Since our inception in 1966, we’ve been helping people with loss of sight and hearing and with diabetes. But that’s not all. Our club’s recent history is rich in community projects. Knowing little about our first 26 years, I’ll start with Lion Eli Chertoff, our sixteenth 1981 president who passed away in 2010 at the age of 96. As a son of Russian immigrants Lion Eli set up our scholarship account which has grown to over $50,000 and is now used for Princess Anne High School and Adult Learning Center scholarships.
The last 26 years has been packed with notable Lions and a wealth of service projects. No one represented these folks more than Lion Dallas Divelbiss, President in 1992 and again in 2000. Door-to-door broom sales started out of Lion Dallas’ garage, followed by a picnic at his home. He attended meetings even after his hearing completely failed as a result of service in Vietnam. His daughter now takes care of him as his Alzheimer’s disease progresses.
Then there’s Lion Ed DeLong who died at the age of 87 three years ago after serving Thalia Lions for 23 years. There is a long list of his service to Thalia, and there are few people who loved the Lions organization as much as Lion Ed did.
For dozens of years Lion Ed handed out scholarships for a selected Adult Learning Center student going to Tidewater Community College.
Now for three years, in addition to our regular Scholarship, we award an Ed Delong Memorial Scholarship to an Adult Learning Center graduate headed to Tidewater Community College student.
Thalia Lions has grown in service projects such as collecting clothing and children’s books, music contests, blood drives, tree planting, parking cars for Homearama, a foodbank pantry for victims of domestic violence, the National Education Association’s yearly Read Across America Day helping to make reading fun for young school children, Smiles Across the Miles making cards for service members who will not be home for the Holidays, the Beach Bag Project packing food bags for needy children to take home over the weekend, and a yearly 500-mile trip to Southwest Virginia to help people in desperate need of medical attention. In 2009 Lion Vickie Kennedy solicited the club to provide a dinner meal at the Ronald McDonald House for families visiting their hospitalized children. The club responded and provided supplies and donations, with similar follow-ups in every year since.
Lion Vickie herself has just finished several years as the District’s Bland Contest Chair -- the Bland Contest is a youth vocal and instrumental music contest.
We’ve had some wonderful guest speakers, some of whom have become Lions. In October 2009 Irene Conlin from the Virginia Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments related her perspective as a parent of a blind child. Her causes immediately became ours and the following April Thalia Lions were volunteering at the Audible Blind Easter Egg Hunt. We’ve been helping ever since.
In April 2011, guest speaker Debra Laughlin, our outgoing President this year, presented “A Look into Low Vision.” She related that she was forced to resign from her nursing career when she began losing her eyesight. As soon as she joined she got Thalia behind the first VA Beach Foundation Fighting Blindness 2011 VisionWalk initiative which has grown exponentially each year in donations and walkers with Thalia’s continued support.
Then there’s an activity our club took on with enthusiasm and personal funds.
In Dec 2013 Head Start asked Thalia Lions to help one of five families whose children would be going without holiday gifts, warm clothing and enough food. Not only did our club help just the one family, but we jumped at the chance to cover the needs of all five families. We’ve been doing this every Christmas since.
In closing, I’d like to say a word about our incoming president, Lion John Waters. He and his wife Lion Nancy continue to be the heart and soul of Thalia, initiating and participating in just about all of Thalia’s programs. Their most notable initiative has been introducing an automated vision tester for children. They worked hard to get this $10,000 machine, not only for Thalia, but now 13 more for other district clubs. Our district has now screened more than 110,000 young children for eye problems. Now what could to top that? Well, Lion John recently served as a Guiding Lions for the first ever Filipino-American Lions Club. Their first Charter night will be this Saturday, June 23rd with an initial membership of 31.
For this unmatched history of a truly giving service organization, Thalia Lions Club just must be one of the finest among the 45,000 Lion clubs in over 200 countries. In a nutshell that’s our 52-year history, and that’s why I’m proud to be a Thalia Lion and so proud to take our motto to heart; just two words say it all – “WE SERVE.”----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Following is a list of presidents since the inception of the club. Those with an asterisk (*) in front of their name, are deceased (that we know).
