The first Vermont Lions Club was chartered in Burlington, Vermont in 1924. The Norwich Lions Club was Chartered on June 4, 1954. During the last six decades, the club has proudly served Norwich and surrounding communities. For Norwich’s narrative in four District 45 histories from 1965 to 1997, click here. Open the downloadable Norwich Lions Club (NLC) District 45 History Book Project for 2016-7 to find out more about the history of our club.
The Norwich Lions Club club belongs to Vermont’s Lions District 45 and Lions Clubs International (LCI), the world’s largest service organization. Lions Clubs International was founded in Evansville, Indiana in 1916 by William Perry Woods and subsequently evolved as an international service organization under the guidance and supervision of its secretary, Melvin Jones.
In 1917, Jones was a 38-year-old Chicago business leader who told members of his local business club they should reach beyond business issues and address the betterment of their communities and the world. Jones’ group, the Business Circle of Chicago, agreed. After contacting similar groups around the United States, an organizational meeting was held on June 7, 1917, in Chicago. The Business Circle subsequently joined one of the invited groups, the “International Association of Lions Clubs” and at a national convention held in Dallas, Texas, later that year, those who were assembled: (1) adopted a Constitution, By-Laws, Code of Ethics and an Emblem; (2) established as a main tenet “unselfish service to others”, (3) unanimously elected Woods as its first president, effectively securing his leadership for the first two years of the existence of the International Association of Lions, and (4) selected Jones to serve as the organization’s secretary-treasurer. Jones’s legacy is celebrated through the Melvin Jones Fellowship, which recognizes those, who have donated $1,000 to the Lions Club International Foundation or to people for whom a donation was made by others.
The Lions motto is “We Serve”. Local Lions Club programs include sight conservation, hearing and speech conservation, diabetes awareness, youth outreach, international relations, environmental issues, and many other programs. The discussion of politics and religion is forbidden. The LIONS acronym also stands for Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nations’ Safety.
Today, LCI comprises 1.4 million members belonging to 48,000 Lions Clubs in 200 countries.