Local club presents several prestigious awards

Photos by Chad Koenen
Three charter members of the Deer Creek Lions Club were honored on April 19, including Jim Truax, Jim Melcher and Larry Pearson.

By Chad Koenen


The Deer Creek Lions Club has long been known as an organization that has a good time during their monthly meetings and community events. For many of the people in the Lions Club, members of the organization are much more than companions in a service organization—they are like family.

Pastor Don Wagner was recognized by the district governor for his volunteer efforts related to the Deer Creek Lions Club.

On April 19, there was an extra buzz in the air as the Deer Creek Lions Club gathered for games, a meal and plenty of refreshments in honor of the group’s 50th anniversary. 

Organized in 1973, membership at the Deer Creek Lions Club remains strong in the town of just about 300 people. Not only has membership remained steady, but the group has donated over $136,000 from 2022-23 alone.

For example, the Lions Club has given money for trap shooting, the Deer Creek Shocker baseball team, veterans park, parade, pickleball court, community center improvements, the food shelf, fireworks, Deer Trails Day, Deer Creek Museum and countless other groups in the surrounding area.  

One of the projects the club is most proud of is sponsoring LifeLines for area residents. The Deer Creek Lions Club funded 13 LifeLines programs totaling $8,000 in 2022-23, which are a monitoring device older residents can wear around their neck to quickly call for assistance in a time of need. In a community populated largely by older residents, the device can be the difference between safely remaining in a home and needing to reside in an assisted living facility. 

“The one compliment we get from more people than about is our lifelines,” said Dave Kahl. “We are always looking for projects and looking for ideas from other people.

Jim Truax is one of three remaining charter members of the Deer Creek Lions Club. However, he is the only charter member who has retained his membership with the club for all 50 years. In addition to Truax, Larry Pearson and Jim Melcher were also charter members of the Deer Creek Lions Club.

Truax credited a pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Deer Creek in 1973 for helping to get the club started. He said the pastor was a member of a Lions Club group in his previous community and wanted to see if a similar organization could be established in Deer Creek. Fifty years later, the group continues to have their fingers in just about every aspect of the community, from things like the restoration project at the baseball field to purchasing items that are needed in town. 

Two of the biggest projects during the early years of the Lions Club was the construction of the community center, as well as establishing the wayside rest on Highway 29. 

“We do a lot of things for the community and people. Our Lions Club built the wayside rest down by Highway 29,” said Truax. 

The longtime Lions Club member said the group was also instrumental in constructing the current community center. Members of the group got pledges from community members and businesses to help construct the current community center and continue to raise money for a variety of programs in the community. 

In addition to a time of reflection over the past 50 years, the Deer Creek Lions Club honored a number of people with awards on April 19. Award winners included: charter members: Jim Truax, Jim Melcher and Larry Pearson; Years of service plaque: 45 years- Bob Shaw and Dave Kahl, 50 years- Jim Truax; Melvin Jones Award- Wayne Perkins and Steve Gray.