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Brillion Optimist Club celebrates 50 years

September 20, 2018

By David Nordby The Brillion News

BRILLION – The electric parades. The pizza makes. The fundraisers for schools and youth programs. For 50 years, the Brillion Optimist Club has accomplished what it set out to do when it formed in 1968 – make a difference in the community.

The start of the club came from the Optimist Club in De Pere. That club helped build the foundation for Brillion and soon community members became involved with the group with weekly meetings at locations like Mom’s Place, Deer Run and what is now Cobblestone Creek.

Earlier this month, the group celebrated its 50th anniversary with a dinner at the Ariens Academy.

The night included recognition of Zane Zander, the only remaining original member of the group. Current club president Tammy Koehler presented Zander with the Brillion Optimist Lifetime Service Award.

Zander caused the room to burst into laughter and applause with his speech. He pulled out a one-inch thick stack of paper telling the attendees it was his notes for his acceptance speech.

“It takes a long time for you to write everything down from over 50 years,” Zander joked.

With a much shorter speech in-hand, Zander migrated back to 1968.

“It takes a lot to make a club,” Zander said. “We saw a smooth, constant increase in membership.”

Eventually, women became involved with the group as well. Brenda Buboltz was the first female member of the club.

“I think we became better Optimists because we had pressure from the other side and that didn’t hurt at all,” Zander said.

“I am exceedingly proud of becoming an Optimist, am proud to have been a part of the formation of the club and I will be an Optimist for life,” he concluded.

A lot of other members to the club feel the same way as Zander.

Please see the complete story in the September 20, 2018 edition of The Brillion News. 



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