Decorated Grafton club member embraces new role of state president as another chance to serve
Being chosen to lead the Wisconsin Lions Foundation can be viewed as a step onto the top rung in one of the state’s most prestigious volunteer organizations.
But for longtime Grafton Lions Club member Jack Reindl, his new post is simply the latest in a long line of service roles he’s embraced.
“It’s a progression of steps. I’ve always had an interest in the Lions and have seen all the great things that they do,” said Reindl, who was elected president of the state foundation in July.
“This is another chance to continue the good work.”
Reindl’s role as state chief marks the highest ascent of any Grafton Lion. After joining the local club 13 years ago, he served as its treasurer and president and then as a district director, a position he’s held the past six years.
During his one-year term as state president, Reindl will help oversee service and fundraising projects undertaken by Wisconsin’s 19,000 Lions Club members.
The foundation’s major focus is on six statewide projects: the Wisconsin Lions Camp, an eyeglass recycling center, a hearing-aid recycling program, diabetes education initiative, vision screening and youth projects.
Foundation activities are supported through funds contributed by Lions, Lioness and Leo clubs and individual members as well as businesses, organizations and private citizens
“It presents challenges, but it’s really enjoyable,” Reindl said of his leadership role. “The biggest thrill is seeing the rewards in helping people.”
A popular case in point is the Lions Camp, a free program for children and adults with visual and auditory impairments, cognitive disabilities and other challenges. This year, more than 1,300 campers participated in weeklong activities at the campgrounds in Rosholt.
Through the eyeglass and hearing-aid programs, the Lions collect donated items that are refurbished and distributed to needy families.
Club members provide diabetes and vision screening programs at schools and day-care facilities to help identify children with at-risk conditions.
As president, Reindl has a variety of responsibilities: running quarterly state board of directors meetings, attending each of 10 district conferences and the state convention, reporting to the Lions Council of Governors and writing monthly newsletters.
But attention to detail is nothing new to Reindl, who spent 35 years in retail management before retiring. After retiring as a Kohl’s store manager, he held a part-time position as a job developer with Portal Inc.
Reindl lives in Cedarburg with his wife Dorothy, who joined the Grafton Lions in May. He said he became involved with the Grafton club through his local business connections and with the encouragement of fellow Lion Dave Antoine, a former college classmate.
Family influence played a role, too.
“My father was active in the Lions in another small town, and I saw the things they did,” Reindl said. “That always stuck with me.
“I knew some day that I would become involved.”
Among his many club activities, Reindl singled out serving as a dispatcher for the Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization that transports surgically removed corneal tissue to a Madison laboratory. From there, the tissue is evaluated and prepared for transplants, 800 of which were performed in the state last year.
“It’s really gratifying to know that you can help save someone’s eyesight,” he said.
In recognition of his contributions, Reindl has received a number of honors from the Lions, among them the Birch-Sturm, Melvin Jones and Knight of Sight fellowships and the International President’s Award.
Image information: GRAFTON LIONS CLUB member Jack Reindl has a long list of accomplishments during his years of service with the organization. Last month, he added another leadership role when he was elected president of the Wisconsin Lions Foundation. Photo by Sam Arendt