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Rotary, Kiwanis and the Lions have seen increased community involvement and desire to serve

COURTESY PHOTO - Rotarians, from left, Martti Rahi, Tina Dickson and Meg Cummings award Jefferson County Emergency 
Medical Service chief Mike Lepin a check. The local Rotary regularly raises money for various local 
organizations and projects.

Service organizations have been a part of American society for hundreds of years, and have succeeded despite multiple wars, pandemics, and recessions.

In Jefferson County, there are multiple service clubs working to serve our community and support those in need. Kiwanis, Rotary and the Lions are well known national organizations with chapters in Jefferson County. The pandemic has only made them stronger.

"I really feel COVID really showed the need more and made it easier to get involved and recruit people." said Meg Cummings, a 30-year Rotarian and longtime Jefferson County resident.

The service organizations meet regularly, and all focus on community service and support in some way or another.

They've had to adapt their usual events during the pandemic, most opting for Zoom calls, and shifting back to hybrid in-person and online meetings as the pandemic restrictions have eased up.

Kiwanis began to host their events virtually, while the Crooked River Ranch Lions held most of their events outdoors, and recently re-started their vision screenings in schools with masked and vaccinated volunteers.

Since they've begun coming back, they've seen more involvement, and more dedication to the work.

"People are looking to give back, and they see our presence in the community," said Kristi Peterson, president of the Crooked River Ranch Lions.

Kiwanis had their first induction since the pandemic in November and inducted seven members. The Crooked River Ranch Lions Club had steady membership during the pandemic, and since spring they've inducted ten more members.

Before the pandemic began, the local service organizations were seeing a dip in membership, especially among younger members. "I think the pandemic made everyone, especially young people look at their community," said Kim Schmith of Kiwanis. "It gave us all more time, and more focus on what's important, so we can build a community we're all proud of."

COURTESY PHOTO - Kiwanis inducted seven new members in early November, their first induction since the pandemic began. 
The inductees pictured are, top row from left, Jay Mathisen, 509-J superintendent; Lamar Yoder, principal 
broker at Dick Dodson Realty; Rick Molitor, owner of New Basin Distillery; Simon White, 509-J director of 
operations and safety; Tim Kirsch, Madras Farms; front row from left, Cindy Dubisar, Wilbur Ellis Co. Seed Division; Amber Searcy, owner RipQ.

Kiwanis Kiwanis was founded in 1915 in Detroit. Our local Kiwanis chapter was founded in 1950 and now has 37 members. The international organization focuses on "serving the children of the world." The local Kiwanis Club partners with MHS Key Club to focus on youth service in the community and building lifelong understanding of the importance of community service. Kiwanis' main fundraiser is Operation Rudolph, which gathers and wraps toys for families that otherwise would not receive gifts at Christmas time. They've been able to help over 400 families just this year.

Kiwanis meets on Tuesdays at 12 p.m. at New Basin Distilling in Madras.

Rotary

The Rotary is an international organization that began in 1905 in Chicago as a place for professionals to exchange ideas and serve their communities. The Jefferson County chapter opened in 1978 with 18 members, one of which is still a member today. They currently have 43 regular members.

Throughout the year, they host several events and fundraisers, from their Cherry Tree Fundraiser drive in the spring, which will benefit the fairgrounds new cattle show barn, and their sports booklet for the Madras Buffs. Their fundraising efforts go towards scholarships for Madras High School and Culver High School students. Since they began the book, they've given out over $275,000 in scholarships. Their focus is connecting the world through service.

Rotary club meets at Mazatlán Restaurant in Madras at 12 p.m. every Tuesday.

Lions Club

There are two Lions Clubs in Jefferson County. The Madras Lions Club and the Crooker River Ranch Lions.

The Lions Club was founded in 1917 and focuses on empowering members to improve health and well-being, strengthen communities and support those in need.

The Madras Lions was founded in 1970 and has 12 members today. Their main fundraiser is their flag campaign, where local businesses sponsor flags to be displayed during national holidays. The funds raised help support eye exams and glasses for low-income individuals. Through the program, they can receive free glasses. They also support various local non-profits and sponsor a scholarship for a Madras High School or Culver High School student every year.

They meet at Black Bear Diner on Wednesdays at 12 p.m.

The Crooked River Ranch Lions were founded in 1979. Their events and fundraisers include a hot dog sale, Fourth of July Barbecue and vision screening in the local grade schools.

They meet the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month at 5:30 p.m. at the Sandbagger Restaurant and Saloon in Crooked River Ranch.

Local service organizations are a great way to create community, make connections and support your community. Despite a global pandemic, Jefferson County's organizations are on the rise, with an increased drive and desire to serve the community they live in.


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