Woodstock Lions Club celebrates 75 years

The Woodstock Lions Club celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.

Ray Powell, club treasurer and club member for 10 years, said the organization has done a lot for the communities it serves since its formation in 1941.

“It’s a fun group of people working together,” he said.

He said the club’s focus is improving sight and hearing for community members, especially children.

The club, working with school nurses and other Lions clubs in the county, visits schools to provide sight and hearing screenings to approximately 1,850 students each year.

“If kids can’t see, they can’t learn,” he said.

The club has provided 35 to 40 pairs of glasses to community members each year as well as covering the cost of eye exams. Members also collect used glasses and hearing aids to have cleaned and refurbished and they are given out to those in need. He added that the club also pays for the fitting charge “which may be one or two hundred dollars, versus several thousand dollars” when buying new.

Powell said the club also provides aid to other health organizations in the county, including the Shenandoah County Pregnancy Center, Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter, Relay for Life and Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging.

Shenandoah County Public Schools’ central campus schools are also helped by the Lions Club. He said three scholarships each year are awarded to Central High School students “predominantly on a need basis.”

“Over the last 10 years we have provided 30 scholarships,” he said. Funds are also given to the after-prom party for the school.

He said fundraising efforts include an annual golf tournament in August and a White Cane fundraiser to provide information about sight and hearing and collect donations. A cash party is held each year where a limited number of tickets is sold and cash prizes are awarded. Powell said it  “raises the biggest amount of our funding.”

“It’s a very busy organization,” he said.

The club will be holding an anniversary dinner meeting tonight. Those attending include the lieutenant governor from the Lions District, Woodstock Mayor Jeremy McCleary and Pam Murphy, executive director of the Shenandoah Community Health Clinic.

Powell noted that in the past year the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce presented the club with the Nonprofit of the Year award.

The club meets at the Woodstock Presbyterian Church for a dinner meeting on the first and third Monday of each month.

“Anyone is welcome as a guest,” he said. “We’re always looking for new people.”

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com