Lion of the Year


By Charles Ashby
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Karl ClemmonsThe man who helped save Christmas a few years ago was named person of the year for the Grand Junction Lions Club on Tuesday.

Karl Clemons, who as president of that group helped save the Toys for Tots program, was honored by his colleagues for “true Lionism.”

Clemons, 54, has served on just about every position there is on the group’s board, stepping down from that panel after 18 years on Monday.

“In 2010, the local Toys for Tots chapter went defunct for a brief period, about 55 days prior to Christmas,” said Brad McCloud, last year’s Lions Club person of the year. “That meant there were going to be over 2,500 families, 4,500 kids who may or may not be able to receive something for Christmas. Karl Clemons was not going to stand for that.”

Reaching out to the six other Lions Clubs, the Mesa County Workforce Center and several other groups in the Grand Valley, Clemons and numerous volunteers kept the Toys for Tots drive going, McCloud said.

“Karl was absolutely the driving force,” he said. “We’d show up at the warehouse, and we’d pick up toys at different locations and he made sure they got stored, whether it was late night or early morning. Karl took this very seriously.”

While Clemons has had an affiliation with the club since childhood — his father and grandfather also were members — he first joined the club in 1987. He was its 89th president.

To be eligible for the award, a person must have been a member for at least 10 years, and have been involved in numerous efforts to benefit the community.

The Lioness of the Year award honored a wife of a Lion for their support to that Lion as well as to the club. The program was discontinued in 1998 after female Lions were allowed into the Grand Junction Lions Club. Below is a list of those women honored by this award.

Lionesses of the Year

* 1956 Lina Smith (Silmon)

* 1957 Grace Smith (Clint

* 1958 Marie Treece (Ted)

* 1959 Frieda Hume (Ray)

* 1960 Jane Matteroli (Pete)

* 1961 Jewell Willsea (Charles)

* 1962 Barbara Hyde (Bill)

* 1963 Mary Manuel (Blake)

* 1964 Vernie Enstrom (Chet)

* 1965 Mildred Prescott (Ken)

* 1966 Fanny Susman (Rudy)

* 1967 Lina May Biggs (Clint)

* 1968 Bernice Hirschman (Herb)

* 1969 Ruth Moss (Harold)

1970 Lena Ann Elliot (Carter)

1971 Shirley Ela (Bill)

1972 Fran Ellinwood (Ed)

1973 Maxine Albers (Ted)

* 1974 Anna S. Page (Mancel)

* 1975 Joan Wendland (Wes)

1976 Jackie Moran (Pat)

* 1977 Eleanor Palmer (Fred)

1978 Eleanor Hoefner (Vic)

1979 Marilyn Conn (Donn)

* 1980 Nancy Westbrook (Jim)

1981 Barbara Scott (Ward)

1982 Gladys Miller (Keith)

* 1983 Diane Reimer (Dick)

1984 Audrey DeWeese (Ken)

1985 Jean Mumby (Keith)

1986 JoAnna Feather (Larry)

* 1987 Eulalah Hooker (George)

1988 Diana Smith (Verne)

1989 Shirely Jiacoletti (Jack)

1990 Karin Cornelison (John)

1991 Marilyn Jones (Paul)

1992 Mary Buss (Chuck)

1993 Jean Sewell (Mike)

1994 Janet Comerford (Jim)

1995 Pat Bishop (Tillie)

1996 Lana Turrou (Bob)

1997 Joanie Griff (Harry)

1998 Diana Osborne (Tim)