Who We Are

The Thalia Lions Club was chartered on April 20 1966 and has served the Virginia Beach Community continuously since then. Our 50th anniversary was 9 April 2016 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Town Center, 252 Town Center Dr., Virginia Beach. Lion Bob gave the following five minute history.
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 other services to our community.  Knowing little about our first 25 years, I imagine those times must have been just as extraordinary as the last 25.  The only one I do know about is 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 $1,000 Princess Anne High School and Adults Learning Center scholarships.
The last 25 years has been packed with notable Lions and a wealth of service projects. No one represents 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.
Equal to Lion Dallas was Lion Ed DeLong who died at the age of 87 last year 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.  Even in failing health, Lion Ed would still attend every club meeting working most service projects.
Thalia Lions have been noted for becoming a part of initiatives suggested by our members 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, and a 500 mile trip to Southwest Virginia to help people in desperate need of medical attention. In typical fashion, 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 also provided supplies and donations, with similar follow-ups in years since. 
We’ve had some wonderful guest speakers, some of whom have become Lions.  In October 2009 Irene Conlin, our current president, 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 Second Vice President, presented “A Look into Low Vision.” She related that she was forced to resign from her nursing career when she began losing her eye sight.  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 mention Lion Ed Delong again. Our club knew him as the heart and soul of Thalia. Now there’s a Thalia Lion taking up that mantle, our incoming President, Lion Nancy Watters.  Along with her husband, Lion John, their activities have taken up more time than what some do in a 40 hour work-week.  Her most notable initiative has been the testing of tens of thousands of pre-school children’s eye sight with a Spot Vision Screener.  She worked hard to get this $10,000 machine, not only for Thalia but nine more for other district clubs. There’s so much more about Lion Nancy - and others, but my time’s up. 

For this unmatched history of a truly giving service organization, Thalia Lions Club just has to be one of the finest among the 45,000 Lion clubs in over 200 countries. In a nutshell that’s our 50 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).

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
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thalia is a sub-district 24-D, Region III, Zone "G." Our club membership is now over 30 members. We continually seek service minded men and women to share the experience and pride of being a Lion. The satisfaction of helping others and the community while experiencing the fellowship of being a member of the world's largest service organization is highly rewarding.

Our regular meetings are held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Town Center, 252 Town Center Dr., Virginia Beach, VA at 6:30 p.m. with socials at 6:00 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays 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.

Special Events
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.

Community Service.  
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.

We Serve
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

Our Mission
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.

We Give.
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 Name
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
The motto of every Lion is simply "We Serve." What better way to express the true mission of Lionism?

The Slogan

The slogan of the association is "Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nation's Safety (LIONS).

The Colors
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.

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