Approximately 85 people gathered at Grace United Methodist Church Thursday evening in celebration of a birthday.
The Union Lions Club officially came into existence on Aug. 26, 1936, and Thursday night’s event celebrated 75 years of local service.
The guest speaker of the event was Dr. Eugene M. Spiess, director of the International Association of Lions Clubs.
Spiess is a retired college administrator and instructor. A member of the Spartanburg Lions Club since 1981, he has held many offices within the association, including club president, committee chair and district governor. He also served as a board member of the South Carolina Lions Charitable Services, group coordinator for Campaign SightFirst II and has presented at the USA/Canada forum. In recognition of his service to the association, he has received numerous awards including two International President’s Certificates of Appreciation, two International President’s Leadership Medals and a Guiding Lion Medal. He is a Progressive Melvin Jones Fellow. In addition to his Lions activities, Spiess is active in numerous professional and community organizations, including being honored with the Spiess Scholarship by Ivy Tech Community College. He also received the Sagamore of Wabash from the Governor of Indiana.
Also present at the event was Union native and former district governor George Goings. Goings, who organized the event, has been a Lion since March 1997. He said his admiration for the club’s goals of assisting people with sight and hearing conservation as well as diabetes awareness is what led him to join the club 14 years ago.
“I just wanted to give something back to this good, old planet that has been so good to me,” Goings said.
The Lions Club is known for its annual broom sale fundraiser, from which funds assist people with the purchase of eye glasses. Other events include mobile health screenings at local schools.
“The South Carolina Lions have their own mobile health screening van,” Goings said. “In April, they spent two days at Buffalo Elementary and two days at Sims Middle School conducting vision and hearing tests to help school nurses out. If they identify a student with a problem, the school nurse is made aware.”
Out of the 158 Lions Clubs in South Carolina, the Union club is the 33rd oldest one. There are over 1.35 million Lions Club members worldwide, with clubs in 206 countries, which is more than the number of nations in the U.N.
The Union Lions Club meets on the second Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. in their headquarters, which is located at 135 E. Main St. For more information, email email@example.com.