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Sistersville Lions Club ­— We Serve

By Randy Rutherford - Staff Writer | Dec 9, 2020

Sistersville Lions Club Members

Lions Clubs International was founded in 1917 by Melvin Jones from Chicago, IL. Jones’s vision was to form humanitarian clubs dedicated to helping local communities across the United States. Over the last 100 years, clubs have expanded internationally and today can be found in over 200 countries with 1.4 million members. Today, Lions Clubs International is the largest humanitarian organization in the world. The Lion motto is “We Serve”.

In 1947 the Paden City Lions Club sponsored the Sistersville Lions Club which still serves our community today. Lions have long focused on helping individuals avoid blindness and assist with other sight difficulties. For the past 73 years Sistersville Lions have assisted local individuals in need with financial help for eye glasses. In addition to assisting the visually impaired, Lions are now active improving humanitarian issues like Diabetes, childhood cancers, hunger and caring for the environment. Through the WV Lions Sight Conservation Foundation, Lions in WV have assisted with funding for the WVU Eye Institute.

Lions Clubs International Foundation has helped with disasters around the world including here in West Virginia. Over the years the foundation has given $1.7 million dollars to the people of West Virginia for flood relief including our local county.

The Sistersville Lions are very active locally. They are well known for their continued support of the Sistersville Park and Pool. Initially the Lions helped with fundraising to build the city pool.

A veteran Lion Club member shared back in the1960’s the club raised money for the pool by taking their nickel pitch glass stand to every carnival and fair within driving distance in the West Virginia area. In 2017, two new pieces of equipment were added to the park with help from the Harry and Olive Barth Foundation and Lion Eric Peters. Over the years, members have assisted with painting playground equipment and planted ornamental trees in the park grounds. Just this past summer a Lions Club crew spent a Saturday giving the playground equipment a much needed facelift. The most well know Lion Club activity is the annual Halloween Parade, but due to the COVID Pandemic the parade this year was changed to contestants submitting photos virtually. The Club has helped meet local food insecurities by donating to the community Backpack Lunch Program. They have also made it possible for children to attend the Kno-Koma Diabetes Summer Camp by their donations and sponsorship efforts.

Current members consist of President Mary Ellen Benincasa and husband Michael, Eric Peters, Debbie Durig, Greg Goodfellow, Dave Miller, Steve and Linda Leasure, Brandon Chadock, Greg and Tammy Cross, Tammy Forrester, Tom Gilligan, Jenetta Thoms and Terry and Judy Yeager. Meetings are held at the social room of the First United Methodist Church the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30. Due to COVID, the club’s business has recently been conducted by phone and email. If interested in learning more about the Sistersville Lions, please contact any member listed above.