KINGMAN - When the Kingman Mohave Lions Club celebrates its 50th anniversary Saturday, its past and present members will have a lot to look back on - and forward to.
Not only has the organization provided free eye examinations and eyeglasses for years for about 24 children a year in the Kingman area who can't afford them, it also gives out three college scholarships annually of about $500 each to Kingman High School graduates. And it sends two disabled children or adults free to camp for a week each summer.
The organization also participates in the Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation to provide eye surgeries to adults. And with the help of the community, the Kingman Mohave Lions Club processes about 3,000 pairs of eyeglasses annually that are donated by residents and sent throughout the world.
"I joined the club because this was a focused group running on limited resources that accomplished a lot," said Tom Price, a member for about 15 years. "We've been able to fill every request and no child has been denied access to eye exams or eyeglasses.
"Each year, the club has tried to broaden its services related to our goals. When we've seen a need, we've tried to meet it. In the future, we're going to expand our services to deal with the eye-related needs of adults. And we're starting a diabetes education program in the schools, because diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness."
The club will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a gathering Saturday evening, where about 60 past and present members are expected to attend. Price said long-time member Bill Goodale, who died last year, will be honored, with his wife, State Rep. Doris Goodale, R-Kingman, accepting for him.
Participants will spend time poring through scrapbooks filled with photographs and information about past activities, as well as view past fundraising products such as the game Trivial Pursuit of Kingman.
The guest speaker will be Joe Preston of Dewey, Ariz., who will be the international president in July 2014 of Lions Clubs International. It boasts 1.4 million members in 207 countries.
Price said Kingman Mohave Lions Club is an offshoot of the Lions Club of Kingman, which was chartered on March 28, 1939. When the original club grew to 62 members, the current club was formed and received its charter on Aug. 1, 1963. The original club disbanded later.
Kingman Mohave Lions Club's 40 members meet weekly at 12:10 p.m. at Calico's Restaurant, 418 W. Beale St.
The club is sponsoring a fundraising golf tournament Aug. 10 at Cerbat Cliffs Golf Course and is seeking teams and sponsors. The event begins with registration at 7 a.m. and shotgun start at 8 a.m. The cost is $66 per player, which includes lunch and a goody bag. Cash prizes will be given to the top four teams. For more information, call Price at (928) 753-1112.
Rand Terwilleger, past president of the club and a member for about 11 years, said there aren't many organizations these days that last 50 years. He said the club has made a huge impact on the community during its lifetime.
"If a child can't see, he can't learn, and if he can't learn, he can't get a good education and be a good citizen," said Terwilleger. "I've heard from others how these eyeglasses have improved their children's lives. And with the donated eyeglasses, others have been given the gift of sight. The people of Kingman are helping people around the world."
Terwilleger said Kingman endured a time of slowdown but is beginning to grow again. That means Kingman Mohave Lions Club will have new opportunities to meet growing needs among residents. Terwilleger said the club plans to stay in close contact with Kingman and Mohave County officials to see how it can help in the future.