The Raton Lions Club received its charter from Lions International in 1945. Their motto is "We Serve" and through the years,
various fundraising projects have been done to benefit the Raton community, New Mexico Lion projects and International
eyesight projects. Eyesight education and preserving good eyesight has always been one of the major goals of all Lions Clubs,
as well as other child assistance programs and community service projects. The Lions collect used eyeglasses, which are
catalogued by a Lions Club back east for distribution to poor nations in dire need of eyeglasses. Since Helen Keller
challenged the first Lions members to improve and protect eyesight, most International programs focus on her challenge
through their Campaign Sightfirst program which provides funds to eradicate eyesight problems around the world.
Back row (L-R): Charles Hyde, John Brown, Frank Mahannah, Delmer Sims.
Middle row (L-R): Jim Mullings, Linda Palomino, Wes Brown.
Front Row (L-R): Pat Frensh, Betty Brown
In 1946 a Raton Lions member, Glenn Karlin, was so taken by the Madrid, New Mexico display depicting the life of
Jesus that he convinced other members to begin a display in Raton, which at that time, was a nativity scene and a Christmas
tree on the courthouse lawn. It grew each year with the addition of scenes and moved to several locations until finding a
more permanent home in Climax Canyon at the end of Apache Avenue. In the 1950's, storybook characters were added and placed
along the eight blocks of Apache Avenue. The 2007 season marked the 60th display of the City of Bethlehem.
Beginning in December, another Lions sponsored program for 5th graders is led by Kearny fifth grade teacher Joelyn Pafford called Liberty Day Kids. She has a testing system whereby the Liberty Day kids must demonstrate their
leadership and willingness to do the research to be chosen for the program. This year 17 were chosen for their knowledge of
the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and its signers. Their final step in the process is a trip to Santa Fe to
observe the state government in action, and to meet with representatives and other government officials. During the spring,
these fifth graders receive a small American flag along with a presentation by Lions Club members, explaining the importance
and history of the American flag. Raton has eleven members and invites others interested in community service to attend a
meeting at K-Bobs at 6:30 p.m. on each Monday evening unless it is a holiday.