By Jason Musselman
The Stark County Athletic Facilities Fundraiser is now over halfway to their goal of $350,000 with two large donations from the Toulon Lions Club and the Stark County Elementary Parents’ Club.
Toulon Lions Club President Bob Mueller explained the Lions were the beneficiaries of a large endowment from the late Jim and Dale Swank. The Lions tasked themselves with distributing the funds in a way they thought would please the Swanks.
“We were very surprised, very shocked we were mentioned in their estate,” said Mueller. “The Swanks didn’t have kids but were active fans and at many sports events. We sat down and considered with what we know of the Swanks and what they felt should be done with the money.”
Members of the Lions were asked for their suggestions and the AFF was among the top responses. In addition to the AFF project, the Lions will be making several other large donations on Thursday to other groups.
“On behalf of the school board, thank you for this large donation,” said Superintendent Jerry Klooster. “This will be beneficial to not only the kids, but also the community.”
Lion Roger Hawk added that when the Lions organization first started in 1946 one of the original programs set up was to help athletic sports.
Also presenting a check to the AFF committee was the Stark County Parents’ Club. The Parents’ Club held a fundraiser in April and the proceeds from there went to the AFF. Crystal West and Jill Finnegan presented a check for $10,000.
“Thank you for letting us be a part of your fundraiser and auction,” Klooster told the Parents’ Club. “It worked out great for all of us.”
The committee announced several other large private donations from individuals, but did not wish to publicly share those names now, although they plan to recognize donor levels at a later date.