Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Lions holiday gathering

It was a festive time for members of the Northern Lights Lions Club and the Belle Fourche Lions Club as they gathered at the Branding Iron Friday night (12/10/10) for their annual Christmas Party.  Despite some nasty weather, there was a good turnout of Lions and spouses. Lions Bob Morris and Gerald Keil coordinated the event, which included a gift swapping session that provided plenty of good fun.  Thanks to Belle Butte Title, Day Morris Law Firm and Gerald Keil for providing the appetizers and champagne!  We've posted a few photos of this event in the Lions Gallery.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lions lend a hand

Several Lions Club members recently (November 2010) helped side one of the main buildings in the facility for homeless women veterans which is being built north of Belle Fourche on Water Tower Road.           

Belle Fourche Lions Club members first heard about the project some weeks ago, when new member Tom Hood talked about it with several members.

Lion Joyce Drabek at work
Shown here is Northern Lights Lions Club member Joyce Drabek, helping with the project.  To see a few more photos about this topic – and other Lions activities – visit our Lions Gallery.

 Earlier newspaper stories reported that the veterans’ housing and training complex is being organized by a group called “Community Volunteers in Service of our Neighborhood (C-VISN)."  Ross Surdez is spearheading the project, which seeks to  have the city annex property where the facility is located in order to obtain city services.

The project is expected to provide shelter and training for as many as 28 rural females who return from military service without marketable job skills.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lions Shaw and Kunerth tell about Honor Flight

Belle Fourche Lions Club members Al Shaw and Bill Kunerth – both veterans of World War II – were among the 117 South Dakota veterans who went to Washington, D.C. late last month as part of the Honor Flight program.  Last night (10/28/10) they told  Lions members about that experience, and - with a bit of prodding – a bit about their military service.

President Ron Ensz (at left) with fellow Lions who are
World War II veterans -- Bill Kunerth and Al Shaw.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Kunerth told his fellow Lions about Honor Flight.  “It was kind of nice to be appreciated.”

Shaw said the entire trip “restored my feeling of existing patriotism and made all of us very proud.”

Honor Flight is a non-profit initiative to honor World War II veterans by transporting them to Washington, D.C. “to visit and reflect at their memorials.”  The vets make the trip free of charge.  More than 700 South Dakota veterans have made the trip, but several more hundred are awaiting their opportunity.   While in the Capitol, veterans visit the World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and many other memorials and landmarks. Their trips are paid for by individual and corporate donors.

It’s a busy two days.

Shaw gave details of the trip, beginning with an orientation meeting at the Rapid City American Legion Club, followed by their flight to Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC, and their whirlwind tour of sites ranging from the World War II Memorial and Arlington Cemetery, to the Iwo Jima Memorial and the National Air and Space Museum.  We've posted a few photos from their journey in our Lions Photo Gallery.

“I could’ve spent all day there,” said Shaw, making special note of the Enola Gay, the WWII vintage B-29 Superfortress that carried the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima, Japan during the war.

Kunerth was impressed with all the memorials.

“The Vietnam Memorial had lots of emotion surrounding it, and the World War II Memorial was the most informative.  But the one that impressed me the most was the Korean War Memorial.”

In his book, The Greatest Generation, fellow South Dakota Tom Brokaw described how so many World War II veterans came back from the war and got on with their lives – seldom talking about their experiences.

And so it was with Lions Kunerth and Shaw, who offered little about their war-time experiences.  Kunerth allowed only that his Army division saw action on the Siegfried Line in Germany and that it was “pretty tough.”  Shaw was a turret gunner on a B-24 Super Fortress flying missions from an airbase near Ipswich, England.  He flew 31 missions, surpassing the short life expectancy generally recognized for that hazardous job.

Our thanks to Lions Al Shaw and Bill Kunerth for their presentation – and especially for their service to our country during World War II.  Thank you!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lions Kunerth and Drabek cited

During the October 14th meeting of the Belle Fourche Lions Club, two members were recognized for recent honors bestowed upon them.

Shown here are Lions Bill Kunerth (left) and Rich Drabek.

Lion Kunerth was among a group of World War Two veterans selected to be flown back to Washington, D.C. in late September (2010). Lion Al Shaw (not shown here) was also on the trip. They enjoyed a remarkable reception in Rapid City and made the trek to D.C. via the "Honor Flight" program. The group was able to visit the World War Two Memorial, as well as several other memorials. Kunerth said he was most impressed with the Korean War Memorial.

Thanks to Lion Kunerth, we're able to include a few photos from this event in our Lion's Photo Gallery.

Lion Rich Drabek was recently tapped to receive the International President's Leadership Award. It's the latest in a long line of honors and awards earned by Lion Drabek. Congratulations to both these Lions for jobs well done!

