The Lions Club of Brentwood was organized in 1929 by John Miller of the Richmond Lions Club, and was Brentwood’s first service organization.  

Lion John had visited the area on several occasions and discovered that the town was lacking a service club.  He contacted D. D. Watson and Charles B. Weeks, Sr. and in a matter of days, these three men had signed up thirty-seven leaders of the community for the Lions Club of Brentwood Charter Night, September 9, 1929.  D. D. Watson served as the first President, and Charles French was the first Secretary (who actually served as secretary for 11 years). 

One of the main reasons these pioneer Lions organized was to take a united approach to the many needs of the community, and through Lionism, carry on the goals we still pursue today.

A major early activity was the purchase of uniforms for the recently formed football team at Liberty Union High School.  In appreciation for the Club’s support of its athletic program, the school chose “Lions” for the team name.  In 1936, Lion Pat Callaghan, Superintendent of Liberty Union High School District and Lion Frank Vonder Ahe, the football coach, began the annual Football Awards Banquet, which lasted for over 50 years.  This was a major social event for the city that honored the school’s football players and presented special awards to outstanding athletes.

Other early projects included:

  • Clean-up Week for the town of Brentwood
  • Assisting in developing the Town Park
  • Honoring the Boy Scout troop (chartered by the club)
  • Holding Halloween and Christmas parties for children
  • Making Christmas baskets of food for the needy
  • Organizing a drive to form the Brentwood Sanitary district in 1939

The Lions Club of Brentwood’s big fund-raiser for many years was the Fourth of July Carnique, which began in the early 1950’s.  It was first held at the American Legion Hall, but in 1963 moved to the City Park.  The name originated from the words Carnival and Barbecue.  This event, which ran for thirty-five years, featured carnival-type booths, bingo games, donkey rides, a chicken BBQ, a street dance, a spectacular display of fireworks and a raffle for valuable prizes - including a new automobile.  Carnique Day attracted 5,000 to 10,000 people to the small community of Brentwood.

The club remained strong in the war years and the late 1940’s worked on war-oriented projects along with regular community activities.

The Lions Multiple District Four (MD-4) Student Speaker Contest caught on in a big way in 1953 and has continued to be a special event.

Since the early 1960’s, the Lions Club of Brentwood has recognized outstanding scholastic achievements of students at Liberty Union High School and the elementary schools.  Special awards presented annually include the Pat Callaghan Science Award [in honor of Pat Callaghan who spent his life in the field of education – both as a teacher and a superintendent], and the Charles B. Weeks Sr. Agriculture Award.  This tradition continues today with the addition of the Jack Adams Communications Award at Freedom High School, and scholarships at Independence and La Paloma High Schools.

With the closing of the Continental Hotel in 1963, a great need existed for a community center.  Discussions about a center had begun as early as 1931.  However little was accomplished until 1970, when the Brentwood Lions Community Center became a reality.  It had become a popular meeting place for many community and charitable organizations and social groups.  Used by over 15,000 people and about 200 functions a year, the center was expanded by 1400 sq. ft.  so that gatherings of over 200 could be accommodated.  A classroom for services supporting handicapped children and adults was also available.  Today the building is home to the Sunshine House serving the community in a different capacity.

Monday Night Bingo arrived on the scene in 1978, replacing the Carnique as the major fund-raiser.  For 17 years 100-125 players joined the Lions Club of Brentwood for a 'We Serve' bingo game.  Recently our major fund-raiser has been the Brentwood CornFest.  Other fund-raising activities have included an annual Give-A-way, Super Bingo Nights, Reno Night, golf tournaments, special dinners, Lions Night at the “A’s”, White Cane Days, Flea Markets, and the Oakley Almond Festival.

These fund-raisers have allowed the Lions Club of Brentwood to make substantial contributions over the years to many local and school projects.  Such projects included:

  • Providing examinations and eyeglasses for those in need
  • Diabetes testing machines
  • Financing livestock for the Future Farmers of America (FFA)
  • Purchasing and installing playground equipment, tables, water fountains, rest rooms, and planting trees in the City Park
  • Supporting the Brown Bag Program for senior citizens
  • The Pantry Program for those in emergency need
  • The Dangerous Stranger Program for children
  • The Youth Connections
  • The Youthful Offenders Program for children and their families the Needy
  • Youth Participation in Athletics and Cultural Activities program
  • Helping to furnish the new Brentwood Library when it opened in 1979
  • Supported the Gazebo Project in the City Park
  • The Liberty Union High School Choir
  • Liberty Union High School cheerleaders’ trip to Florida
  • The Liberty Union High School Choral Group
  • Hospice of East County
  • The Brentwood Community Theater
  • The purchase of uniforms and instruments for the Liberty High School Band
  • Liberty High School Band’s trip to Lions International Conventions in San Francisco and Denver, Colorado;
  • Benches at Liberty High School
  • Funding for Library books
  • Eyeglass recycling
  • Sponsorship of Boy Scout Troop 90
  • Women's shelters
  • Senior Citizen services

And many other foundations and community activities.  Take a look at our current "Club Projects" page.

Beside financially supporting the local community and schools, the Lions Club of Brentwood as participated in many local activities, such as the Christmas Parade, the Harvest Festival, the restoration of the East Contra Costa historical museum, field trips for the blind and visually impaired to orchards and vegetable farms, and Senior Citizen services.  The annual Lions Flag Day for elementary students is always well received. 

Regional, state, national and international activities are strongly supported by the Club, including:

As well as several diabetes awareness and prevention programs. In addition, the Sight Mobile trailer, used by District 4-C3 clubs, was refurbished by the Lions Club of Brentwood. 

Two area Lions clubs were sponsored by the Lions Club of Brentwood:

  • 1962 - Bethel Island
  • 1983 - Discovery Bay

The Brentwood Lions Community Involvement has resulted in four members chosen as “Citizen of the Year”. In 1992 the Club was inducted in Liberty Union High School Athletic Hall of Fame, and in 1994, an individual member was inducted in the Hall of Fame as a Community Contributor.  Our Club has also spawned several district zone chairs. 

Over the years the Club has held its meetings at various locations; a barn located on the Maggiore Ranch, the Brentwood Community Methodist Church, the American Legion Hall, the Rolando Inn, the Continental Hotel, the Brentwood Lions Community Center, Bairds, Pee Wee Muldolon's, Dad's Cafe and now at Straw Hat Pizza Parlor,  Our club meetings are varied and always well attended.  

This brief history cannot begin to tell all the clubs worthwhile activities and contributions that have been made to our community and Lionism over the years.  We pledge to continue our efforts to our enhance our community service and humanitarian efforts in the years to come

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