by Randy Jewell
The Ventura Downtown Lions Club is a diverse group of men and women varying in ages, dedicated to providing assistance to individuals and the community. The club was chartered on April 27th 1923. The Club celebrated 95 years of community service on June 16.
It all started with 51 outstanding local business and community leaders. One of them was Fred W. Smith, who went on to become President of Lions Clubs International in 1947-48. Another was Charles Rea, former Mayor of Ventura. One celebrated club member was Erle Stanley Gardner, a local attorney, who became famous as the creator and author of the Perry Mason books later made into the television series and movies.
The Ventura Downtown Lions Club has a strong history of members serving the community and beyond. It has had public officials, 10 mayors, at least 20 city council members, school superintendents, health officials, educators, doctors, lawyers, dentists, county clerks, nurses, the list goes on. Members have through the last 95 years, helped raise or donate over $2,000,000 for the community and surrounding areas.
Among the many causes and efforts supported within the community over the years are: The Ventura County Historical Museum, the Rubicon Theatre, Special Olympics, The Rose parade, YMCA, city parks (Kimble Aquatic Center, West Park, Grant Park, and Arroyo Verde Park) and the local libraries. The Ventura Downtown Lions club has also provided scholarship funds, support to the American Cancer Society (Relay for Life), City of Hope, Alzheimer’s Association, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Ventura Boys and Girls Club, list goes on and on.
The membership has always and is still volunteering time and efforts to carry out events that raise funds for special causes. Two years ago a Retinal Imaging Camera was purchased for Ventura County Medical Center. The Lions club raised $50,000 to assist in the purchase. For over two years, the Club has joined forces with other Lions Clubs in Ventura County in a cooperative effort to raise $200,000 to improve or create an adult diabetes / vision clinic for all residents of Ventura County.
Every year the club puts on or assists in putting on community events such as: Ventura County East-West All Star High School Football Game, all you can eat “Crab Feast”and Thanksgiving Baskets for fifty families in need. And every day, eye glasses are collected for recycling.
The Ventura Downtown Lions Club is a great group of community minded people within the largest service organization in the world, Lions Clubs International (LCI). The Ventura Downtown Lions club is 138 members strong. President, Don Fromberg, has been looking at the future and believes growth will make the biggest impact on what can be done in the community.
On June 16th, there was also the installation of the new officers. Steve Shaw will take over as the club President. He spoke on continuing to build on the Ventura Downtown Lions Club traditions.
If you are interested in learning more about the Lions Club please call 805-655-5595 or visit Ventura Downtown Lions Club.org.