Lion President Ron Ensz shared a letter from Lion Wanda McCormick of Rapid City, District Leader Dog Chairperson for 2010-2011, which outlined the Leader Dog School program begun in 1939. Its facility near Rochester, Michigan, allows any blind person who wants to increase his or her mobility and freedom an opportunity to apply to the school and be awarded a dog guide. Through the generosity of Lions and others, there is no cost for the blind person to attend the school and obtain a Leader Dog. The cost for the training of one guide dog is $38,000. The current "Wild for Lions" campaign will allow Lions to reach more of the 10 million people in the United States who are visually impaired and in need of assistance. Lion McCormick has set a district goal of 100% participation in Leader Dog. Our Belle Fourche Club voted to send $50 to support the initiative.

Lion Rich Drabek noted that M.J. Knobe, Executive Director of the South Dakota Lions Foundation will be in Belle Fourche next Tuesday morning (10/19/10) to visit with local Lions about Lions Foundation activities and opportunities. A scheduling conflict prohibited her attending our meeting last Thursday, but she's agreed to meet as many Lions as we can muster at 8 a.m. Tuesday at Hardees. A member of the downtown Sioux Falls Lions Club, Lion Knobe also serves as president of the North America Conference of Lions Foundations (NACLF), which provides eduction and training for Lions Foundations and Eye Banks. So join us for coffee/breakfast this Tuesday morning and learn more about opportunities with the South Dakota Lions Foundation, as shared by Executive Director M.J. Knobe (shown at right). You may also want to take a "test drive" on the web site of the South Dakota Lions Foundation.

A reminder that the 2011 South Dakota Lions State Convention is scheduled for January 21-22 at The Lodge at Deadwood, located on the north edge of town. There's a registration form in the October edition of South Dakota Lion. Remember, registration fees go up after December 31st!

Monday, October 11, 2010

New meeting location for October

Lions President Ron Ensz has contacted members of the Belle Fourche Lions to let them know that the Belle Fourche Country Club is closed "until sometime next year."

Lion Ensz says, "Our next two meetings, Thursday, October 14th and Thursday, October 28th, will be at the Branding Iron Steakhouse and Saloon one mile souith of the junction of Highways 34 and 85."

The meeting will be in the private Social Club Room, which is on the west side of the building and has its own entrance.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lions meet Thursday -- begin new year

The first Lions meeting of the 2010-2011 year is set for this Thursday evening (9/9/10) at the Belle Fourche Country Club.  The  session will begin at 7:00 p.m.

President Ron Ensz will recap events and activities of the summer and lead a discussion on expected projects and activities for this fall.  He is also working on putting together various committees for the coming year.  All Lions are urged to attend.  

President Ensz, along with Lions Bill Kunerth and Larry Miller, attended Tuesday morning (9/7/10) coffee at the Belle Fourche Chamber of Commerce.  Kunerth and Miller were on hand to help promote the new season of concerts sponsored by the Center of the Nation Concert Association.  (Tail Twisters:  Please fine Lion Bill Kunerth for this shameless promotion!)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Morris tells of mentoring program

It was a homecoming of sorts for Lion Bob Morris.

An attorney in Belle Fourche since graduating from the University of South Dakota Law School in 1988, Morris has been on the road much of the past year as president of the State Bar of South Dakota. But last Thursday night, May 13th, he returned to Belle Fourche to tell the Lions Club about the Young Lawyer Mentor Coin Project.

Morris, shown here with Northern Lights Lions Club member Joyce Drabek, is particularly fond of the Mentor Coin Project, which is based on the military challenge coin.

“We’ve all had mentors – in every line of work,” said Morris, who grew up in White, South Dakota, graduating from Deubrook High School in 1975 and then serving a four-year stint in the Air Force before enrolling at USD.
Morris recounted the inception of the military challenge coin in World War I. The story tells of an American Lieutenant who ordered solid bronze medallions for his squad. They were embossed with the squadron emblem. Later in the war, that Lieutenant was captured by a German patrol. He escaped – only to again be captured by allied forces who thought he was a spy, since he was not in uniform. However, the young Lieutenant produced the unit coin, which confirmed that he was an American pilot. It saved his life.

Lion Morris shared a part of his own story, about how a law professor at USD in Vermillion became his mentor and was a friend for nearly a quarter of a century. While he didn’t mention professor John Hagemann by name, Morris spoke passionately about the influence that Hagemann (shown at left) had upon his life and his career. A native of Wisconsin, Hagemann joined USD law faculty as librarian of the McKusick Law Library in 1968 and went on to a distinguished career at the school. He died December 13, 2009.

Read Morris’ own story about Hagemann as his mentor, which was included in the January 2010 newsletter of the State Bar of South Dakota. It’s well worth the read. A professional liability insurance provider, ALPS, awarded a $2,000 grant to the mentor project to help cover the costs of minting the first 500 bronze coins and 20 one-ounce silver coins.

There are no rigid guidelines about the mentoring process in the Mentor Coin Project, but Morris says there are about 50 or so suggestions for different ways that the mentoring relationships can be developed. But the project doesn’t allow “vertical” mentoring by a senior partner in a firm.

