Lions Club: A volunteer for decades


RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

Bill Widman serves ice cream at the Palouse Empire Fair on Thursday.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

Name: Bill Widman, retired lineman

Tell me a little about what you’re doing.
“This is the Rosalia Lions Club, and we’ve been serving ice cream here since 1992. This is our 25th year.”

How long have you been doing this?
“About 20 years. They turned it over to an organization, and we happened to be the ones to get it in 1992. They did sell ice cream here before, but it went to the fair. They got to be so big that they couldn’t handle it. It’s a big deal, so we were lucky enough to get it, and the building. They take really good care of us.”

Do you have any interesting stories?
“Probably most interesting is that the students from WSU and the Pullman area really support what we’re doing here. There are different languages — sometimes kids come in and I can’t understand ‘em. Not because it’s not good English, but it’s not English at all. So growing up on a farm in Rosalia, we weren’t exposed to that. I’m sure in the next couple days, we’ll see that again. But we deal with it, it works.”

What do you like about working behind the ice cream counter at the fair?
“The whole thing with the Lions Club is it’s a service organization and 100 percent of the money we make goes to a charitable something. Everything is given away, and that’s why the Lions Club is the biggest service organization in the world — it’s international. We give it all back.”

What are some of the organizations the club supports?
“Food bank, Tree of Giving at Christmas time. The Lions club has mostly to do with vision — we give out glasses for kids, and parents that can’t afford them. Different eye doctor stores give us a good deal on glasses and examinations. We work with the schools. The teachers at the school might recommend a kid that can’t see well, and we’ll take it from there. We don’t turn anybody down.”

Is there any specific kid that stood out to you?
“My favorite story is actually a young adult who’s a member of the Lions Club now. They were down on their luck, him and his wife, and we bought him glasses. A couple of years later when they were able to get back on their feet, he came and joined.”

When you’re not working here, what are your favorite places to go at the fair?
“Farm machinery and new cars and pickups. I attended this as a kid in the 1960s, growing up on a farm.