Filling a need

Noblesville Lions Club celebrates 70 years of service

Noblesville Lions Club member Bob Minton holds a PlusOptix camera while Mark Cook collects data on the computer as the two conduct a free eye screening test for an Our Lady of Grace Preschool student in 2010. (File photo by Robert Herrington)

On May 7, 1942, 25 local men and Arcadia Lions assembled at the Forest Park Inn for dinner and to organize a chapter of Lions Club for Noblesville. On June 4, 1942, the Noblesville Lions Club received its charter at a banquet in front of 200 people as the organization’s membership grew to 44 residents.

“Everyone had a most enjoyable time and the new club was given a very enjoyable start on its way to becoming a boon to the community and to unselfishly serve in as many ways as possible, their country and fellow citizens during this war time when such help is so badly needed,” the local Noblesville newspaper reported at the time.

Seventy years later, the Noblesville Lions Club continues to focus on improving the community with its motto, “We Serve.”

Gene Beck, from left, Steve Carney and Steve Shaw man the grill during the early 1980s. (Photo submitted by Steve Shaw)

“We are proud of our club’s 70 years of service to the community,” said Noblesville Lions Club President Stephen Craig. “The Lions Club members thank everyone who contributes to this important work. We are truly helping Lions make a difference in our community.”

Since the club’s chartering, its members have worked on a variety of projects within the community. The club has partnered with the Noblesville Boys & Girls Club since its founding, adopted and cleaned stretches of city streets, purchased one of the war memorials on the square and raffled off a new car to help finance the first ambulance at Riverview Hospital in the ’60s.

“Each year we become more visible in the community,” said Lion Rollin Cutter. “During hard times we want to give back to the community. Parades, pork chop dinners – we have a lot of fun doing these activities.”

Dale Unger mans the grill during the 2011 Noblesville Lions Club Pork Chop Dinner. More than 750 pounds of pork was grilled last year. (File photo by Robert Herrington)

Lions clubs are a group of local citizens who identify needs within the community and work together to fulfill those needs. Protecting the future’s vision – literally – is one of the club’s greatest services.

KidSight is a program that provides eye screenings, glasses and other treatments for more than 200 students each year. This year, one child’s screening found a scarred cornea that would have caused permanent damage had it not been discovered at her young age. Lion Clayton Fleming said the club has sponsored a cornea transplant and helped pay medical bills for other eye diseases.

“I can’t say enough about the KidSight program. We budget $2,000 a year for it,” Lion Bob Minton said.

The club’s community service projects are numerous, but fundraising comes from just a few events, including the sale of Entertainment Books, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day deliveries for Adrienes Flowers, a food stand at the Father’s Day Classic Car Show and the annual Pork Chop Dinner and Pancake Breakfast, which raises $10,000 to $12,000 each year – half of which is profit.

“It feels good to see a large crowd of people wanting to eat pork chops,” said Lion Gary Hipes. “We have good community support.”

Members: Now & Then

  • 1942 Charter Members: Harold A. Beelar, William R. Booher, James G. Buck, Joe C. Butler, Frank W. Campbell, Verlin Castetter, Jacob S. DeMoss, Simon Dorman, Joe W. Folz, Virl Fore, W.E. Gifford, Jr., John Hall, Estel F. Hiatt, Harvey Hiatt, Dr. H.D. Hill, L. Reid Hudler, Jean L. Johnson, Maurice Kennedy, Ed Kraus, George Loser, Floyd E. Louck, Charles W. Lyon, Glen R. Myers, William C. Odle, M.A. Paskins, Dr. E.C. Ray, Everett Startzman, Dan Stuckey, Kenneth Trout, John Underwood and John S. Williams.
  • 2012 Members: Mark Bachar, Jerry Baker, Gene Beck, Bill Boice, Mark Boice, Joe Connerley, Mark Cook, Steve Craig, Rollin Cutter, Gary Duval, Keith Everson, Clayton Fleming, Jeff Fridley, John Grimes, Robert Guilkey, Irving Heath, Gary Hipes, John Hollenback, Richard Wolloway, Steve Hurst, John Keith, Rex Kuhn, Julius Lees, David Marsh, Dave McCord, Bill Medlin, Bill Meyer, Duke Miller, Bob Minton, Duane Monical, Steve Morgan, Tom Phelps, Jim Propes, Tim Retzinger, John Rider, Mark Roberts, Jerry Roush, Steve Shaw, Ed Shea, Robert Sheese, Jim Smith, Terry Smith, Jim Sparks, Dale Unger, Chuck Wheeler, Larry White, John Whittemore, Ron Williamson and Mark Woloshin.

The Pork Chop Dinner is where Hipes first got involved with Lions Club.

“I got interested and asked about it,” he said. “It’s a great organization. It’s a way for me to give back. I’ve been pretty fortunate in my life.”

The newest member of the Lions Club is Chuck Wheeler, who has been involved for the past 10 months. Wheeler and his wife moved to Noblesville a year and a half ago.

“I wanted to get involved and the Noblesville Lions Club does a lot for the community,” the retired school teacher said. “They do a lot for students and go into the schools.”

Minton, a retired Noblesville Schools teacher, has been a Noblesville Lion since November 1967.

“I was a member before I came here,” he explained. “I was asked to join and I did and never regretted it.”

Minton said the biggest change he’s seen during his tenure is the club’s impact recently.

“We’ve been more active, do more in the community than we used to. We’ve really worked at it,” he said. “We donate back over $10,000 a year to the community.”

One of the ways the Lions Club has become more visible in the community is its partnership with Noblesville Main Street. Lions can be seen at most Main Street events including the annual duck race, soup cook-off and Christmas on the Square.

Noblesville Lions Club members prepare for the Noblesville Fourth of July Parade years ago. (Photo submitted by Steve Shaw)

During the soup cook-off, the Lions Club makes grilled cheese sandwiches to go along with the various soups. Minton said the club donates all the profits from the sandwiches back to Main Street to fund community activities.

“We fit a need,” explained Minton. “We help Third Phase, donate to the Hamilton County Cancer Fund, Boys & Girls Club and offer two $1,000 scholarships to Noblesville High School seniors.”

The Noblesville Lions Club has 49 members and meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at Noblesville Moose Lodge, 1215 N. 10th St. Membership is open to the public and those interested are encouraged to contact a member. For more information or to get involved, contact Lion Jim Propes at 877-5614 or 443-3278 or e-mail noblesvillelions@gmail.com.

Robert Herrington

Managing editor of Current in Noblesville. A 1999 graduate of Noblesville High School, Herrington has been covering Noblesville and Hamilton County as a journalist since 2004. The military brat lived all over the east coast before calling Noblesville home since 1994. He and his wife, Maggie, live in the community with their baby daughter (and youngest Boston Red Sox fan), Caroline. From school board to common council meetings, First Friday events and summer concerts in the city parks, Herrington loves to attend and cover all that Noblesville has to offer.

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