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Union Bridge Lions Club celebrates 75 years as ‘essential part of the community’

Since 1945, the Union Bridge Lions Club has been serving the community. On Tuesday evening, its members took the time to celebrate all of the organization’s accomplishments across three-quarters of a century.

The Union Bridge Lions Club, which was organized in December 1944 under the sponsorship of the Westminster Lions Club, has grown into an organization that members are proud to be a part of.

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“It’s one of the oldest organizations other than the fire company that has existed in the town of Union Bridge, and they have been a very essential part of the community,” Union Bridge Mayor Perry Jones said. “They’ve done a lot to our community center, to our parks and recreation up there, and like two to three times a year they do a blood bank. They’re just one of the organizations in the town that’s been here ever since I’ve been around, and they’re going to continue to be here and they’re very supportive. They help the fire company, the town and everybody else with anything that they may need. That’s the kind of organization I’m very proud to be a member of.”

In honor of the group’s 75th anniversary, members of local Lions Clubs gathered alongside the Union Bridge club to celebrate over dinner, dessert and some award presentations. Along with welcoming two new members, two current members were presented with Melvin Jones Fellowship plaques for their service and dedication.

As part of the celebration, the Union Bridge Lions also took the time to rededicate their club’s charter and celebrate the history behind it.

“Because it was so long ago in 1945, the man who had started the Lions Club International back in 1917, Melvin Jones, he got some businessmen together so when they had their first charter, Melvin Jones ... actually signed their charter, and not all clubs can say, ‘Hey, we’ve got an authentic charter signed by the founder of Lions Club International,' " First Vice District Governor Barbara Brimigion said. “When we rededicate the chapter, they’re going to pledge that they’re going to continue to serve the community with pride and serve Lions Clubs International."

The purpose of the Lions Club is to serve the community, the country and the people around the world. The Union Bridge club provides a variety of services such as eye exams, eye glasses, Red Cross blood drives, helping the local food pantry, collecting clothes for the homeless and supporting the Union Bridge Fire Company.

The 75th anniversary celebration was Charlene Johns’ first event as Union Bridge Lions Club president, and she said she’s excited to be a part of the organization.

“I think we have about 60 people here tonight, and we planned for 100, but it’s a bad time of the year — with the wintertime you never know what the weather’s going to be — but I think it’s a great turnout," Johns said. “I’m brand new to the club, but I joined the club because they do so much good for so many people and especially in our community. I joined it because I like to help people.”

As of the 75th anniversary, the Union Bridge Lions Club has about 35 members, and they are welcome to more joining.

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