The Lions Club sounds like something out of a comic book, only these heroes are the real deal. Founded in 1917 in Chicago, Illinois, Lions Club International is around the globe, helping people in need and serving many. The Syracuse Chapter was founded in 1951 with 25 members, barely 16 years after the city itself was founded.
From the start, the Lions Club has served its community, aiding in both large and small projects. Their first major project was in December of 1951 in which they created a Children’s Christmas Party.
The next July, they began a 4th of July celebration called “Friendship Days”, and it was one of the only ones in all of Davis County. It was a large event with a fishing derby, concessions, and often a dance. This was done until it evolved into what we know today as Syracuse Days.
Their commitment to the community is apparent as their projects continued to have a huge effect on the community. They built tennis courts, helped build the city bowery, installed park softball lights, and founded the Syracuse Lions Blood Bank, of which R.C. Willey was the first recipient. Thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of labor were donated to complete their many projects.
Everything they have done, has been to improve their city, their community, and their world. “Lions Club International is the only service club allowed in China,” said Lion Lynn John. “They know we’re not there for any other reason than to help them.”
That has continued into today, as the Lions serve across the city and beyond. The Lions help with eye testing at local elementary schools. The machines the organization uses can detect at least six eye problems that can be fixed in young children, something that traditional tests couldn’t. They also collect, sort, and label old used eye glasses that are then shipped around the globe.
As Diabetes has become more prevalent, so has knowledge about it. The Lions Club had a wonderful fundraiser on June 25th to help raise awareness about the optical hazards it can produce and to raise money to donate to non-profits to help in the fight.
The Lions Club continues to help and be an active member of their community. On Memorial Day weekend, along with other holidays, they put out flags on the graves in the cemetery. They also created a directory for those who are looking for a grave site, whether they are doing family history work or visiting from out of town.
They also have purchased a Lions Bench and a drinking fountain for Chloe’s Sunshine Playground. The bench itself is at the Lions Conference, held for all members, after which it will be shipped and installed for parents and children to use.
Their motto is “We Serve”, and this simple statement describes what a Lion stands for. A Lion stands for kindness, service, and compassion. A lion gives of themselves to those in need.
Chapter President, Sandra John, said, “When you serve as a Lion, it gets you into the community and you meet so many people you would never meet otherwise.”
If you are interested in becoming a Lion, they hold meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of every month at Thai Jasmine and everyone is welcome.