A few weeks ago, a front-page story about small towns in North Dakota included a comment by Gov. Doug Burgum giving some credit to Lions clubs in helping to keep the people in those towns. Some of the towns have only 75 to 100 people; keeping a post office and/or a school for their people to live and function day-to-day.
Robinson is a good example of such a small town impacted by their own Lions club. The club hosts numerous events throughout the year to bring revenue and people to their town. For example, the Robinson ice-fishing competition is held each February; bringing hundreds of people to a fun event. The visitors can celebrate at Hanson's, the oldest bar in North Dakota (with a Lion member as part-owner). Visitors can also mingle with townspeople at Carol's Kitchen, a cafe which is owned by the Lions club.
Sterling is another example of a small town where the Lions club helps it thrive with events. The club owns a building used for bingo games, wedding receptions, birthday and Christmas parties for kids in a town with only a tavern and a truck stop. I know all of this because as a Lion and a cabinet member of a district governor, I have been attending Lions club meetings across 50% of our state; collecting data about over 30 Lions clubs. In fact, by attending a recent Lions state convention, I was able to sell over $800 in raffle tickets to be used toward helping to maintain the Sterling Lions clubhouse.
For years, Burgum saw firsthand how the Lions club in Arthur helped with community projects. He knows family members who were Lions. Sadly, there is are no longer a club in Arthur, but I believe the former members are still community-spirited; remaining as the strong roots to keep their small town on the map as a great place to live and thrive.
Add Enderlin, LaMoure, Linton, Hazelton and Kulm as more examples where Lions have an impact in their towns. There are other service clubs, too, with people donating their time and money to help others across our state. Those pancake breakfasts, burger fests, and other fundraisers are all part of the thread of humanity which makes any town in North Dakota more than just a collection of houses.