The following article by David Strange was originally published on 15 Mar 2015. It is archived here for your reading enjoyment.
By June, 1945, World War II was finally coming to an end.
Germany had already surrendered just two months earlier; Japan would soon surrender in August. Americans were anxious to turn from the horrible destruction of war to the more fulfilling work of helping people in need. After a world war, there was plenty of need, both local and abroad.
In Bullitt County, as throughout the nation, volunteer community service organizations such as Lions Clubs were blooming. A Lions Club was chartered in Lebanon Junction on June 25, 1945. The Lions Club of Shepherdsville followed the next month with its charter on July 13. A Mt. Washington club came in 1948, followed by creation of a Lioness Club. The Zoneton/North Bullitt club was chartered in 1974; Camp Crescendo Lions in 2008.
Lions Clubs International was originally formed in Chicago back in 1917, during the first world war. The mission of the group was pure: "To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace, and promote international understanding." The motto was simple. "We Serve." Since its formation, Lions Clubs International has become the largest service club organization in the world, with 1.37 million members in 210 countries and geographic areas around the globe.
To this day, the noble purpose of the international organization is, in part:
Lions Clubs focus on local needs as well as international. Over the years, Bullitt County clubs have given tens of thousands of dollars to community needs, provided free eye glasses to hundreds of people who could not afford them, performed eye-screenings, organized town festivals, paid for individual school projects such as playground equipment and books, and generally helped "fill in the gap" where no one else would or could. Have you ever noticed the small-town tradition of placing American flags along the streets of their towns on holidays? In many cases, those flags were placed by Lions Club members. Lions Clubs have helped financially support the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation, which is recognized as one of the premier eye research and treatment centers in the country. All clubs have helped Lions Camp Crescendo, a huge facility in southern Bullitt County that hosts special free summer camps for hearing-impaired and sight-impaired children, as well as camps and events for other special-needs children.
You've seen members, with their distinctive golden vests and royal-blue logo, raising funds for these services by hosting food-vending booths at festivals, having fish fries, selling ice cream from a roll-around cart, selling candy and calendars, and sponsoring demolition derbies and swap meets. Volunteers, quietly serving their community with no expectation of reward beyond the service itself.
The Lions Club of Shepherdsville, marks its seventieth anniversary of community service this year. Over the next two weeks, this column will tell you a little of the history of all the Lions Clubs of Bullitt County. See part 2 here.
Copyright 2015 by David Strange, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.