Lions, Lionesses install new officers, celebrate members


Lion Ed Henke receives the first Helen Keller Legacy Award. / Andrew Cryer

CULLMAN – The Cullman Lions and Lionesses held a joint dinner Monday night to install newly elected officers, celebrate 40 years of Cullman Lionesses and to present several awards to outstanding members.

New officers of the Lions, Lionesses are:

  • President: Bill Ruehl, Carol Nielsen
  • 1st Vice-President: Mike Ponder, Mary Daniel
  • 2nd Vice-President: Andrew Manning, Tiffany Gambrill
  • Secretary: Don Smith, Cynthia Tubbs
  • Treasurer: Jerry Bonner, Penny Burkett
  • Tail Twister: Richard Gurley, Sybil Tubbs
  • Lion/Lioness Tamer: Dave Gratz, Heather Rabending
  • Director: Howard Perry, Dottie Henke
  • Director: Riley Smith, Judy Waldrep
  • Director: Gary Murphree, Mary Caudle
  • Director (Lions Club International): Chris Robinson
  • Membership Chair: Frank Odell, Kaye Harbison
  • Membership Vice-Chair: Scott Waldrep, Emma Thornton
  • Membership: Fuller Smith, Nelda Powell 

Jerry Bonner, treasurer of the Cullman Lions Club, shared, “The incoming president serves a year; all of the incoming officers serve a year unless re-elected.” He laughed, “The president has never been reelected.” Bonner says he views that as a good thing because the club always has someone who’s willing to serve.

In celebration of 40 years of the Cullman Lionesses, Cullman City Councilwoman and President Pro Tem Jenny Folsom presented the Lionesses with a certificate of appreciation from the City of Cullman for their years of service to the community. Ten of the 52 charter members of the Lionesses were in attendance, standing alongside Folsom as the certificate was presented.

The Alabama Lions Sight Executive Director, Durden Dean, presented the first annual Helen Keller Legacy Award to Ed Henke, saying, “I want to thank the commitment of the Cullman Lions Club and the Cullman Lionesses Club to what Alabama Lions Sight has done since our founding… our honoree tonight for the first Helen Keller Legacy Award is truly a great ambassador for your clubs.”

Other awards given included:

  • Lion of the Year: Doug Spradlin
  • Md-34 Award: Wendell Copeland
  • Lioness of the Year: Judy Waldrep

After the officers were officially installed, both newly sworn-in presidents gave a brief speech.

Bill Ruehl shared, “I didn’t realize that when I took the nomination for third vice-president what was going to happen down the road. It’s come along, and I’ve looked forward to it. I look forward to this next year; we’ll have a great time, a great club and we’ll do great community service.”

Said Carol Nielsen, “We were designed for good works. We work to make our community a better place to live, work and raise our families. I thank you for this opportunity to continue working as your president.”

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