RIO GRANDE — In late October, Gallipolis Lions Club members gathered at the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College dining hall to celebrate the clubs 60 years of service to the community and world.
Helping to celebrate were local dignitaries and district and regional Lions Club leaders. President Rick Howell opened festivities by welcoming everyone and especially the Past International Director Steve Glass and his wife Past District Governor Cindy Glass.
Recognized in attendance were 14 clubs from Ohio and West Virginia. Lion Jeff Fowler introduced several community leaders who presented to the club honors and recognition for the club’s last 60 years of service. Among them were Gallia Board of County Commissioners David Smith and Harold Montgomery declaring a proclamation recognizing Gallipolis Lions Club Day as Oct. 22. Tony Gallagher, of the Gallipolis City Commission, issued a proclamation honoring the Gallipolis Lions Club for the week of Oct. 16 through Oct. 22. From the Buckeye Sheriff’s Association, Gallia Sheriff Joe Browning issued a 60th anniversary certificate of appreciation. State Representative Ryan Smith offered a tribute to the club for its 60 years. Three club members received certificates of appreciation from the Past International Director on behalf of the International President Chancellor Bob Corlew. Those receiving the award were Chris Homer, Ollie Paxton and President Rick Howell.
Glass was the keynote speaker and spoke on “lionism, volunteerism and the future of the Lions Club.”
Hobart Wilson, Jr., was recognized by the club for 60 years as a charter member. He received his plaque of honor Nov. 1.
Howell then recognized all attending past residents of the club and introduced Past District Governor Chris Homer and Past District Governor Rick Tipple.
Randy Shaffer provided musical entertainment. District Governor Sue Diehm closed the ceremony with a view back on club members from 60 years ago in comparison to 2016.
Wilson observed the Lions Club was the “youngest” of the three major civic organizations in the area 60 years ago. The Gallipolis Lions Club was organized August 13, 1956, in the dining hall of hte Lafayette Hotel on Court Street. An initial meeting was held on that Monday, Aug. 11, to determine if area residents were interested in forming a Lions Club. Reportedly 83 members attended and voted yes. The club’s charter was presented over two months later to initial President F.H. (Mac) McGraw on October 16, 1956, by Dr. Lester Krieg, of Marietta, during charter night activities held at the Grace United Methodist Church. Reportedly 125 members were inducted. The Pomeroy and Point Pleasant Lion’s Clubs sponsored the newest organization.
Today, there are 33 members and one charter member, Wilson.