Lions club members Ryan Millis and Dennis Swarner finish up a bus shelter they built early this winter to protect students from the elements while waiting for school buses. The construction party consisted of nine Lions who built the shelters in one weekend.
Photo courtesy of the Kenai Lion
When one worried mother cries out for shelter from the storm, a pride of community Lions will pounce on the chance to provide it.
This winter, the Kenai Lions Club built two shelters for kids waiting for school buses. The call for help came from a mother on Gaswell Road who said there were at least 16 children in the area standing unsheltered in the elements while they waited.
Kenai Lions Club President Phyllis Starks said the response came at the most opportune time. The Lions were just tying up the loose ends and nailing the last boards when the snow began to fall.
"I am amazed at how my guys pulled together. What they have done is about taking care of those around us with a can-do attitude," Starks said. "We've got to support kids. In this area I see more volunteering and community service than a lot of places I've lived before, and we're always looking for a new challenge."
Jack Castimore, Lions member, said building the shelters gave everybody the chance to learn.
"It was fun for me because I got to show some of the guys how to use nail guns and battery-operated saws," Castimore said.
"The work party built the shelters in my garage, then assembled them on site. I got a kick out of seeing this come together."
He calls the projects "just typical bus shelters," which can be found all over the Kenai Peninsula. Some were made by the Soldotna Lions Club and some by the Kenai chapter. The typical shed is 4 feet by 8 feet with a large open door. They are designed to be moved around if a bus route changes, or on a need basis.
Castimore said building shelters encourages camaraderie within the group, and the payoff of it all is helping the community.
"There is this desire and motivation to help people. We just want to give back," he said.
Lions member Ryan Mills said the group tries to be involved in a variety of community service.
"We're working together more and doing a lot of different things. We've had a busy schedule with the spring cleanup in May, helping the Kenai senior center with some Christmas lights, and Adopt-a-Highway," he said. "We just try to keep our ears open and try to help whoever we can."
The two new shelters can be found at the corners of Gaswell and Jones and Gaswell and Knutson.
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