By Terry Rogers
The Milford Lions Club was conceived and born in the home of Howard D. Furniss, who was better known in town as “Doc” on April 14, 1946 and the first meeting held on April 22 with 20 prospective members. By the end of that meeting, there were 24 paid members which insured that the club met the quota set by the national organization. Just 15 days later, the club was chartered by Lions International.
“Initially, the object of the organization was to raise money to help the less advantaged in the community,” said Mary Ann Burnett, Public Relations Manager of the club. “One of the main projects of the club is furnishing eye examps and glasses to the needy. However, we have done much more than that for the Milford community over the year. We helped Carlisle Fire Company buy their first ambulance, we have helped fund the library. We donate large print books each year to the library and, as a result, Milford Library has the largest collection of large print books in Delaware. We also hold food drives, provide scholarships and assist with utility bills for the less fortunate.”
The Milford Lions Club is one of the largest in the state and has been almost since it began 70 years ago. Not only did the club help purchase the first ambulance in the city, since 1952, it has assisted in the purchase of several more. Residents of Milford are familiar with the Annual Milford Lions Club Telephone Directory, a small Milford-area phone book that the group provides to all residents, only requesting a donation to offset the cost.
“All administrative costs for our organization are paid by the members,” Ms. Burnett said. “100 percent of what we raise goes back into the community. We are still planning how we want to celebrate our 70th year, but may use Legacy Projects in conjunction with the national organization who will turn 100 this year.”
The group meets on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at Carlisle Fire Company. Members must be at least 18 and have a desire to help others. There are four large fundraisers each year, including the Annual Spaghetti Dinner, the first of which was held in 1966. In addition to the spaghetti dinner and the phonebook, the Lions also hold the Leonard B. Donohoe Golf Tournament and a Car Raffle that has been held since 1988.
Anyone interested in joining the Milford Lions should contact a current member whose names and phone numbers are listed in the front of the Lions phonebook. Prospective members are invited to a dinner meeting to learn more about the organization. The club welcomes veterans and families to join.
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