A new local service organization – the Liberty Township Lions Club of Highland County – received its charter last month and is now looking for more members and discussing community projects to undertake.
While the club is not sure what local task it will tackle first, it will have something to do with issues the local community is facing, said Guiding Lion Charles Newland, a past Lions Club district governor who has spearheaded the drive to get the new club started.
“One of our members is interested in homelessness, and another very important issue is the drug epidemic,” Newland said. “I’ve talked to the county sheriff and we’re going to collect some information and see how we can help with that. And the Methodist Church has asked us to help with the food giveaway they do on Saturdays.”
The club currently has 23 members and is meeting regularly on the second Monday and fourth Tuesday of each month at 110 S. High St. in Hillsboro. The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 25 and Newland said community-minded individuals are invited to come and join the club or just visit.
To join the club there is a $35 initiation fee and annual dues of around $65 with half due every six months.
On Aug. 26 the new club will hold its “charter night,” which Newland is kind of a celebration when each new member is recognized as an official Lion, there is a dinner and more.
“It’s just kind of a chance to kick it off and let people know we’re here,” Newland said.
Newland said that while the new club is just getting started, the long-established Hillsboro Lions Club will continue to operate as it has for many years.
Lions Club, according to Newland, is a concept developed by a group of businessmen who were discussing what they could do to improve their community. For 100 years, he said, this discussion has been carried on in 48,000 communities in over 200 countries around the world.
“It’s not the discussion alone, but the actions that precipitated from the discussions that satisfied local and global needs that is important,” Newland said.
According to Newland, Lions Club actions have resulted in it being Hellen Keller’s Knights of the Blind; contributed to the formation of the United Nations; the planting of nearly 20 million trees worldwide; being a major supporter of scouting, youth sports, foreign student exchange programs, and the Hugh O’Brian for Youth (HOBY) Program; partnering with the World Health Organization toward the eradication of measles, hunger and river blindness; and satisfying many local community needs.
“We have built eye hospitals in India, operate an eye research lab at Ohio State University, developed a pilot dogs program, support the Ohio School for the Blind, and support Habitat for Humanity (among other programs),” Newland said.
However, Newland said, a single local Lions Club is where it all starts.
Today local Lions Club projects include, but are not limited to, support of KAMP Dovetail, providing glasses for students who cannot afford them, recycling used eyeglasses and hearing aids, aid to the elderly, food banks, several youth programs including LEO clubs, scholarships, Lions Quest, supporting community festivals, adopt-a-highway clean-up, park clean-up, support of other Lions clubs’ activities, holding pancake and sausage breakfasts, selling candy and brooms, and working with other venues, according to Newland.
At the end of their first century of existence, Newland said Lions numbered more than 1.44 million worldwide. He said that at the beginning of the club’s second century the plan is to continue to grow Lions clubs so that, “If there’s a need, there’s a Lion.”
Newland said Lions Clubs International is focused on pediatric cancer and diabetes, hunger, the environment, sight and youth programs.
“Local Lions Clubs regularly revisit the discussion about what can we do to improve our community,” Newland said. “This is where we need a cross-section of community-minded people – labor to CEOs – and representatives from all generations – millenniums through the greatest generation. Each of these groups have a different perspective and need to have a voice today and take actions that will make tomorrow better than today.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.