Van Nuys Lions in California get ready for eye exams at the Salvation Army in the early 1960s. How to sum up what Lions were all about? Time Magazine neatly did the trick in 1958. The magazine ran a major story on the huge international convention in Chicago that year. Lions were described as hail-fellows-well-met, quick to slap a back and tell a joke. But beneath their cheery demeanor was a steely resolve, an unbending focus on improving their towns and cities. Ebullient Lion Harvey “Cookie” Cook of Beechview, Pennsylvania, was the life of every party, the guy with a gag, the man of high spirits and unflagging energy. But he was dead serious about his ultimate intentions as a Lion. “One human being helping another—that’s Lionism,” Cook told Time. “Service to humanity—that’s Lionism.” AT YOUR SERVICE–WHATEVER THE NEED SO WHAT WERE LIONS ALL ABOUT IN YEARS PAST? In July 1927, as detailed in the LION, Long Island City Lions in New York held a spelling bee for schoolchildren (“pomegranate” was the decisive word), Wheatland Lions in Wyoming built a campsite for Boy and Girl Scouts and Inglewood Lions in California brought food, clothing and tobacco to the impoverished Soboba Indians. Skip ahead a few years to 1938. Lexington Lions in Massachusetts gave eye tests to children, the Vivian Lions in Louisiana planted flowers along the town’s new paved highway and Tennessee Lions sponsored a competition for farmers to encourage prosperous planting. The answer to the question about what Lions do is “everything and anything.” Lions always have been devotees of doing—busy bees who carry the nectar of kindness and sweeten the world. 1. In 1935, the Lions band from the south side of St. Louis melded the talents of Lions and community members including youths. 2. Seattle Lions salute an ambulance being loaded onto a steamship for delivery to the city of Anchorage, Alaska, in 1956. A gift of Anchorage Lions, the ambulance was driven “pony express” style by 70 Lions clubs from Memphis, Tennessee, where it was built, to Seattle. 3. Salem Lions in Oregon promote their dog show in 1949. 4. Mint Canyon Lions in California install garbage cans at a picnic area in 1959. 1. Tacoma Lincoln Lions in Washington hold a sports day for children in 1950. 2. Two staffers at Firland, a nonprofit in Washington that serves people with disabilities, take a look at their new movie projector, donated by Lions clubs from the Seattle area in 1952. 3. At the world’s largest bingo game in 1955 in Ottawa, Canada, bingo players—in a quiet, almost prayerful mood—wait for numbers to be called. The grocery baskets were among the 677 prizes for the 20,000 Ottawans who squeezed into a hockey arena to play 52 games over two nights. Ottawa Lions raised $35,000 for a new cancer clinic. 4. Marathon Lions in Florida take part in a car wash in 1951. 5. Football captains from four high schools in Columbus, Georgia, dine with Lions and Lion Pop Austin (standing, right) in the 1950s. 6. Chicago Triangle Lions encourage safe driving in 1955. 7. Grantham Township Lions in Ontario, Canada, work the chuck wagon in 1952. 1. Ted Szywala of the Harwood Heights Lions Club in Illinois displays some of the $1,030 he raised in five hours on Candy Day in 1961. He doubled the $515 he collected from his own pocket. Lions in Columbus, Georgia, kick off their annual broom sale in 1982. 2. After an explosion and fire forced 300 tenants out of an apartment building in Toronto in 1976, Bill Clark of the Bendale Lions Club pours milk for Terrence Munroe 13 months, held by his mother, Curtis Munroe. 3. Walter Adams, chairman of the Lions’ Operation Soap, hands over some of the 250,000 bars of soap collected for soldiers in Vietnam to Marine Captain Bill Bartels at the Sherman Hotel in Chicago in 1966. 4. The specialty of the Dundee Township Lions in Illinois in 1970 is corn and chicken. Lions Bob Hendrick (left) and Mel Schultz and other members sold 1,200 chickens, enabling the club to aid the blind, the high school band and chorus, and Dundee Township Family Service. 5. It won’t be a white Christmas, but Largo Lions in Florida in 1965 get ready for the club’s Christmas parade. The Lions are President Bill Wardell (standing) and Walter Woody, parade chairman. With them is Miss Largo, Donna DeHart.
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