By Madge Wylie
The August program of the Melba Valley Historical Society to be held following the August 14 Senior Citizen dinner and feature the story of the Melba Gun Club which (excluding churches and Ladies’ missionary societies) is probably the oldest active organization in Melba.
The current president, Lou Mowan, will be telling us about the activities and changes undergone by the Club since our fathers were in charge three-quarters of a century ago.
Lou got involved in the local club a few years ago helping Ray Montgomery who has been keeping the club going for years until poor health has slowed him down. (He now assists Lou when he can.)
Lou became president in 2008 and has been keeping things going stronger than ever. He keeps track of the membership, has created a web page, mails flyers to those who don’t have email and emails members and non-members to keep them up on the activities. He keeps up the grounds and is a handyman, so fixes electrical or whatever mechanical things that need to be fixed. He arranges for charity events and shoots for kids which involves those in the community and brings in shooters from around the Treasure Valley.
Lou started his career working for his dad in the ‘50s repairing automobiles and pumping gas, when it was 12.9 cents a gallon, he recalls. When he graduated high school he got a job as a painter’s helper in a body shop at an Oldsmobile dealership in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. After one year he became head painter. During that time he helped a body man rebuild whole cars for no money because he wanted to learn the whole body business. A few years later he opened his own body shop that he ran until 1988.
Misfortune struck when his wife was hit by a semi-truck that had run a red light and resulted in her being in a coma for eight months. He was forced to sell his business to pay the bills. She was in rehab in Indianapolis where Lou took a part-time job painting cars at a Hyundai dealership. There he was introduced to a claims manager from American Family Insurance. He was asked to go to work for them as a claims adjuster. He stayed there until 2000 and retired as a Regional Claims manager.
Realizing he had nothing to do and was antsy he took a job as a General Manager for a large corporation that owned 17 body shops. They moved Lou to Boise, Idaho. He retired again in 2008. That’s when he showed up the Melba Gun Club and started helping Ray Montgomery.
Lou and his current wife, Debbie, moved south of Nampa to be closer to Melba and the Gun Club. He says they really like the Melba community and spend a lot of time in the area.
I hope you will come to the dinner and stay for the program, meet Lou, and find out what’s going on around Melba.