Reserve Lions Club holds final meeting, donates $96,000 to local organizations

Published 10:50 am Wednesday, October 4, 2023

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In a heartfelt gathering on Tuesday, Sept. 25, the Reserve Lions Club convened their final meeting at the KC Hall in Reserve. The event marked the end of an era for this dedicated group of volunteers, as they reflected on their decades of service to the community.

According to Robert Beadle, long time secretary of the Reserve Lions Club, the end of the Reserve Lions Club came about due to a lack of new volunteers.

“Our dwindling numbers can no longer support these efforts to help the community,” Beadle said. “And so we hope that each of the organizations represented here tonight will continue the efforts to improve our community and serve the needs of our parish.”

As a testament to their enduring commitment, the Reserve Lions Club announced that they would be donating a total of $96,000 to various local organizations and institutions. These contributions are intended to carry forward the charitable legacy of the Lions Club and support the essential work of these organizations.

The beneficiaries of these generous donations include the Knights of Columbus, LaPlace Elementary for Special Education Department, Perry’s Posse, Inc., Reserve Bantam Athletic Club, Inc., Reserve Volunteer Fire Department, River Parish Community Theatre, Riverside Academy, St. John ARC, St. John Sheriff’s Office, St. John Theatre, Inc., and St. Peter School.

The Reserve Lions Club, founded by Walter Currie in May of 1946, received its charter on Charter Night, June 19, 1946, at Millet’s Restaurant in Reserve, boasting 26 charter members. Notable figures such as Lions President Hubert Duhe, Dr. P. A. Donaldson, Snook Englade, Joe Duhe, Jules Millet, Guy Trudeau, L. J. Maurin, Joe Keller, and Albert T. Becnel were among the founding members. The Lutcher-Gramercy Lions served as their sponsoring club, and meetings were held on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month.

Throughout their storied history, the Reserve Lions Club undertook numerous impactful initiatives. They took on the responsibility of installing street signs and house numbers in Reserve in 1973, played a pivotal role in founding and supporting the Reserve Volunteer Fire Department in 1957, and helped secure street lighting for the community. During the holiday season, the Lions Club adorned a grand, illuminated Christmas tree next to the VFW hall.

In 1959, the club was instrumental in the establishment of the Reserve sewer system, marking a significant milestone for St. John Parish. They also contributed financially to the construction of the Leon Godchaux High School football stadium.

The Reserve Lions Club exhibited a strong commitment to community involvement, sponsoring the St. John Parish Sugar Queen Pageant for more than 25 years. In 1964, they reactivated and sponsored the Boy Scouts, even constructing a dedicated Boy Scout hut on the Reserve Recreation complex, which served more than 40 scouts.

Their dedication to philanthropy was evident in their annual Blood Replacement Drive, conducted for more than 25 years. Additionally, the club played a pivotal role in organizing and supporting the St. John Theatre in 1980, providing much-needed financial aid.

Over the years, the Reserve Lions Club made substantial contributions to the well-being of their community by furnishing hundreds of wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches to those in need. Their support extended beyond local borders as well, as they donated thousands of dollars to the Louisiana Lions Crippled Children’s Camp and the Louisiana Lions Eye Foundation. Thousands of used eyeglasses were also donated to Lions International for repair and shipment to Third World Countries.

For more than five decades, the Lions Club operated the Lions Club swimming pool on the grounds of Godchaux Sugars, providing a cherished recreational space for the community.

“My generation especially remembers the efforts of Lions such as Richard Oubre and Lucien Cambre. Of 19-year president Dr. Jack Harvey, longtime secretary Quincy Montz and the indomitable Mac Donaldson. I’d like to acknowledge our longest tenured Reserve Lion, VP Mark Entremont, a Reserve Lion for 34 years and our President, I. P. Duhe who has been president for the last 16 years,” Beadle said. “We thank them all for their years of service.”

Reflecting on their legacy, the Reserve Lions Club highlighted one of their most significant achievements: the Cub Sight program. This initiative involved club members visiting elementary schools and day care centers, using modern technology to screen children for potential eye problems. The program had proven highly successful in detecting vision issues, earning the gratitude of parents for their invaluable efforts.

As the Reserve Lions Club concluded their final meeting, they left behind a legacy of community service that will be remembered and celebrated for generations to come. Their contributions have left an indelible mark on the Reserve community, and their spirit of volunteerism will continue to inspire future generations to serve and uplift their community.