Dubois Lions chartered October 6, 1947, with Elmer Leonardson elected to serve as our first club president. Sponsoring club was St. Anthony Lions, with R.R. Willicke serving as Lions District 39E Governor. The club’s first Charter night was staged Nov. 19, 1947, at the Dubois high school gym, which was made up of a group of 27 Dubois businessmen. Emory Secrist, St. Anthony Lion’s president opened the dinner meeting, then presented the Dubois Club with a bell and gavel and a chamber with a bicycle bell attached. The meeting was turned over to G.R. Smith, who acted as Toastmaster. After the banquet members and guests danced to the music of Leo Watts dance band.
The Lion’s Motto, “We Serve” has created a trail of Community Projects by the Dubois Lions. It is heartwarming to our members to see all community fund-raisers monies ear-marked go back to helping their community.
The club’s first meetings were conducted at Lion Jim Laird’s Chevrolet Garage. Meetings continued at various locations until they actually purchased their own building, a former Wood Live Stock bunk house, May 1, 1988 for $4,000, which earlier had been relocated from Spencer to Dubois. Lions started out nation-wide a man’s organization by a group of businessmen in Chicago by Melvin Jones in 1917.
Many years later as women came in to help their friends and husbands, the Lioness Organizations were develop, which also began in Dubois, with Lion Ernest Sill helping to promote the club because his mother and wife were both involved. Several years on down the road, Lions Club International decided to accept women into the Lion’s Organization, thus developing the Lioness Clubs. When the Dubois Lioness were approached concerning joining the Dubois Lions, they said yes, IF, they could carry on some of the club projects they had developed. When the men approved their wishes the first women to join the Dubois Lions Club was Sandra Haight. Thus, the Charter of the Dubois Lioness Club was turned back to Lions Club International.
Lions Projects Develop a Community
This Lion’s Club trail began with picks and shovels actually creating a City Park for the community from sagebrush, now known as the Waring City Park.
Within a year the Lions created the Dubois annual Turkey Shoot. This began as an outside event with participates competing for live turkeys and geese.
Many projects have been geared to assist the youth, one they assisted the Clark County Rodeo Club in purchasing the School’s band uniforms, they donated funds to help send sports teams to state, a long-term project was sponsoring several scholarships to graduating seniors each year, sponsoring an ad annually in their yearbook, helping sponsor girls and boys state travel funding, as well as sponsoring a number of individual students’ requests, early on built playground equipment a number of times at both schools, purchased a high school wrestling mat, later it was donated to West Jefferson school.
Showing Lions of Yesterday's Dedication
The Dubois Lions will long be remembered for long term dedication in developing the Clark County Ambulance program, which they created, formed their own EMT’s and completely operated the program for 17 ½ years before the county finally realized its value and agreed to take it over. Many of the Lions maintained radios in their homes ready to meet all county emergencies.
In 1972 the Lion’s Ambulance service received recognition as the Best Equipped and Best Trained Volunteer Ambulance Service in the State of Idaho, and possibly the Nation. The Lions purchased their No. 3 ambulance in 1984 for $35,9778.20. The Dubois Lions also won the Lion’s Garrett Award for their Ambulance accomplishments.
On April 20, 1988 the Lions fully equipped, and updated ambulance was presented to the Clark County Commissioners by Ambulance EMT Chairperson, Ernest Sill, and has continued to be under their jurisdiction since that time.
A community wide enjoyed project of an Ice-Skating Rink was initiated, then in 1979 the project area was renovate as permitted by the school district on the edge of the school grounds back of the school. This became a full-time Lion’s job but enjoyed by community members of all ages. Spending nightly dedicated hours on this project were Roy Lingo, Tommy Johnston, Herb Sill, Ernest Sill, with others one hand to always keep their Ice Rink in top shape. However, with the construction of the new Clark County High School, this school area had to be vacated about 20000. The club with Lion Allyn May, later tried other areas, but locations never worked out. In early years Lion’s earned the Lion’s Garrett Award for this project.
Lion’s president David Sleight promoted the Lion’s Livestock Barn building project. It took some three years to complete this and is now continued to be used by the Clark County Livestock 4-H Committee, as well as for a number of other community functions. This building still is highlighted with a Lion’s Emblem on the front of the barn. Lions spent numerous donated evening hours on this building.
The Dubois Lions were seeking ideas of fundraising for high school scholarships which began with Lion Jane Lewis taking over the Community Calendar for a couple of years. In turn Lion Bonnie Stoddard continued to chair this program for over 20 years making it into a profitable scholarship fundraiser.
When local citizens took on project to renovate local cave for upcoming Civil Defense Cave, Dubois Lions worked hard building a complete cinder block wall with door at entrance of cave to close it off. This wall still well serves its purpose. In 2021 another new Dubois Lion’s club project, the Halloween Bootlegger’s Grave was initiated with one of the projects it was to fund was the Calendar project. Thus in 2022 the calendar was turned over to a local community-oriented group.
Eye screening has been an important project for the Dubois Lions. This Lion’s project was first promoted by Helen Keller, at their first Chicago International Meeting, who ask the Lions to be “Nights of the Blind.” Thus became a main Lion’s project.
Lion Bonnie chaired the Eastern Idaho Sight and Hearing project over 15 years with assistance from her club. The eye screening project was a high priority for the Dubois Lions each year. They joined the Roberts and Hamer clubs in purchasing their own eye screening machine, a cost of over $8,000, to annually take care of their own clubs. Many times, members of these clubs extended their services to other clubs like traveling to West Jefferson, Leadore, Salmon, Challis, Mackay, Iona, and several schools in the Blackfoot area to test their schools.
