The Guthrie Noon Lions Club is celebrating 100 years of civic engagement on Monday Nov. 18 at the Dominion House. Founded in 1917 by Melvin Jones, three years before the Lions Club went international in 1920, and with an exact club number of 1,815—the Guthrie Noon Lions Club is one of the earliest clubs in existence.
Gary Weeks, Chairman of the Planning Committee, said its purpose and mission was to serve the communities and to serve where needs exist but their special starting off commission was to become knights for the blind.
“Helen Keller met with our [international] convention and invited us as an organization to be knights for the blind,” Weeks said. “That’s why we took up that challenge and why that was our main emphasis. That was significant for Lionism.”
Locally, the Guthrie Noon Lions Club does eye screenings, especially for children prior to starting school, but also has a foundation that helps fund adult glasses.
“We go to Stillwater for the Special Olympics and do screenings,” Weeks said. “We serve locally there in the capacity of providing the funding for glasses and we steer people to Dr. Bennett, who handles the money that we budget for glasses.”
In addition to two international campaigns for eyesight, the Guthrie Lions Club is also a part of the Oklahoma Lions Club Eye Bank, which is the state’s only dedicated tissue recovery organization with the sole purpose of recovering corneal tissue and restoring sight through transplantation.
“From that standpoint, and the work done worldwide, we have actually kind of overcome some of the river eye diseases that occur because of bathing in the rivers in various countries,” Weeks said.
Weeks will receive his 50th year pin on Monday and said the Lions are looking forward to what the event’s major speaker, Jay Hannah, has in store for them.
The Guthrie Noon Lions Club will receive accolades both locally and internationally at Monday’s event. Mayor Gentling is presenting a Mayoral Proclamation to celebrate the 100th anniversary and the Guthrie Lions are also going to receive a letter from the President of Lions International, as well as a surprise banner. Both international and state leadership will be in attendance.
“We’re gonna have a good time,” Weeks said. “We’re gonna celebrate and hopefully point towards the next 100 years.”