About The

First 50 Years

Of The

 Isle Lion Club

By Conrad Thomsen Feb 8th 2021


Isle Lions memories from the past

And the story begins

As a Lion we must serve others

We serve our community and the world in which we live.

I have had many careers in my life. I never stayed at one career for very many years at a time, as I always wanted to learn more about things and life.

 Even this winter when the pandemic was getting to me.
 I started a new career which has given me a challenge to live again.

The strange part of my life is that I have been a Lion for 42 years. Over half of my life I have been a Lion. This is so much longer than anything else that I have done.
There must be something about being a Lion that has satisfied me.

One thing about my life is that I enjoy doing things for people.
I love see their smile when they receive a gift given from love. There are a few things that I don’t like to do. Sell raffle tickets, ask for donations etc. but there are a other things that I can do for the Isle Lions club


                                       Joining the Isle Lions

 After many months of being asked, I joined in March of 1979.

The membership did a great job of welcoming me.

They gave me the feeling that I was needed and wanted.
This was the foundation for my many years as a Lion.
Now I was on a journey to help others



While looking over the old records of the membership.
was amazed at the number of people that have joined the Isle Lions and dropped out after a short period of time.

I have seen people join at one meeting and never come back. Some attend for a month or two, some a little longer then they are not attending anymore.

Are we as Lions doing something wrong when they stop coming? 
 This always made we wonder what was wrong. 

Than A long time ago I realized that not all people are made to be a Lion.
Some new members didn’t really understand what a Lion really does.
 I do know that a new member has to be made welcome and feel needed.

For a new member to be needed they must be given things to do. There are people that are willing to be leaders, some followers and some doers. It takes all types to make a club function.
 I can see that for many of our members it is a passion for them to be a member of the Isle Lions Club.
 I found out early in my Lions journey that one person can do a lot to help others, but a group of Lions can do so much more to impact our community.
Our club started out with 27 members.
Than a record high in 2000 with a total of 69 members.  Our Low was in August of 2020 with 35 members.
Now our club is starting to grow again.

Another time of remembrance was my first meeting as the club secretary.
I was informed that the newly elected President had drop from the club. So when the newly elected first VP came in the door, I told him to sit at the head table because he was the New President.


Fund Raisers

Since the beginning we have had many different ways to raise money.
One of the early fund raiser that I remember well was:
At the General meetings we would raffle off a bottle of spirits. The winner would always open it up and pass it around. The winner this one night wouldn’t open it up and share it with others. Even after much teasing the cork never came off.

Years ago we had another fund raiser that worked well.
 The cost
of our meals at General meeting were included in our yearly dues. This help attendance at the General meetings and it help the General fund when one didn’t come to the meeting and eat, that money stayed in the General fund. We did this for a few years until the Lions dues got higher.



It seems like our main goal is to think of our children first

I believe that we have donated more to our children in our community than for other causes.

We as a Lions club have done so much for our community by the many projects we have done for all the people in our community.

Tennis courts were the first big project for the Lions in the 1970s’

Here are just a few the things that we have done for our children.                      

The Lions bought the land for the new school; paid for Bleachers on football field;
Ball field lights; Piano, Skating rink; warming house; Supported Boy and Girl scouts; scholarships; eye screening in the school. and the list goes on and on for the things that we have did for our youth over the years.
Over the years the Isle school has received a steady flow of money to help our children be better citizens of our great country.


                                     Nyquist Scholarship Fund

The Nyquist scholarship Fund started in 1988 and it is still going strong today.
We have given 227 individuals Scholarship’s totaling close to $153,000.
This fund has been set up so it will go on for many years. Only the interest and dividends can be used for scholarships
Thanks to charitable Gambling for the success of this program
A special thank you to our guiding, watchful eye,  Lion Bubbles for all his years of  service to the scholarship fund. 



Pull tab sales started on Jan 1st 1986 in the Isle Municipal Liquor store.   

We have been doing Charitable gambling for 34 years.   

Lion Clark Sahlstrom was the gambling manager for 27 years.  

The first 34 years we have donated close to 1.4 million to our community and other Lion causes.

                 Plus we have paid a lot of taxes to the state of MN.
This income from Gambling has really helped us increase our donations to our community.


