Vernon Parish: A Look Back – Leesville Lions Club

L-R: Lion Logan Morris and Lion Malcolm Morris,
2023 Grand Marshal of the Rodeo Parade

The Leesville Lions Club recently completed its 73rd annual rodeo in conjunction with the West Louisiana Forestry Festival. Money from the Lions Club fundraising goes to a variety of projects, but the main recipient of those funds is the Lions Camp for Children located six miles north of Leesville. Running the camp during the summer months for special needs kids from across the state costs well over a half million dollars each summer. The Leesville Lions Club is the largest contributor in the state to the camp. The Lions say thanks to the people of Vernon Parish for their generous support year in, year out. Since becoming an LRCA rodeo in 2021, the Leesville Lions Rodeo was named New Rodeo of the Year in 2021 and was listed in the Top 5 rodeos in Louisiana in 2022.

Source: Leesville Leader July 30, 1942/Vernon Parish Library Digital Archives

Story by Billy Crawford

Charter night, July 9th, was held in the American Legion Hall. The Charter was presented to the President of the Leesville Club Dick Pollard by District Governor E.A. Coco. Camp Polk Major General Silvester, the guest speaker, then stirred the group with a burning talk on Americanism.
(Remember: Seven months earlier our Country had entered the war in both the European and Pacific Campaigns.)

The officers were installed: Richard Pollard, President; Ford Stewart, 1st V-P; R.W. Hooker, 2nd V-P; V.J. Kildair, 3rd V-P; T.L. Berry, Sec-Treas; Claude Leach, Tail Twister; H.E. Hinson, Lion Tamer;
Directors: C.D. Ellis, A.L. Temple, Jake Dampf, S.M. Turner,

Members: M.J. Bartel, Russel Bailes, Dick Bergren, C. L. Davis, Herman Gold, C.E. Lawrence, D.F. McDougal, O.E. Morris, C.B. Owen, W.B. Scogin, Dan Ward, Joe Watson, I.O. Winfree.

The Leesville Lions Club members felt the rapid pulse of an active organization. The following projects were then planned and put into action.

Secured a piano for the USO Club.

24 local merchants and businesses donated space and location of gum vending machines to raise necessary funds. The proceedings will fund the Sight Conservation Fund, providing needy Vernon Parish children free glasses.

Announced a city-wide Clean-Up Campaign. Residents were encouraged to clean up around their homes and business, as well as the joining public area. The club spokesman stated, “Mayor Oscar Morris has over-exerted himself in the work and his city departments have done to clean up the city.”

Paid for the laying of cement sidewalks at the USO Building.

Assisted the Post Office in having mailboxes and house numbers erected.

Aided the farmers of the parish by guaranteeing payment on a peanut thrasher.

Sponsoring the government in Navy Recruitment.

On December 7, the Lions celebrated with a Ladies Night. There were plenty of good eats and some great entertainment. More than 60 persons were in attendance. Lions Dampf, Pollard, LaCour, Morris, and Lowe were in charge of the menu.

Eighty-one years later, the 2023 Leesville Lions Club is one of 46,000 local chapters located in over 200 countries. The Lions motto is simply, “WE SERVE”.