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Lions build a den to benefit community

SNOHOMISH — Lions’ First Vice President Mike Edwards does not want anyone to think the Lions built a house.
It’s true that the Snohomish chapter owns the new home at 311 16th Street that Edwards is giving a tour of, and that it was not there six months ago.
It’s also true that the sale of the upscale $510,000 rambler will help the Lions help kids, and the hungry and the elderly, for the next 20 to 25 years, Edwards estimates.
But the Lions did not pick up hammers or drills, Edwards wants to be sure people understand.
He wants to keep the facts as straight as his decade-plus record of volunteerism is long.
So, for the record, Lions did not saw the beams or shingle the roof of the three bedroom, two bath new home, which boasts a gas fireplace, soaker tub, and spacious deck.
But they each had a hand in creating one of the city’s largest piggy banks.
The story of the house is a good one, though the story of what happens with the proceeds seems likely to be even better.
It started more than 15 years ago, with a weenie-mobile.
The food truck was a local fixture before they became a phenomenon, as a fundraiser synonymous with the Lions and longtime member Sue Sullivan.
A high end hot dog dispenser like that can’t sit out on the street.
The vehicle needed a home, and Lion Dale Deierling had some land. Lion luminary Hank Robinett donated materials and a garage was built.
Robinett returned to other charitable endeavors, but turned his attention to the property at 16th Street again recently, with the vision of a lasting legacy that would bankroll good works throughout the community.
Enlisting support was not difficult.
“I can’t say no to Hank,” Edwards says, and “I do it with everything I’ve got.” He’s not alone.
For while Lions didn’t tile the floor or install windows, they did individually invest more than $140,000 of their own savings into building the house.
A significant legacy gift from the Sullivans after Sue passed last year helped fund the house, too. While the weenie-mobile was sold, the Sullivan’s gift will keep the couple’s generous spirit alive in the stories of thousands of Snohomish children to come.
Lion Wilson Smith Robinett drew up and donated the plans.
Lion Ed Poquette managed the books on the half-million dollar project.
Lion president Randy Smith headed up the house committee and acted as real estate agent on the home when it was ready to sell. That job is likely to be the shortest of them all: The new construction only made it through its first weekend on the market before a winning offer arrived. That was probably thanks in part to the artistic staging of Smith’s wife Julie, yes, also a Lion.
And the Lions so inspired others by their service during the six-month build, that the general contractor, Joe Brandvold, not only extended them a discount but decided to become a Lion himself.
Many suppliers supported the effort too, with discounts and donations. Edwards said the Lions may have saved more than $50,000 on costs.
“Everywhere you look are things that were donated.”
Edwards walked through the home a few days after it was listed, remembering how the dream of a home became a dream home over the months. Past the chrome and silver domed light fixtures, a master bath with custom tile, the gas fireplace and spacious deck, the home spoke of welcome and comfort, but even more loudly of purpose.
The Lions gathered this year and set their priorities: vision, hearing, education, hunger, community and the elderly.
Income from the house will enable them to focus on growing the membership and the goal of a vision screening for every Snohomish schoolchild, and glasses for every child who needs them.
Hearing screenings, scholarships and many other service projects are also in the works.
The gift of vision is a fitting one from the organization that so clearly has it.


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