Ithaca Lions Club 70 years of Community Service
Who could have foreseen what was to come from that historic event on October 10, 1951. Twenty-eight Ithaca Charter Members and guests from the sponsoring Waverly Club met at the Hotel Statler to form the Ithaca Lions Club. The Ithaca Lions Club has succeeded in achieving many goals along with memories of lasting friendships and good times.
The directors at their first meeting in November of 1951 under the leadership of Charter President George Schempp voted to man the Salvation Army kettles and erect a Christmas tree at the Children's Home. Armistice Day parade saw the newly formed Lions riding a Stanley Steamer down State Street. They collected items for a Christmas basket for an aged blind man. Later in the spring Lions operated a gas station and gave birth to the first "broom sale". The Club in 1951 sponsored a program to combat unlawful use of narcotics.
In the early years the Ithaca Lions donated to the U.S. Olympic Wrestling team, sponsored a community auction, provided clothing and food to a needy family. Arranging eye surgery and paying the hospital expense for a boy injured in an accident was nothing strange to the Lions. They held an amateur show, chicken barbecue and entertained 17 members of the NATO Nations Public Relations division.
Since 1951, the Ithaca Lions have BBQ'd many chickens, flipped many (millions and millions?) of pancakes, sold light bulbs, coverlets, candy, candles, brooms, Christmas trees …….
The Ithaca Lions Club has provided service to children and adults with eye exams, eye glasses, preschool viosion screenings, hearing aids, and guide dogs, as well for being instrumental in helping children with speech, hearing, and language impairments.
The Ithaca Lions Club is involved with youth activities including Lions Camp Badger and have sponsored children for the annual Lions International Peace Poster Contest.
The Ithaca Lions Club hosted the Russians Children's Choir for an All-American picnic at Lions Camp Badger and continued this international out reach with the Malaysian Children's Choir Upstate New York tour and the Ithaca Children's Choir concert tour in Spain.
The Ithaca Lions has assisted with the "Grandma's Attic Sale" and Golf Outings to benefit Lifelong.
The BBQ pit and roof at Cass Park were built and donated by the Ithaca Lions. The Salvation Army storage shed was also built and donated by the Ithaca Lions Club .
The Ithaca Lions Club has also collected and recycled thousands of eyeglasses and hundreds of hearing aids.
Each year the Ithaca Lions Club provides a college scholarship to an Ithaca High School student.
The Ithaca Lions Club also counted votes on election night, before vote count went electronic, for over 50 years.
In April of 2019 we opened the Ithaca Lions Free Vision Clinic, in partnership with the Ithaca Free Clinic, to provide free Optometry and Optician services to uninsured adults once a month by appointment from a donation from long time Lion Jim Rider and support from the Essilor Foundation.
All proceeds from fund raisers are for community projects, club members pay all administrative costs.
To the Ithaca Lions Club "We Serve" is not only our motto, but a definition and philosophy - a tradition that we are celebrating for the 70th year and continuing into the future.
We would especially like to thank all the non-members and spouses that have helped us through the years.
That tradition is carried on today by Jean Hyde, Art Straight, Nancy Avery, Ereign Seacord, and Doreen Allabaugh. We couldn't do what we do without you.
We would also like to thank the many people in the Ithaca Community who over the years donated eye glasses, hearing aids and contributed to the Lion cause with their support of our fund raisers.
We owe a special debt of gratitude to the Waverly Lions Club and the original twenty-eight charter members of the Ithaca Lions Club for their foresight and determination to start a service club in Ithaca 70 years ago - a club that continues to flourish.
1951 Charter Members 50 year plus members
J. Richard Agard James R. Dormady
Edward J Barnett Peter Romani
Charles W. Bell Niel Massa
Earl L. Berry Ron Havard
Bruce G. Dean
Keith N. Downing
Harold A. Fish
John P. Floroe
Roland E. Haskins
Frank B. Howe, Jr.
Robert J. Morris
Clarence F. Morse
Frank M. Scales
George C. Schempp
Howard E. Shephard
Bernard C. Sigler
Francis J. Sigler
Harold E. Smith
Anthony J. Sturm
Paul H. Sturm
Stanley H. Tevits
John H. Van Order
The Ithaca Lions Clubs is part of a world organization.
Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with 1.4 million members in more than 44,000 clubs in approximately 207 countries and geographical areas.
Lions are men and women who volunteer their time to humanitarian causes.
Founded in 1917, the association's motto is "We Serve."
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