• by Barbie Porter
While most funds from local chapters remain in the community, some proceeds are sent to the international headquarters, which financially supports leader dogs for the blind, relief during national disasters, youth outreach and exchange programs, a hearing foundation and the Lions eye bank.
“Recently, the Lions organization was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize,” Eldon reported.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is an active Lions member and received the distinguished award in 2002.
“Generally when a holder of the peace prize nominates someone they’re usually awarded it,” Eldon stated.
Eldon admitted he was surprised the organization was nominated.
“This is the first time a service club has been nominated for the peace prize,” he stated. “And we’re just a normal group of people doing volunteer work.”
The Lions Clubs began in 1917 when Melvin Jones, an insurance man based in Chicago, decided to start an organization which would focus on the betterment of communities.
There were a dozen members when it began. The concept quickly spread across the U.S. and went international in 1920 when the first Lions Club in Canada began.
By 1948 the Lions Club spanned the globe, from Panama to Australia.
Today Lions International has more than 1.4 million members in 182 countries.
While the club continues to gain popularity world-wide the local chapter has also seen a slight jump in membership since its inception.
“I joined so I could get to know people and serve my community,” he said, adding Eldon has been a wonderful president and leader for the club.
Eldon said his one fault is not inviting more residents to Lions meetings.
“The meetings are by invitation only,” he said. “But if someone is interested, contact a Lions member and we’ll invite you.”
Upcoming Lions events:
• The Lions International will hold its 92nd convention July 6-10, 2009 in Minneapolis.