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Rasmussen honored for 45 years of Lions Club service in Pratt

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Pratt Lions Club President Andy Lee congratulates Pratt Lions Club member and Past President Denis Rasmussen (right) for his award from Lions International  for 45 years of service and club membership.

Denis Rasmussen, former co-owner of the Ayers-Calbeck Mortuary in Pratt, was honored by the Pratt Lions Club and Lions International last month with an award for 45 years of service with the Pratt club. Club President Andy Lee presented him with a certificate of appreciation for his years of dedication to the Lions motto of "We Serve.”

In the past 45 years, Rasmussen has held several officer positions, most recently he served as the Past President of the Pratt Lions Club, which has been recognized as the oldest active club currently in the state of Kansas.

"When I joined in 1975 I was just a young businessman in Pratt," Rasmussen said. "The Pratt Lions Club was a lot bigger then, we had two clubs, one that met at noon each week and another that met in the evenings. I was in the Downtown Pratt Lions Club."

Rasmussen said he remembers being interviewed for membership and then he had to wait a week to see if he was accepted into the club.

"It used to be kind of a big deal to be a member of the club," he said.

Nowadays, the Pratt Lions Clubs is seeking more members, like many clubs in the area. Membership has fallen to 9 active members and several more who pay dues but can no longer take part in meetings or activities because of age.

"Joining the Lions Club was one the best things I did, I wish others would see the benefits of being part of a group like this," Rasmussen said. "Many people say they are too busy, but it doesn't take much to meet and eat for one hour each week on Wednesdays. And we always have a good time."

Making personal connections with people in the community and working together to help others are invaluable benefits of club membership, details often lost in the busyness of a tech-gadget society, Lee  said.

Community service in the form of paying for vision exams and eyeglasses fees is the primary focus of the club. Funds raised and dues paid by members are all put towards that mission of helping those in need.

"We are part of the world's largest community service organization with more than 1.4 million members and more than 48,000 Lions Clubs worldwide," said Garey West, Pratt Lions Club Secretary. "Each month we collect and send on to our larger organization more than 500 pairs of used eyeglasses. This is a tremendous service to be part of."

As club secretary, West issued an invitation to anyone with a desire to help others and a willingness to be part of a larger network of service to attend the next meeting of the Pratt Lions Club.

"We meet every Wednesday of each week at noon at The Front Porch, 115 Forth Street in Pratt. All are welcome," he said.

Other Pratt Lions Club members honored (but not in attendance) last month by the state organization with certificates of service, at the same time as Rasmussen, were the late Stephen Hedrick ( member for 40 years), Evan Grund and Frank Loughan (both 35-year members).