The Roswell Lions Club was organized on August 22, 1952 by representatives from Lions International, the President and several members of the sponsoring East Point Lions Club, and 24 Roswell men who met at the First Baptist Church in Roswell.
The club was charted on September 30, 1952. Walter Adams was Charter Night Chairman. The Charter Night Banquet was held at Roswell High School with 26 charter members.
The new club immediately began money-raising projects in the fall of 1952 and has been raising money continuously since. Some of the projects we have done over the years include mops, brooms and light bulbs; Western Electric Craft Fair where we sold everything from live plants to ceramic pumpkins; fruit cakes; Halloween candy, pancake breakfasts; fish fries; poinsettias; apples; cinnamon brooms; barbecue at the Crabapple Antique Fair; and Christmas Trees. We started the Christmas Tree Project in 1977 at Wright’s Chevrolet Building (The current location of the Roswell Fire Department) and have continued our most successful project every year since. The project is now held at Alpharetta Highway and Crossville road in the parking lot of Stoney River.
Traditionally, most of the money raised is contributed to Lions International recommended projects. A very large portion is given to the Georgia Lighthouse Foundation, Inc. whose primary purpose is sight preservation in the state of Georgia. We also contribute to the Lions Club International Foundation, Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind, and the Lions Leader Dog Program.
In addition to the Lions related organizations, we contribute and continue to contribute to many local and area causes such as Eye Glasses for the Needy; North Fulton Charities; Roswell Police Department Benevolent Fund; and the Shoe Fund for Needy Students. We have helped a Roswell quadriplegic by providing funds (in conjunction with the Roswell Rotary Club) to modify a van so that she could be transported to the Shepherd Spinal Center and visit her family and friends. We also made contributions to the Peach Bowl when it was brought to Atlanta by Georgia Lions Club and supported it as long as it was sponsored by the Lions Clubs.
Historic Roswell and the City of Roswell were given memorial signs, benches and plaques. In 1990, we gave money for flood relief to McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee. We have also contributed to North Fulton Child Development Center and gave a start-up gift to the Chattahoochee Nature Center. In 1990, Lion Steve Csintyan represented our club in the implementation of the Roswell-Adopt-A-Stream project which we continue today. Our testing site is located on Hembree road by the Cross of Life Lutheran Church.
In 1993, the Roswell Lions Club made a contribution towards building the first Habitat for Humanity home being built in Roswell. The Roswell Lions Club was instrumental in getting mail delivery for Roswell, in getting natural gas service, and in getting the first doctor and dentist. The Roswell Lions Club sponsored the Roswell High School Honors Banquet for Seniors in 1962 and continued for 22 years.
Lionism is not all work and we have fun times along the way. For years our summer family picnic was hosted by Agnes and Lion Charles Wright at their home on Lake Lanier in July. Our spouse steak fry in August was hosted many years by Mary and Lion Clifford Vaughan on Vaughan’s Lake in Roswell. Each year we enjoy the company of the wives of our deceased member Lions at our Christmas Party.
Since 1952, some of the locations our meetings have been held are Green Hornet, VFW Club, Roswell Community Center, Roswell Area Park and the North Fulton Resources Center. Since December of 1985 we have met on the third Monday of the month at the Holiday Inn on Holcomb Bridge Road.
Our programs have been educational, informative and entertaining. Some of the speakers we have had are: Charles McDaniel, State Superintendent of Schools; Leo
Sullivan, Test pilot for the C-5; President Jimmy Carter; Senator Wyche Fowler; Congressman Fletcher Thompson; Roswell Mayor W. L. “Pug” Mabry; Roswell Fire Chief Ken Moss; Roswell Police Chief Jerry King; Colonel Ben Purcell, Vietnam War Hero who was held in solitary confinement longer than any other prisoner; Captain Dan Rainey who commanded the Aircraft Carrier Kitty Hawk during the Gulf War; Joyce Hamilton, a member of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Committee; Dr. Floyd Falaney, Past President of Reinhardt College; and Commander Frank Coleman, U.S. Naval Aviator.
In 1987 we welcomed our first female member, Doris Westbrook. Members of our club have included Past District Governors John Baird (deceased), Jesse Joiner, Michael Higgins and Glenn Croteau. Our club has awarded five Life memberships: John Baird (deceased), Charles Wright (deceased), Clifford Vaughan (deceased), Earl Ake and Jesse Joiner. Our membership has fluctuated over the years from 16 to 58. We currently have 60 members.
History of Lions in Georgia
Lions in Georgia History: http://galions.org/history/index.html
Lions International History
Lions International History: http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/about-lions/mission-and-history/our-history/index.php
Melvin Jones Biography: http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/about-lions/mission-and-history/our-history/melvin-jones.php
Helen Keller’s Connection to Lionism: http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/about-lions/mission-and-history/our-history/lions-history-hkspeech.php