Clintonville Lions name foundation in honor of longtime member

Fund will continue Mattson’s work of building ramps for those in need


Contributed Photo Clintonville Lions President Ralph Williams in September presented a plaque to the family of deceased member Allen Mattson announcing the formation of the Al Mattson Wheelchair Ramp Foundation. Shown, from left, are Mattson’s son, Kevin; wife, Octe; Williams; and Mattson’s daughter, Kyla.

To further its community service project of building wheelchair ramps, the Clintonville Lions Club has created a charitable 501(c)(3) foundation to encourage tax deductible contributions.

The newly formed foundation is named in honor of longtime Lions Club member Al Mattson, who passed away in July.

Mattson was remembered and honored at the club’s September meeting. Mattson’s wife, Octe, his son, Kevin, and his daughter, Kyla, and their spouses attended.

Lions President Ralph Williams presented the family with a plaque stating that the Al Mattson Wheelchair Ramp Foundation was “created to honor, uphold and preserve a commitment made by Lion Al Mattson to provide wheelchair ramps for those in need.”

Mattson’s commitment to building wheelchair ramps began in 1999 when, as a Clintonville High School shop teacher, he was asked by an elderly Clintonville to build ramp for her. He didn’t give it a second thought. He single-handedly designed and constructed the ramp.

Mattson, who had been a Lion since 1971, began to develop a vision of having the Clintonville Lions taking on building ramps for those in need as a community service project. Through his leadership and dedication, the idea developed into the club’s signature service project.

In the last 18 years the club has installed 46 ramps. It has built as many as 10 in a single year (2015). The club recently received a request for another ramp.

Over the years, Mattson developed and improved a design plan for constructing ramps, including uniform sections that could be reused once a recipient had no further need for a ramp.

His drafting background became very useful in his design work. He also came up with a few jigs to assist in the construction and installation.

All of the ramp sections were built at Mattson’s residence. He also used his barn to store reclaimed ramp sections for future use and to store some of the lumber.

The club is currently looking for another location for building and storage, and welcome any donation of space in the community.

Mattson over the years convinced a nucleus of other Clintonville Lions to join him on a wheelchair ramp committee. Current members are Ralph William, Lowell Easley and Jerry Oestreich.

As Mattson’s health began to fail, he took steps to ensure that the Clintonville Lions would continue building ramps. He passed the torch of leadership on to Williams, who is now chairperson of the committee.

Mattson, though, still served as the engineering brain for designing the specifics an installation. During his last installation, when he was seriously ill and was unable to do the physical work, he sat in his truck on-site so he could be available if there were any questions.