In early 1959 a spiral tablet was placed in the D-T
Auto Service for prospective members to sign up to see if the town of
Ireland would have enough interested men to support a Lions Club. The twenty-five signatures were attained and so began the Ireland Lions
Club (sponsored by the Jasper, Indiana Lions Club).
The twenty-five charter members were: Kelly Armstrong, Gerald Bartley,
Herbert Bartley, Carl Bleemel, Earl F. Buechler, Kenneth Dudine, Clifford
Eskew, Richard Freyberger, Alton Harker, Delbert Himsel, Jr., Rudolph
Hulsman, R. Thomas Kellams, Basil Kunkel, Alfred Leinenbach, Norbert Auffart,
Doyle Padgett, Linus Rudolph, Gerard Schmitt, Micheal M. Schmitt, Donald
Schuetter, Albert (Dude) Tabor, Joseph Wehr and Bernard Wigand.
The club was officially organized on St. Patricks Day, March
17, 1959. The first meetings were held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays
at 7pm at the Ireland High School. Later the meeting place was changed
to the Leinenbach Cafe. Meetings were still held in the same building,
now named The Chicken Place. In the 1990's it was moved to the
Shamrock Cafe on Green Street. Later on the club has alternated
between the two restraunts. Meetings are still held at the same times.
On St. Patricks
Day, March 17, 2009, marked our 50th year of existence. The club celebrated
on March 18th at the Shamrock Cafe in Ireland, Indiana.
The club has supported all the national and international projects,
these include the leader dog, eye testing and cancer research projects.
The club has supported and sponsored these and many local activities
such as Halloween partys, Ireland Spuds basketball banquets, outstanding
Ireland High School senior boy and girl awards (until school consolidation),
little leauge programs, summer recreation programs, street lights, Boys
and Girls state delegates, tennis court construction, Gettlefinger Park
and Christmas Baskets for the elderly. Many personal need dinner
benefits have been held by the club. The club has supported the
Madison Township Fire Department. Many other local needs have
been supported by the club over the years since 1959. The club
was also proud to support the new cancer wing of Memorial Hospital in
Jasper in 2007.
To fund these projects the club has sold Halloween Candy, light bulbs,
operated little leauge concession stands, the largest annual project
is the Chicken Stand, etc. at the 4-H fairgrounds. From 1982 to 1987
a St. Patrick's Day Fest was held. In 1988 the club began having
a dine and dance with a raffle. The dine and dance is an on going
project as well as the 4-H stand. Both events have been successful.
The success is attributed to hard work on the part of club members and
good public support.
The International Lions Club has a twinning program among clubs and
schools. In 1996 the Ireland Lions Club was twinned with the Galway
Lions Club of the Repubic of Ireland. The 5th grade class of the
Ireland Elementary School was twinned with the 5th grade class of St.
James Elementary School of Barna. A large Ireland Lions Club banner
was presented to the Galway club and Barna school. The banner
is displayed at the Barna school. The Barna school is located
on Galway Bay. The twinning was performed on a visit to the Barna
school by Lion Delbert Himsel, Jr.. All the 5th grade class of
Barna was present as well as the officers of the Galway Lions Club.
The club relaxes with their annual Christmas
Parties and Ladies nights. The Ireland Lions Club is a formidable part
of the Ireland Area. It remains the only civic club in Madison Township.
We now have over 50 members. Come to the Shamrock and/or The Chicken
Place on one of our meeting nights and see why you may want to join
the club. If you wish more information about becoming a member,
go to the home page and click on the e-mail information link.