One of the club’s first projects was to sponsor toll-free Missouri River bridge days, where the Lions Club paid the cost of the toll. According to the Feb. 22, 1940, issue of The Missourian, the Washington Lions paid the toll for people crossing the bridge to shop in Washington Thursday, Feb. 29, or Leap Day.
Another early Lions project was funding street signs around town. Today, all of the signs outside of the downtown historic district have a Lions Club emblem on them, and that is because the club helped fund the first signs.
The Washington Lions also have funded simple things like the large umbrellas that provide shade in the leisure pool section of the Washington city pool and landscaping around the caboose at Heritage Railroad Park along the riverfront, as well as big things like lighting on the old Missouri River bridge and the main stage facility at the Washington fairgrounds. The Washington Lions Club contributed $50,000 to the main stage building.
For 13 years, the Washington Lions Club has been a sponsor of the Book Buzz youth literacy program, which provides a set of three books a month to school libraries. Since 2006, the club has donated nearly $20,000 to the program. “The Lions Club donation to Book Buzz continues to be so helpful and much appreciated,” said Chris Stuckenschneider, Missourian book editor and Book Buzz coordinator. “The smaller schools in our area don’t have funds to purchase books for their libraries and new books each month are an incredible gift.
“In the summer, when school libraries are closed, the Lions’ donation to the Washington Public Library enables children to check out the Book Buzz Picks and submit reviews to The Missourian.”
If your child or grandchild plays on a team in Washington Little League football, thank the Lions Club for its contribution of $10,000.