Liberty Hill Lions making a difference since 1980s

Liberty Hill Lions Club Charter members were honored at the organization’s 3rd Annual Appreciation Dinner on Jan. 22. From left are Hollis Baker, charter member Joyce Burden, 2nd Vice-District Governor Frank Kinald, 1st Vice-District Governor J. P. Kirksey, charter member Louine Noble, District Governor Gary Cocanougher and charter member Gary Spivey. (Courtesy Photo)

Since the Liberty Hill Lions Club’s first meeting in the late 1980’s, the organization has established itself as the frontrunner in civic contribution.

At the club’s 3rd Annual Appreciation Dinner Jan. 22, Lion Larry Nicholson spoke on the importance of the organization, its past, and its future plans.

The earliest minutes that the Lions Club can find are dated Nov. 17, 1988. At that meeting, Bill Burden was named Acting President. Fellow charter member Louine Noble made a motion to adopt the “Lions International Constitution and By-Laws,” but the motion died for lack of a second.

“Fits our Liberty Hill history, we never accept any authority without some protracted discussion,” he said.

In 1989, the Lions Club received its official charter and were sponsored by the Balcones Lions Club of Austin. Frank Watson of Liberty Hill served as the charter’s first president. Additional charter members  were Garth Austin, Byron Bailey, Hollis Baker, Marjorie Bohanan, Charles Braun, Joyce Burden, William Burden, Jerry Casebolt, Pamela Casebolt, Bud De Groot, Ron Dungan, Jason Fry, Weldon Goodson, Dianna Graham, Wanda Lane, Jim Linzy, Hank Masur, Laddie Matula, Charles Mynard, Louine Noble, Gary Spivey, Jimmy Spivey, Bill Stohler, Lyn Watson, Richard Wear, Ray Webb and Larry Wehlmann.

The first act as a legitimate club was to pass a hat around to collect donations for a pair of eyeglasses, so that a person in need could start a new job, said Nicholson. That idea sparked what is now an eyeglasses recycling program that helps provide spectacles for those who need them.

Another program that has been with the Lions Club since the beginning is the Thrill of the Hill 5K at Durham Park, an annual marathon that has raised over $60,000.

Ten years ago, they added to that event, creating the Rip Roarin’ Bike Ride, which has helped raise approximately $120,000. The Lions Club uses the monies raised to fund college scholarships, support the Liberty Hill Food Bank, help needy families during the holiday season, and make improvements to Lions Foundation Park.