The Lorain Lions Club will celebrate quite an anniversary this year.
In October, members of the Lorain Lions will commemorate 100 years of service to the International City.
In its history, the Lorain Lions have helped the recent flood victims of eastern Kentucky and assisted their own community when the Lorain-Sandusky Tornado of 1924, decimated the towns.
However, one of the group’s cornerstone moments came in 1925.
“At Lions International, which was held at Cedar Point in 1925, the speaker was none other than Helen Keller, who challenged all the Lions to become Knights of the Blind, and we’ve been doing that ever since,” said Ed Baker, president of the Lorain Lions Club.
The Lorain Lions Club was formed by three men in April 24,1922: Louis Carek, a florist: Paul Kleefield, a dry cleaner: and optometrist Harry Getrost.
The Lions Clubs International presented a charter to the club Oct. 12, 1922.
In 1925, Carek, Kleefield and Getrost became Knights of the Blind, Baker said.
These men were affiliated with Lions International, which was only five years old at the time, according to the Lorain Lions Club history.
The club’s main objective over the ensuing years has been sight conservation and aid to the visually impaired.
Through innumerable projects, the Lorain Lions Club has raised well over $500,000, which was spent in this phase of service and on many other worthwhile civic projects and community needs.
The Lorain Lions have helped create the research locally for onchocerciasis, commonly known as River Blindness, which uses a special antibiotic to kill the parasite, Baker said.
“Through Ohio State University, we funded research for the creation of contacts,” he said.
Baker estimates that Lions International have raised about $1 billion dollars.
The Lorain chapter of Lions International is built on five principles:
• L – Loyalty
• I – Individual integrity
• O – One flag, one language
• N – New Ideals, new hopes, new ambitions in business and profession
• S – Service that is founded on the golden rule
Throughout the years, the Lorain Lions hosted pancake breakfasts, flower sales and many other fundraising opportunities.
“Absolutely 100 percent of what we raise goes back out into the community,” Baker said.
The Lions also sponsor the Leos at Lorain High School, a relationship that began in 1994 according to the club.
Baker said the Leos of Lorain High are chartered by the Lorain Lions Club and the members teach the principles of the group and Lions International to the Leos club as teenagers.
Once the Leos complete the high school program, they have the option to join the Lorain Lions Club.
The Leos do their own fundraising and they also go out and do community service as well, Baker said.
The Lions Clubs also are known for manning the kettles with the Salvation Army, volunteering at the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio, where members sort and pack food for the less fortunate and paint homes for the handicapped and elderly, according to the Lorain lions.
The Lions Club is also seeking out new members.
The group meets at 6 pm on the first Thursday of every month, and at noon on the second and third Thursdays of the month.
All meetings take place at Rebman’s on the Avenue, 5300 Oberlin Ave. in Lorain.
The meetings include a meal followed by club business.
If you are interested in joining, contact Baker at 440-541-8733 or Bruce McCartney at 440-371-6987.
You can also reach the club via email at LorainLionsOhio@gmail.com.