Mayor Molly Hughes explains the history behind the old sign at the town park kitchen shelter and explains a new sign will be installed in its place. Photo by Megan Hansen/Whidbey News-Times

Town, Lions dedicate renovated kitchen shelter

Members of the community gathered Wednesday to celebrate and dedicate the renovation of the kitchen shelter at Coupeville Town Park.

The many months-long project was part of the Coupeville Lions Club’s Centennial project, which celebrates 100 years of Lions Club International.

The project took more than 900 service hours and included replacing equipment, rotting wood and installing new counters, electrical upgrades, coating the floor and painting. Volunteers helped from the Coupeville and Central Whidbey Lions, including additional volunteers from the Town of Coupeville.

The structure has no historic records of when it was actually built, said Mayor Molly Hughes, but based on the recollections of Coupeville historians Al and Roger Sherman, they remember their father working on the building.

It is believed the shelter was built between 70 to 80 years ago and was one of the first projects the Coupeville Lions ever worked on.

Over the years, the shelter has provided a place for the community to use for gatherings. Most recently, it was used to cook and provide hotdogs during the Memorial Day celebration and host the barbecue for visiting Native American Tribes tribes during the Penn Cove Water Festival.

“Our club is very committed to maintain our heritage of service by providing a multi-purpose building for more generations of the community,” said Lion Bob Johnson, who spearheaded the project.

As part of the celebration, the shelter was dedicated to longtime Coupeville Lion Rod Barnes, who passed away last July. Barnes was a member of the club for 35 years and held nearly every position within the club.

“He really helped guide the club,” Johnson said.

Barnes served 33 years in the Navy and upon his retirement, started his “second career” with the Lions.

“Two of the programs he worked the longest for and felt a great passion for were the eyeglass/hearing aid recycling program and being the club’s representative to our Boy Scout Troop 4058,” said Hughes, who is also a member of the Lions. “Because of Barnes, our club has helped restore sight and hearing to thousands of people, and he has helped teach important values and skills to many young men through scouting.”

As part of the dedication, the club unveiled a new sign that was installed on the building in honor of the project and Barnes.

“As the mayor of Coupeville, I am grateful on behalf of the town for this beautifully remodeled kitchen that our residents will enjoy for the next 80 years,” Hughes said. “As a Coupeville Lion, I am proud of our club for dedicating this community asset in honor of a community treasure, Rod Barnes. May we long remember and appreciate him.”