‘Lion of the Year’ recipient many years in the making
The Grand Junction Lions Club named Bob Van Iderstine the 2013 “Lion of the Year” during a meeting Tuesday at Two Rivers Convention Center.
The longtime Lion fulfilled all the criteria for the honor: contributing to the club and community, living life selflessly and with integrity, and serving 10-plus years in the club.
Past “Lion of the Year” Harry Griff presented the award and spoke about its distinction.
“I learned it’s not something you’ve been doing over the past few years, but it’s like a lifetime achievement award,” Griff said during the presentation.
Van Iderstine is an advocate for Vietnam War veterans and helped create the Western Slope Vietnam War Memorial in Fruita. He serves as head of the group’s scholarship committee, which decides distribution of Lions Club scholarships.
Van Iderstine said he was completely surprised to be given the honor.
“It’s kind of overwhelming. The past recipients are a list of who’s who in the Grand Junction community. It’s truly an honor, and it’s a great opportunity to serve Grand Junction,” Van Iderstine said.
Debbie Tucker, Van Iderstine’s fiancee, helped plan the special ceremony. She gathered pictures for the presentation and even kept the honor a secret from her significant other, which was something that baffled Van Iderstine.
“Everything they said about him is true. He would give the shirt off of his back to help someone,” Tucker said.
The Lion, father, veteran and coach — and a man of many nicknames — was overwhelmed, but humbled by the award. All jokes aside, Lions Club members are particularly proud of this member. Denise Richardson said she was grateful Van Iderstine received the honor in her year as president.
“The whole procedure is spectacular. I am proud to be included in the group before me,” Van Iderstine said.
Van Iderstine is the 65th Lion to receive the honor; the list dates back to 1949. Those on the list include community leaders like Chet Enstrom, Ralph Stocker and Tilman Bishop.
The Grand Junction Lions Club recognizes one of its members each year for being active in the community. This is the most prestigious award for a Grand Junction Lion to receive.