Founded in 1927 Fillmore Lions Club Celebrates 85th Anniversary
By Gazette Staff Writer — Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
Although it is still a few weeks away the Fillmore Lions Club is gearing up for their “85 Anniversary Celebration” by hosting a recognition of this event on Saturday September 29, 2012 at the Fillmore Historical Society, 340 Main Street. The celebration will be assisted by the Pleasant Valley Lions and Santa Paula Lions Clubs starting with a 5:00-6:30 PM reception and followed by a 6:30 PM dinner. Past District 4-A3 Governor, Chuck Cassy, Ventura Downtown Lions Club, will be the guest speaker. The Fillmore Lions Club was founded on September 29, 1927 and began what would be their eighty-five years of good service to the community of Fillmore.
Members of the Fillmore Lions Club are very visible in the community of Fillmore. For many of us they are most visible with probably five of their most “hands-on” projects; Highway 126 Cleanup, Annual November Enchilada Dinner, Christmas Parade, Fourth of July Fireworks Booth and the May Festival Bingo Booth! Long-time Lions Member, the late Henry “Hank” Carrillo, liked to tell the story of the Highway Cleanup crew meeting up with a customer of a local business along the Highway while the Lions were collecting trash from the Highway. The exchange, as Hank told it was, “It is about time they had you guys payback society!” The customer, as they say, was obviously not from around here, and was assuming the cleanup crew were court ordered miscreants collecting trash from the Highway as a way to payback their debt to society!
Membership of the Fillmore Lions Club has gone up and down over these past eighty-five years and currently has thirty-two members. Many of the members are active in multiple projects supported by the Lions Club and diligently work towards the betterment of the Fillmore Community with fund-raising and “hands-on” projects like Highway 126 Cleanup. Lions is an International organization of about 1.35 million men and women in 207 countries. The main foundation of Lionism is to work, world-wide on projects involving Sight and Hearing. A related focus is on efforts of Lions Clubs to control and prevent diabetes due to its relationship to sight impairment. The current Board of Directors Officers are: President Victor J. Gongora, Vice President Walter Gonzales, Secretary Scott Lee, 1st Vice President Ignacio Toledo and Administrative Treasurer Sheryl L. Downey.
In 1925, Helen Keller challenged Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." The Lions accepted. Today, sight programs remain one of Lions defining causes. For nearly 100 years, Lions Club members Internationally have worked on projects designed to prevent blindness, restore eyesight and improve eye health and eye care for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Lions volunteer to take part in sight projects that have:
Established or strengthened pediatric eye care centers that have helped more than 120 million children.
Prevented serious vision loss for more than 30 million people worldwide.
Improved eye care for 100 million people by training more than 650,000 eye care professionals and building 315 eye hospitals.
Distributed more than 147 million treatments for river blindness.
Provided nearly 8 million cataract surgeries.
Vaccinated 41 million children in Africa against measles – a leading cause of childhood blindness.
Lions Work to Improve Sight and Prevent Blindness:
Recycling eyeglasses at 17 centers worldwide
Supporting Lions Eye Banks that provide eye tissue for sight-saving surgeries.
Screening the vision of hundreds of thousands of people every year.
Preventing blindness by providing treatment to those at risk of losing their vision.
The Fillmore Lions Club is involved in many international and local community service projects. They include; Scholarships for local Fillmore High School Seniors, The Scout Foundation to help maintain the Fillmore Scout House where the Fillmore Lions also meet the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month at 7:00 PM, financial assistance to local Fillmore residents and students in need of examinations and if needed eye glasses, Flag Day where Fillmore Lions Members distribute United States Flags to Fillmore Unified School District 3rd Graders and discuss with them the meaning of our Flag, Peace Poster Contest for Middle School students to enter a poster in the District 4-A3 Lions Annual Peace Poster Contest, Student Speaker Contest by sponsoring a local Fillmore High School student to enter the District 4-A3 Lions Student Speaker Contest, PTA BBQ Fundraiser sponsored by the Lions with all proceeds going to the PTA, and White Cane Day where the Lions fundraiser in front of local businesses in an effort to raise money for the visually impaired.
Monies raised by the Fillmore Lions Club through projects such as their Fourth of July Fireworks Sales are designated annually to many other organizations within Fillmore: Fillmore High School's Athletics, Drama Club, Financial assistance for students who want to take the Advance Placement Tests to college, but cannot afford the testing fees, and Swim Club. Other organizations include; the Fillmore Art Show, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scout House Foundation, Grad Nite Live, Fillmore Pageant, Friends of the Library, Santa Clara Valley Hospice, Fillmore Little League, Relay for Life, Toys for Tots, Sespe Players, Disaster Relief Fund, Band Boosters, Senior Center, Fillmore Historical Society and Koats for Kids. Their scholarships include; Four Annual $1,500 Scholarships for Fillmore High School Seniors, Two $750 Vocational Scholarships and the Hank Carrillo Memorial Scholarship of $1,500.
As a past member of the Fillmore Lions Club I can tell you their plate is full, but their enthusiasm has not waned after all of these years! They are a great group of men and women with a tremendous appetite for Service of Community! I, for one, and I hope all of you wish them a “Happy 85th Anniversary” and may the Fillmore Lions Club service life continue for many more years in this community!