Anchorage Benton Bay Athletic Lions Club History
Benton Bay Athletic Lions Club was chartered on March 30, 1984. The origin of the Club’s name is shrouded in a cloak of mystery. The way it allegedly occurred is the way it will be related here. Some of the true facts may never be divulged which you will understand as the cast of characters is revealed. It all started during Past District Governor Pete Hupperten’s administrative year (1974-75) when it became known that a Lions Club was to be established in Metlakatla. This new Club was to be named “Chester Bay Lions Club."
This is where the mystery unfolds. Lion PDG Pete alleges that the Club banner, bell and gavel were ordered from Lions International to be labeled “Chester Bay.” As the story goes, Lion PDG Jack Doyle, then Lion Pete’s Cabinet Secretary, called Lion Pete one day and announced, “Governor, you have a problem” Lion Pete retorted, “you mean, we have a problem.” “No Governor, you have a problem,” insisted Lion Jack. It seems that the paraphernalia came in labeled “Benton Bay”! Lion Pete retained the mislabeled items for a number of years as a constant reminder of the problem, without a valid excuse as to why, and we may never find out. (There is growing suspicion that Lion Pete relied on memory when ordering the paraphernalia and never doublechecked the name).
At a conference in Seward in 1983, Lion PDG Pete and Lion PDG Bob Niebert began thinking (danger in itself) that a Club could be formed using the name “Benton Bay.” They brought their idea to Lion Extension Chairman, PDG Tommy Stewart, and to make a long story short, our Club was conceived.
The Club was formed with specific goals in mind and the membership was developed to meet these goals:
To build or cause to be built, a domed multi-purpose facility for various sports activities.
To support various athletic activities such as UAA and high school sports.
To support and further the goals of Lionism in general so that our motto, “We Serve,” is fulfilled.
Our major fund raising projects are the 50-50 split the pot, golf tournament and bowling tournament. We constantly look for others as well. Our main activities are UAA athletic scholarships, UAA Athlete of the Year Banquet, Youth Camp, Great Pumpkin Festival, both International and District Foundation support, local Joint Sight eyeglass programs for kids, Special Olympics, Lions Quest Program, high school sports and mixed league softball.
The Club has provided leadership to the District and District 49A Foundation as well. These positions include District Governors, Regional and Zone Chairmen, various Chairmanships and Directorships. We have also provided Multiple District level leadership as well as International involvement. We are proud of our history and feel we are one of the more prestigious Clubs in the District.
“We Serve,” and through continued membership growth, our Club will continue to serve.