The Wednesday noon meeting at Cape Girardeau Elks Lodge is routine for Cape Girardeau Noon Lions Club members Roberts Williams and Freck Shivelbine, both of Cape Girardeau. The noon club was chartered 86 years ago and they have been attending for 56 and 52 years, respectively. Even though programs, locations and faces have changed over the years, what remains constant is the fellowship.
Shivelbine remembers early meetings held at the Marquette Hotel and when the Missouri Lion's Club had its headquarters in Cape Girardeau. They both remember golf tournaments between other service clubs and big parties at New Year's Eve and Christmas.
At the most recent meeting, both were surprised when they were placed in the spotlight and honored with the Melvin Jones award, the foundation's highest honor. The award recognizes humanitarian qualities such as generosity, compassion and concern for the less fortunate. The Melvin Jones Fellowship was created in 1973 for the founder of Lions Clubs International. It is presented to those who give $1,000 to the Lion's Club International Foundation or in this instance the donation was made by the club in their honor.
Club president Greg Deimund said that when Shivelbine's and Williams' service records are put in the context of the history of Lions Club International, their combined years of membership are more than two-thirds the time that Lions Club International and the Cape Noon Club have existed.
Attendance at Pancake Day, the club's main fund-raiser, is important. As both Shivelbine and Williams have belonged to the club for more than half a century, their excellent attendance at Pancake Day are a credit to the club.
Both are proud to be Lions, an organization whose mission statement is "We Serve." Deimund said Shivelbine and Williams both continue to participate in club activities, meetings and events, guiding the club today.
Shivelbine said, "The ways the club has helped the community over the years are too numerous to list, but one that stands out particularly is service to the blind."
In 1925, Helen Keller addressed the Lions international convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, urging them to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." Since then, Lions clubs have been actively involved in service to the blind and visually impaired, striving to rid the world of preventable and reversible blindness.
335-6611, extension 133