The German Valley Lions chartered on April 28, 1980.  This group of soon to be charter members were sponsored by the Forreston Lions Club,   Then Vice District Governor Clarence Sneek and Lion Henry Harms of Forreston, IL, PDG Clarence Ploss of Dakota, IL, PDG Arnold Wittmas of Harvard, IL, and state secretary Ted Watts, from Springfield, IL gathered and worked with us to help us get the ball rolling.  They spent several nights trying to get enough men interested to sign so that we could charter and start a new club here in German Valley.  We kept coming back because Darlene Ploss kept sending cookies. We chartered with 36 members.  Lion Rick Garnhart was elected president, Lion Gary Bawinkel, treasurer and Lion Robert Plock, secretary.  A Charter Presentation Banquet was held at the German Valley Grade School on June 21, 1980 with 150 guests attending. We held our meetings in the community room at German American State Bank and decided to meet on the first Tuesday and the third Thursday of each month.  It didn’t take long to change both meetings to Thursday to avoid confusion.  After the first year we decided to have dinner meetings on the third Thursday and began meeting at the three local churched in town.  In 1985 we purchased the old Town Hall Building from the village and began meeting at our new Lions Hall in German Valley.  In 1993 we inducted 6 women into the club, after Lions International decided that women would be allowed to join their local Lions Club.

In the past 36 years the club has accomplished much. The group has achieved Club of the Year honors four times. One of its members, Lion Robert Plock has held the office of District 1-D Governor and the late Rick Plock was serving as Western Region Zone II Chairman at the time of his death.

     Perhaps the most visible of the club’s projects was its construction of the small shelter house in the Ben Miller Park, its sponsorship of the annual German Valley Days Festival, its building and operation of the Lola Borchers Snack Bar during the summer months.  Maybe you have seen us on the corner or outside of the local bank conducting our annual Candy Day campaign.  One of the club’s most noteworthy contributions was its donation of an Automatic External Defibrillator for use in the German Valley Fire Protection District.  Among its most humanitarian efforts has been its generous donations toward the medical mission work of Freeport pharmacist Kerrylynn Rodreguiz, in the Amazon, working among the people of Peru.  Kerrylynn once stated that, “Without this club my dreams of the past four years might not have come true.”

Since its founding in 1980 the German Valley Lions Club has remained true to the Lions Motto, “We Serve.”  The club’s Mission Statement indicates its commitment to service.  It states, “The German Valley Lions Club serves the local community by supporting numerous projects, both physically and monetarily, that will benefit and improve the welfare of the local area and by providing monetary donations to assist the hearing and visually impaired through various programs offered at the local, district, state, national and international levels.”

This thought is continued in the group’s Vision Statement which vows “To utilize all of our members at their fullest potential in order to help those in need through heartfelt voluntary service.” After careful consideration we attempt to answer affirmatively to every worthwhile request that is within our ability and means to fulfill.

Over thirty years of service to our community, out country and our world; and this is only the beginning.  We hope that for many years to come the motto “We Serve” will be heard and felt in this community that we call home.




Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with more than 1.4 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world.

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