Isle Lioness Club

In Oct of 1986 we sponsored the Isle Lioness club.  Ken Jensen was the guiding Lion. They started with 56 chartered members. This was an amazing group. A few years later the remaining members joined  the Isle lions club.

We still have three Lioness members in the Isle Lions. Our Awesome Secretary Lion Susan Haggberg, Marilyn Exsted and Dolores Haggberg


Records of Members

In the early years someone in the club had made a list of the membership, so we all knew who were the current members were. We each receive a copy of this. This was good as one knew who the members were.
After a few years there was no list any more. This was hard on me as I didn’t know who was a member or who had left.

This always bothered me, I wanted a list of the current members and their phone numbers, but I didn’t step up and do something about it, until the late 1990’s when I learned the computer. Now I had the skills to create a Member Directory.
Over the years I have added more information to the booklet which is also saving a part of our History.
My only fear is when I am no longer able to be a member, who will keep it going. The one I am counting on is our own Lion Doug, as I know he has the skills to keep it going.  


Record keeping

Some of our early record keeping  (which is also our History) has been stored in old shoe boxes in people’s homes and some records have been lost over the years.

 Everything that the lions do for the community is history in the making and should be kept forever. We need a permanent safe place to store all our records.

One method we now are using is to keep most of our records digital stored.
With this system we are using the Lions international website,   which is free for each club to use.
We have been using this system for almost ten years now. With this method one can look up information up to ten years back without going through boxes of old minutes of our meetings. To find this information: do a search on the internet for Isle Lions Club than click on the lions e-clubhouse link.
The old copies of the Isle Lions directory are not digital stored. This is part of our history and should be stored in a safe place.

Well this is getting to the end of my history lesson for tonight, Oh there is much more to tell about our history of the Isle Lions.
This story just tells a few of my memories and of my thoughts of my life as a lion over these many years. I have enjoyed each year and the friendship that I have received

For the first 50 years, I do know that the Isle Lions have left a big foot print in our community and will continue to do so as the years go on

Remember we are a Lion because we as members have stepped up to serve others in our community and world.

Thank you for letting me be a Lion all these years and I hope to have a few more.

Remember we are here to serve others in our world

The story about the Isle Lions doesn’t end today



Information found on this page

1.   Donation History 

2.   Gambling Manager History

3.   Charitable Gambling History 

4.    Isle Lioness History





1.  Isle Lions History Of Donations


Isle Lions history Of Donations, Community Projects and Activities (11/01/2015)

Our Lions club has donated over 1,2 Million Dollars to the comminuty in the 44 years

(Isle Lions club was Chartered on 01/11/71)


School Grounds: Purchased land where new school is  1997  $ $40,000.

Isle School Community Room: 1998   $240,000. (Now class rooms)

Kitchen, Hot tub, etc. We returned these rooms to the School District when we moved to the IREC bldg

Storage building: on School ball fields 1999  $17,000. (We share ½ of space with School)

Bleachers: on Football field  2002  $60,000.

Football field lights: 2001  we paid 1/2 = $25,000.

Press Box: 2004 $ _______On Football field

Concession stand: 2004  $______On Football field

Ball field signs: Date_____ $________

Under ground water system and fence for ball fields: Date________$_______

Piano for School Theater:  2000  $5000.

Basketball Hoop at IREC: Date______$1500.

City Skating rink: 1979 Started by the School bus garage

Skating rink by School:

Warming house for Skating rink: (next to school) date_______  $10,000.

Sign at IREC:  Fall of 2000  $17,000.

Herbert S. Nyquist Scholarship Fund: (1988)

IREC Community Center: 1999  $1000. Plus more $ for Fitness equipment etc.

IREC Fitness air condition: date______ $2000.

Computer lab at IREC: 2000  $5000.

Tennis courts: (Isle Lions first project in the early 1970’s)


       Isle Lions Club  Chartered 01/11/71      Projects and Activities

Bratwurst stand: Started 1979

Corn feed: Started 1979

Charitable Gambling: Started 01/01/1986  


Meat raffle:

Parades: Started 1984  Isle, McGrath, Wahkon

Highway ditch clean up: 1987?

