Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

LASTING LIONS SERVE WITH PRIDE; the Arlington Lions Club Celebrates Its 60th Birthday

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

LASTING LIONS SERVE WITH PRIDE; the Arlington Lions Club Celebrates Its 60th Birthday

Article excerpt

Byline: LAUREN DARM

As the Arlington Lions Club prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary tonight, Walter McLanahan is celebrating another year.

His birthday was Monday, but the age he turned wasn't the milestone worth mentioning. Instead, McLanahan recalled 38 years of dedication and service as a Lion to Jacksonville's Arlington community.

"Times have changed," McLanahan said. "But no matter how much time has passed, Lions are always about helping people in the community. What we do goes on and on and on."

From the first meeting of 10 people in 1949 to about 50 members in 2009, the Arlington Lions Club has always stayed true to the Lion "We Serve" motto of performing community services and raising financial support for charitable foundations throughout Arlington and Florida, its members say.

The Lions started raising funds at their founding by selling mops and brooms on street corners until bingo was introduced as a way to seek contributions. Moving from slide cards and paper ballots to electronic bingo boards, members say the club now raises and donates about $200,000 a year to help people in need.

"We help those that are less fortunate than ourselves," McLanahan said. "And there are a lot of them out there."

The club gives its time, money and services to multiple organizations including: The American Diabetes Association, Meals on Wheels, City Rescue Mission, Nemours Children's Clinic, Ronald McDonald House and the Millard Conklin Center for people with multiple disabilities in Daytona Beach, along with various youth baseball and football programs in Jacksonville.

But the cause holding a special place in the hearts of Lions is serving the blind and visually impaired.

"We're big on helping the blind," said Richard Bennett, past president and a member for seven years. …

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