Lions’ largest fundraiser a spicy success

It’s been a busy autumn for the Rappahannock Lions Club. Busy benefits Rappahannock County because we strive to live up to our motto: We Serve.

This past Saturday we gathered — Lions, friends, families, sponsors and some lucky winners — at our annual ChiliFest and Drawdown at Sperryville Volunteer Fire Hall. Our biggest fundraiser of the year attracted a dozen home chili cooks in a delicious competition won, for the third time, by DeEtte Axelson. Griffin Tavern won the commercial chili category for the SIXTH straight time. After a heart-pounding winnowing of Drawdown ticket holders, Jackie Grosso and Debbie Knick split the $5,000 prize. Emcee Jim Blubaugh entertained the spirited crowd and cited examples of the club’s year-round services.

Over two prior weekends, the Lions Club sold out the supply of our specially made Apple Butter at Quicke Mart. Apple butter sales are the second-largest source of funds each year.

The hard work and funding make possible Lions activities throughout the year. As this year’s officers, we’re privileged to work with club members who give hundreds of volunteer hours.

Foremost among Lions activities: Sight and hearing examinations. Last year Lions completed hundreds of free screenings at Rappahannock schools. The Lions, with Social Services, also supported part of the cost of eyeglasses and vision exams for our older citizens. We provide eye examinations using special technology that diagnoses and prevents eye abnormalities for toddlers as young as six months.

The annual calendar is filled with Lions service events. We sponsor the Bland Music Contest for schoolchildren each February. We show up each summer to serve hundreds of meals to juvenile cancer patients and their medical aides as part of Rappahannock County Day at Camp Fantastic. We erect the familiar yellow and blue Lions tent at dozens of local events throughout the year. We provide college scholarships, and help fund the Prom after-party. We help support 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, softball, basketball, powder-puff football, soccer and band. We support the senior center and the holiday Shop with a Cop. Lions members help with parking at the Christmas in Little Washington Parade. Year-round we raise thousands to support our volunteer fire departments through your online Shop Like a Lion purchases at Amazon and Walmart.

We wish to thank our ChiliFest/Drawdown sponsors: Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate III, The Inn at Little Washington, The Rappahannock Hunt, The Rappahannock News, Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds, Cheri Woodard Realty, First Union Bank & Trust, the Greve Foundation, Critical Stages Graphic Design, Shaw’s Services/Burgers & Things, Harris Hollow Foods, CFC Farm & Home, Pen Druid Brewery, Early’s Carpets, B&B Auto, Riverside Auto, Racer Construction, Tula’s Restaurant, and Sperryville Trading Cafe. We’re grateful for the home chefs and the restaurants. We all enjoyed the tunes from Tyler Johnson, Richard Brady, Duane Siler and Doug Bywaters. We thank the Lions and their families who set up and decorated the hall.

We’re one of the largest groups providing countywide services. We actively seek new members. Just reach out to any of us or membership chairman Bud Meyer (

Ross O’Donoghue, President

Dave Shiff, Vice President

Jim Manwaring, Secretary

Frank Raiter, Treasurer

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