Spaghetti Dinner at Awards night:

Mint sales: 1980?

Blood Drive:

Pie Sale:

Herbert S. Nyquist Scholarship Fund: Started 1998

Beer Garden at White Pine show: Started 2015

Lions Website: Started 2011

Get Well cards:

Collections of old eye glasses: Started 1972

Golf Tournament: Started  2000 ended in 2014

Ice Fishing Contest: 1980 & 1981 ?


      Seniors and Community

Mail Box fee for Senior apt building: Started 1993?

Senior Dining:

Corn Feed

Food shelf:

Mille Lacs County Transportation:

Christmas tree of giving: Started 2013

Hockey Rink in Wahkon:

Mille Lacs Nursing home birthday party:

Big screen TV for Nursing home: 2007 $5000.

Rehab center next to Hospital in Onamia: before 1996 $30,000.

Garden at Hospital Onamia:

Onamia Hospital:

Ambulance fund:

Medical assistant to members of our community:

Isle Tennis courts:


Isle area Humane Society:

Mille Lacs Historical Society:

Isle Area surplus Food Distribution:

Community Theater:

Mille Lacs Health system:

Child seat for Ambulance:

Glider for Nursing home:


Disasters etc.


      Lions Causes

Eye Bank

Leader Dog

Helen Keller Fund

Hearing foundation

Diabetes foundation

Leader Dog

Drug Awareness

Lions Quest

Lions Club International foundations

Hearing and Service Dogs

Humanitarian Gifts

University of Mn. Children Eye Clinic



American flags

POW flags



Boy and Girl Scouts

Brownie troop

Toys for Tots

Santa Secret shopping

Halloween Costume Contest

Shrine Circus Trip

Isle High School Honor Students

Isle High School Singers

Little Miss Isle and Jr Commodore

Miss Isle

Easter Egg Hunt

Get Hooked on Fishing not Drugs

Drug awareness program

Little league summer ball

Valley Ball camp

Boys Basket Ball

Girls Basket Ball

Youth Golf

Basketball back boards

Football Team

Baseball uniform

Isle little league

Jr and Sr Prom

Awards Banquet

Cheer Leaders

ECFE books

After school Prom

Kiddie parade

4H bldg

Camp New Hope

Operations for eyes

Eye Glasses

Shrine Circus trip


         Isle Fire Department and Rescue

Fire truck donations



        City of Isle

Isle City Park

Equipment for Police cars

Isle City sign

Isle Library





2.   Gambling Manager History


Gambling Manager History
 01/01/1986 to 12/31/2020

01-01-1986  Clark Sahlstrom Gambling Manager

07-01- 2013 RaeAnn Larson Gambling Manager

10-01-2020 Deb Walters Gambling Manager


Feb 11-2013 General Meeting

Our Gambling Manager Clark Sahlstrom is going to retire at the end of June 2013.  A Motion was made by Mike Conner and seconded by Vern Greenwaldt to appoint Rae Ann Larson has our new Gambling Manager.  Carried.


  3. History of Charitable Gambling 


   History of Charitable Gambling 01-01-1986 to 10-01-2001

By Gambling Manager Lion Clark Sahlstrom   

     The Isle Lions Club voted to begin charitable gambling in October of 1985. A small booth was opened and pull tab sales began on January 1st. 1986 in the Isle Municipal Liquor Store. Other gambling sites were soon added at Red Eye ,Hunters Point and H.Js Resorts.  Red eye Resort was dropped during that year and Malmo Bay Lodge picked up in 1987.  The year 1987 yielded a nice net profit of $59,819.68, but was only the beginning of a very successful operation. 1988 yielded a net profit of $101,259.41 and 1989, $142,303.97 (the highest net we've ever made.)  In 1990 the State of Minnesota in it's ultimate wisdom imposed the combined receipts tax. ( an additional tax on successful organizations) and net profits began a dramatic decrease.  By now two Bingo locations had begun at H.Js and Malmo bay and by 1991 Bingo was also being played at the New City Center.  Bingo never was much of a revenue producer and all Bingos were dropped by the end of 1991.

