Three local service organizations in Ahwatukee Foothills have for decades been working to make the community a better place. They have raised thousands of dollars over the years to help local residents, as well as international organizations, make changes for the better.

At an upcoming dinner, they will honor some who are also invaluable to the community.

The Ahwatukee Foothills Lions Club, Kiwanis Club of Ahwatukee, and the Rotary Club of Ahwatukee will host members of the fire department, police department, FBI and the National Guard at a dinner, called the Service Recognition Dinner, at the Grace Inn on Tuesday. The community is invited to attend the event and show its support.

"The service clubs are all about giving back to the community and this is kind of a way to show our appreciation for what they have done," said Barbara Lyijynen, member of the Ahwatukee Lions Club. "The last time we did something like this was right after 9/11, and we wanted to do another recognition dinner for these brave men and women close to the 10-year anniversary."

They will be hosting a guest speaker for the event, Ahwatukee Foothills resident and U.S. Navy veteran Jerry Oliver. He has held a plethora of titles over his career, including director of drug policy in Memphis, Tenn., chief of police in Pasadena, Calif., Richmond, Va., and Detroit, Mich.

Two members from each of the fire department, police department, FBI and the National Guard organizations will be on hand at the event. Tickets are $15, and while there will not be proceeds to donate, the overall focus is to show appreciation from one service organization to another.

This day and age, I believe showing that gratitude is just as important now than it has ever been. Gratitude not just to members of the fire, police and other governmental organizations, but also to Kiwanis, Lions and the Rotary clubs. For example, the Kiwanis Club of Ahwatukee was chartered in 1981, and will celebrate 30 years of service in December. Currently, its focus is to support organizations that help children in need all over the world.

The Lions Club is currently helping those who have impairments in their hearing or vision. They have been serving the Ahwatukee Foothills community since January 2003 and have done fundraisers and donation events to aid organizations like the Kyrene Foundation, which provides clothing, food, toiletries and more to local families in need.

The Rotary Club of Ahwatukee Foothills was chartered on June 3, 1988, and like their co-sponsors they provide specific and valuable services to the community. Most recently, they hosted a drive to collect water bottle, which were donated to the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

It is important to acknowledge these clubs and the work they do in the community and beyond. The fact they came together to honor other groups says a lot.

"I think it's a really good thing that all the local service clubs are joining together," said Robert Anderson of the Kiwanis Club of Ahwatukee. "We each do something different for the community, but our goal to make the world a better place is the same."

The Nov. 1 dinner will go from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Grace Inn, 10831 S. 51st St., and tickets can be purchased at the door prior to the event. To RSVP, contact Lyijyen at (480) 570-2272 or email

To find out more about each club, and to see times and dates for upcoming meetings and events, visit their websites: Kiwanis at; Rotary at; and Lions Club at

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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