Mother’s Day will be bittersweet for Dana Baars of DeKalb this year.
“I just lost my 18-year-old daughter a few months ago and we’re expecting our new baby now, so this Mother’s Day is going to be very special for me and for my mom and for his mom, as well,” said Baars, who was in Malta on Saturday morning with the expectant father, Kris Bray.
The couple was selecting roses for their mothers from the hundreds in the garage of Larry and Debe Fullington, members of the Malta Lions Club who were hosting their annual Rose Day.
Rose Day is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for Lions Clubs across the country. Some affiliates sell daisies, carnations, or even bushes, but roses are the most common item.
The Malta Lions Club, which was founded in 1960 and has 31 members, has been doing a Rose Day annually for its existence. They started selling them on Mother’s Day weekend about 15 years ago, said Gary Kuhn of nearby Clare, who has been a member for 35 years.
“It works really well for Mother’s Day. I don’t know how much bonus we get out of it, but it always happens to be graduation for Northern also,” Kuhn said.
This year, the club will be selling 500 dozen roses for $15 a dozen. They purchased the roses from Glidden Campus Florist in DeKalb. If there are any remaining, they will give them to residents of local nursing homes.
Kuhn sold 30 dozen roses and bought some for his wife and mother. He said he also delivers roses to a couple of widows of former Lions Club members.
The money raised goes toward scholarships for high school students and equipment for the two well-used playgrounds in town – one of which is Lions Park.
“I take my grandkids down [to the park] almost every day, and one day I counted 18 kids there,” said Debe Fullington, one of four female members of the Malta Lions Club.
Andrew Almburg of Malta bought flowers for his mom.
“She put up with three boys rough housing and running around, but always kept us straight. She’s really proud of all of us, and we’re proud of her,” Almburg said. “Mother’s Day is really important to show her that we thank her for all she did.”
The Almburg brothers planned to go over to his parent’s house Sunday to work in their mother’s big garden.
“She usually uses the boys for labor on Mother’s Day. We’re happy to do it,” Almburg said.
He and his wife are expecting their first child in October, so he was buying her a dozen roses, too.
“It’s an unofficial Mother’s Day gift,” he said.
Austin Cook, 11, of Malta was getting roses for his mother, Dawn.
“She cooks really good meals and if we need help with homework or chores, she’ll come out and help,” he said.
Austin also made a “Mom” crown at school with small green jewels and a heart on it to give to his mother.
The Cooks were going to spend time with Dawn’s family, including her mom and grandma, at their lakeside cabin near the Quad Cities.
“I’m just a lucky man that she picked me,” Doug Cook said about his wife.
Jerry Herrera of Rochelle was picking up flowers for his girlfriend, Sheri, from her two kids. They were going to have both of their mothers over for a family cookout on Mother’s Day.
His mother was widowed when his dad was 49, so she raised the kids by herself after that.
“She was a great mother. She made a lot of sacrifices for us,” he said.
The Fullingtons also were selling Vidalia onions from their garage Saturday, and several people bought both roses and onions for their mothers.
“It wouldn’t be my first choice,” Fullington said, “but we can always use them for putting on hamburgers. It is the grilling season.”