The Pickerington Lions Club will celebrate 65 years of service to the local community with a commemorative banquet next month.
In September 1946, 38 charter members officially formed the Pickerington Lions Club.
Sixty-five years later, the club remains a fixture in Pickerington, and it continues many of the same traditions of its original members, including helping provide eyeglasses and eye exams to those in need in the community.
On Nov. 5, the approximately 45-member club will celebrate its 65th anniversary with a banquet at the Pickerington Senior Center, 150 Hereford Drive.
The event will begin with a social hour at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. It also will serve as an opportunity to look back on the history of the Lions Club in Pickerington.
“Every five years, we do a little celebration,” club president Brian Fox said. “What’s interesting about it to me is the club has been here for 65 continuous years.
“They’ve been doing the same things we do today — the eyeglasses, paying for eye exams and just anything that needs to be done in the community.”
The Lions currently are taking reservations for the anniversary dinner, which will include salad, roast pork tenderloin, lasagna, mashed potatoes, vegetables and birthday cake. The cost of the dinner is $20 per person. Reservations can be made by calling Fox at (614) 833-4728 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to dinner and drinks, attendees will receive a limited-edition pin commemorating the Pickerington Lions Club’s 65th anniversary.
“It’s kind of neat to know you’re part of something that stretches way back and continues to do things that need to be done,” Fox said.
In 1946, the Canal Winchester Lions Club was integral in the establishment of the Pickerington Lions because it served as Pickerington’s sponsor.
At next month’s banquet, Jackie Christensen, president of the Canal Winchester Lions Club, will serve as the event’s guest speaker. He will present and comment on Helen Keller’s famous 1925 speech to the Lions International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, in which she asked Lions to adopt the cause of the blind.
The banquet also will allow the Pickerington Lions Club to roll out its newly published official history. Written by Fox after extensive research of records going back to the beginning of the club, the book looks at the club’s activities and service to the community from the beginning to present times.
It also contains a historical roster of club members. The club is publishing it through Ancestry.com and will print only the number of books ordered. The book can be ordered for $38 through the club.
“We have had a footlocker at the senior center filled with old records and papers and this and that,” Fox said. “It was chock-full with stuff, but nobody really knew what we had.
“One day, I decided to take it home. It had minutes from past meetings, correspondences and old newsletters going all the way back to the beginning of the club. I started going back and it really was tremendously interesting to me.”
Fox said the book highlights the formation of the Pickerington Lions Club, as well as its decisions to focus on helping the sight-deprived and upgrading what now is known as Victory Park. It also speaks to the club’s commitment to annually provide Pickerington’s Labor Day parade and fish fry, and its adoption of local families in need at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In addition to the keynote address, dinner and the unveiling of the book, the Lions Club will present its annual “Distinguished Service Award” to a member at the banquet, and Fox said Lions Club members from throughout Ohio are expected to attend.
“We are a service organization and our motto is, ‘We Serve,’” he said. “We take that seriously and we serve the communiity in a number of ways.
“Our members are excited about (the 65th anniversary). It’s like a birthday. You’re happy you’re still around, but there’s plenty of work still to be done.”