Chances are, most people in the community have benefited from the service, works, and influence of the Morgan Lions Club. Through their many acts of service, sweet smiles and genuine joy have been reflected on the faces of Morgan children for many generations. George Francis jokes that the Morgan Lions Club has been around “since the time Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” While the exact date is not known with certainty, the Morgan Lions Club has been around for a very long time, well over 80 years. Throughout these years it has touched young and old alike. True to their motto “We serve”, the Morgan Lions Club has sponsored many of the celebrations Morgan residents have grown up with and continue to cherish with their own children and grandchildren. Lions clubs can be found serving throughout the world. In fact, they are the world’s largest service club organization. Although the parent organization is an international club, the Morgan Lions Club has been especially focused on the needs of our own community. They have structured the service they provide and activities they sponsor in a way to connect very personally with the people of Morgan.
The Morgala Days Celebration is one of the annual events the Morgan Lions Club sponsors locally each summer. This well-organized and well-attended event kicks off each morning with chuckwagon breakfasts in the park, and has culminated in the past with a rodeo at the fairgrounds. George Francis, the current President of the Lions Club, has been a member since 1962. He began volunteering after becoming impressed with the public service the club provides. “It is fun to do things for the community, and I realized that an organization like this can do so much more than just an individual” he states.
At Christmas time, children anxiously await the moment to make their yearly visit to sit on Santa’s lap. His annual visit to the Morgan County Courthouse is a rich tradition for many members of the community, including me. As a child it was fun to wonder how Santa would arrive. Some years he would come by helicopter, other years were by horse drawn wagon, and most frequently by fire engine. Whichever way he came, children would line up by the hundreds to visit with Santa and receive a bag of salt water taffy and candy orange slices. My mother, Diane Carver, recalls the importance of these interactions with Santa Clause when she was growing up. Although Santa makes many appearances at many venues each December, my mom knew that some of these were being staffed out of necessity by proxy. However, she knew full well that the “real” big man himself would personally visit the Morgan County Courthouse. This was the one that mattered.
The Morgan Lions Club also hosts an annual invitational basketball tournament for seventh and eighth grade boys and girls. Teams are invited from our own community as well as neighboring communities. This fun activity is a great way to preview the up and coming talent that will soon be making names for themselves and the community on the hardwood floors of Morgan High.
One of the most popular community events of the year is coming up. The annual Morgan Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt will take place this Saturday, April 7th, and is one of their most prominent activities. The Easter egg hunt will be held at the Morgan Rec Plex at 12:00 p.m. Please arrive with plenty of time to get your kids situated in the right areas. This event is for all kids ages 8 and below. Each year the Lions and other volunteers put together approximately 500 to 600 Easter baskets. With this many baskets, a majority of children are fortunate enough to find one of the lucky “marked” eggs which they are able to redeem for a basket. I reflect upon a special memory from my own childhood with fondness. As a very young toddler I didn’t fully understand the concept of finding eggs and putting them in my basket. Back in these days the Easter Egg hunt was held at Riverside Park. My only egg came when I was turned loose in the playground section and ran to hop on one of the toys. In order to get on, I had to move one of the eggs which was in the way, so I put in my basket. It turned out to be one of the lucky numbered eggs and I received my very first basket. Angie Rich laughs as she remembers that every year she was fortunate to get the numbered eggs while her brother did not share her luck. If you would like to personally thank the Morgan Lions Club members, they may be found at this celebration wearing vests in their colors of gold and blue emblazoned with a Lions Club emblem.
Members of the Lions Club volunteer their time and resources out of love for the people in the communities they serve, and are not looking for the spotlight. Because they do not boast of all things they have done, many of their services and donations may go unnoticed. Each year in addition to the big events they hold, they are giving to other people in need. Vision and sight are a main focus for the Lions Club. Many donations are given to The Moran Eye Center as well as used for financing seeing eye dogs for those in need. Occasionally they will also help individuals struggling to meet their medical costs. Many Morgan High School graduates have been helped over the years by receiving one of the college scholarships they award annually.
The Morgan Lions Club currently has approximately 22 members, but is always looking to add new members to their ranks. If you would love to be a member of this wonderful club and join in their service, please contact any member of the Morgan Lions Club to fill out an application. Meetings are held each 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at the Lions Club Lodge (on the way to East Canyon) or at the Senior Center during the winter months.
Morgan Lions Club officers are as follows: President—George Francis; 1st Vice—Larry Durrant; 2nd Vice—DeOrr Peterson; 3rd Vice—Cardell Mortensen; Secretary—Jeff Lucas; Lion Tamer—Derrick Collins, and Tale Twister—Harold Fry. John Irwin is the acting Historian.
Donations for the Easter Baskets and for any of their other sponsored activities are always welcomed and greatly appreciated. Each Basket costs approximately $6 to assemble. With up to 600 baskets this can sure add up.