The State Bar of South Dakota began the Mentor Coin Project last October (2009) with a goal of developing relationships that allow lawyers to learn from each other. The Young Lawyers group hosts “Mentorship Get Togethers” around South Dakota; those gatherings provide opportunities for lawyers to begin establishing a relationship with their counterparts. Morris shared the story of how he was able to present a mentor coin to his mentor -- John Hagemann -- shortly before Hagemann's death. It was a poignant moment.

Following Lion Morris’ presentation, Lion Harry Haivala reminded members that the Lions Highway 34 cleanup scheduled for this week has been postponed. Mother Nature has given us a bit too much moisture in the last few days, so the project is now scheduled for Thursday, May 27th. Workers should plan to gather at the Belle Fourche Country Club parking lot at 5:00 p.m.

For a few photos of this meeting – and others – visit our Lions Gallery.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Lions join Belle Fourche club

Several new members were recently initiated into the Belle Fourche Lions Club. Click on this photograph to see a larger image.
Lion John Cooper (back to the camera) conducted the ceremony. Initiates and their sponsors are shown and listed here left to right. Names of new members are in bold: Bull Kunerth, Duke Boston, Bob Tipton, Tim Bennett, Harry Haivala (behind Cooper), Rich Drabek, Dick Banks, Lonnie Keyser, Rev. Del Neumeister, Rick Walton. Not pictured are new members Wayne Linstad and Stephen Smith.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Come and get 'em!

The Belle Fourche Lions Club held a pancake feed at the Moose Lodge on April 25th. At left, Lions Rick Walton, Lee Voyles, Gerald Keil and Bob Schnaible pause from their chores. Pancake feeds have long been a favorite event for Lions clubs across the country -- and the Belle Fourche Lions Club is no exception. Those flapjacks helped create lots of happy smiles -- and full tummies!

Below, at right, among the many partakers of the good stuff were Alyce Voyles and members of the Voyles family. At right is Lion Eric Beals.
We'll add information about the pancake feed once information is made available.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Local publication touted

A high quality magazine is making a name for itself in the Black Hills region.

Beautiful Fork is a quarterly devotional magazine published under the auspices of the Belle Fourche United Methodist Church, and it features regional writers, photographers and artists who volunteer their time and talent to the project.

Two of those people are photographer/ assistant editor Paula Ensz (left) and publisher/editor Reva Potter (right) who visited the Belle Fourche Lions club Thursday (3/25/10) to share information about the publication. You can click on the image at right in order to see a larger version of this photo, and we've also added a few additional images to our Lion's Gallery.

Beautiful Fork is more than just the literal translation of Belle Fourche -- it’s an attractive publication designed as an outreach tool to hospitals, clinics, hospices, and individuals unable to participate in regular worship services. Graced with some beautiful photography, verses, book reviews, and inspirational narratives, material for each issue is generated through the ecumenical Retreat for Christian Writers.

In an effort to maintain its focus, the publication accepts no advertising; however, they do accept donations and other contributions. The magazine is largely dependent upon subscriptions. For more information – including subscription details – visit this Beautiful Fork page.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Heise tells about underground lab

The Belle Fourche Lions Club last Thursday (2/25/10) was treated to an “in-depth” (pardon the pun) presentation about the Sanford Underground Laboratory.

Dr. Jaret Heise, science liaison director for the lab, shared up-to-the-minute information about the lab and some of the many projects that are underway and planned. Here, Dr. Heise shows Lion president Leo Orme (right) an outline of planned experiments in physics, geology, hydrology, and biology at the Lead facility.

He also discussed neutrino research and various aspects of the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), which is a separate entity, but closely related to the precursor work underway at Sanford.

Nearly a full den of nearly 30 Lions showed up for the presentation at the Belle Fourche Country Club – one of the best turnouts this winter, according to Lion Bill Kunerth, who provided us with the above photo. Thanks, Bill!

The next Lions meeting will be at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, March 11th.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Northern Lights Lions are chartered!

Some 100 Lions club members, spouses, and friends attended a Charter Banquet for the new Northern Hills Lions Club last Saturday night (1/23/10) at the Branding Iron in Belle Fourche.

At right are the officers who were installed for the newly-formed Lions club. In the front row (left-to-right): Joyce Drabek, Linda McElwain, Joan Manke, Marsha Osloond, and Kelly Walton. In the back row are: Mary Riley, Robin Carlson, Bev Banks, Kellie Pummel, Geri Drabek, and Dallas Connor.
Mayor Dave Schneider was on hand to welcome the group, which gathered to recognize the newest Lions Club in the area, comprised of Belle Fourche area ladies. They've already created a nice-looking web site. You'll find it at
Lions District Governor Doug Sheller and his wife Donna attended the banquet, along with numerous Lions from other clubs around the region and across the state. Many of those clubs presented gifts to the fledgling club.
Bob Drabek of Rapid City, a former international officer of Lions International, was keynote speaker for the evening. District Governor Scheller provided a brief history of Lions clubs and their emphasis upon service to others. He then presented the formal charter to Northern Lights President Bev Banks.
Thanks to Lion Bill Kunerth for providing the photograph above. A larger version of this photo, along with other candid scenes from the Charter Banquet can be found in our Lions Gallery.