This is the final in a multi-part series chronicling the history of the Oakdale Lions Club.
Beginning in mid-August through mid-October, the complete history of the club will be displayed along with other mementoes at the Oakdale Museum, located at 212 W. F St.
Major World Events: September 11, 2001 World Trade Center, Pentagon, Flight 93; Terrorist attacks continue worldwide, United States goes to war in Afghanistan and Iraq; Europe adopts the Euro; the iPhone is invented, The Great Recession brings down the world economy; Al Qaeda is attacked, and, then ISIS starts the whole process all over. Bin Laden - responsible for 9/11 is caught, killed; the economy eventually rebounds; natural disasters of hurricanes, floods and fire are all over the globe.
Back in Oakdale, The Oakdale Lions average age increases to near 70. The major programs continue, but some of the fundraisers falter - such as the Fall Fundraiser and the Calendar Project. A few special projects are performed through this period, including Cemetery Flag Pole, rebuild of Dorada Park’s Gazebo, Kerr Park’s lights went dark after a theft and the Lions stepped in to repair the damage, and a basketball hoop and backstop was paid for at a local park. The Lions also started two new fundraisers: The Texas Hold-em Poker Tournament, now in its 10th year and The Super Bowl Raffle just finished its third year. The Flag program was given a boost in standardization of flags and placement by club member Don Lee in 2010 and now the Lions put out 330 flags at every holiday. The vision program received a major boost in 2015 when the Oakdale Lions received a grant from the Lions International Eye Foundation and two portable vision screening units were purchased. These units have been utilized over the past three years to test every student at all schools in Oakdale plus a few schools in Riverbank and Escalon.
Right after the September 11th tragedy in 2001, the Oakdale Lions went into action and put up the flags every day for two straight weeks. The city of Oakdale came alive during this period, and support for the victims of this tragedy brought forth donations of time and talent and funds to help with the recovery.
And, in keeping step with changing times, in 2017, The Oakdale Lions voted to allow women to join the ranks of volunteer Lions. Presently, there are two women as members of the Lions and there is plenty of room for more.
The final statistics for the entire 74 years shows a total of $1 million in funds raised and donated back to the community of Oakdale, while a total of 500,000 hours was performed in service by the Oakdale Lions over this period. Over 150 High School graduates have received scholarship money over this period, most of the parks and ball fields in this city for the first 35 years were built by the Lions and other service clubs in Oakdale. Eyeglasses and exams were provided free to over 300 kids whose parents could not afford these added costs and countless other donations were given to fund band uniforms, band instruments, school supplies, hospital supplies and much more.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of meeting many people during this writing – at the Oakdale Leader, Oakdale Museum and Oakdale Library. Thank you for taking the time to read a little history. This great community of Oakdale has a vibrant volunteer spirit and I hope and pray that this spirit will continue for another 75 years.
The Oakdale Lions wish to thank the Oakdale Leader and its staff for allowing the writer of this series, Damon Woods - Oakdale Lions Secretary, to spend several hours each week researching old newspapers - over 300 hours went into this series.