Lions Club Groups Celebrate 60 Years | Local News

In 1956, Stewardson and Strasbourg each formed a Lions Club.

Sixty years later, both organizations are still in business thanks to volunteers who believe in the mission of the organization and a strong sense of community.

Strasbourg Lions Club president Justin Krile, 33, said the club’s longevity came from people willing to help.

“We have a great group and we continue to grow,” Krile said. “We have already added 11 new members this year. We believe that our volunteering is one of our strongest assets in Strasbourg.

Being a member of the Lions Club is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. Stewardson Lions Club president Mark Wascher, 65, said his father was a founding member.

However, other members were discovering the organization for the first time when they joined it.

Stewardson resident Charles Doehring was living in Strasbourg when he first joined 40 years ago.

“My neighbor invited me to join,” said Doehring, 81. “Once I learned what they stood for and what they did, I wanted to be a part.”

He likes that the organization helps children who need glasses when their families cannot afford them. Teachers in local schools pass this information on to a Lions member.

Edwin Warner, 88, of Stewardson remembers the beginnings of the Stewardson Lions Club. He has been a member for 59 years.

“I was asked to host the first Lions Club Homecoming,” said Warner. “This first year, they decided to donate a new car. We sold tickets for $ 10 each. It was a lot of money back then. But, we managed to get him to pay, one way or another.

The following year, the club sold tickets for a boat. But after that, the club decided to offer several different prizes instead of a big one.

Carl Lading, a member of the Lions Club of Strasbourg for fifty years, believes that the local club will last long after him.

“I think we will continue forever,” he said. “We have several new young members and this is the backbone of the group. For me, it is also about the fellowship of being with other members.

He is proud to have participated in the reorganization of the park with a new playground after the deterioration of the previous set.

Eradicating blindness and helping the visually impaired became an important part of the Lions Club’s mission in 1925, but the humanitarian organization’s mission began as a way to simply improve communities.

In 1917, founder Melvin Jones challenged people to put their talents into action and make things better in the cities in which they live. Since then, the International Lions Club has grown into the world’s largest service club with more than one million members in 46,000 chapters, according to

As times changed, the all-male organization began to allow women in the group.

Jane Giertz from Strasbourg, who is a member of the celebration planning committee, said she was the first woman to be accepted into the Strasbourg Lions group 27 years ago.

“Our main focus is the visual and hearing aid for all ages,” said Giertz. “But we also have a lot of different community projects. “

Until about 1987, women were not allowed to be members. Today, several women are involved, as well as many married couples. In addition, Leo clubs welcome school-aged members, exposing them to the world of volunteering.

Throughout the year things happen – fundraisers are held, service projects are completed, meals are served, and glasses and hearing aids are collected, to name a few – a few.

“We collect thousands and thousands of glasses and hearing aids,” Giertz said. “These are sorted and recycled and some are sent to other countries for people who cannot afford them. “

Both clubs donate to the Mary Bryant Home for the Blind, located in Springfield.

The Stewardson and Strasbourg clubs gathered on Saturday at the Stewardson Community Building to celebrate their birthdays as one.

The planned event included a social hour, catered dinner, magician, guest speaker and live quartet music.

Members with 50 years of service to their respective Lions Club were recognized in Shelby County on Saturday during the 60th anniversary celebration.

Recognized men include Strasbourg Lion Carl Lading, 51, and Lion Stewardson Edwin Warner, 59. Stewardson Lion Dwight Rentfro has 55 years of service, but was unable to attend.

Dawn Schabbing can be reached at [email protected] or 217-347-7151, ext. 138.

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