Lions return to Washington area|New club received charter on Tuesday

Published 4:06 am Friday, November 13, 2009

By Staff
Staff Report
Beaufort County Deputy Sheriff Tony Keech Jr. of Washington was searching for a way of helping the community.
Keech said that’s why he accepted the presidency of the new Washington Evening Lions Club, which was chartered Tuesday night at the Washington Yacht and Country Club, returning Lions Clubs International to Washington after nearly two year’s absence.
“I was impressed with the good things that the Lions Club does,” Keech said in an interview before taking office.
Keech said he was looking forward to the challenge of being the new club’s first president.
“It feels good,” he said. “It feels like a great challenge taking it on and running with it.”
With more than 1.3 million members in over 45,000 clubs in some 200 countries worldwide, Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service-club organization. Founded in 1917, Lions Club International is best known for fighting blindness but its members also volunteer for many different community projects — including caring for the environment, feeding the hungry and helping the elderly and disabled.
The organization’s Leo Program, created in the late 1950s, provides young people worldwide with volunteer opportunities through some 57,000 Leo clubs in more than 140 countries worldwide.
Since 1968, the Lions Clubs International Foundation has awarded more than $660 million in grants to support Lions humanitarian projected around the world. In 1990, Lions Clubs International launched SightFirst and, since then, have raised more than $346 million to target the major causes of blindness on a global scale.
Joining Keech as officers of the newly chartered club are Laurel Miller, vice president; Carol Jean Waters, secretary; Kim Congleton, treasurer; Linda Jewell, membership chairman; Lou Waters, Lion Tamer and Betty Brame, Tail Twister. Directors of the club are Charles Baltimore Jr. and Gloria Crenshaw, two-year directors, and Donald Dixon and Vernon Howell, one-year directors.
The club’s charter members are Luanne Black, Nancy Boyd, Lacy Boyd Jr., Stephen Bryan, Jim Buckman, Jim Chrisman, Karen Chrisman, Misty Clark, Meg Howdy, Sandra Jordan, Catherine Keech, Larry Lang, Kendra Lobos, Nisha Mehta, Stephen Miller, Mary Modlin, Dennis O’Neal, Debra Ragland, Joe Stringer, Ryan Whitford, Melissa Whitford, Michelle Windley, Charles Windley and Rachel Wolfe.
Lions Club International members from throughout the region participated in Tuesday’s ceremony including District Governor Robert Walton, Past District Governor Jerry Hughes and the certified Guiding Lion of the Bath Lions Club; Eric Holmes, past president of the Bath Lions club; and Past District Governor and certified Guiding Lion Rhett White of the Columbia Lions Club.
Lions throughout the region began work in August to organize a new Lions Club in Washington after the former club, one of the oldest in the district, disbanded.
“We felt very strongly that we needed a Lions Club in Washington,” said Walton, who presented the charter to the club.
Guest speaker Gwen White, first vice district governor, inducted the charter members and installed the new officers;
“It’s exciting for a Lion to be the first member of an organization,” White said. “Being a charter member is a great honor.”
Hughes presented the club banner.
Also on the program, Washington Mayor Judy Jennette welcomed the club to the community and Charles Baltimore Jr. was scheduled to give the benediction.
Membership in the Washington Evening Lions Club is open to any interested individuals. The club meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday of every month at the Blind Center in Washington. For more information, contact Membership Chairwoman Linda Jewell at the Washington Eye Clinic at 252-946-2171.