New Lions Club starts in downtown Victoria

Elena Watts By Elena Watts

Sept. 9, 2013 at 4:09 a.m.

A desire to do more community service work has resulted in Victoria's first new Lions Club in 63 years.

On Saturday the Victoria Downtown Lions Club received its official charter at a ceremony at The Victoria Country Club. Twenty-six members were inducted.

"I work in the downtown area, and this is a way to come together and help others," said Christine Cortez, the club's treasurer.

Among the evening's offerings were a social hour, dinner and guest speaker, Joe Al Picone, Lions Club immediate past international director.

"It was time to form a new club with fresh ideas and faces," said Trisha Kucera, the club's president. "It's good to have a new generation come in."

Members include Victoria professionals and college students. And the club hopes to enlist high school students through its Leo Club.

This is the third Lions Club in Victoria. The last charter night celebration was for Victoria Boulevard Lions Club in 1950. Victoria Lions Club was chartered in 1925.

Members of the Boulevard Lion's Club sought the formation of the new Downtown Lion's Club and sponsored its formation, Kucera said.

"Service projects come from the heart," Kucera said. "The opportunity came, and I took it."

Three members, including Julie Dentler, mentored the fledgling organization by attending meetings and answering questions.

"We didn't have a club in the downtown area, and we saw the need for it in our community," said Dentler, a past district governor for the Lions Club.

Dentler's enthusiasm inspired Kucera to jump in with both feet. The process started in June.

"I'm still new and learning," Kucera said. "But I'm willing to help others in need."

The international organization's mission is to aid the blind and visually impaired, but clubs also serve other causes in their local areas.

Kucera is exploring a Habitat for Humanity building project.

The new club also plans to help the other local Lions Clubs with vision screening at Health-A-Rama.

The Victoria Downtown Lions Club meets for lunch downtown from noon to 1 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays.

"I like that it's a new organization," said Jeremy Shapiro, the club's one year director. "It's a nice cross section of people."



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