The Orangeburg Lions Club celebrated 100 years of serving its community with a centennial banquet and celebration on June 18.

Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler recognized the club’s legacy of service during the event.

“You do great things for the people of Orangeburg and, through your services, you make our community a better place,” Butler said. “And that is what we should all strive to do.”

The Lions Club organization was founded in 1917 and currently has over 200 clubs around the world.

In the United States, the organization focuses on providing glasses, eye exams and other vision health needs to underprivileged members of the community, among other general service projects.

When founded in 1922, the Orangeburg Lions Club was the third in the state.

Since then, it has conducted several fundraisers every year to provide for the community and has visited local schools to conduct free eye exams for students. Throughout its history, the Orangeburg club has sponsored 23 other clubs.

People are also reading…

In 1969, Lions Clubs from across South Carolina established Lions Vision Services, a statewide nonprofit that pools individual clubs’ resources to provide glasses, exams and procedures across the state.

“It’s very humbling,” said Daniel Prohaska, president and CEO of Lions Vision Services. “The individuals that we’re working with are individuals that can completely turn their lives around if they just get a little bit of help to get access to the eye care that they need.”

The celebration featured guest speaker Kembra Smith, a member of the organization since 1990, who served on Lions Clubs International’s board of directors from 2014 to 2016.

Smith, from Decatur, Georgia, said it is interesting that the club was originally founded amid World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic.

As it did then, the club stands as a source of community and help for those in need.

“We all need community and we’ve certainly seen that over the past couple of years,” Smith said.

The organization has seen growth in membership recently, according to Smith. Many of the members are younger than the average age of current members, which trends older.

She said this could be due to club meetings going online and attendance not being tracked as strictly during the pandemic.

“Everybody wants to do service,” Smith said. “I mean, the idea of giving out free food to people or doing vision screenings, I mean, no one would not want to participate in that.

“And so we get a lot of younger people that are interested in participating, but they may not be interested in attending club meetings.”

Smith said the organization is focusing on evolving its service to fill other needs, such as environmental and sustainability causes.

Many of the speakers and attendees at the event said they want to see the organization continue to grow and bring in new, younger members.

Though members of the club have to receive an invitation, Smith said there are no requirements or barriers of entry for those wanting to join.

“The only criteria is to have a heart of service and be interested in serving your fellow man,” Smith said.

Caleb Bozard is a news intern at The Times and Democrat through the sponsorship of the South Carolina Press Association Foundation. He is a student at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

#lee-rev-content { margin:0 -5px; } #lee-rev-content h3 { font-family: inherit!important; font-weight: 700!important; border-left: 8px solid var(–lee-blox-link-color); text-indent: 7px; font-size: 24px!important; line-height: 24px; } #lee-rev-content .rc-provider { font-family: inherit!important; } #lee-rev-content h4 { line-height: 24px!important; font-family: “serif-ds”,Times,”Times New Roman”,serif!important; margin-top: 10px!important; } @media (max-width: 991px) { #lee-rev-content h3 { font-size: 18px!important; line-height: 18px; } } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article { clear: both; background-color: #fff; color: #222; background-position: bottom; background-repeat: no-repeat; padding: 15px 0 20px; margin-bottom: 40px; border-top: 4px solid rgba(0,0,0,.8); border-bottom: 1px solid rgba(0,0,0,.2); display: none; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article, #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article p { font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, “Segoe UI”, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, “Apple Color Emoji”, “Segoe UI Emoji”, “Segoe UI Symbol”; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article h1 { font-size: 24px; margin: 15px 0 5px 0; font-family: “serif-ds”, Times, “Times New Roman”, serif; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .lead { margin-bottom: 5px; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .email-desc { font-size: 16px; line-height: 20px; margin-bottom: 5px; opacity: 0.7; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article form { padding: 10px 30px 5px 30px; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .disclaimer { opacity: 0.5; margin-bottom: 0; line-height: 100%; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .disclaimer a { color: #222; text-decoration: underline; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .email-hammer { border-bottom: 3px solid #222; opacity: .5; display: inline-block; padding: 0 10px 5px 10px; margin-bottom: -5px; font-size: 16px; } @media (max-width: 991px) { #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article form { padding: 10px 0 5px 0; } }

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>