Club is encouraging younger members of the community to get involved
BATTLE GROUND — E. Darrell Rafferty proudly held up the charter proclamation, and he got a little emotional thinking about the other original members who have passed.
“It’s still here, 50 years later,” Rafferty said. “So many are gone, but the club is still here.”
The Battle Ground Lions Club is celebrating 50 years of community service this summer and looking forward to the next 50 years by inviting younger residents to join.
“We desperately need new members,” said Liz Elfring, the club’s president. “It makes you a better person because you get to work with other people and work for your community and with your community. You get to make your community a better place with the little things you can do. The community might never know it, but you’ve done it.”
Elfring has been a Lions member for 30 years, including 24 in Battle Ground. She tried to tally all that the Battle Ground Lions Club has done through the decades. She noted these are just estimates, but they are significant:
“We’ve raised and donated back to the Battle Ground community more than a million dollars and spent hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours doing stuff,” Elfring said. “It gives you a really good feeling to be able to do something for others.”
Among the charities that the club helps are the Lions Sight Foundation and the Lions Hearing Foundation of Clark County. The club has helped those who need glasses, hearing aids, and also has helped fund surgeries. The club has expanded in recent years with many other charities. Plus, the club gives to Lions International, helping out all over the world. The Battle Ground Lions are instrumental in the Walk and Knock food drive, as well.
The club has adopted a park to keep it clean and holds an annual Shred Day for the community, for residents to safely dispose of documents.
“It’s one of the best things that I’ve ever done,” Elfring said of her decision to join the club all those years ago.
Now, she and the rest of the members are hoping to share their experience with newcomers.
“We love younger members,” she said. “Anybody’s qualified.”
The club will work around anyone’s schedule. Attendance at every meeting is not mandatory. For the most part, it’s about having a can-do attitude.
“Show up at an event and help out,” Elfring said.
Today’s members showed up Saturday for a barbecue and a birthday celebration.
The Battle Ground Lions Club started in the summer of 1971. Rafferty was there then and is still a Lion today.
“I’ve been looking through the archives,” Rafferty said, noting the many who have passed. “They’ve left a fantastic legacy. The people who have taken it over … they’ve done a terrific job. So much to be proud of.”