By Carol Byers

The Aquia Evening Lions (AEL) Charter Day Brunch held on Sunday, June 4, was a stupendous success and a memorable day for many reasons.  We celebrated 36 years as a chartered women’s auxiliary club sponsored by the Aquia Harbour Host Lions, and 25 years as a stand alone club, after women were offered full membership in Lions Clubs International.  It also was a special day for recognizing present Charter members of the Lioness Club:  Meg Duffy and Camille Priola, and our Charter members of the Aquia Evening Lions Club, including Alma Johnson, Bea Klapak, Sheryl Sinche, and Cynthia Wild.  Their cumulative service adds up to 192 years, an astounding figure, particularly, when you to consider the cumulative hours they spent promoting Lionism in our community and across the globe.

It was a day for honoring three outstanding students as Florence Mittino Memorial Scholarship winners from local high schools:  Tabitha Ngo of North Stafford, Alexandra Holbrook of Colonial Forge, and Sydney Ralph of Brooke Point.  It was a day for inducting our new Board of Directors, and a day for saying 'thank you' to our outgoing President whose theme this year was “Get on Board to Serve.”  It was also a day for feasting on delectable dishes prepared by George White and his team, in coordination with the Charter Day Committee.  It was a day for remembering our past achievements and looking forward to our future with the Aquia Evening Lions keeping alive the Lions motto, “We Serve” as we celebrate President-elect Bea Klapak’s new theme, “Service Over Self.”

Our accomplishments with 39 active members, 4 affiliates, 2 members at large, and 1 student member are remarkable, and the productivity of our club membership should be lauded by the community.  In this club, we have 18 service projects like Bland, Eyeglass Recycling, Greenfield’s, Head Start Food Program, and Scholarships; 10 fundraisers like Monte Carlo, Poinsettia Sales, White Cane, and the Yard Sale; and 15 admin/non-service activities, like Constitution and By-Laws, decorations, Facebook, Sunshine, and Telephone Tree.  These and other Committees keep us focused on our mission and busy throughout the year.

As of the beginning of June, the AEL had participated in over 250 activities with over 3,500 Lion hours, and raised over $19,000 with over $24,000 donated to sight, hearing, and community programs and projects.  We expended more than we raised, and that’s when you appreciate that we have a checkbook that did not start with a zero balance.

We can do more service if we have more members, and we always strive to grow our membership by reinvigorating and revitalizing our club with new people, new energy, and new ideas.  We want people to know the impact of our service projects and fundraisers, especially since our club’s work is so stellar.  It has often been said, “Are we good or what?!”

As I step down as President, I realize that I could not have done this job without your help.  You supported me and the club every step of the way.  I can hardly believe that two years have passed, and now it’s time to hand the baton to Bea Klapak, our President-elect, who is not new to this position, having served as President 21 years ago.

I want to thank the Charter Day Committee of Dottie Richardson, Bea Klapak, Jane Stoll, Dodi Bunker, and anyone else who helped for their thoroughness and ingenuity in putting together this special ceremony.  Everything about the event was outstanding, including the guests, the printed program, the decorations, and the cuisine!  I will always remember the “Return of the President’s Gavel,” a slide presentation, with narration by Jane Stoll and Bea Klapak, prepared by the Committee showing where my gavel, Willie, traveled during the past year.  This was a spark of genius that was both clever and creative!  I was delighted to learn about Willie’s excellent adventure!  Thank you for making our Charter Day so memorable for me and all who attended!!

I would like to end with a quote from John Wesley, the father of Methodism, who instructed his congregation altruistically:  “Do all the good you can.  By all the means you can.  In all the ways you can.  In all the places that you can.  At all the times you can.  To all the people you can.  As long as you ever can.”  I really believe that this embodies the true meaning of the Lions’ motto, “We serve!”

Thank you Aquia Evening Lions for your selfless, dedicated, and outstanding service!


Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with more than 1.4 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world.

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