RICHMOND — A meet-and-greet event at the Richmond Park main shelterhouse on July 28 was an occasion for the Richmond Lions Club members to enjoy a picnic-style meal and install officers for the 2022-23 club year, but it was also the backdrop against which younger guests on hand were encouraged to be the “new blood” to keep the 73-year-old club thriving and contributing to the community.
The informal gathering included the officer-installation ceremony conducted by longtime member Larry Neptune and the continuation of Ken Miser in the president’s post. Serving with Miser are Sanh Huscroft, first vice president; Dustin Van Fossen, second vice president; Leonard Orwick, secretary; Mark Johnson, treasurer; Linda McConnell, tail twister; Josh McConnell, one-year director; Brian Applegarth, two-year director; and Taylor Cain, three-year director.
The nominating committee included Wayne Everhart, Phil Flenniken, Van Fossen, Orwick and Cain.
Don and Becky Swickard and Aaron and Kim Richardson constitute the membership committee.
Noting that Lions Club is the world’s most active and largest service club with “We Serve” as its motto and sight-saving as one of its missions, Miser reviewed some of the club’s projects and upcoming fundraisers.
“I think we’ve been a very successful club. I think we’re headed in the right direction,” Miser told the group.
The local club awards $1,500 in scholarships to three Edison students; donates $500 to each of the local four churches; and tests students in Edison schools and elsewhere with its Welch Allyn SpotVision Screener, an estimated $8,000 purchase made possible in recent years thanks to the generosity of five contributors.
In a matter of seconds the hand-held device can assess whether a person has farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism and other sight-related issues.
The club collects used eyeglasses, with Miser noting he recently turned in 316 pairs to Wal-Mart as part of a partnership it and Lions Club International have for refurbishing and distribution to those in need.
The club recently initiated major improvements to the basketball court at Richmond Park, dedicating it in memory of Lions member Bob Alpino, and will pay tribute to the memory of Pete Olivito with a memorial bench.
Both club stalwarts were responsible for reviving the club when it was on the verge of folding at one point, according to Miser, who appealed to the younger generation in attendance — some already on board as members and others apparently interested — to keep the club vibrant .
“We need you young guys,” Miser commented. “We need young blood in here to keep this going, so hopefully it’s something you’ll want to get involved in.”
Orwick shared his appreciation.
“I would just like to thank all the young ones here for getting involved in this community, putting it back on the map because we were at a standstill in this club and it’s your community, your future, so thank you,” Orwick said.
Annual dues are $60 per person or $90 for a couple. The club meets on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Membership inquiries can be directed to Miser at (740) 765-2027.
“We appreciate anyone who can make it to any meeting, but we understand you make plans and life happens,” Miser said, noting that when he was recruited as a member by Alpino, Alpino said club membership ranks fourth behind faith, family and vocation.
Chartered in March 1949, the club has been a functioning, active part of the community for 73 years, Neptune pointed out.
The club’s key fundraisers include the ninth-annual golf scramble headed by Aaron Richardson.
It will be held Sept. 11 at Spring Hills Golf Course in East Springfield with a shotgun start at 8:30 am
The cost is $75 per person and includes 18 holes with a cart, continental breakfast, snacks at the turn, dinner and drinks. Prizes are $500, first place; $400, second place’ and $300, third place. A skins game, drawings and a 50-50 will be part of the event.
Players and sponsors are being recruited. Checks can be made payable to Richmond Lions club and mailed to Aaron Richardson at 1566 County Road 41, Richmond OH 43944. For information, contact him at (7400 381-1945 or the course at 9740) 543-3270 to sign up.
After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 precautions, the club will return to having its cash bash in February on the Saturday before Valentines Day.
The club will have a presence at Quaker Day on Sept. 24 from 11 am to 2 pm which is sponsored by the Richmond Community Historical Society and held near the Crew House Museum on Main Street.