MALTA – Larry Peterson likes to joke he makes friends everywhere he goes – even with the dogs he meets.
“Malta is a small community, and if you’ve lived here for a period of time, everybody knows everybody,” Peterson said. “We’re a tight-knit community, and we like to help each other.”
Peterson, 83, continues to serve the community as a member of the Malta Lions Club. He is one of the club’s original charter members.
The Malta Lions Club was chartered Dec. 10, 1960, and was sponsored by the DeKalb and Maple Park Lions clubs. Fifty-two members were inducted into the Malta Lions Club. The club’s first project was to install street signs in the Village of Malta and Malta Township.
The Malta Lions Club has continued to do charitable work over the past 60 years. Projects include constructing two shelter houses, tennis courts and bathroom facilities at Lions Park. The club also has planted trees in the park, in the Village of Malta and Prairie Springs Subdivision.
The club has hosted holiday events including a Christmas luncheon for senior citizens at Malta United Methodist Church, a Christmas party with Santa at the Malta Historical Society with the Christmas tree lighting, and an Easter egg hunt with the Easter Bunny at Lions Park.
The Malta Lions Club also has been involved with numerous philanthropic events, including a fishing derby for the handicapped and Ski for Sight, which helps the blind, both held at Shabbona Lake State Park.
To fundraise, the club sells roses on Mother’s Day weekend and hosts an annual golf outing at Indian Oaks Country Club in Shabbona.
The Lions Club sponsors two $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors of DeKalb High School and two $500 scholarships, one for each semester, to nursing students at Kishwaukee College.
Peterson met with MidWeek reporter Katrina Milton to discuss his involvement with the Malta Lions Club since it was chartered 60 years ago.
Milton: Tell me about yourself.
Peterson: I was in the electronic business for 46 years in Malta with Peterson TV. I graduated Malta High School in 1955. I spent three years in the Navy, 1955 to 1958, as a machinist. When I returned home, I formed a partnership with my father and brother to run Peterson TV.
Milton: How did you become a Lions Club member?
Peterson: There was a big drive to create a local Lions Club in Malta in 1960. There were 52 charter members, and I was one of them. I joined right after I returned home from the service. Many members were old enough to be my dad.
Milton: Why did you join the Malta Lions Club?
Peterson: I liked the reason behind the club, community service and helping the less fortunate. It was something to do to help others. I was also on the fire department for 20 years. I think it’s important to help others. I have been the club’s president through the years, and I am a recipient of the Melvin Jones Award. The club has given four of the awards in the last 60 years. I was also named Lion of the Year for our district, District 1-J.
Milton: Why have you remained a member of the Lions Club through the years?
Peterson: I am the last charter member of the club. I like that it has projects for the young and old, everyone can get involved. Although we’re a service organization, we’ve always had good times together. We celebrate the holidays, we do service and charity work together. It’s fun to complete big projects together with lots and lots of help. It’s really rewarding to work together to accomplish the goals and make the community better.
For more information about the Malta Lions Club, visit the Facebook page, Malta Lions.