Funkstown Lions Club is small but it's active

July 15, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

FUNKSTOWN - While they may be few in number, the members of the Funkstown Lions Club work hard but quietly and the results of their labors are impressive.

The club had 30 members when it was chartered on Dec. 7, 1957. Club membership has dropped to 25 members, only three of whom actually live within the town limits of Funkstown, said immediate past president Terry Gossard - one of the three.

Nonetheless, the club raised $7,100 in 2002-03, all of which was earmarked for a number of projects for Funkstown and elsewhere. And club members always are on the lookout for new ways to serve the community.


This spring for the first time, the club awarded a college scholarship to a graduating senior from the Funkstown area, Gossard said.

That $500 scholarship went to Jason Thomas, who will be able to use it for tuition or books when he starts his studies at Hagerstown Community College.

The hope is that the scholarship will be perpetuated with money left to the club by Early W. "Petie" Bates, a longtime Funkstown Lion who died last August.

"This first year, the money came out of our budget," Gossard said.

Only one of the original charter members, Jack Welch, remains active in the 36-year-old Funkstown club. But calling Welch "active" barely does him justice.

"In the late 1950s, the man I was working for then was in the Williamsport Lions Club and wanted to start a Halfway Lions Club," Welch said. "I was a charter member of that club, too."

Funkstown resident Jack Hill then polled his fellow town residents to see if there was enough interest to start another club in Funkstown, Welch said.

"He actually went from house to house, knocking on doors," he said.

When Hill knocked on John Williams' door, one thing led to another and the new club was organized.

"We had a big block party at the old Funkstown Elementary School and invited the whole town to get it started," Welch said.

That first year, Funkstown Lions Club members held a turkey supper and sold Christmas trees to earn money for a short list of projects.

The club now has a ham and oyster dinner/raffle and a Las Vegas Night, participates in the annual Mack Trucks Rodeo and sells cookies to raise funds to benefit the Funkstown community and beyond.

Schools, libraries, camps, sports and musical activities are supported.

A Funkstown native, Gossard got into the club late when he moved back to town in 1995.

"We still have the annual town picnic the first weekend in June," he said. "Everything is donated by businessmen and clubs so it can be free for everyone."

The club meets at 6:30 p.m. every second and fourth Wednesday at the Plaza Hotel in the Valley Plaza. Anyone interested in joining can show up at a meeting or contact any member of the Funkstown Lions Club.

The club's president for 2003-04 is Mike Line.

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