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Remembering the Lions Club of Springfield
0225 echoes
Lions Club members and the Effingham Hospital administrator gather around a bone density machine, made possible thorugh the efforts of the Lions Club of Springfield, at Effingham Hospital. Behind Dr. Ray Webb are, from left to right: Charles Hartzog, Don Tomberlin, Hilton Kight and Larry Weddle. - photo by Photo provided

Springfield Lions Club was organized in 1945. It was a grand civics club serving our county for 50 years until 1995 when it disbanded. One of their primary projects was to supply eye glasses to the needy in the community. They contributed to the well-being of our citizens and those who protect our freedom.

Most of us saw them in the community and at the county fair raising money in many ways including the sale of brooms. The stewards step by step over the years amassed assets including a city lot and a fairly large sum of money. They helped people with glasses and also eye surgery like cornea transplants. Members served as volunteers at many community events.

When the organization was formed in 1945, many had returned home recently from military service. The men had fun at their meetings but they kept service to others in the forefront. Ladies nights was when they treated the wives to a meal, usually catered by some of the city church ladies in one of the social halls.

As they disbanded, the club’s four directors (in the accompanying photo with the hospital administrator in 2003) determined the best thing to do with what they had amassed.

As an editorial by Ruth Lee in Effingham Herald on Aug. 7, 2003 pointed out, they had two final grand gestures. Thirty-thousand dollars was given to purchase a bone density machine for Effingham Hospital to provide a service which had been unavailable in our county until this time.

Ten thousand dollars and a title to a city lot were given to the Veterans Park of Effingham County. The money proved to put the Veterans Park into a status with all bills paid.

Charter members of the club were: F.R. Arnsdorff, Paul M. Baisch, Sidney Bazemore, Cauley Bragg, Elmon C. Bragg, M.W. Bragg, Fred C. Brinson, L. Lamar Burns, Russell Burns, Lewis Calhoun, M.P. Campbell, Hubert O. Carr, P. W. Clifton Jr., J.W. Dedge, Irvin S. Edwards, J. Franklin Edwards Sr., G.C. Exley, George W. Fetzer, A. Parker Ford, W.T. Ford, Herman C. Gnann, Albert S. Grovenstein, J.W. Hawk, Denton R. Hinely, LeGrand Hodges, W.A. Jerald, J.M. Marchman, J.E. Matthews, Ernest B. Mingledorff, H.L. Mock, Robert E. Morgan, Lonnie Parker, Russell Pittman, W.D. Raburn, H.M. Rahn, Ralph K. Rahn, Vernie W. Rahn, Harry N. Ramsey Jr., Jack E. Ramsey Sr., E.F. Scott, Perry M. Seckinger, Carswell Shearouse Jr., F. Hartridge Shearouse, William N. Shearouse, Leslie A. Thompson Sr., J.C. Varnell Sr., W.R. Webb, Thomas H. Weeks, Elbert Weitman, J. Milton Weitman, F.D. Weitman, R.G. Weitman, B.E. Whittington, and F. Patrick Wisdom.

Fifty years is a long time to serve the county. The funds distributed by Springfield Lions Club enhanced services in our local hospital and helped establish an elegant fitting memorial to all of the veterans of the county.

Editor’s note: A correction for the trivia last week — Effingham Hospital opened Aug. 25, 1969, not Aug. 25, 1961.

This was compiled by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society from an Aug. 7, 2003 editorial by Ruth Lee in the Effingham Herald. If you need further information, contact Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: