Fortville Lions Club Celebrates 93 Years of History
Photos Provided by Fortville Lions Club
Tom K. Stevens, a director of the Fortville Lions Club, says he has thoroughly enjoyed his 40 years with the organization and is looking forward to many more years of helping his community.
He noted that the club has a long and rich history, filled with great memories and strong friendships.
“The Fortville Lions Club was chartered in August 1925, 93 years ago,” Stevens says. “Lion Club International was founded in 1917. Today, the Fortville Lions club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays at the Fortville Community Building. The Club does not have regular club meetings during June, July and August.”
The club regularly helps Fortville elementary schools, a task Stevens thoroughly enjoys.
Starting in 2012, the Fortville Lions Club started giving every third grader in all three Mt. Vernon elementary schools their own personal student dictionary.
“This paperback book is not just a dictionary,” Stevens says. “It contains all the U.S. Presidents, the longest word in the English language and much more interesting information. This happens shortly after the beginning of the school year.”
Stevens has served in various functions during his four decades with the Fortville Lions Club.
“I am currently a director elected to serve for two years,” Stevens says. “I am also on the membership committee and a past president. I served as president for the 1987-1988 years and again for the 2011- 2012 years. I have been a member since 1978.”
Stevens loves making a positive impact on his community.
“ I enjoy being a part of the world’s largest service club,” Stevens says. “Lions International is in more than 200 countries, where Lions are involved with serving their local communities. The Fortville Lions Club locally serves the McCordsville and Fortville communities.”
For more than 40 years, Stevens has collected some particular favorite service project memories.
“My all-time favorite event is giving the dictionaries to the third graders in the Mt. Vernon School District,” Stevens recalls. “It is unbelievable how a kid’s eyes light up when they are handed their own paperback issue. Many kids who have older siblings who have previously received a copy come with added anticipation.
“I also like working at Camp Woodsmoke. This is a 264-acre camp near Greensburg, Indiana, which offers special opportunities to campers with special needs. The Fortville Lions club supports this camp financially and also maintains the chapel on clean-up day.”
“We support Lions International,” Stevens says. “We support the state projects, which include Cancer Control, Eye and Tissue Bank, Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Leader Dog, Speech and Hearing and the Indiana Lions Foundation.”
Locally, the Fortville Club has partnered with Seals Ambulance Service and the Fortville Police Department to implement the “File of Life” project for
the elderly and handicapped.
“This is a magnetized plastic holder for important information which hangs on the refrigerator,” Stevens says. “Rescue workers are trained to look for this file (during an emergency). We have also supplied defibrillators to Fortville Police patrol cars. We help out with food distribution when Gleaners Mobile Food Distribution come to the area, too.”
The Fortville Lions Club also collects eyeglasses which are sorted and distributed to people in need in developing countries. They also help the needy with funds so they might obtain eyeglasses.
“We also work with the Mt. Vernon School nurse to do vision screenings for their students,” Stevens says. “Annually, we collect and provide toys, games and books for the local ‘Toys for Tots.’”