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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Rocky Mount Lions celebrate 90th anniversary
Local club exemplifies ‘we serve’ motto
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New and returning officers of the Rocky Mount Lions Club include, from left, Ted Futscher, president; Roger Seale, treasurer; James Guilliams, 2nd vice president; Kirk Sampson, district governor; Joe Menefee, 3rd vice president; Tommy Robertson, Lion tamer; Peggy Santrock, one-year director; Jerry Beckner, membership chair; and Joyce Gordon, secretary.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

By EMILY WOOD - News-Post Intern

The Rocky Mount Lions Club celebrated its 90th anniversary on June 22 at the Gereau Center.

The club was first organized on June 20, 1924, and chartered on June 24, 1924. The Rocky Mount branch is the second oldest in the state of Virginia.

The Rocky Mount club was recognized for being one of the top six clubs out of almost 40 in District 24-E.

The Lions club is a service-oriented organization usually associated with sight projects. The Rocky Mount club sponsors the Leader Dogs for the Blind program, provides eye exams and glasses to those who cannot afford them, and conducts multiple eyeglass and hearing aid collection projects.

But the Rocky Mount Lions Club has contributed to all types of projects locally and around the world.

In the past, the Rocky Mount club has contributed to the building of a school in South America, worked for the relief of flood victims in Southwest Virginia, and helped individual fire victims in the area.They also used to host American Red Cross blood drives, helped hang Christmas lights throughout the town, and sponsored Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church's camp for underprivileged children.

"We stay tuned to the local needs of the community," said Roger Seale, treasurer of the Rocky Mount Lions Club.

The Rocky Mount club helped to provide the high school baseball and football fields with lights and co-hosted the 2010 Lions Club State Convention at Hotel Roanoke.

"This year, we helped make Christmas for three families and awarded a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving senior," said Joyce Gordon, secretary of the Rocky Mount Lions Club.

The 2014 recipient of the William H. Brammer Memorial Scholarship was Kelly Lynn Bennett of Franklin County High School. Bennett will attend Radford University in the fall to pursue a degree in elementary education.

"We also made a $2,500 donation to the Donna Sink Pediatric Fund," said Gordon.

The Rocky Mount Lion's Club has also recently made a donation to the Rahab's Rope Organization against human trafficking in India.

In 2012, they donated flags and parade belts to the American Legion Post 6 in memory of SSgt. Charles Santrock, a club member who served in the U.S. Air Force in Korea and Vietnam.

The club sponsors the Lions Quest program in local elementary schools, which replaced the DARE drug awareness program. They also sponsor the Peace Poster Contest at Benjamin Franklin Middle School and Carilion's Camp Too Sweet for children with diabetes.

The local club receives most of its money through broom sales, music concerts, Radio Days on 1570 AM, and other small fundraising projects.

"One hundred percent of the money we raise goes back to the community," said president-elect Ted Futscher. "One of the best things that ever happened to me was to get into this club."

Rocky Mount Lions also provide scholarships for campers at the W.E. Skelton 4-H Center and make donations to the Boys and Girls Club of Virginia when needed. They own the Lions Field on State Street, which is maintained by the Franklin County Parks and Recreation.

Gordon planned and catered Sunday's event. Two new members and 11 new and returning officers were installed at the ceremony. Ted Futscher was elected president, taking the place of Jerry Beckner.

Although not a Lion, Raymond Williams was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellowship award for his devotion to the club.

Empty chairs were reserved and flowers were placed in a vase in memorial of members Georgia Hodges, Charlie Davis, Charles Santrock and William H. Brammer, who have died since the 85th anniversary celebration.

"Lions Club International will be 100 years old in 2017," said Past International Director Richard Chaffin. "It has made a difference and will continue to make a difference in the future."

"The only way we could get better at what we do is to serve more people," Chaffin added. "It's a matter of how you can serve better and be a better citizen."

Lions clubs nationwide have historically been associated with projects that focus on helping people with visual and hearing impairments. Lions International, established in 1917, was challenged by Helen Keller at the 1925 International Convention to become "Knights of the Blind."

"Our motto of 'We Serve' perfectly exemplifies our dedication to helping those in need," said Jim Newman, Lions Club District governor-elect.

There are 46,000 Lions clubs worldwide with more than 1.35 million members in over 205 countries.

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