MORRIS – Morris Lions Club member Louie Eliakis loved watching the kids play in Lions Park on Michael Drive in Morris.
So when the Morris Lions Club had new playground equipment installed, they included a special bright yellow bench with “Lion Louie” etched in the back.
“He always cared for the kids and liked cleaning up the park in the spring,” Lions member Judy Miller said.
As his wife Georgia Eliakis, daughter-in-law Marcy Eliakis and grandson Kris Eliakis looked at the shiny new bench Thursday, Georgia wiped tears from her eyes.
“I miss him very much,” she said. “I remember all the years, 57 years, we used to have picnics in the park, without picnic tables.”
Kris Eliakis said he remembers how is grandfather always played ball with him and his brother, even when he was tired. He thought the bench facing the new playground was the perfect dedication to him.
“I’m very proud they recognized him today,” Marcy Eliakis said. “He was a member of a fine organization.”
The memorials donated to the Lions raised the money for the bench that will help others remember Lion Louie.
Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick and representatives from the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce were on hand Thursday night to officially open the new playground equipment at the park.
The Morris Lions Club has been working all year to make improvements, starting with $3,990 for new roofs on the pavilion and washroom building. The new playground equipment and benches cost $24,802, and installation costs were $9,775.
“Mayor Kopczick worked with us to stay within the $30,000 budgeted for this project, by having the City of Morris donate $3,775, to help the Lions with the installation costs,” Miller said.
After the ribbon cutting and dedication Lions Club members held their annual picnic where they look at their previous year, and start planning toward future endeavors.
Morris Lions Club has funded nearly $65,000 in projects during the past fiscal year.
Membership in the Morris Lions Club is open to anyone seeking to help the community and have a good time working with fellow Lions. Meetings are the first and third Thursdays at Eagles Hall in Morris, and information is available at www.morrislionsclub.com or on Facebook at Lions Club of Morris.