By Sharon Hart
Thursday evening, May 5, more than 100 Lions, spouses, and friends gathered to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Clarke County Lions Club, to recognize Lions through service and membership awards, and to reflect on the accomplishments of Clarke County Lions through 70 continuous years of service to our community. Noting that a group of Lions is called a pride, the evening’s theme was Proud to Serve! In addition to Clarke County Lions, Lions from Winchester Host, Winchester Lioness Lions, Winchester Shawnee, Stephens City, Gordonsville, Arlington, Clifton, Annandale, Mount Vernon, and Bailey’s Cross Road also attended.
Seventy years ago, actually on February 6th, 1941, 227 people gathered at the Community Center in Berryville to charter our Lions Club to serve our community – especially the blind, the deaf, and the youth, since Lions had been asked by Helen Keller to be the knights of the blind. The Community Center was located next to the park and in what is now the Dollar General store on South Church Street. The folks who met have continued to ask others to join, and those folks have asked others – so today, Clarke County Lions continues to build on the legacy those 19 charter members and today has 66 members.
When a new club is formed, it is hosted by an existing Club. As they were known in 1941, Winchester Lions Club helped to establish Clarke County Lions Club. Lion Chet Hobert was working in Berryville. Hobert and others decided Clarke County needed its own club and 19 men were recruited to become charter members. The Winchester Lions formed numerous clubs throughout the Shenandoah. On that Charter night, Lions came from Winchester, Purcellville, Charlestown, Warrenton, Leesburg, Woodstock, Front Royal, Martinsburg, Harrisonburg, and even Georgetown Delaware. Gas only cost 12 cents a gallon. The charter night roast chicken dinner was prepared and served for 75 cents a plate by the ladies of the Church but was priced at $1.25 for the attendees.
Lion Greg Hart emceed the gala and looked back to the year 1941. Lion Bev Whiting, a member of Clarke County Lions for 55 years was 21 years old. Elvis was 6. War was underway in Europe, we were not involved, and the Pentagon had not been thought of. Few if any knew about Korea or Viet Nam or the Middle East or the Islam religion. All airplanes had propellers and space travel was fiction. The first U.S. manned space flight would occur only 20 years after Clarke County Lions Club was founded. The ladies fragrance Chanel #5 was introduced 70 years ago. U S Savings Bonds had not been invented, the national debt was $48 billion. Credit cards would not be introduced for another 10 years. Glenn Miller sang Chattanooga Choo Choo, and the Andrews Sisters sang “I’ll be with you in Apple Blossom Time. Disney’s movie Dumbo had just been released.
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The evening’s musical entertainment was provided by Berryville resident and local music entertainer Allan James. Allan sang a repertoire of personally written songs. His song about Berryville reminded us all why we call Berryville and Clarke County our home. Sheriff Tony Roper opened the event by speaking about community service and the many different opportunities to serve and how each made a positive difference in the community. United States Air Force Colonel Bob Dutterer reminded us that the military and Lions serve wherever there is a need around the world. He spoke about how serving through Lions and through the military are making communities stronger around the world. Lion Harry Parker spoke to us about being better leaders and stronger members through active service through Lions. A donation was made to the Blue Ridge Volunteer Fire Company, recognizing their service to our community.
Many Clarke County Lions were honored during the event:
Membership Chevrons recognize years of membership in Lionism. They are first awarded at 10 years of membership and each 5 years thereafter.
Jim Livengood 60 Year Chevron
Jim Wood 55 Year Chevron
Tommy Jones 45 Year Chevron
Fred Curtis 40 Year Chevron
Dev Morrison 35 Year Chevron
John Milleson 25 Year Chevron
Ivan Armacost 25 Year Chevron
Carl Anderson 20 Year Chevron
Barry Nicholson 20 Year Chevron
Richard Catlett 15 Year Chevron
Don De Haven 15 Year Chevron
Greg Canterbury 15 Year Chevron
Simon Newlin 15 Year Chevron
John Lincoln 15 Year Chevron
Jim Kelly 15 year Chevron
Sharon Hart 10 Year Chevron
Perfect attendance recognizes attendance at Lions club meetings, board meetings, service projects and fundraisers. Recognition for Lions Years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 were awarded to the following:
Josh Huff 42 & 43 Years
Jim Livengood 28 Years
Warren Arthur 25 & 26 Years
Trip Hardesty 23 & 24 Years
Bill Propst 18 & 19 Years
Tommy Keating 16 Years
Jim Kelly 14 & 15 Years
Sharon Hart 8 & 9 Years
Greg Hart 7 & 8 Years
Kathleen Ault 5 & 6 Years
Bob Ferrebee 3 Years
John Larrick 3 Years
Dan Sechrist 2 & 3 Years
Mike Malucci 2 & 3 Years
John Gallagher 1 Year
Bob Glover 1 Year
Carl Hales 1 Year
Ron Jones 1 Year
George Dellinger 1 year
Paul Doyle 1 Year
Warren Arthur, Bill Johnston, and Mike Malucci: Received Melvin Jones Fellowships. The prestigious Lions Club International Foundation Melvin Jones Fellowship recognize outstanding humanitarian service.
Tommy Keating: Received the Elbyrne G. Gill Fellowship. The Virginia Lions Hearing Foundation and Research Center recognizes extraordinary service with the “Elbyrne G. Gill Fellowship”. This award is given in support of work preventing hearing loss and aiding those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Sharon Hart: Received the Lions of Virginia Foundation Humanitarian Award. The Lions of Virginia Foundation Humanitarian Award is recognized outstanding humanitarian service.
Doug Kruhm: New Lion of the Year
Bill Propst: Treasurer Extraordinaire
Tripp Hardesty: Outstanding Tail Twister
Bill Johnston: New Sight and Hearing Mobile Screening Unit Technician.
Dick Drake: New Member Sponsorship recognition.
Josh Huff: Key to Lions. Recognizing that “You are the key to Lions.”