It’s hard to imagine being a member of anything for 55 years, but for Chuck DeLongchamp, a member of Miami Springs Lions Club since 1957, it’s hard to imagine not being a Lion.
On Thursday, Jan. 10 two milestones were recognized in the Miami Springs Lions Club. Chuck DeLongchamp received his 55-year membership pin, and Maxie Magnole, Kenneth Magnole and Richard Barnes were inducted as the group’s newest members. The baton was passed, in a way, from one who has served, and still serves, his community to a new generation dedicated to serve. In fact, that is the motto of the Lions Club: We Serve!
District 35-N Governor Juan Tejera spoke to the club and shared other interesting facts about the Lions Club.
Lion Chuck served as club president from 1981 to 1982, was made a Life Member in February 1998, and received a 55-year Monarch Chevron for his service in Lionism. Fifty-five years and over 1,200 meetings later, DeLongchamp is still going strong.
The octogenarian said he never thought much about how long he had been involved until he looked at group pictures from the early days and noticed not too many faces in those pictures were still around.
“I wasn’t sure I would live this long,” he said. “How many people live to be 89? I’m very fortunate and I’m glad that I was able to stay with the club during that length of time.”
Lion Chuck said many people have benefited from the Lions donating eyeglasses and eye operations, and his half-century association with the club has been memorable and rewarding.
“It's been an interesting 55 years,” he said. “We have all kinds of fundraisers of all shapes and kinds, but I think the biggest fundraiser that we did was find a camp for the visually handicapped children so that they may enjoy the camping experience as other children do.
“I headed the eight volunteer members and wives from this club who went and worked the 1974 Labor Day weekend at a run-down fishing camp on Lake Tiger to complete it and one other packaged cabin. We had to bring all our food and sleeping bags with us, as there were no facilities within many miles in any direction.”
Lion Chuck smiled.
“Every year we have a booth at the festival selling hot corn where they could eat it standing in the street. One of my jobs was to stand out on the corner holding up a husk peeled back over my head calling out, ‘Corn at its Best!’ From that moment on people just headed right to the corn booth. The Lions sold it faster than they could roast it and dip it in butter. You meet all kinds of people and see many old friends. And I’ve made many friends over the years: Carl Prom, Bob Worley, Jimmy Poole, Mike Julian, Bill Barney, Charley Vetter, Joe O’Quinn and Art Calvert.
“While many things have remained the same in the club, I think it’s for the better we have both male and female members. As a result, they get more people involved to attend these meetings and help raise these funds.”
The Miami Springs Lions Club, located at 301 Swallow Dr., is an organization whose members are service-minded men and women dedicated to working and raising funds to make their community a better place to live. Worldwide, the Lions Clubs are recognized for their service to the blind and visually impaired.