The Evans Lions Club - the first to be charted in the area in 17 years - received its charter at a special ceremony Thursday at Wesley United Methodist Church in Evans.
"The new Evans Lions Club will be dynamic and a driving force in this community for years to come," said Art Turner, a member of the Augusta Lions Club and Guiding Lion to the newly established club.
Members of the Evans Lions spent the past year as a branch group of the Augusta club until they gained the minimum 20 members required for a new club to be chartered, said Charles Larson, the president of the Evans club.
"That was our big push for the first year, to become a chartered club," said Larson, who was inducted as the club's charter president by Lions Club International District Gov. Sandy Mercer at the ceremony.
Larson said the club, which has gained 27 charter members since its formation in February 2006, has been busy. It has adopted Halali Farm Road and held three road cleanups.
The Lions International motto is "We Serve," and many community activities focus on preventable and curable blindness and the national group Leader Dogs for the Blind, which provides seeing-eye dogs.
Through a new program formed by the Evans group called Project Courage, the club donated 100 stuffed lions to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue and Gold Cross Emergency Medical Services in March.
"Lions have a soft spot for children," said Turner, who said he plans to transfer to the Evans Lions Club. "They (the emergency responders) are to give those lions to any children that they encounter in a domestic or accident situation that needs some encouragement."
Lions International Director Dr. Beverly Roberts, who was the keynote speaker at the ceremony, said she is proud of the newest club in the world's largest humanitarian volunteer group.
"We are awesome," Roberts said. The Evans club members join 1.3 million Lions in 45,000 clubs worldwide.
The Evans club has big plans for its first years, Larson said.
The club committee members have plenty of service projects in mind.
On June 16, the club is holding its inaugural Dog Walk, where dog owners are asked to walk their dogs at the Columbia County Memorial Gardens for pledge donations, which along with corporate sponsorships will benefit Project Courage and Leader Dogs for the Blind. The entry fee is $10.
The event, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon in the gardens behind the Columbia County Library in Evans, also will feature working dog demonstrations, photos of owners and their pets, prizes, concessions and a complimentary leash.
For more information about the walk, contact Bob and Jeanie Brandon at (706) 863-0115.
Larson said the club, along with experienced leadership, is looking for young members. Anyone interested in joining the Evans Lions Club should attend one of the meetings held at 7 a.m. the first and third Thursday of each month at Wesley United Methodist Church at 825 N. Belair Road in Evans.
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