Apparently, hard work -- and a lot of it -- pays off. But it was no small task as a local group won Club of the Year at the California Lions Clubs annual convention.

The Byron Delta guild was one of eight statewide clubs nominated for the honor.

Along with winning the Club Excellence Award from its district (Alameda and Contra Costa counties) for the second consecutive year, "this honor recognizes our members' commitment to community service," said Ann Jordan-Talley, immediate past president.

The 90-member group is one of few all-women Lion clubs in the state.

The local club was nominated by Lions district Gov. Denny Grotrain. In his form, he included a long list of projects, programs and gives of the group. It included: Two fundraisers netting $30,000, ongoing recycling projects, monthly donations to the Delta Community Christian Food Pantry, collecting toiletries for military forces overseas, gathering eyeglasses, and scheduling vision screening preschoolers for amblyopia.

In addition, the clearly energetic and focused club created and sold cookbooks, collected and delivered school supplies for students in need, spearheaded a food drive and a patriotic presentation with area schools, held a toy drive, sponsored a student speaker contest, handed out scholarships, and supported the Read Across America program and more -- totaling 9,381 volunteer hours by club members.

Plus, the club held its annual "baby shower," gathering 450 items to benefit newbies born at the county hospital.

In addition, a handful of members -- on their own dime -- traveled to Mexico. Along with Lions in Sight Mission, they helped 600 people receive eye glasses.

The big club awards ceremony was held in February in Ontario. Past district Gov. Jane Perry and past President Paulette Doyle were in attendance.

"Our club was elated," said Darla Cavallaro, current president. "We have such a great club and so many fantastic projects that just being recognized and nominated was an incredible honor."

Established 20 years ago, the Byron Delta club touts seven original members. They are: Judy Duquette, Bev Jardin, Margaret Miller, Phyllis Nichols, Jane Perry, Evelyn Rex and Lila Stridiron.

Cavallaro said being in the Lions club makes for many great memories.

"I can't say how excited I was the first time I walked into (Lions Center for the Blind) and one of the clients jumped up when she recognized my voice. Or, when someone shares a story about how we made a difference and half of us end up in tears. Or, when I walk into Starbucks, wearing my badge or my pin and someone thanks me for the work we do.

"One of our members was hurt in a car accident and every day someone was in Concord visiting her. (We had) a sign-up sheet to bring her lunches and keep her company until she is up and around again. Every story is a favorite story."

Of course, the group isn't about to rest on its laurels.

Members are in the midst of planning its big event of the year: a "Tribute to Dick Clark," which will be held May 31. The 60s-themed event doubles as a fundraiser. Email lion.darla@hotmail.com

Reach Trine Gallegos at TrineG@att.net

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