A nurse at a Lions health clinic at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles examines an infant in 1937. CHAMPIONING CHILDREN NEVER GROWS OLD Soap box derby drivers take a break in 1947 in San Francisco. Boston Host Lions treated children to lunch in 1948 at the Hotel Kenmere. Lions from other states join the party. Shown are Philip Cerrado (from left) of the Central Lions in Chicago, William Rowe of Boston and Rudy Fritsch of Garner, Iowa. THE VERY FIRST LIONS PROJECT IS LOST TO HISTORY. But we are certain of one of the first: in November 1917, just months after the first convention ended, Oklahoma City Lions began a campaign for more playgrounds for boys and girls. Helping children no doubt was an easy choice for Lions, many of them fathers. Within three or four years of Lions’ founding, headquarters had established a committee to aid needy children, and many clubs quickly climbed on the bandwagon. In 1921 Des Moines Lions in Iowa delivered 40 pounds of beef barbecue for a picnic at the Home for Friendless Children, Saginaw Lions in Michigan supported Boy Scouts and Fresno Lions in California volunteered to be Lion “dads” at a sumptuous banquet for fatherless children. At the 1923 convention in Atlantic City, Lions learned that clubs undertook 88 different kinds of aid to children, and that more than half of the clubs took part. So it has gone decade after decade: Lions care for children, far from friendless when a club is nearby. Patients at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan enjoy a ceiling book projector donated by Gratiot Lions in 1947. Looking on are Lions Stephen Pike (left) and Joseph Lang. Lions in St. Petersburg, Florida, provide a “device for speech correction” for handicapped children in 1948. Shown are C. E. Long (from left) of the Optimist Hearing Clinic, speech specialist Grace Randall Wright and Dr. Joy Adams, a Lion. Orphans in Los Angeles enjoy a beach party in 1951 thanks to Lions. William Bethel accepts the first-place trophy in the public speaking contest of the San Jose Lions Club in California in 1952. The topic was Learning to Live Together. Yankee great Yogi Berra gives some pointers to the Pinehurst Lions Club Little League baseball team in North Carolina in 1955. Children in Chinatown in New York race during a day of sports and fun held by Lions in 1955. Rita Butters, 8, who has cerebral palsy, sits on the knee of Edward Marshall of the Boston Host Lions Club, which corrected her vision impairment in 1956. Also pictured are her foster mother, Waldo Tewksbury, and George Toohey, an eye specialist. Freckle-faced James Doyle Wyatt, 9, backed up by his father and cubmaster RichardWyatt, receives an award from Norman Larson of the Denver Area Council of BoyScouts in 1960 for saving the life of his younger sister, whose dress caught on fire aftera mishap. James beat out the flames with his hands. Also shown is Rex Mosier of theWestwood Lions Club, sponsor of his pack. Teenagers dance at an event at the convention in Chicago in 1958. Warren Heathman of the Portland Downtown Lions Club in Oregon plays Santa’s Helper, fitting shoes for two children in 1958. Children from the Pillsbury Settlement House in Minneapolis enjoy a Lions’ outing to Duluth in 1965. T. M. Glidewell (left) and Casey Hayes of the Commerce City Lions Club in Colorado present math and science awards to Stephen Farnsworth, 15, and Alberta Bertapelle, 15, in 1963. A boy’s dream comes true: born with a defective heart, Santiago Cervantes, 13, of British Honduras grips the soccer ball he always dreamed of owning. His heart was surgically repaired in Toronto in 1969. Watching are some of his benefactors (from left): Lion Terry Ashford of Toronto, constables Fred Smith and Barry Andrews, Lion Howard Lowe and surgeon Dr. Peter Forbath. Lisa Peterson, 7, uses parallel bars provided by Denver Lions to walk and exercise in 1969. Therapist Carol Sullivan helps Troy Isakson of Broomfield, Colorado, use a therapy table, provided by the Stapleton International Airport Lions Club in 1974. Elgin Lions in Illinois donate a customized wheelchair to the Elgin Easter Seal Center in 1960. Lions shown are Willam Snellgrove (left), Robert DeYoung (right) and Robert Juby (kneeling, right). Don Pendleton of the Columbus Lions in Georgia puts a raincoat on a student at Edgewood Elementary School in1976. Lions gave the rain gear to safety patrol members.
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