, job career and community.

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