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Jay Nesseth, present president of the Ellsworth Lions Club, visited before formally speaking to members of the local chamber of commerce at their meeting Thursday. Nesseth’s topic was Lionism. (Herald photo by Bill Kirk)

President touts Lionism to Ellsworth chamber members

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From one service organization to another came information Thursday.

Jay Nesseth, present president of the Ellsworth Lions Club, spoke about Lionism at the local chamber of commerce meeting. Lions International was formed in 1917 and Ellsworth’s club was chartered on Oct. 20, 1930.

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“It’s the oldest club in Western Wisconsin,” Nesseth said, adding it’s also one of the oldest in the state.

Nesseth said he and his wife, Stacy, became involved after the club here assisted their daughter, Tiffany. The then-10-year-old was diagnosed with diabetes, which is among the causes Lions emphasize. Their daughter went to the week-long Camp Needlepoint and, surrounded by other children with diabetes, this helped her cope.

“It was hard for her at age 10 to be told she’d have to take a shot every day,” he said.

He credited Shar Kreye of Ellsworth for sponsoring the couple into the club.

Besides diabetes, Lions have traditionally taken up the cause of the blind, Nesseth said.

“Early on, Helen Keller asked them to be ‘Knights of Sight’,” he said.

Wisconsin has one of the more prominent eye treatment facilities in the U.S., he said. Tissue transporters regularly bring eye tissue from the facility in Madison to destinations including Eau Claire and the Twin Cities. The leader dog program is another of Lions’ efforts and, when he advances to District Governor for 2015-16, he expects to visit the program’s headquarters in Rochester, Mich., to experience a blindness simulation firsthand, relying on a dog.

The club president listed events the local club supports, such as: annual scholarships to high school graduates, vision screening at Ellsworth schools, senior citizen activities, sending children with diabetes to Camp Needlepoint, sending children with all sorts of disabilities to the Lions’ Camp Rosholt, eye tissue transporting, children’s fishing contest and Nugget Lake Park.

The annual fishing contest will be held June 8 at the park, he said. Every participant will receive a prize. A Lions water fountain similar to the one in Ellsworth’s East End Park is to be installed there as well, courtesy of the club, he added.

For more please read the June 4 print version of the Herald. 

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Bill Kirk
Bill Kirk has been editor at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, Wisconsin, since 1988. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.
(715) 273-4334
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