Public invited to celebrate clubâ€™s 50 years of fun, charitable fundraising
by Paula Coughlan
MAPLE PARKâ€”In 1960, the DeKalb Lions Club sponsored the chartering of the Maple Park Lions Club. Meeting at the Blue Moon Restaurant in Elgin, Ill., that April, the new chapter elected its officers including a Tail Twister and Lion Tamer.
For those unfamiliar with Lions lingo, current Maple Park Lions President Larry Stachura explained the purpose of these two official club positions.
â€œThe Tail Twister promotes harmony, good fellowship and enthusiasm at meetings through the judicious imposition of fines on members,â€ Stachura said. â€œHe himself may not be fined unless by unanimous vote. The Lion Tamer is the custodian of club property such as flags, banners and gavels and is the sergeant at arms during meetings.â€
Ken Hinchy has been part of the Maple Park Lions Club longer than any of its other membersâ€”more than 40 years. He said what he likes most about the club is the camaraderie with his fellow Lions. Hinchy has participated in many of the clubâ€™s fundraisers over the years.
â€œOne of my favorites is when we raise money by selling roses for Motherâ€™s Day.â€
The price for a dozen roses from the Maple Park Lions is $15. Stachura said that all funds that the Maple Park Lions Club raises at its events go back into the community for numerous charitable purposes.
â€œAlthough fighting blindness is the Lions main focus, the Lions contributions are far reaching,â€ he said.
Through the annual rose sale and dozens of other fundraisers each year, the Maple Park Lions have been able to pay for eye exams for the needy and vision testing for diabetes, paint the Legion Hall, and buy a computer for the Fire Department ambulance.
Every year, the club also gives scholarships to students from the Fox Valley Career Center in Maple Park. This yearâ€™s scholarship recipient was Stuart Hopkins, who will attend Waubonsee Community College.
The club also joined with the Rockford Lions, hosting events for the blind such as skiing, bowling and dances, and this fall, the club will offer a screening for retinal diabetes.
About the club
Source: Lions International
Maple Park Lions Club has a membership of 26 men and three women. To become a member, a person must be invited to join by someone currently in the club.
The Maple Park Lions Club is one of 45,000 charters in 190 countries that are part of the International Lions organization. In 1925, when Helen Keller challenged the Lions to become â€œKnights of the Blind,â€ she could not have possibly imagined the impact of Lions commitment to blindness prevention, a club brochure states.
Lions International has established eye banks worldwide, funded ground-breaking research on leading causes of blindness, organized eyeglass recycling and helped hundreds of thousands of visually impaired people develop productive skills. Through SightFirst, launched in 1990, the Lions have approved more than $280 million in grants for humanitarian services, disaster relief, immunizations, and vocational assistance.
Lions International was founded by Chicago businessman Melvin Jones in 1917.