Lodi Lions Club celebrates 75 years

The Lions Loewens Den is one of the Lion's Club's park projects.

In early 1940 a bunch of men with sturdy last names and a pair of initials for first and middle got together at Ruby’s in downtown Lodi and laid the groundwork for a new Lodi Lions Club — one that has lasted for three-quarters of a century. In that time hundreds of men and women donned their yellow and purple Lions apparel and lived up to the Lions Motto: We Serve.

At over 50 members strong, the Club is celebrating its 75th year this week, culminating in a formal dinner to be held at Woodbridge Golf & Country Club on Saturday at 6 p.m. A Lions International director, Larry Dicus, will be attending the dinner along with other Lions officials and civic leaders. In addition, the Club will hold its regular noon meeting at its adopted park – Emerson Park. For dinner ticket information, contact Joe at 329-0882.

The Lodi Lions Club supports local community groups and individuals through service projects, donations and sight and hearing assistance. The Club meets every Wednesday at noon at Frank Johnson/Burgundy Hall at the Grape Festival grounds. For more information or to get involved with the Lodi Lions Club, contact Lion Past-President Larry Dold at 339-9036 or Membership Director Don Cooper at 747-5957.

The Lodi Lions Club is part of Lions Clubs International, founded in 1917 by Melvin Jones, an associate of an insurance firm in Chicago, Ill., when he asked the question of local businessmen’s groups, “What if these men, who are successful because of their drive, intelligence and ambition, were to put their talents to work improving their communities?”

Lions Clubs later focused their efforts in sight conservation and related services at the behest of Helen Keller in 1925, when she addressed the Lions Club International Convention, challenging the Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness”. Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with more than 1.35 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in more than 207 countries and geographical areas around the world.

• Lodi Lions Club activities

Throughout its history, the Lodi Lions Club has strived to live up to its motto: We Serve. Through various fundraising activities, the Club has funded a variety of projects and programs, and has made numerous contributions to charitable and civic organizations, public agencies and individuals. The following sections describe these contributions to our community.

• Past Community Projects

Some of the major projects include Emerson Park renovation, LOEL Senior Center landscaping and beautification and Lodi Memorial Hospital addition room sponsorship. Some other projects include tree plantings at various Lodi parks, renovation projects at the Lodi Grape Festival, Lodi Boys and Girls Club, Women’s Center, Animal Friends Connection, Lodi High track and field, Lodi Animal Shelter, One Eighty Teen Center and Lodi House.

Current Lodi Lions Community Programs include Lion’s Love Lodi, a grant program for non-profit organizations; medical equipment loan program for residents in need; rest home visitation, the Lions Multiple District 4 annual student speaker contest and the scholarship program.

• Scholarship Program

Each year the Lodi Lions allocates money for scholarships for graduating high school students. Historically, scholarships have been awarded ranging from $750 to $1500. To qualify, students must live within the greater Lodi area and plan to attend a two or four year college.

In the beginning of the year, the Lions Club board of directors determines the number of scholarships and the amount of each scholarship to be awarded. In January, scholarship applications are mailed out to the Lodi high schools and those high schools in the surrounding areas in which Lodi area students may be attending. During the months of February and March students are allowed to submit a scholarship application to the Lodi Lions Club. A key to the application process is an essay from the applying student on what “Community Service” means to them.

Once the March 31 deadline has passed for the scholarships submission, review and scoring is completed by Lodi Lions Club scholarship committee. Those students winning the scholarships are notified and invited to the Club at which time the scholarship recipients are to give a brief presentation regarding their college plans and goals. Also, at that time, award certificates are handed out to each winner. Prior to the beginning of the school year, checks are sent to the schools in which the winners are attending.

— Source: Richard Prima

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