Yarmouth Lions celebrate 70 years of service

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YARMOUTH — Service to the community is at the heart of everything the Lions Club does, according to Sandy Bowie, who heads the local chapter.

This year the group is celebrating its 70th anniversary with more than 50 members on the roster, and Bowie hopes the chapter’s future will be as bright as its past.

The Lions Club International website says it’s the largest service organization in the world, with more than a million members working in countries from Bulgaria to Chile and Pakistan to Sweden.

“Lions serve the world one project at a time,” the website says at www.lionsclubs.org. “It all begins in our local communities with kind-hearted individuals joining together to take action.”

For Bowie what makes the Lions Club so special is the camaraderie that comes from working together as a team to help others.

The Yarmouth Lions Club provides scholarships to students, heating fuel assistance and more, including donations to worthy projects such as the Nan Jones Kimball playground, the YMCA and Camp Susan Curtis, which provides youth development programs.

The local club also supports the Yarmouth Community Food Pantry and collects and recycles eyeglasses, hearing aids and cell phones to give to those who need them but don’t have the means to buy them.

In addition, club members volunteer for and support a number of other community organizations, such as the Yarmouth Community Garden, Merrill Memorial Library, Yarmouth Cares About Neighbors and Yarmouth Little League. The club has also supported numerous Eagle Scout projects over the years.

Bowie said for her the Lions Club stands for TEAM.

“Together we accomplish more,” she said. “Volunteering for those who are less fortunate is my passion. You get back tenfold. Our club is special in that we have a true sense of community. We are a hardworking team who works together to get the job done.”

According to the website, the mission of Lion Clubs International is to “empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs (and) encourage peace and promote international understanding.”

In order to become a Lion a person must be at least 18 and be invited to join by a current member of the club. Those considering membership should have “an interest in their community and would like to get involved with helping out with different projects,” Bowie said.

The Yarmouth Lions Club will celebrate its 70th anniversary with a special event at the Hilton Garden in Freeport on June 3. The keynote speaker will be Yarmouth Town Manager Nat Tupper.

At the event, Bowie said the club would also present a check for $5,000 to the West Side Trail project, as well as give its charter over to the care of the Yarmouth Historical Society. She said the club would also show a video of its 60th anniversary and talk about how the local chapter continues to carry on the mission of the Lions Club.

Bowie believes the Yarmouth Lions Club is still going strong at 70 because of “the outstanding membership.”

“We envision keeping on the same track, listening to the needs of the community and responding to them,” Bowie said.

“No matter what.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 780-9097 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

To help support student scholarships and other charitable works, the Yarmouth Lions Club holds an annual tree and wreath sale.

The Yarmouth Lions Club is known for its annual choreographed dance along the annual Clam Festival parade route. Getting ready to go are club President Sandy Bowie, left, and members Gregory Hughes and Jean Swan.

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