The Homosassa Lions Club held their installation and awards dinner last week at their clubhouse at 3705 S. Indiana Terrace (County Road 490). One of the largest clubs in Florida Lions, District 35-0, they meet at 6 p.m. the first and third Thursday monthly for a time of socializing. And you’d better give everyone a hearty, welcoming handshake or catch the wrath of the club’s tail twister, who will levy a fine on you. Dinner at 7 p.m. is prepared right in their kitchen by Lion Chef Wendy Provost (a secret greeter is appointed to inform the twister of the names of the Lions who didn’t shake her hand).
The twister provides great fun and surprises at the meetings. One time we were surprised that at dinner time, there wasn’t any silverware (the twister was collecting a fee for it). The twister often has uncanny games for us to try to win a prize. She conducts a hat contest at Easter, arranges Valentine’s celebrations, St. Patrick’s events, Halloween costume competitions, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day recognitions — all surprising, all great fun.
With the “We Serve” motto and as Helen Keller’s “Knights of the Blind,” the club is constantly raising funds to help eradicate blindness, provide assistance to the hearing and sight impaired and those that are diabetic, as diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness.
On Mondays, you’ll find a team of Lion volunteers at the clubhouse around 3:30 p.m. setting up for their major fundraiser — Bingo. More than 100 people begin arriving around p.m. and play begins at 6 p.m. Chef Wendy and her crew provide snacks, a chef’s special, and members provide sumptuous desserts (my favorite is the brownie with nuts).
Periodic yard sales give the community an opportunity to rent a table and sell their treasures as well. Many local nonprofits are given the leftover items that do not sell at the Lions Club tables.
Other fundraisers include the 20-20 dinner which includes entertainment and chances to win monthly $20 cash prizes and baskets of prizes at the dinner, the Cobia Fish Tournament refreshment sales and a Texas Hold ’em.
The club sponsored many events at Homosassa Primary School, including a pizza party for the classroom that collects the most used glasses, and a back-to-school shopping trip for 20-plus students to purchase clothes and shoes each year.
One of their main projects is eye exams and glasses for those who are uninsured, and eye surgeries assisted by the Florida Lions Foundation for the Blind. Another one is Southeast Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs, the Conklin Center for those with multiple handicaps, diabetic screenings, retina scans and pedia vision screenings at our local schools.
The club was chartered 62 years ago and has the only living charter member, David Griffin, who actively serves on the building and grounds committee. Lion Dana Comeau has served as the club treasurer for many years. Lions Bob Roswick and Dana are Bingo co-chairs. Our newly-elected twister is Lion Kathy Gordy. Lion Chuck Spewock handles the eyeglass cases.
Lion Bob O’Connell provides outstanding speakers, including our sheriff, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Key Training Center, Fire Department, hurricane preparedness and more.
Lion Ralph DuBall distributes mints to 23 locations around the county and he and Lion Ruth DuBall sort and package the used glasses for distribution. Lions Kim Perez and Joe Kellman handle the aluminum can collections for sale. As an associate member, I’m their publicity chair and keep their four bulletin boards up-to-date. I also share invocation and benediction responsibilities with Lion Ralph DuBall. Lion Sue Machetti is the diabetes and membership chair.
This year, the Homosassa Lions annual Local Nonprofit Night representatives receiving donations at the May dinner in their honor were: Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Jessie’s Place, Citrus County Blessings, Citrus Boys and Girls Club, Citrus County Special Olympics, Community Food Bank, Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch, Girl Scouts, Key Training Center, Mission in Citrus, Sanctuary House (Grace House), Voices for Children, mobile pantries and scholarships for high school students.
Receiving awards at the installation dinner were as follows.
- Florida Lions Foundation for the Blind: Grand Lion David Roddy. Life members — Lions Lynn Crawford, Theresa Doban, Linda Godke, Paul Godke, Bill Howard, Patrice Jacobs, Joe Kellman, Bob Maurer, Sharon Roberts, John and Katherine Romanowski, Ross Smith and Judy Trochimowicz.
- Conklin Center for the Blind and Multiply Handicapped: Lions Ralph and Ruth DuBall and Amanda Weaver.
- District 35-0 Hearing Program: Lions Cathy Dillard, Bob Schaefer and Shirley Yeck.
- Lions Melvin Jones Fellowship: Lion J. Caballero.
- Lion of the Year Judy Geary.
Additional awards will be granted later this month.
Ruth Levins participates in a variety of projects around the community. Let her know about your group’s upcoming activities by writing to P.O. Box 803, Crystal River, FL 34423.