Grand Junction Lions distribute proceeds of annual carnival

CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON/The Daily Sentinel Tawnya Bangert, left, and Debi Genova, with the Loma Elementary School PTA, hold a check for $11,000 from the Grand Junction Lions Club to be used for new playground equipment. Three other organizations received funds during the Lions Club meeting at Two Rivers Convention Center. Five other recipients will be announced this summer.

The Grand Junction Lions Club met Tuesday at Two Rivers Convention Center to distribute nearly $30,000 to four local nonprofit groups.

This year, the Lions Club carnival raised a total of $125,000, which will be split between nine beneficiaries to complete local projects. Four of the nine organizations received funds Tuesday: Loma and Mesa View elementary schools, Grand Junction High School baseball and the Mesa County Junior Football League.

Lions Club Community Betterment Committee Chair Evan Walton presented the checks to representatives from each organization.

Tawnya Bangert, a PTA member, spoke on behalf of Loma Elementary, which used its $11,000 to purchase new playground equipment. She said the equipment was delivered early Tuesday morning and would be installed within the week.

“We’re excited to say the mission is accomplished, thanks to the Grand Junction Lions Club,” Bangert said.

Appreciation seemed to be a common theme among the organizations.

Brenda Goodwin of Mesa View Elementary thanked the Lions for their $3,600 donation. With help from the Lions Club, Mesa View will purchase interactive white boards, which will improve student engagement through technology, Goodwin said.

Donnie Alexander, coach of the Grand Junction High School baseball team, said a $7,700 grant will be used for continued improvement of the baseball field, including a warning track and a new scoreboard in honor of Bill Fanning, the school’s retired longtime coach, who died in February.

“We’re really hoping to (make) the dream a reality,” Alexander said of the ballfield project.

The Mesa County Junior Football League received a check for $7,500, which will go to the purchase 185 new helmets.

The five remaining organizations to receive carnival money this year will be recognized later this summer.

In the past six years, the Lions Club has raised nearly $1 million for the local community, and has exceeded the $4 million mark in its 84 years of annual carnivals and fundraisers.

The 150-plus-member club has donated back to the Grand Junction community for more than 90 years, contributing to projects and improvements such as the Riverfront Trail Project, the botanical gardens and Two Rivers Convention Center.


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