Seventy-five years of Lionism was celebrated at the anniversary dinner of the Cadiz Lions Club held at the Scott United Methodist Church, and Lamont and I were happy to be part of the celebration on Nov. 12. This was just two days from the actual 75th year the Lions charter was made official on Nov. 14, 1936.
We shared a table with Bill Sanders, someone I have known from my days of working at Hatcher Brothers, Builders Equipment and Builders Concrete; Jack Campbell, Jefferson County Veterans Association chaplain and Brilliant American Legion; Evelyn Farmer; and Rita Cline, the female vocalist for the group with two names and two different types of music, "Vinyl Classics," with 1950s music and "Flight," with religious music.
Over the years, the club purchased 2,000 pairs of glasses for those in need, donated $3,000 to the Harrison Community Hospital building fund, funded eye operations, and sponsored blood pressure, glaucoma and diabetes clinics.
Front, from left, Dawn and Jeff Barnhart, Bob and Cathy Burdge. Back, Bill McGowan,
Chuck Bizzari, and Dale Davis.
Their youth projects included financing summer camps, 4-H programs, foster children, Boy and Girl Scout projects, American Legion baseball, girls softball and band members sent to International Lions Convention.
They held flower and broom sales, played a part in the Relay for Life by filling luminaries for the lighting ceremony, took part in festival and Christmas parades, donated $3,000 to the Puskarich Public Library, sponsored a food stand at the Harrison County Fair, rang the bell for the Harrison County Salvation Army, collected Christmas toys and delivered holiday baskets to the needy.
These are a few of the many projects conducted over the past 75 years by community-minded members, starting with Fred J. Wagner as president and John W. Bigger serving as secretary the first year.
Now, Dale Davis is at the helm, with Scott Blackburn as vice president and John Visser as second vice president. Tim Mizer, secretary for six years, along with being both president and secretary together for two years, is secretary again. John Tabacchi, president in 1955, 1984 and 1999 and secretary in 1947 and 1948, is serving as treasurer again. William Sanders, membership chairman this year, served as club secretary on 18 different occasions. All members are truly dedicated and step up when needed. They follow the Lions motto of "We serve."
Pastor Richard Hasley gave the invocation and benediction. I realized that I knew his wife, Janet, who was a wonderful exercise leader at a nursing facility and invited me to join in.
Mayor Kenneth Zitko read a proclamation honoring the club for its service through the years and listed many of their accomplishments.
Beth Johnson, first vice district governor, was keynote speaker. After being introduced by Blackburn, she gave a history of the Lion's great success. "The club started in 1917, when Melvin Jones, a Chicago business leader, wanted to bring together leaders interested in bettering their community. The New Association of Lions Clubs was formed, and it went international in 1920, first in Canada. At the 1925 International Convention, Helen Keller challenged the members to assist in blindness causes and they carry this today," she said.
Johnson told the cost of various items in 1936, when the Cadiz Lions were formed. For instance, the average price of a car was $600; gas was 19 cents per gallon; the average house was about $6,200; bread was 8 cents; milk was 48 cents; and a stamp was 3 cents.
Twenty-four members were inducted that Nov. 14, 1936, evening, with three clubs as their sponsoring agent: the Steubenville Lions, Bridgeport Lions and Cambridge Lions.
Greg Halley, second vice district governor, was present to offer his congratulations as well.
Members of the Adena Lions Club were guests at the dinner.
At the start of the anniversary evening, there were 39 members but it increased by eight with an induction ceremony by Dustin Kinsey, zone chairman. New members are Robert and Cathy Burdge, Chuck Bizzari, Jeff and Dawn Barnhart, Bill McGowan and John and Judy Selenski.
It was a touching moment when Tim Mizer started speaking about his early years of living "in a Lions den." He told about his dad, Dave, being elected secretary in 1965, how he and his brother had to go to their grandparents' house on Ladies Night, when dad and mom, Anna, went out. "As there was no television, we sat and counted the cars coming down the highway, awaiting our parents' return," he told the audience.
Tim told about a "vacation" when the family went to Miami for the Lions International Convention. "My brother and I hung out at the pool with the Bennington girls, but we did get to spend a day at Disney World. I'm trying to say my dad was a dedicated Lion. He served as president two or three times in two different decades and was zone chairman. Now he is being named a Melvin Jones Fellow," Tim said with real pride in his voice.
The elder Mizer told of being in Tucson, Ariz., some time ago and learning of the nationality of Melvin Jones, who was an Indian. "I guess he migrated to Chicago later, became an outstanding businessman and established the Lions clubs," he said.
Knight for Sight awards were presented to George Bedway, with the recycle award; Dale Davis, new member award; John Tabacchi, Lions International award for 65 years' membership and service; and posthumously to Ernest Yoho for always being present to help, even during his illness. It was presented to his widow, who was there for the dinner. "Ed always loved to do woodworking. The last thing he did for us was build a cash box for when we had pancake dinners or other money making events," Davis said.
Perfect attendance pins were presented to Bedway, Blackburn, Dale and Jackie Davis, Leonard and Dolly Ferraro, Jack Kimble, Dave Mizer, Tim Mizer, Ed Moore, Sanders, Tabacchi and again posthumously for Yoho.
Years of service awards for those present went to Don Bethel, 15 years; Dave Mizer, 45 years and Tabacchi, 65 years.
Entertainment with 1950s music was provided by Robert and Rita Cline, a husband and wife duo; and Fred Postlewait. John Tabacchi, who introduced the group, apologized about being behind the times in having "Four For Him" listed as the name of the singing group. Upon losing a member they now have two names: "Flight" when they do religious services and "Vinyl Classics" when singing 1950s songs.
I could relate to all their songs, such as "Return to Sender," "Under the Boardwalk," "Step By Step," Sam Cook's "Cupid" and the one I dearly love, "Unchained Melody."
In singing the religious songs, they sang "Precious Memories" and ended with Robert Cline telling about being at Disney World and being chosen as "Veteran of the Day," and helping to lowering the flag in the park. The bandstand was draped with a Marine flag, Cline's branch of service during the Vietnam War.
They sang "The Statue of Liberty" to close, with some of the words being "The statue liberates the citizens, and the cross liberates us all."
(McCoy, a Smithfield resident, is a staff columnist and food editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily times. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)