Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Members Making Effort to Rejuvenate Lions Club; Callahan: Service Club Chartered in 1947

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Members Making Effort to Rejuvenate Lions Club; Callahan: Service Club Chartered in 1947

Article excerpt

Byline: Amelia A. Hart, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Get ready, Callahan. The Lions are ready to roar again.

Once a thriving part of Callahan, membership in the Callahan Lions Club dwindled over the last decade, dropping recently to less than 10.

But a core group of members has been recruited to rejuvenate the club, which was charted in 1947.

"This is a new beginning, with no ending," President Bill Quaile said.

In its peak years, the Callahan Lions Club had around 30 members, and was a focal point for Callahan residents looking to do good works in the community.

Quaile, his wife, Patsy, and Lorraine Pickett were asked by Carl Harrell, the Northeast Florida District governor, to reorganize the club with an eye on building membership back to previous levels.

Harrell said he thought the Lions Club needed to be in Callahan.

"It's a growing community, and for the past 56 years we've been a part of that community," Harrell said. "We want to stay a part of that."

Patsy Quaile said she was excited about the prospect.

"There are a lot of people here who want to volunteer, but they don't know where to go," she said. "And that's what Lionism is about. By myself, I can't make a lot of change, but together, we can do so much."

Patsy Quaile said Lions Clubs International is the largest service organization in the world, with more than 1.4 million members and 44,000 clubs in more than 180 countries.

Northeast Florida membership has remained steady during the last 20 years, but took an upswing last year with the chartering of two new clubs, bringing membership up to 1,300, Harrell said.

More new clubs are on the horizon, including in Fernandina Beach, which has a branch club, he said. He hopes that branch will garner the 20 members needed to become chartered by the middle of this year.

Lions Clubs have focused their efforts on helping the visually and hearing impaired since 1925, when Helen Keller, who overcame the early loss of her sight and hearing to become one of the 20th century's noted activists for the disabled, asked the Lions to become "knights of the blind. …

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