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International Director Keynote Speaker at 81st Annual Raccoon Dinner

The 2024 Danville Lions Club Raccoon Dinner will be held Monday, February 5th at the St. Luke’s Community Center, located immediately behind the Danville St. Luke’s Catholic Church. The meal will be served from 4:30 until 7:00 p.m. on a first come, first served basis. At 6:00 p.m., the Devil Land Jazz Band will perform for the attendees across the street from the Community Center in the High School Auditorium. The main event will follow at 7:00 p.m. with the Keynote Address by Lion International Director Ron Keller.
International Director Ron Keller, from Millersport, Ohio, USA, was elected to serve as a Director of Lions Clubs International at the 2022 Lions International Convention. (full bio on line – see link below*).  Director Keller has more than 35 years experience as an administrator and event coordinator. He is currently the Cultural Arts and Events Manager for the City of Columbus.  He joined the Millersport Lions Club in 1979 and has served as general chairman for the Millersport Lions’ Sweet Corn Festival.  He has received numerous awards – International President’s Awards, International President’s Certificates of Appreciation, an International President’s Leadership Award, and is a Melvin Jones Fellowship recipient.  (full bio online – see link below)
Additionally, a raffle drawing for a Henry 22 Mag Rifle will be held at 7:00 at the program location, tickets are available at the door and at various locations in Danville.
Net proceeds at this year’s Raccoon Dinner will be used to assist the family of Brian Durbin, who recently passed away from cancer at 45 years old.  Brian was a dynamic and effective community leader, Knox Fair Board Member, Union Twp. Trustee, and a Certified Paramedic and Captain for the Eastern Knox Co. Joint Fire District.  He leaves his wife Jillian, & young children Hayley & Cody. Silent Auction will be held.  Additional donations welcome.

            In 2022, the Danville Lions Club, coupled with donation from other Ohio Lions District OH-7 clubs and individuals, and the Danville Knights of Columbus, raised over $10,500 to assist Dalton Shelton with his traumatic brain injury rehabilitation and home improvements to accommodate his accessibility needs.   In 2023, a donation of $2,500 was made from the proceeds of this event to the Danville Street Lighting project instituted and initiated by the local community development organization Main Market & Beyond.

            If you are not able to attend, direct donations designated to Brian Durbin Family Fund are welcome and appreciated, mailed to Danville Lions Club, PO Box 506, Danville, OH  43014.

            Clyde Banbury and Clyde Cornell started the first Raccoon Dinner. The meal was served in  Banbury’s basement with 30 in attendance. After a few years, the annual dinner was moved to the school cafeterias and then later to the St. Luke’s Community Center, since the interest in attending dramatically increased over time. As the event evolved, guest speakers were included as part of the program. There have been many notable and outstanding speakers such as Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes, OSU head coaches Woody Hayes and John Cooper, Gordy Coleman (Cincinnati Reds), Jerry Razor (newscaster), Ed Johnson, Steve Newman, Andy Geiger, Bill Conley, Craig Krenzel, Greg Frey, Katie Smith, Matt Finkus, Bobby Carpenter, and many more. The largest attendance to the event was over 800 people.

            At the Dinner, almost 500 pounds of raccoon is served as the entree coupled with a full course setting of mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, vegetables, and a generous serving of fresh homemade cornbread. A limited amount of ham is prepared for those wishing to attend whose health may not permit them to consume the raccoon.

            The participants come from all over the United States and Canada to attend this famous event. Past events have seen a gentleman fly up from Missouri in his airplane just for the dinner and a newspaper editor come from Pennsylvania attending to enjoy the unique cuisine.  The event has had visitors from places as far away as Russia, Venezuela, and Egypt.  The 85-year-old Danville Lions Club, chartered in 1939, was sponsored jointly by the Fredericktown and Mount Vernon Lions Clubs. Since the beginning, the Club has truly lived up to the Lions Motto “We Serve.” They have sponsored and facilitated many hundreds of fundraising events and service projects to help the Danville area community and its citizens.

            For information about the 2024 Raccoon Dinner, contact the Danville Lions Club at (740) 507-3898, pcrow@downtownoptions.com<mailto:pcrow@downtownoptions.com>, on Facebook at Danville Lions Raccoon Dinner or www.facebook.com/RaccoonDinner/<http://www.facebook.com/RaccoonDinner/>      

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