Delano Herald Journal

Serving the communities of Delano, Loretto, Montrose, MN, and the surrounding area

Delano Lions Club member receives prestigious Melvin Jones Fellowship Award

Thomas Schaffer and his wife, Judi (By Joe McDonald)

The Delano Lions Club recently awarded Thomas Schaffer the Melvin Jones Fellowship award.

Schaffer, a longtime member of the Lions Club, received the award at the group’s general meeting on Thursday, March 28. He was presented with a plaque and pin to wear on his vest. 

“I feel very honored to have it, yes,” Schaffer said. “And also honored because it’s my club that really gave me that award.”

The Melvin Jones Fellowship, named after the founder of Lions Clubs International, recognizes individuals for their dedication to humanitarian service.

The Lions Club International Foundation awards the fellowship. There are more than 476,000 fellows worldwide, and their names are placed on a wall at the Lions Club International Foundation in Oak Brook, Ill.

The Delano Lions Club is a service organization that supports various community causes. Its motto is, “Where there’s a need, there’s a Lion.”

Schaffer said he has been an active community volunteer for the Lions Club for more than twenty years. He has held numerous leadership positions, including president twice, and he’ll be president again in two years.

He said he has been involved with the 4th of July Parade for 24 years, serving as the chairperson for the past 12 years. He also said he served as the chairperson for the group’s Christmas tree fundraiser for about 13 years.

Other fundraising events for the Lions include the annual Delano Easter Egg Hunt and Wild West Bingo. It also helps with Oktoberfest and Rib Fest.

“I like to serve,” Schaffer said. “I mean that’s the logo or the model for Lions International. Lions serve.”

Schaffer’s said his son Rick joined the Lions Club in 2000, shortly after he moved to Delano and got married. Schaffer said he got involved with the Lions when his son asked him to help with the 4th of July parade in 2001.

“Both Rick and I like to do service work,” Schaffer said.

Rick and Schaffer’s father-in-law also received the Melvin Jones Fellowship award. Schaffer said it was a “pretty big deal” for his wife, Judi, when he became a fellow.

“When I got mine Melvin Jones Fellowship award, it kind of bridged that generation gap, so now she’s got three generations of Melvin Jones Fellowship honors,” Schaffer said. “So it’s a pretty big deal for her too.”

In addition to his work with the Lions Club, Schaffer is also the president of USAquatics, a consulting engineering firm that specializes in aquatic design and engineering for public pools, water parks, and community centers. He has been with the company for 50 years.

The Lions Club holds its general meeting on the second Thursday of each month. They usually meet at Carbone’s Pizzeria Bar & Grill, Schaffer said.

“We’re always looking for new members,” he said. “So if there’s anybody out there that’s interested in serving their community, Lions is a great organization to do that with. So we sure welcome new members.”