     Because of the combined receipts tax, it was decided by the Board of Directors to drop all sites except for the Isle Municipal.  H.Js was dropped in 1990, Hunters Point in 1991 and Malmo Bay in 1992.

    In 1993 our first year of Muni only operation, we netted $52,253.46 but profits decreased to a low of $19,698.36 by 1996. 

     We made a dramatic comeback in 1997 when the City hired the current manager David Crossier and  we made a $5500.00 improvement to our booth, enabling us to offer  customers a choice of 12 different games. Profits in 1997 were $44,457.86,  and in 1998, $65,787.71.  Profits leveled off in 1999 to $64,610.23, a point where they most likely will remain unless dramatic changes are made to Liquor Store facilities or operation.

     Of course the primary purpose of our gambling operation is to be able to contribute  to  Charitable and Community projects.  Through the month of August 2001 we have made $771,375.55 in contributions and have paid the State of Minnesota $490,550.02 in gambling taxes.

     About 75% of our donations have been made for the benefit of children.  Such major items as the donation of the land the new High School and athletic complex now occupy, the Community Center room, along with lockers, bathrooms kitchen and Spa, the skating rink and warming house, a project shared  in by the Isle Civic Association, Driftskippers, Lions Club and others.  We also made major contributions to the City Park and most recently for a beautiful new community sign located on the old High School grounds.

  Probably our finest contribution is the 15% of net profit we make every month to the Herbert S. Nyquist Scholarship Fund.  This fund, administered by various community members including three Lions, can only use interest, dividends or other moneys it earns after investing its donations.  Hence the value of the fund and its capacity to offer scholarship's increases each year.  Many students have benefited from this fund over the years and the future looks even brighter as the fund now approaches a value of $150,000.00.

     We also contribute 10% of our net profit to Lions causes such as the Lions Eye Bank, Hearing Foundation, Diabetes, Lions Club International Foundation, Anti Drug programs for kids and Leader Dogs for the Blind. 



4. Isle Lioness 

Isle Lioness Club History

Isle Lioness Club
October 1986

PRESIDENT-  Linda Orazem




SECRETARY – Jan Haglund

TREASURER – Betty Olson

LION TAMER – Margaret Thompson

TAIL TWISTER – Phyllis Ketchmark

DIRECTOR – Eleonore Prigge

DIRECTOR  - Martha Sahlstrom

DIRECTOR – Arlene Harms



TABLE PRAYER (Sung to Edelweiss)

Bless our friends, Bless our food,

Come O Lord and sit with us.

May our hearts, glow with peace,

Come with your love to surround us.

Friendship and love may it bloom and grow,

Bloom and grow forever.

Bless our friends, Bless our food,

Bless All Mankind, Forever.



Alice E. Andersen
Ila L. Austin
Gloria Bies
Lila Bossen
June Brown
Ellen Buckmiller
Leta R. Christensen
Lucile E. Christensen
Donna Dobbelaire
Carole Erickson
Marilyn M. Exsted
Jean Francis
Helen B. Frick
Kathi Goldsmith
Dorothy R. Greeley
M. Marlene Green
Irene A. Gustafson
Dolores Haggberg
Pat Haggberg
Phyllis Haggberg
Susan Haggberg
Janice E. Haglund
Ruby Halvorsen
Marion R. Hansen
Arlene E. Harms
Lila K. Hasser
Charlotte Hoppe
Bee Jenkins
Marjorie K. Jensen
Wendy Kafka
Phyllis Ketchmark
Cheryl A. Larson
Jean Leitner
Beverly A. Lemm
Mille McWarner
Betty A. Olson
Linda M.  Orazem
Ann Paul
Kristi Pedersen
Marletta V. Plummer
Eleonore Prigge
Stella M. Quinn
Lorraine J. Rice
Martha J. Sahlstrom
Eva C. Sand
Mary Jane Schweich
Caroline Sheeley
Diane M. Skelnik
Ardis Skoog
Lorrain R Strain
Janet Taylor
Margaret Thompson
Vivian R. Tideman
Darlene Tramm
Lorraine Turner
Elsie L. Volden


                                                                        ISLE LIONESS

                                                                   CERTIFICATION NIGHT
                                                             SUNDAY OCTOBER 26, 1986









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