By SUSIE SPITLER
Courtesy of the Record Herald; Printed 10.28.12
WEST MILTON - The Oct. 9 Milton Memories recording session covered the West Milton Lions Club. President Al Roark spoke first. The organization was started in June of 1917 by Melvin Jones with the purpose being community service. It became international in 1920. Their motto is We Serve.
Some of the areas they support: environmental projects; fighting diabetes; working with community youth; etc. So far in 2012, through the Knights of the Blind program they have contributed over 25,000 pairs of glasses. Through the World Health Organization, they have provided eye services to over 120 million children and funded over 8 million cataract surgeries.
Richard Markley reported that their club was started in 1951 through the sponsorship of the Vandalia Club. They began with 20 charter members. It increased to 40 by 1952 and 50 by 1955. They are presently at 20 members and encourage interested people to join them. A few of the beginning members were: O’Callagan, Harmon, Beetley, Schumaker.
Some of their money raising projects have been: selling brooms and light bulbs; turkey raffles; fruit cakes, roses and rose bushes; Donkey Basketball at the high school; bingo; White Cane Day and others.
Some of the community projects they have helped fund: assisting the development of the West Milton Park and adding shelters; porch light campaigns to fight polio; they have funded a number of projects for the schools and football field; contributed toward the purchase of seeing eye dogs, etc.
Winston Klepinger joined in 1966, the same night the club opened up to women members. There was some controversy over that, but it is no longer an issue. The ceremony was held above Kenny Shade’s Furniture Store downtown. He talked about the impact of polio and the bread campaigns as well as the building of the park shelters.
Sherynne King talked about the women’s Lioness Club before they joined together. They met once a month in homes. They did not join internationally so they could keep their dues local. They had their own projects and also helped the men with theirs. Before his passing, she and her husband Ron were very active here and in Florida for more than 30 years. She is still active in both clubs.
Bob Menker shared that the bread project ran from 1951 to 1968. The bread project was to raise money for polio research and treatment. The Lions would publicize the date ahead of time and people who wanted to take part put their porch light on. The members would go to those homes and receive a donation for a loaf of bread. One of the fellows said someone gave him a $300 donation for one loaf of bread. The panel detailed that when they started they paid 8 cents for a loaf of bread, and the most they ever paid was 14 cents.
The Lions provide a $50 Good Citizenship Award to a Milton senior and two $500 awards based on community service.
In 1978 they took over the blood drives from the Jaycees. Other local donations have gone to the library building, the Senior Citizen’s building, Kid’s Club, eye exams and glasses as needed.
Jack Scudmore shared that they have sponsored the annual Fourth of July celebration since 2006. This brings 8-10,000 people into the Milton community. In 2012, the 18-20 minute fireworks display cost $15,000 – all raised by donations from those attending and local businesses and organizations.
So many more things were shared. You can catch the full session on Channel 5. You can borrow a DVD from the library or purchase one as soon as they are available. The next session will be Nov. 13. The topic is the Masons and Eastern Star.
For further information call Barb at (937) 698-6559 or Susie at (937) 698-6798.