Lions Club donates thousands from carnival to groups

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published September 25, 2013

FRASER — The Fraser Lions Club once again devoted innumerable amounts of time and energy in order to make its annual carnival, held in mid-July, a success.

And after all its hard work of planning and putting the carnival together, the Lions Club continued to give back to others.

The group conducted a mini presentation to open the Sept. 12 Fraser City Council meeting, in which the organization thanked everyone for their support during the carnival — from the people who set it up to the citizens who showed up and made the event worthwhile. And then, in typical Lions Club fashion, members distributed proceeds to city-affiliated organizations and programs that can benefit from some extra money.

Donations included $1,125 to the city’s DARE program; $1,125 for safety equipment for the Department of Public Works (DPW); $1,125 for safety equipment for the DPW; $1,125 for McKinley Park; and $1,125 to the Fraser Honor Guard.

“As Honor Guard commander, I want to thank you very much,” Councilman Michael Carnagie said. “We are shorthanded this year, and this money will definitely be used and appreciated by our honor guard and the families we represent who died in the line of duty in the National Memorial. We really appreciate it.”

Matt Hemelberg, chairman of the carnival and second vice president of the Lions Club, said that more than $24,000 in donations was accumulated. However, about half of that is given to the DPW to cover various costs, such as police overtime hours and clean-up duties on the grounds.

“Whatever we can bring in off of events through the year is what our budget is,” Hemelberg said. “The better our events are, the more money we make, the more we give away.”

“Everything is volunteer hours,” Hemelberg continued. “None of our people get paid for anything. I probably put in over 100 hours in the week we run (the carnival). Many guys poured beer from noon to midnight, including setup. All weekend, we rotated out with 15 to 20 volunteers.”

The Fraser Lions Club was enacted in 1946, and, as noted by Mayor Doug Hagerty at the council meeting, it has donated more than $750,000 in the last quarter century.

City Manager Rich Haberman added that Fraser, according to the carnival company that works the annual event, is the second-highest revenue source for the company, which travels through the South and the Midwest.

The Lions Club has donated to additional programs, including Fraser Public School’s Scholarship Program, the Macomb Senior Program, Macomb Blind Bowlers, Leaders of the Blind, Madonna University and VFW. The club also puts on multiple fundraisers, such as a Halloween party for kids in October.

“We put in a lot of hours and it’s great to see everyone enjoy it,” Hemelberg said.