John Watters 2018-19
Debra Laughlin 2017-18
Nancy Watters 2016-17
Irene Conlin 2015-16
Aziz Selahi 2014-15
Rich Roberts 2013-14
Roger Snell 2012-13
Jeri Furman 2011-12
Steve Rosnov 2010-11
Bob Perrine 2009-10
Bill Pope 2008-09
John Watters 2007-08
Stanley Furman 2006-07
Bradley Furman 2005-06
Alton Miller 2004-2005
*Ed DeLong 2003-04
Martin Joseph 2002-03
Bill Pope 2001-02
Dallas Divelbiss 2000-01
Roger Snell 1999-00
M Ramsey-Lester 1998-99
Dick Kressig 1997-98
Roger Snell 1996-97
Dick Kressig 1995-96
*Ed DeLong 1994-95
Martin Joseph 1993-94
Dallas Divelbiss 1992-93
Dallas Mathews 1991-92
Joel Womack 1990-91
Darl Anderson 1989-90
*Phil Gundel 1988-89
Dallas Mathews 1987-88
David Trevino 1986-87
*Douglas Aydlette 1985-86
Alton Miller, PDG 1984-85
*Sam Ferrell 1983-84
*George Powell 1982-83
*Eli Chertoff 1981-82
*Walker Young 1980-81
Don Harvey 1979-80
*Palle Bistrup 1978-79
*Bill Halteman 1977-78
Earl Evans 1776-77
*Leslie Bell 1975- 76
*Alexander Cavey 1974-75
*Michael Clevenger 1973-74
*Jim Crouch 1972-73
*Joe Bright 1971-72
Vic Johnson 1970-71
*Lee Kelberg 1969-70
Morris Wright 1968-69
A.C. Clark 1967-68
Walter Campbell 1966-67
Our regular meetings are held at the Westin Hotel, Town Center, 4535 Commerce St, Virginia Beach, VA at 6:30 p.m. with socials at 6:00 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month. Members are encouraged to attend all meetings. Many members have perfect attendance for many years missed meetings can be made up by attending another Lions club, a board meeting, a district meeting or doing club service work. Attendance is not required for Affiliate and At-Large members.
Annual social functions with invited guests/spouse include Charter night (with installation of officers) each June, a Holiday party, and sometimes another event.
During the Lions year (July - June), there are Region and District Meetings to attend in addition to the Fall Conference, Governor's Ball and Eyebank Dinner.
The Big Picture
We are part of a Multiple District, which is a large area consisting of an entire state or several states or provinces. Outside the North American Continent, it may be an entire country or other areas. We are in Multiple District 24 that covers all of Virginia. Our sub-district is 24-D. Each district is further divided into Regions, then into Zones. We are District 24-D, Region III, Zone E.
Our Club's major community services include payment for eye examinations and glasses for the needy, hearing examinations and hearing aides, food bank donations, purchase of leader dogs and associated trainig, recruiting of eye and organ donors, and financial support for youth activities including annual scholarships to students of the local high school and adult learning center. We also sponsor an annual music contest that awards scholarships.
Lions District services include financial support of our own Lions Eye Bank, youth exchange programs, eye surgery for the needy and many other charitable activities.
Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) supports world-wide relief for disasters and other needs such as prevention of blindness.
Club Fund Raising
Our major fund raising activities include Blind Made Products Sale (Brooms, etc), White Cane collections (direct donations to prevent blindness) and holiday fruit sales. Other special events occur during the year.
Charities We Support
Foundation Fighting Blindness 2011-16 Visionwalks
Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center
Lions Medical Eye Bank of Eastern Virginia
Lions Hearing Foundation of Virginia
Sight and Hearing Mobile Screening Unit
District 24-D Youth International Exchange Camp
District 24-D Family Diabetes Camp
District 24-D Band Contest (Youth Musicians)
Thalia Lions Club Band Contest
District 24-D Diabetes Awareness Program
Leader Dog Program (Lions International)
Lions of Virginia Charity Foundation
District 24-D Charity Foundation
District 24-D Youth Outreach Program
Food Bank/Shelter Program
Adult Learning Center Scholarship
Thalia Elementary School Donation
Malibu Elementary School Donation
Charitable glasses and eye examinations
Charitable Hearing Aids
Plaza Rescue Squad, Virginia Beach
To create and foster a spirit of understanding among all people for humanitarian needs by providing voluntary services through community involvement and international cooperation.
Service to Others Worldwide
Lions clubs are recognized for their service to the blind and visually impaired. This service began when Helen Keller challenged Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness" during the 1925 Lions Clubs International Convention.
What We Do
Lions extend their commitment to sight conservation through countless local efforts, as well as through their international Sight First Program and Lions World Sight Day, a global partnership of United Nations agencies, eye care and philanthropic organizations and health professionals, held the second Thursday of each October to increase awareness of the need to eradicate blindness. Lions also collect and recycle eyeglasses for distribution in developing countries year-round and especially during May, which is Lions Recycle for Sight Month. Lions make a strong commitment to young people through youth outreach programs. Lions also work to improve the environment, build homes for the disabled, support diabetes education, conduct hearing programs and, through their foundation, provide disaster relief around the world.
Based on a recent report of Lions clubs worldwide, it is estimated that each year Lions clubs donate approximately $506 million and 71 million hours, which is equivalent to 34,000 people working full time for a year.
The proper name of the association is "The International Association of Lions Clubs." Many Lions, however, prefer the use of the shorter form of "Lions Clubs International."
The EmblemThroughout the world, Lions are recognized by the emblem they wear on their lapels. It consists of a gold letter "L" on a circular purple field. Bordering this is a circular gold area with two lion profiles at either side facing away from the center. The word "Lions" appears at the top, and "International" at the bottom. Symbolically, the lions face both past and future -- proud of the past and confident of the future. Lions wear their emblem with pride.
The motto of every Lion is simply "We Serve." What better way to express the true mission of Lionism?
The slogan of the association is "Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nation's Safety (LIONS).
The royal colors of purple and gold were selected as the official colors when the association was organized in 1917. Purple stands for loyalty to friends and to one's self, and for integrity of mind and heart. Gold symbolizes sincerity of purpose, liberality in judgment, purity in life and generosity in mind, heart and purpose toward humanity.