‘I believe in giving back’: Longtime Lions Club member, veteran continues to serve West Michigan

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SPRING LAKE, Mich. -- Jack Gardner makes quite an impression when he's out in the community giving back. The 84-year-old Korean War veteran stands out, with his handlebar mustache and heavily decorated Lions Club vest.

Gardner helped found the Spring Lake chapter of the Lions Club, the world's largest service organization. Over the years, he's been awarded a pin for each different community service activity in which he has participated. He wears them all on his club vest as badges of honor.

"Wherever I go, the pins go with me. [The vest] only weighs 42 pounds so far," he told FOX 17 News. "I'm proud of it."

Gardner assists with various activities as an active member, whether it's collecting money from the group's candy sales or collecting old eyeglasses as part of the Lions Club recycling program.

"You're helping the blind, the people that don't have anything. We go out of the way to help them out," explained Gardner. "I believe in giving back. God's been good to me. And I believe you have to give back, so I donate time. And He's keeping all the numbers up there for me."

Gardner is celebrating 39 years serving the community through the Lions Club. He's also active with the Grand Haven American Legion and is a troop leader to two local Boy Scout troops.

His two sons have followed in his footsteps as members of the Lions Club.

"He's always willing to do stuff for people. He works very hard for our club," said fellow member Michael Boice. "He's been our rock."

Gardner said he doesn't plan to stop his service anytime soon.

"I'm gonna get a new vest. It's gonna be wider and longer," he joked. "That'll go for another 10 years."

As the July Pay it Forward Person of the Month, Gardener is receiving a $500 prize. He plans to donate the money to charity.

To learn more about the Lions Club, click here.

Know someone who should be featured next month? Nominate them here.

Meet Heidi Tyner, our June Pay it Forward Person of the Month.

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