Dodge Center Lions Citizen of the Year a ‘go-to guy’
Roger Deyo is known for helping people out of jams. Snow day? He’ll drive you to work. Constructing a new playground? He’ll be there. Doctor appointment at Mayo Clinic? He’ll take you.
It’s his renown as a ‘go-to guy’ that prompted Dave Hanson, fellow Dodge Center Lion, to nominate Deyo as this year’s Lions Citizen of the Year. Deyo was honored July 16 by the Dodge Center Lions and given a plaque for his efforts.
“I nominated him because he’s done so much for our organization over the years,” Hanson said of Deyo. “He’s a go-to guy. You call Roger and he’s there. With many of our projects, he’s got his hand up. He’s right there and helps us with all of our projects. He’s also a cheerful person.”
Deyo joined the Lions in 1972 and served until 1983, when he joined the local school board. The meetings conflicted so Deyo stepped back from the Lions while he served 12 years on the school board. Then it was back to the Lions in 1995.
“When I look back and think about it, it’s a good organization,” Deyo said. “We do a lot of stuff people don’t even know about.”
Some of his favorite Lions exploits have involved helping children. The annual Lions Halloween party stands out to him as a favorite undertaking, as well as Santa Anonymous at Christmas time. The Lions also give dictionaries each year to the third grade children in Dodge Center and on Arbor Day plant a tree with the second graders. The Lions recently built a playground in Dodge Center, and Deyo said the group raised $35,000 to pay for the new playground.
“We are very involved,” Deyo said.
His wife Janice echoes him, adding, “The Lions for a small town are very active. Not just in a small way. I mean they really get involved.”
The couple has one daughter, Darcey, and a granddaughter, Morgan, 19. The couple has been married for 63 years and met at a small town skating rink.
Among Roger Deyo’s past professions are working at IBM for 30 years, and owning Roger’s Roadsters in Dodge Center, which was a car business. In his younger years, he also served in the Army National Guard and then afterward in the Air Force.
In his many years with the Lions, Deyo has held every office available, including president, secretary and treasurer. “If Roger is ever asked to do anything, he’ll never say no,” said family friend Sharon Thiemann. “When he had the car business, he used to loan cars to anybody who needed one.”
Deyo has coached baseball and served on his church board. Janice said Roger is known by one of her friends as “the man with the white hat.”
“A lot of stuff I do, I didn’t realize it was special,” Deyo said. “I just do it.”
Of being named Citizen of the Year, Deyo is humble.
“I was flabbergasted,” he said. “I knew I had been nominated but I still didn’t think I was the most deserving.”
But Dave Wahlstrom, who is on the Citizen of the Year Selection Committee, stands by the decision to honor Deyo. “He’s done so much not only for the Lions Club. He’s been involved in a lot of community things,” he said. “He’s just a good guy.”