The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dena Wood
The Times 

Lions Install New Officers, Give Awards

Kevin House is Lion of the Year; Dan Cole wins Melvin Jones Award


Dena Wood

Outgoing Lions Club president Walt Gobel awards Kevn House (l) with the 2017 Lion of the Year award.

WAITSBURG – It was the guys cooking for the gals as the Waitsburg Lions Club members wrapped up their year with a traditional Ladies Night thank you dinner of hamburgers salads and oysters, on Tues., June 6.

After dinner, Kevin House was named Lion of the Year, Dan Cole received the prestigious Melvin Jones Award, and a new slate of officers was installed.

It was business first for the Lions who raise and return thousands of dollars to the Waitsburg community each year.

Cardinal's Nest Supervisor Kathy Carpenter shared a thank-you poster from Pam Nolan-Beasley's kindergarten students, and requested that the Lions once again fund Kindercamp, at a cost of $1,200, which was approved.

Kindercamp is a week of half-day classes that takes place in the summer, to welcome incoming kindergarteners and let them know what they can look forward to in the year ahead.

Little League Coach Randy Hinchliffe thanked the Lions for purchasing new batting cages that received extensive use last season by Little League, junior high and high school athletes. Hinchliffe noted that the minors Little League team nailed a perfect 16-0 season.

He said that about 15 players, half from minors and half from coach-pitch, would like to improve their skills over the summer by attending a Walla Walla Sweets summer camp. The club agreed to donate $750 and encouraged the players to raise the other half.

Anita Baker thanked the Lions for the two $1,500 Lion's Club scholarships that were awarded in memory of Tom Baker. Gobel said that would be an ongoing tradition.

Zone Manager Betty Holloway installed the new slate of officers: Walt Gobel, Tail Twister; Kevin House, Treasurer; Ross Hamann, Vice President; and Randy Farley, President.

Outgoing President Walt Gobel announced the 2017 Lion of the Year Award, saying it didn't take a lot of thought to determine who it should go to.

"That person is very active in the community, his church, all Lions activities. He's always available for work projects. He sets an awesome example for his family. I envy him for being able to do that.

"He's an outstanding example of what Lions stand for. He's active in our community, taking care of projects and the people in our community. He's humble. He never, ever wants recognition for what he does. Ever," Gobel said as he called Kevin House forward to accept the award.

In typical House fashion, Kevin accepted the award with a smile, making a return beeline to his seat, forgoing any acceptance speech.

Guy McCaw, who won the Melvin Jones Award along with his brother, J.E., last year, gave a brief history of the award. In order to award the highest award in Lionism, named in honor of Lions Club International founder, a club must donate $1,000 to Lions Club International.

Donated funds are then used to help communities in need. Waitsburg was on the receiving end of approximately $42,000 from Lions Club International to rebuild the city swimming pool when it was severely damaged in the flood of 1996.

McCaw said Melvin Jones' motto, "You can't get very far until you do something for someone else," exemplifies Lions.

"This person has spent a lifetime in this community making it better. Every one of our kids has benefited from him," said McCaw, before naming a very surprised Danny Cole as the award winner.

Dena Wood

Former Melvin Jones Award recipient Guy McCaw (l) presents a plaque to this year's winner, Dan Cole.

McCaw said Cole has been a Lions Club member for over 30 years and was a Jaycee member before that.

"This building is kind of Danny's building. When he was in the construction business he ramrodded this building. We helped him do it but he did it," McCaw said.

McCaw credited Cole with "slinging beer for years and years and years" during the Days of Real Sport, and helping with and organizing every Lions function that serves food. He said Cole served over 30 years on the volunteer fire department and three years on ambulance duty, spent 20 years coaching football and baseball, and taught hunter's safety for well over 10 years.

"When you think of all the hours this man has put into this community it's amazing," McCaw said.

An emotional Cole said he was honored beyond words.


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