By William P. Thompson
The Floyd Lions Club’s 56th annual Country Jamboree this week features more than 40 musicians and performers.
Proceeds from the $5 per person admission will go back into the Floyd community and beyond as Lions Club members have various charitable projects in the works.
Dave Nash, a Lions Club member for the past five years, has come up with a project that will give three students from the area a musical instrument. Money from the jamboree proceeds will purchase a guitar, a fiddle and a mandolin. Winners of an essay contest will win the instrument of their choice.
”That’s part of my mission on Earth,” Nash said. “I want to get music into people’s lives.”
More than five decades ago, the Lions Club started the jamboree to raise funds to purchase uniforms for the Floyd High School basketball team. The number of charitable causes has increased over the years.
“We help different people in the community who are sick and need help with their doctor bills,” Nash said. “We have bought eyeglasses and eye exams for children who can’t afford them. We helped a family last year who got burned out of their home. We were able to give them some money.”
Lions Club member Noel Ripee said the club used some jamboree proceeds to fund a trip last year to New York for two Floyd High School cheerleaders. The cheerleaders participated in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.
“Now the cheerleaders show up at each of our monthly meetings with a freshly baked cake to go along with our dinner,” Ripee said. “It’s all volunteer work that we do. We do it to help the community. We do things like pay the community building’s water bill. I’ve been into music all my life and I like how the music (from the jamboree) is raising money to help people.”
Ripee said he’s proud that the club also gives scholarships to a few high school students each year.
“I like that we help families that have a lot of sickness and I was really happy we were able to help the family that had their house burn down in the fire,” he said.
Nash said the country jamboree is the club’s only annual fund-raiser. Membership dues are $10 a month and anyone can join.
“All they have to do is walk into our meeting and sign up,” Nash said. “We have a steak dinner once a month and the $10 membership fee couldn’t buy a steak dinner like we get.”
The club’s secretary, Fred Patterson, said the club takes in about $5,000 to $6,000 in proceeds from the jamboree after expenses.
“Last year we gave out three $1,000 scholarships, and something like the family’s house burning down usually happens once a year,” Patterson said. “We have money that we have accumulated over the years from the jamboree but usually each year we give out just about what we make from the jamboree.”