Lions Keith Tweedie was recognized for over 17 years as the club’s dedicated treasurer, always keeping individual projects monies in order.
Dedicated Countless Projects Continue
Dedicated hours and donated dollars made the difference to community and its people throughout the years: covering the projects of obtaining a wooden leg for two local veterans, hiring cooks for weekly Lion’s meetings, local garbage dump improvement, constructed downtown bulletin board, sponsored ID cards in connection with the sheriff’s department for all local young children, early on constructed most of the school’s playgroup equipment, built many ramps for elderly as entrances into their homes, big project completed Dubois early street signs, sponsored an annual Farmer’s Night, Senior Citizens’ annual Christmas dinner, furnished Santa’s goodies at school program, furnished Santa for the community with sacks of candy treats for each child, worked with Post Office answering Santa’s Christmas letters from local children, served lunches at Clark County Fair, sponsored Toys for Tots for Christmas and distributed them for Santa, also sponsored collection of winter coats for community, sponsored Wild Flower planting along I-15, contributed labor towards playground equipment City purchased for City Park, co-sponsored teacher Vivian Stelzer Recognition Day, Assisted with chairs, tables and food to Beaver Canyon dedication and several times at Kilgore for Lost Gold Byway tour, created a Dubois Lions Club brochure, ongoing donations of turkeys to needy families during Thanksgiving, used to send out welcoming cards to new community families, created a “Welcome to Dubois” sign with local organizations recognized. Sign damaged when moved now needs to be replaced, have old jail sign to put up, made valentines to go with valentine candy for local senior citizens, sponsored many fund raisers for community individuals needing help. The most raised at one of these was $25,000, rent club building for local community events, many spaghetti or potato bar fundraiser meals have been sponsored by this club, wrote grant to refurbish local historical jail, helped to relocate old rodeo grounds into Dubois new site around 1974, and then assisted with helping with new rodeo grounds bleachers, work with Clark County 4-H each rodeo at Burger Barn, also worked with them to build the present building for this event, held community awards presentations, continued renovating project for cooking burgers by Lion Kriss Williams in 2021,helped with grants for boys to attend Football camp, continue long time kid’s Easter Egg Hunt, Community Holiday Decorating Contest, assisted our District during Mid-Winter Conference on several occasions, also assisted in Sun Valley with MD Convention. Several years while Bonnie was with Blackfoot Fair, Dubois Lions joined to help her to enter a Lion’s District entry in the Eastern Idaho State Fair Parade. Today they continue to support the local Clark County Rodeo Association with an annual parade entry from the Dubois Lions. For many years Lions responded to people stranded in Dubois due to winter blizzard road closures by opening their Lion’s Hall for free lodging and meals and continued after the creation of the Community Center many years, taking care of stranded motorists up to three days and nights at a time. The clubs over 25-year on-going American Red Cross annual community Blood donating program has been stopped due to Covid-19, a project we still need to continue. Many other projects have been missed; however, ongoing Lions Community Projects continue to promote the true meaning of Lionism. So, when it snows projects, we have two choices; shovel or make snow angels!
A Clark County Veteran’s Memorial, a fairly new Dubois Lions Project is slowly progressing. The Department of Highways has approved the site to be in the Dubois Rest Area, architect. Ben P. Schiess has completed the Monument’s building plan, and names to be honored are being finalized by county historians, Cindy Bramwell and Bonnie Stoddard. Plans are to use the local mined travertine in its construction; however, funding of this large project is still in the works.
A relatively new club project for the Dubois Lions of 2021, was sponsored during October, “The Bootleggers Grave” at the old Dubois cave. The creation of the project was unbelievable and has the potential of putting the Dubois Lions on the map, so to speak. So at this point: “There are two primary choices in the project; accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” It’s a matter of life or death of our fantastic project!
Sharing Services Beyond Community
Feeling the need of sharing Lionism, Dubois Lions, as well as Dubois Lions joining other clubs worked to create Lionism in needed areas. Their first attempt was re aching out to Salmon, ID to form a Community Club. Finding leadership and competition of other organizations was hard to overcome, thus after a couple years they lost Salmon, and Lima, MT club just quite didn’t make it. Other clubs organized have been Salmon a second time, Shelley, re-organizing Blackfoot, Ashton, Ammon, Dubois Hispanic, Ashon went on to join the nearby St. Anthony club, Blackfoot is still active, but the others folded within a couple of years. It took lots of Lion’s traveling miles o work with these individual groups.
District and Multiple Districts Positions held by Members
Dubois Lions sponsored three District Governors: LaMont Hodges (1975-1976), Ernest Sill (1991-1992) and Bonnie Stoddard (2004-2005). Bonnie was also the third District 39E woman to serve, and also served a term as MD39 Council Chair (2005-2006) for both Districts.
Dubois Lions Honored by highest club award, the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award include: LaMont Hodges, May Hodges, Roy Lingo, Ernest P. Sill, Keith Tweedie, Joe Weller, Jessica Whitmill, John Wilson, Karen Wilson, Robert Wilson, Merlin Merrell, and Bonnie J. Stoddard.
Dubois Club Pin Recognitions The Dubois Lions have created some club memorable pins for their club, that of the ambulance, ice skating rink, joined with Hamer for Dist. Convention pin, one by the Lioness club, as well as each Dist. Gov. created a pin.. Lions Motto – “We Serve”