History of the Troy Lions Club

The Troy Lions Club was chartered by Lions Clubs International on March 25, 1942 and held its first meeting on May 13, 1942.  There were 22 Charter members inducted that evening, sponsored by the Piqua Lions Club.  The Club held weekly meetings until 1975 when it changed to twice monthly.  Membership dues began at one dollar a month.  The Club’s newsletter began in 1942 and was called “Jungl-Holl’r” until it changed to its current name of “Lions Roar” in 1948.  The club’s very first community service project was the purchase in 1942 of an American Flag and Standard which was donated to the Boy Scouts.   

The “Lion Tamers” an organization composed of the wives of Lion members was formed in 1948.  This group helped the Troy Lions Club with many fundraising, charitable and social functions.  The group stayed active through the 1980’s.  Lion Edna Vogler became the first female Troy Lion when she transferred into the Club in 1995.  Lion Caroline Gillis became the first female member inducted into the Club as a new member in 1999.  Lion Judy Smith became the first female president in 1997.

Our Club sponsored the Fletcher Lions Club, which was chartered on October 22, 1956.  We presented the new club with gifts of a gavel and gong.  We also sponsored the Newton Leo Club in Pleasant Hill, Ohio.  Their Charter Night Celebration was held May 20, 2002.  Troy was also the sponsor for the Sidney Branch Club of 2009 through 2011. 

The Troy Lions Club has sponsored 5 District Governors.  Troy Lion Richard Clark was District Governor in 1956-57.  We hosted the District Convention with 674 people attending, at Hobart Arena that year.  Judy Smith served as the district’s first female Governor in 2001-02.  The Club hosted the District Convention held in Springfield.  Jerry Smith served in 2003-04 and the club hosted the District Convention in Sidney.  Sheryl Schlater served as District Governor in 2010-11 and we hosted the convention in Piqua.  Joe Jackson was District Governor in 2017-18 and the convention was held in Columbus.  PDG Jerry Smith (had moved to District A, but remained as an “Associate Member” of Troy) became a Lions Clubs International Director with his election at the Minneapolis Convention of 2009.  He served a two-year term ending June 30, 2011.

The Troy Lions Club is truly part of an international organization.  Many of our members have traveled around the world to attend Lions conventions and meetings.  We hosted exchange students in 1975 from the Philippines and in 1976 from Japan.  We have had many foreign members visit our club including Lions from Pakistan, Bermuda and New Zealand. 

In September 1998 Troy Lion Doctor Dan Lee began the largest service project ever sponsored by the Troy Lions Club.  The Russian Orphanage Mission took him and his team to the Phililmonki and Snegiri orphanages in Russia.  Children were examined for vision and general health needs.  A permanent eyeglass distribution center for Russia was also established.  A second trip in September 2001 followed up with more health care services.

Eyesight Conservation has always been the focus of our work.  Ever since the first year, Troy Lions have been purchasing eyeglasses and paying for eye exams for local needy individuals.  Over the years, tens of thousands of used eyeglasses have been collected and recycled to under developed countries.  We purchased a Timus II vision testing machine for the Troy School System and a MagniSight Video Magnifier for the public library.  In 2011 several of our members became certified vision screeners through the Prevent Blindness Ohio program.  We now offer pre-school vision screenings for the early detection of vision problems.  We have also donated to Pilot Dogs, eye banks, eye research and Lion’s programs throughout the world.      

Besides eyesight conservation, there have been many examples of service towards the Troy community.  We have sponsored High School sports banquets and little league teams.  We have given annual scholarship awards since 1954.  For many years we put on the Junior Miss Pageant and the Strawberry Festival Queen Pageant.  We have planted trees, purchased raincoats for local school’s safety patrol, sponsored drug awareness programs and adopted highways to clean.  We have helped feed the disadvantaged during the holidays.  We have donated an outdoor book return to the public library and a sheltered bench for Duke Park.  The Troy Lions Club has also donated money to many local activities and programs, such as, Community Chest, Boy Scouts, Hospice, Red Cross, After Proms, Cancer Society, and the Senior Citizens Building Fund.  In 2016, the Club began a hearing aid recycling program in association with a local audiologist.   

Other community activities have included sponsoring joint meetings of the other service clubs in town.  One even featured nationally known Ann Landers addressing our meeting.  We took an active part in Troy’s Sesqui-Centennial Celebration and have entered floats in many of Troy’s parades.  In 1976 we won First Place for our float, “Washington Crossing the Delaware.”

To finance all of this community service, we have had many fundraisers over the years.  These include putting on musical and minstrel shows and an annual Halloween Celebration on the square.  We have had a concession booth at the Miami County Fair, held auctions, fish fries and chicken dinners.  We have sold everything from light bulbs, candy, highway flares, and bicycle stickers to confetti.  Troy Lions have sold roses every year since 1951.  This was our biggest moneymaker for many years.  We also have had a booth at the Strawberry Festival every year since its beginning in 1977.  We have won the “Best Culinary Award” twice, in 1978 for Strawberry Pies and in 1981 for our chocolate covered strawberries. 

The Club filed Articles of Incorporation with the State of Ohio and received status as a non-profit corporation in 1950.  In 2005 the club began a mirror corporation, the Troy Lions Charities and obtained charitable status from the IRS.  Because of this move, we have received several grants towards our work. 

We have had many social activities and our families have joined us in many of these events.  We have had bus trips to see the Reds, bowling teams, fishing excursions to Lake Erie and trips to comedy clubs.  We have held euchre, bingo, and square-dancing parties.  There have been St Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day celebrations, Halloween costume parties, Thanksgiving Day banquets and New Year’s Eve parties.  We have had a Christmas Party every year since 1943.  The first Ladies Night was held in June 1943.  There have been numerous family picnics and we have toured many local businesses and museums. 

We are proud of our past accomplishments, and we look forward to the future and more community service, as we live out our motto of: “We Serve.”



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