Decades of giving: Ironton, Portsmouth Lions clubs celebrate 80 years

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 26, 2003

Eighty years later and the Ironton and Portsmouth Lions Clubs are both still going strong.

The groups got together in Ironton last week to celebrate the milestone 80th anniversary.

The Ironton Lions Club was organized on Dec. 19, 1923 and currently has 47 members. The Portsmouth Lions Club was organized on March 24, 1924 and has 20 members right now.

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Both clubs continue to serve their respective communities.

Ironton Lions member Richard Walton hosted the celebration. Approximately 18 members from Ironton

and 7 members and their wives from Portsmouth attended. Several Lions officials also visited including John Smith, district governor; Ron Barber, vice-district governor; Dr. Robert Nelson, Zone 7 chairman; Floyd Newberry, past international director; and Norm Cupps, past district governor.

"It was very humbling to see all the people that have been Lions for years and years," said Ironton Lions President Lou Pyles. "They would share stories and good deeds. I am very proud to be a part of it, to work with all our great members and also the members from Portsmouth."

The feelings were the same for Portsmouth members.

"It was very rewarding for me and the other Lions. We have always been pretty close with the Ironton chapter," said Louis Teufel, President of the Portsmouth Lions and member since 1975. "It was pretty rewarding that we had a night we could all share and to celebrate the past and look forward to the future with our fellow lions."

Both civic groups participate in a variety of activities designed to improve their communities and help people in need, specifically the vision impaired by funding research for vision and blindness.

The Ironton group makes donations to the City Welfare Mission, the Briggs Library, STAR Community Justice Facility, the Boy Scouts and runs the annual Haunted Tunnel.

"It makes everything worth it when you help a child or someone in need," Pyles said. "That is what the Lions club does. And it takes the whole club."

"I am proud to be a part of the organization for what they do. It is so rewarding to hear the success stories when someone gets a (seeing-eye dog) or gets a procedure. There is no better gift than to hear those success stories."

The Portsmouth group does similar activities. Since 1863, they have donated nearly 4,800 pairs of eye glasses. After the ice storms, the group donated $6,000 to 120 families to help with disaster relief.

Teufel said both chapters are always needing new members.

"Anybody that joins the Lions can get a reward out of it. It is a great organization," he said. "There is nothing we won't do to try and help people."