Have you seen the plates a number of our Lions Club members are carrying on their cars that say, "You should see what we're doing"?
One of the things we are going to be doing Tuesday is the annual pancake feed and broom sale. We are inviting all of you to come and enjoy the great pancakes and sausages, the fellowship, and to contribute at the same time to a number of worthwhile projects in the city of Hays.
Our first pancake feed was in 1979 when Maurice Witten was president of the Lions Club. He was at that time a physics professor at Fort Hays State University. Things were much different then. We made our own pancakes. A number of us ganged together to bring our own grills. We used the stoves in the armory to cook the sausages, and we walked over each other to get enough pancakes made to serve the crowd. There was plenty of smoke and there also was grease on the floor to be cleaned up with mops when the feed was over.
Jim Kuper, who now makes all of the pancakes in a most efficient way, became the fryer in 1988 and has been with us every year since. He also became a member of our Lions Club. He not only makes some of the best pancakes you have ever eaten but has a lot of fun doing it.
This will be our 33rd pancake feed. The first year we made $1,921. Our best year was in 2007, our 29th year, when we made $4,323 and our lowest year was in 1983, when we made $1,659. Our total proceeds from beginning until now is $81,800. Our record number of individuals served was in 1988 when we served 1,407 people.
What have we done with the money made on these pancake feeds? To list them all would take a considerable bit of time, but here are some of the major ones. The Dan Rupp Memorial Park was developed by the Lions Club. Our first project was to place l6 stations on a fitness trail in this park along with a shelter house.
We supported some projects in Ekey Park, supported remodeling of the bath house at the Municipal Swimming Pool, placed an American flag at the municipal golf course, and built a bridge at Dan Rupp Park. One of our most recent projects was the contribution of $5,000 to the city of Hays to help finance the new playground equipment west of Hays.
The Hays Lions Club continues to support a number of projects on a yearly basis. Here is a list of many of them: the Community Assistance Center; Big Brothers, Big Sisters; Ellis County Salvation Army; Ellis County American Red Cross; Cancer Council of Ellis County; Boy Scouts troop 101; Hays Hurricanes swim team; Hays Striders track club; Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas; American Legion Boys State; Sunflower Girls State; Hays Area Children's Center; Ellis County Historical Society; local high schools' Project Graduation; Leader Dogs for the Blind; and numerous projects relating to helping visually impaired.
There also are a number of products produced by the blind and visually impaired workers that are for sale at the pancake feed. This feature has been managed by Ed Dies for years. The proceeds from this aspect of the pancake feed are used to support the Ellis County 4-H Council.
The pancake feed has been supported by many of the Hays businesses, and we are most grateful for their support. You will see a listing of those who have supported the Lions on the north wall of the Armory at the pancake feed.
The Boy Scouts have been great to assist in the cleanup following the feed. It is a great feeling to know that we have such great support by all those who set up facilities for the feed, help during the feed and to clean up when it is over. Thank you, everyone.
We hope to see you at the National Guard Armory on Tuesday. You can eat from 6:30 a.m. until mid-morning, at noon and in the evening.
Arris Johnson, Hays, is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.