The Lions Club installation dinner June 9 was locally historic: It was the first time in the club’s 67-year history that a woman was installed as president.
As of the new fiscal year that starts July 1, Dixie Walker will lead the club.
Past president Andy Zinn said he will continue as a Lions Club board member after having made history another way. He believes he was the first person to serve three presidential terms in a row and was one of the youngest presidents since the club began in 1947.
Other board members installed with Walker were: Jim Hollingshead, first vice president; Jim Bahringer, second vice president; Jeff LaChance, third vice president; Ramon Reza, treasurer; and David Sassaman, secretary.
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“They’re all younger than I am,” Walker said with a laugh.
That’s a trend that’s also reflected in a wave of younger members, five of whom were inducted that same night at the Centrally Grown dinner, with three more set to join soon.
“It’s so exciting to see all the energy from them and their families,” said longtime Lion Greg Bates. “It was an amazing evening, a great experience. We had an excellent time.”
The incoming members, ages 42 to 58, “shows how times are changing,” Zinn wrote in an email interview about the Lions Club, “and how younger members of the community want to join and see all the good the club has done.”
Walker is a former production accountant for feature films for such studios as Disney. She scaled back in 2004, “wanting to be home more. I didn’t want to work more than six months a year. I knew I’d retire in 2010,” so she moved to Cambria and immediately started participating in community activities.
Walker said, “I knew I wanted to be part of the community, so it wouldn’t be a difficult transition” into retirement. She originally hoped to volunteer occasionally here and there. “But ‘a funny thing happened on the way to the forum,’” she quipped theatrically.
She joined the Lions Club in Aug. 2005.
The new club president also volunteers at the Pewter Plough Playhouse box office, helps Nancy Green at Cambria Center for the Arts, sings with the Cambria Chorale, is a member of Allied Arts Association and is a lifetime member of the Cambria Historical Society. Walker also volunteers at Piedras Blancas Light Station, the Joslyn Recreation Center “and almost every fundraiser there is,” and attends most Cambria Community Services District meetings.