Ventura Downtown Lions Club was chartered on April 27, 1923

Gala Lions Club celebration held at Crowne Plaza. Photos by Patricia Schallert

On Saturday, January 7, the Ventura Downtown Lions Club held their 100th birthday celebration at the Crowne Plaza.

The hundreds attending included Ventura Lions, club members from throughout Southern California and invited guests and dignitaries.

They enjoyed an evening of appetizers, cocktails an outstanding dinner and inspirational speeches.

Ventura Lions president Patrick D. Pothier welcomed all prior to the invocation by Lion Tom Hundley and pledge of allegiance led by Ed Rogoff.

Speakers and awardees included past presidents, district governors, VIP guests and First VP Maya Zumaya who will be the 100th President when she takes office on July 1, 2023.

The keynote speaker was International President Brian Sheehan who got the crowd cheering on their feet with his enthusiastic presentation.

Patrick Pothier stated “It is my great honor as President of the Ventura Downtown Lions to invite you to our 100th Birthday Celebration. Our history is rich in Lionism and in giving back to the community we love.”

“Our Club was chartered on April 27, 1923, by 51 outstanding local businesses and community leaders. One of them was Fred W Smith who went on to become President of Lions Clubs International for 1947 – 1948, and another was Charles Rea, the then Mayor of Ventura. Another was Erle Stanley Gardner, an attorney who became famous as the author of Perry Mason detective stories. While we’re celebrating our 100th Birthday, we can also celebrate that we have never had a repeat President, having 100 Presidents in 100 years. No other club can make that claim.”

“Our Club and its members have a rich history of civic service and of service to the community and beyond. There have also been 10 Members who have been the mayor of Ventura, and at least 20 who were city council members. Many have served as public officials on various public boards and commissions, on private boards and nonprofits, and as public officials in a wide variety of capacities. “

“While our history is rich, and our present is just as rich. We are dedicated to providing assistance to individuals and community organizations that are in need and support. These efforts include, but are not limited to, providing camperships for deaf children, free eye exams for those in need, scholarships for local students, Thanksgiving baskets for families that are food insecure, as well as supporting the Salvation Army food pantries. We participate in both community and beach clean-up days and we recognize America’s hero’s – the Military Veterans and First Responders. We support those suffering from diabetes and the researchers seeking a cure, efforts to help and assist those dealing with mental health issues, and a wide range of other worthy matters.”

“While our past and present is exciting, our future looks even brighter. As we celebrate the past 100 Years of Service at this Gala, we also begin to look forward to the next 100 years, and we are excited about what the future holds for us and the rest of the Lions around the world.”

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