Making a Difference
Eatonville Lions Club supports community in a variety of ways
Story by Rick Stedman
Now in its 84th year serving the community, the Eatonville Lions Club readies for the 52nd annual Arts and Music Festival slated for August 5-7 at Glacier View Park.
The festival features free entertainment for the family, with a variety of artisans, live performances, fresh-cooked food, a beer garden and the unofficial, unsanctioned and unstoppable all- classes Eatonville High School class reunion.
Nearly 60 vendors have signed up. Musicians performing include John Sparrow, That Irish Guy, Steve Stefanowicz, Billy Shew, Becky Rowe, Dave Hannon, the Roosevelt Tarantulas featuring Tim Hall and Jerry Miller, and Emily Randolph and the Sunnyside.
The festival raises funds to benefit several causes, including school scholarships; donations to Camp Leo—a Lions’-sponsored and medically staffed semi-local camp for children with diabetes;
Lions Club International Foundation; and providing eyeglasses and hearing aids for those in need locally.
While the Arts and Music Festival is the club’s most celebrated event, it is not the only way the Eatonville Lions Club impacts the community.
“We don’t like to brag or showcase what we do, we just want to help the community in any way we can,” says newly elected president Elmer Potts, who graduated from Eatonville High School in 1980.
The Eatonville Lions Club has sponsored Boy Scouts of America Troop 604, currently led by Scoutmaster Rob Collins, for more than two decades.
“We display a plaque inside the Lions Club that contains the names of more than 50 Eagle Scouts who have earned their badges,” Elmer says.
Eagle Courts of Honor celebrates Scouts who have attained their Eagle badges—Scouting’s highest rank.
In April, the Lions Club hosted three brothers who recently completed Eagle Scout projects. Jackson, Jager and Justus Roulst were honored for providing a cement bench, gravel path and a firepit for the Salvation Army’s Camp Arnold.
Another Lions program is Dollars for Scholars. Since 1995, the nonprofit organization has expanded access to education beyond high school for EHS graduates through scholarships.
“In support of the Dollars for Scholars program, we help students achieve their educational goals through annual fundraising and other efforts,” says Geneal Palmer, longtime club secretary.
The Eatonville Lions host an annual Casino Night, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Dollars for Scholars program and Eatonville Family Agency.
Both agencies contribute auction baskets and help with the event.
A similar but separate program is the annual scholarships the Lions Club presents to local students.
“Eatonville Lions donates two $1,000 scholarships annually to graduating Eatonville High School seniors,” Geneal says. “This year’s scholarship recipients were Brandon Baker and Austin Wicker.”
Brandon will study nursing at Seattle University. Austin will study welding and auto mechanics at Montana Technical University.
“We congratulate not only the scholarship recipients, but all the other outstanding seniors who applied for the scholarships,” Geneal says. “Narrowing the selection is always very difficult.”
A popular Eatonville Lions Club project is the annual children’s fishing derby in late April at Smallwood Park in Eatonville. Open to children 15 and younger, the event is preceded by a Lions’ Club- hosted free pancake breakfast and hot cocoa. This year’s grand prize was a bicycle, which went to 4-year-old Avery Robinson.
During the year, Eatonville Lions also hosts or sponsors Safe and Sane fireworks, a senior citizens’ Christmas dinner and a high school senior send-off.
Most donations go to the Eatonville Family Agency.
Elmer says the agency is the lifeblood of the community, pro- viding services and programs to help community members in need. Its outreach efforts include a food bank, backpack food program for students, clothing bank, senior citizen activities, Department of Social and Health Services basic food assistance, holiday food and toys and school supplies.
While their efforts are often under the radar, more than 40 Lions Club volunteers play an integral role in the Eatonville community.
“We’re always looking for new volunteers,” Elmer says
For the Eatonville Arts and Music Fest schedule, visit www.eatonvilleartsandmusicfestival.com.