The Lions Step In
In 1979, Lions from northern Illinois saw a need for a handicapped-accessible pier. They spoke with fellow Lions and decided this would be a good project for multiple districts in the area. After contacting Lions in three surrounding districts, 14 clubs from three districts donated the $7,000 needed to build the pier. A local architect donated the pier design, and a Lion contractor and his crew did the labor. After its completion, the Lions began the Lions Fishing Derby. In addition to fishing, the annual event includes tractor pulls, boat rides, a popcorn stand, a petting zoo, a picnic lunch, face painting and more.
“Hooked” on Helping
The Lions Fishing Derby is something participants look forward to all year long. Lion Roger Lewis had an experience he will never forget. “It was about the second year that I came down. This little girl had been in an accident with her family. They were all killed. And she hadn’t spoken. And I was working with her and caught a fish. And I held the fish in my hand, and I said ‘What’s this?’ She said ‘Fish.’ This lady that was with her turns around and kind of screamed and said ‘Did she say anything?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ And she said, ‘Well, that’s the first word the girl has spoken.’”
Facts and Figures
In 2008, the original pier was torn down and a new pier was built. The 14 clubs that built the original pier, and a few more clubs that support the derby, raised $30,000 needed to build the new pier. Lions also physically helped build the new pier.