Monday, October 31, 2011

Peace Poster winners to be honored November 10th

Belle Fourche Lions will honor 2011 winners of the Lions Club Peace Poster contest at the club meeting on Thursday, November 10th.

Judges Mick Harrison (center), Belle Fourche artist, and Linda Rothermel (right) inspect the work of Kristy Messner's (left) Middle School students.  Harrison, Rothermel, and Messner have received certificates of appreciation from Lions for their work with the contest through the years.

(Thanks to Lion Bill Kunerth for photo and information!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Belle Fourche Lions celebrate 75 years

by Bill Kunerth

Lions Rich Drabek and Ron Ensz proudly hold the
Belle Fourche Lions charter document from 1936.
On October 10, 1936, at the Club Cafe, 24 Belle Fourche men became charter members of  Belle Fourche Lions Club No. 003404 of the International Lions organization.  Charter President was A.R. Powell, druggist; Charter Secretary was O. J. Buxton, service station owner. Other members whose names are etched in Belle Fourche history were Dr. R. M Buck, veterinarian; Lem Overpeck, attorney; Otha Frost, funeral director; Mike Heinbaugh, newspaper editor;  Dr. D. A. Lind, dentist; Rueben Schmidt, druggist;  Dr. Sion Sherrill, physician, and Seth Smith jeweler. Sponsoring the new club was the Rapid City Lions Club 00346 which is still in operation. Since then, the Belle Fourche Lions have sponsored five clubs in the Black Hills area: Spearfish, Sturgis, Buffalo, Piedmont Valley, and the Northern Lights Lions Club of Belle Fourche.
On Saturday, October 29, Belle Fourche Lions  will celebrate the 75th anniversary of their club  at The Mulligan at the Belle Fourche Country Club, with a dinner at 7 p.m., preceded by a social hour from 6 to 7 p.m. The public is invited and must make reservations with Brian Kline, 892-6836, by Thursday, Oct. 20  Tickets are $20 per person.
Lion Randy Heitmann
Guest speaker will be Randy Heitmann of Cambridge, NE, past Lions international director.  Lion Heitmann has held several other major positions in Lions from club president to USA/Canada district governor. He is also recipient of the International President’s Ambassador of Good Will Award, the highest honor the association bestows. Heitmann is owner of a taxation and accounting service and is active in health, business, and church affairs in his community.
Brian Kline, president of the Belle Fourche Lions, allows that “A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the club’s founding but we’re proud to have continued to uphold the Lion motto, “We Serve.” The club received the Belle Fourche Chamber of Commerce Community Pride award for 2011 at the Chamber’s 100th anniversary celebration last spring.
Kline said that through the years, the Lions have been involved in an impressive number of public  service projects, as well as fund raising activities.  These include:       Constructing ten picnic shelters, a rest room facility in Hermann Park, helping build a Habitat for Humanity home and Bowman Hall in the Park, cleaning the trash on a two-mile section of Highway 34, and working on the housing project for homeless women veterans in Belle Fourche.
"Master Chef" Lion Tom Nary at work
The club also sponsors the annual Lions Peace Poster contests, has performed blood pressure and other tests from the mobile Lions health van, supplied glasses for needy residents and sold white canes to provide financial assistance to the sight impaired. The Lions moved the Johnny Spaulding cabin to Belle Fourche, built a new porch on it, and helped construct a disc golf course along the Belle Fourche River waterfront.  Fund-raising projects that help finance these projects  have included selling candy, light bulbs, and Christmas coloring books. The club also provides food at the All-Car rally, ushers at the Black Hills Roundup, and holds pancake feeds.
Several Belle Fourche Lions have held leadership positions at the district and state levels and have  been  honored for the service.   Charles Bruggeman and Tony Schmaltz were presidents of the South Dakota Lions Foundation. Burton Penfold, George Freemole, Dale Gillette, Henry Kahler, Rich Drabek (Presho Lions Club), and Charles Livingston were district governors. Drabek and Livingston have both been named to the South Dakota Lions Hall of Fame.  Livingston, Drabek, Lee Voyles, and Al Shaw are Melvin Jones Fellows.
Club President Kline said, “We are proud to have been associated with an organization which has served Belle Fourche for 75 years and we have confidence it will do so for another 75. We hope many Belle Fourche residents will celebrate with us on October 29.” 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lions learn about Northern Hills Training Center

The Northern Hills Training Center in Spearfish has been providing services for adults with developmental disabilities for some 35 years now.

Chris Davis, who handles public relations for NHTC, shared a bit of history and details of those services this week (10/13/11) with members of the Belle Fourche Lions during a meeting at the Belle Fourche Country Club. .

"We started by serving six people back in 1976.  Today, we serve 130 persons," said Davis.

Discussions about creating such a facility in this region date back to 1973, when a group of citizens met to discuss creation of a workshop for the developmentally disabled in the northern Black Hills.  According to New Directions, the quarterly newsletter published by NHTC, the first residence was acquired in 1976.   Since then, they've added six more residences and also have people living independently or with their families.

"To serve our 130 persons, we have a staff of some 150 people," said Davis, noting that their range of services fall under four categories:  residential, vocational services, medical services, and services coordination.  Many of the people served by NHTC are able to pursue employment in the community, including many retail and manufacturing facilities in Spearfish and Belle Fourche.

Northern Hills Training Center is a nonprofit organization that provides vocational and independent living services to "empower adults with disabilities, encouraging all to strive for their ultimate potential in all aspects of their lives."  You can find out more about NHTC by visiting their web site at

We learned that while many of the residents at NHTC receive government support, the center relies upon donors to help NHTC achieve their goals.  Persons wishing to consider a gift can go to

We particularly liked the statement prominently displayed on the banner of all New Directions newsletters published by NHTC:  Our goal is to help others reach theirs.