We Serve: Bringing light
By Kris Leonhardt
Part IV in a series on the Marshfield Lions
In July 1946, the Marshfield Lions celebrated their 15th anniversary, during a meeting held at the golf course clubhouse.
At that time, the Lions activities encompassed projects such as a canned “food drive for the warstricken,” the incorporation of an athletic association responsible for staging three amateur boxing expos, a winter carnival, and a celebration honoring local school safety patrol members.
They also supplied the football programs for Marshfield High School, purchased war bonds, sponsored Boys State delegates, and supported other local causes.
The club had sponsored or co-sponsored the Thorp Lions Club, Stratford Lions Club, Spencer Lions Club, and the Wisconsin Rapids West Lions Club.
In later years, they sponsored or co-sponsored the Medford Lions Club, Pittsville Lions Club, Chili Lions Club, and the Marshfield Lioness Club.
The club also hosted minstrel shows and a circus.
From its inception, however, the Marshfield Lions stayed committed to the vision impaired, by supporting dog-training organizations, supplying eyeglasses to children, and providing canes to the blind. In the 1950s, Lions clubs helped double the capacity of Leader Dog School training.
In 1954, Marshfield Lions and “Lions Cubs,” recruited from local high schools, traveled the city with paper bags including a variety of about a dozen light bulbs. The proceeds went to the Leader Dog School as the club promoted “bringing light” to the community.
The Lions projects were often very successful due to their numbers and commitment to the community, but not all projects produced the expect results.
In the 1960s, after learning of a miniature train and track for sale in Allentown, PA, the group approached city leaders in regards to purchasing the system for the Wildwood Zoo.
After obtaining the city’s blessing, club members traveled to Pennsylvania to look at the train. Seeing the train as a viable project for the Lions Club, it was purchased and brought back to Marshfield for restoration.
Returning the train to its former glory, the Lions went back to the city and discussed plans for installation in the zoo. However, when the city attorney learned of the planned train installation, the project came to abrupt halt.
After hearing that the Lions Club would need to control and assume full legal liability for the operation of the train, the project was halted.
The train sat in storage for nearly 20 years before it was sold to an out-of-state venture.
Continued next week