Fi­nal Chap­ter Cov­ers Li­ons Club 2001-2017

The Oakdale Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By DA­MON WOODS Spe­cial To The Leader

This is the fi­nal in a multi-part se­ries chron­i­cling the his­tory of the Oak­dale Li­ons Club.

Be­gin­ning in mid-Au­gust through mid-Oc­to­ber, the com­plete his­tory of the club will be dis­played along with other me­men­toes at the Oak­dale Mu­seum, lo­cated at 212 W. F St.

Ma­jor World Events: Septem­ber 11, 2001 World Trade Cen­ter, Pen­tagon, Flight 93; Ter­ror­ist at­tacks con­tinue world­wide, United States goes to war in Afghanistan and Iraq; Europe adopts the Euro; the iPhone is in­vented, The Great Re­ces­sion brings down the world econ­omy; Al Qaeda is at­tacked, and, then ISIS starts the whole process all over. Bin Laden - re­spon­si­ble for 9/11 is caught, killed; the econ­omy even­tu­ally re­bounds; nat­u­ral dis­as­ters of hur­ri­canes, floods and fire are all over the globe.

Back in Oak­dale, The Oak­dale Li­ons av­er­age age in­creases to near 70. The ma­jor pro­grams con­tinue, but some of the fundrais­ers fal­ter - such as the Fall Fundraiser and the Cal­en­dar Project. A few spe­cial projects are per­formed through this pe­riod, in­clud­ing Ceme­tery Flag Pole, re­build of Do­rada Park’s Gazebo, Kerr Park’s lights went dark after a theft and the Li­ons stepped in to re­pair the dam­age, and a bas­ket­ball hoop and back­stop was paid for at a lo­cal park. The Li­ons also started two new fundrais­ers: The Texas Hol­dem Poker Tour­na­ment, now in

its 10th year and The Su­per Bowl Raf­fle just fin­ished its third year. The Flag pro­gram was given a boost in stan­dard­iza­tion of flags and place­ment by club mem­ber Don Lee in 2010 and now the Li­ons put out 330 flags at ev­ery hol­i­day. The vi­sion pro­gram re­ceived a ma­jor boost in 2015 when the Oak­dale Li­ons re­ceived a grant from the Li­ons In­ter­na­tional Eye Foun­da­tion and two por­ta­ble vi­sion screen­ing units were pur­chased. Th­ese units have been uti­lized over the past three years to test ev­ery stu­dent at all schools in Oak­dale plus a few schools in River­bank and Escalon.

Right after the Septem­ber 11th tragedy in 2001, the Oak­dale Li­ons went into ac­tion and put up the flags ev­ery day for two straight weeks. The city of Oak­dale came alive dur­ing this pe­riod, and sup­port for the vic­tims of this tragedy brought forth do­na­tions of time and tal­ent and funds to help with the re­cov­ery.

And, in keep­ing step with chang­ing times, in 2017, The Oak­dale Li­ons voted to al­low women to join the ranks of vol­un­teer Li­ons. Presently, there are two women as mem­bers of the Li­ons and there is plenty of room for more.

The fi­nal sta­tis­tics for the en­tire 74 years shows a to­tal of $1 mil­lion in funds raised and do­nated back to the com­mu­nity of Oak­dale, while a to­tal of 500,000 hours was per­formed in ser­vice by the Oak­dale Li­ons over this pe­riod. Over 150 High School grad­u­ates have re­ceived schol­ar­ship money over this pe­riod, most of the parks and ball fields in this city for the first 35 years were built by the Li­ons and other ser­vice clubs in Oak­dale. Eye­glasses and ex­ams were pro­vided free to over 300 kids whose par­ents could not af­ford th­ese added costs and count­less other do­na­tions were given to fund band uni­forms, band in­stru­ments, school sup­plies, hos­pi­tal sup­plies and much more.

I have thor­oughly en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence of meet­ing many peo­ple dur­ing this writ­ing – at the Oak­dale Leader, Oak­dale Mu­seum and Oak­dale Li­brary. Thank you for tak­ing the time to read a lit­tle his­tory. This great com­mu­nity of Oak­dale has a vi­brant vol­un­teer spirit and I hope and pray that this spirit will con­tinue for an­other 75 years.

The Oak­dale Li­ons wish to thank the Oak­dale Leader and its staff for al­low­ing the writer of this se­ries, Da­mon Woods Oak­dale Li­ons Sec­re­tary, to spend sev­eral hours each week re­search­ing old news­pa­pers - over 300 hours went into this se­ries.

MARG JACK­SON/THE LEADER

Flags that line the F Street cor­ri­dor and sev­eral side streets in the down­town area of Oak­dale on mul­ti­ple hol­i­days, such as the La­bor Day hol­i­day this past Mon­day, are placed there as part of an Oak­dale Li­ons Club project, with sev­eral hun­dred put up for ma­jor hol­i­days.

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