83 years strong, Lions focus on clear vision

By: Nancy Hagman, Colfax Record Correspondent
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The Colfax Lions Club gets the shout-out for being the oldest service club operating in town. Over the years, they have committed themselves to supporting community projects and groups around the area. Last Saturday, the Lions held their 17th annual Crab Feed, their primary fundraiser. Beginning in their founding year, 1928, the Lions started the traditions of honoring Flag Day and hosting the Independence Day parade. In 1945, they began the sponsorship of local Troop 25 and Pack 25 of the Boy Scouts of America. First constructed in 1976, they established the children’s playground at Colfax Memorial Park. Local community church groups have received sponsorships since 1978. Last fall the group received international recognition by being featured on YouTube by the parent organization’s Lion Magazine Story of the Week web posting. They were honored for the hosting the Colfax community to a free Thanksgiving meal for the last 30-something years. Last Nov. 23, 240 people sat down to eat and the Scouts delivered an additional 75 meals to the elderly and homebound. They obviously love to cook, because they began putting on annual St. Patrick’s dinners in 1985. Sponsorship of the Foreign Youth Exchange started in 1988. The last decade of the millennia brought a flurry of activism. These included participation in the community spring festival, Founders’ Day, sponsorship to the Sierra Vista Community Center, the Historical Society and the Garden Club. This was when the Student Speaker Contest began at the local schools. They also added the light parade to their repertoire at the Tiny Tim Faire, now known as Winterfest. This list is exhaustive but by no means complete. Just one example of the “little things” contributed by the club was the construction of all the shelters around town that protect children as they wait for the school bus on bad-weather days. Lions Club International is primarily recognized worldwide for their services to the blind and the visually impaired. The local den began their Sight Program/Eye Glasses/White Cane project nearly 84 years ago at their founding. They added Glaucoma Eye Testing in 1977. In Colfax, the Auburn Eye Care center in Mountain Village administers the program. Daniel Belajic, O.D., joined the Lions and took over the operation in his agreement with Dr. Russell Worrall, who retired and sold the business three years ago. According to Belajic, eye exams and glaucoma screenings are available to all ages. The program eligibility is based on financial need and residency in the Colfax area. The optometrist donates his services and the Lions provide the funds for eyeglasses and other needed materials. Currently, the program averages three persons a month. This number is solely dependent on the club’s fundraising efforts. Applications are available at the office, located at 333 S. Auburn Street, Suite 1. Read more about the Colfax Lions Club in the Jan. 5 issue of the Colfax Record, or online at