Kent Lions Club celebrates 75 years of service, gives back | SLIDESHOW

City and community leaders came together to celebrate the Kent Lions Club's 75 years of service last Saturday night.

One of many grants and scholarships: Kent Lions’ Gary Atwood

One of many grants and scholarships: Kent Lions’ Gary Atwood

City and community leaders came together to celebrate the Kent Lions Club’s 75 years of service last Saturday night.

True to its motto – “We serve” – the Lions Cub gave back, contributing more than $100,000 to supporting groups and organizations in a gesture of thanks during the anniversary program at Auburn’s Copper Falls Restaurant.

“Our whole reason for being is to serve,” said Patty Sikora, first vice president of the club. “We’re recognizing several groups we serve.

“We have a really close relationship with the city of Kent. We sponsor a lot of their teams,” Sikora said. “… And we’ve been listening to some of the challenges they’ve had in their parks. They’ve wanted to upgrade some parks, yet they’ve had all their cutbacks, so we’re giving them a sizable amount of money.”

That amount was $75,000 to the Kent Parks and Recreation Department.

The Lions also presented $15,000 to the Lions Club International Foundation grant program and made $5,000 contributions each to the Kent Senior Activity Center, Kent Youth and Family and Beep Baseball, which fields a Greater Seattle Area World Series-bound team for the visually impaired or blind.

According to Bill Westcott, a club past president and current director of the Lions-operated Kent Cornucopia Days, the money donated was raised through club-backed programs over time. The Kent Lions provide the popular Cornucopia Days, Winterfest and Kent Farmers Market to the community each year.

The 75th anniversary is a special occasion for Westcott and a club that has endured and served the greater Kent community for generations.

“To celebrate our 75 years … it’s a very long time, it’s a great accomplishment,” Westcott said. “We just want to thank the community for allowing us to exist and supporting us in our activities.”

Gwen Allen-Carston, the club’s first African-American female president, thanked the many people and organizations who have helped make the Lions an important part of the Kent community.

“I have wonderful people. …. I stand in awe of being the president of the Lions Club. It’s a great organization to work for,” she told the audience. “It is an honor. I am excited about our future and serving my term well.”

At the event, several past presidents appeared to sign a commemorative plaque.

The Kent Lions Club was officially chartered on Sept. 15, 1938.

The club – 40 active strong – welcomes new members. To learn more, call 253-852-5466 or visit

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