A Lions Club official in Ohio, Tim Kershner, spoke as the Shelby Lions club was about to achieve its charter.
“What it is to charter is to officially become an official club from Lions Club International,” he said.
The group is meeting and using space at Come to the Well counseling center at 81 E. Main St., Kershner said.
Kershner is Global Membership Team Coordinator with Ohio Lions Multiple District 13 OH-2 and is with the Ashland Evening Lions Club.
“It is actually my job to locate areas that don’t have a Lions Club and start one,” he said. “Shelby is in my district, and I know they didn’t have one.”
“Shelby, even though it’s a very close community, and they do a lot of things for the community, there’s a lot more things that can be done, and everything can be made bigger for our community,” Kershner said.
Kershner noted that he got involved as a Lion in 1996.
Kershner detailed the club’s path to Shelby.
“We started the effort last year,” he said. “Typically, it takes anywhere from four to six months to charter. But because of COVID, we had to back things off again until we were able to start meeting, social-distancing.”
“We want to start working and starting to do things for the community,” Kershner said, noting that membership is open to community members — men and women — who are 18 and older.
“We do have a youth program that is high-school based that, hopefully, they’ll eventually be able to start,” he said. “It’s called a Leo club program. That’s usually for ages 13 of 18 years old. It is similar to us but teaches them at the high school level.”
Kershner of Ashland called the Lions “the world’s largest community service organization.”
“Most people know us because we do eyeglasses, and that is just the tip of the iceberg of what we can do for a community,” he said.
“We can serve,” Kershner continued. “Wherever there is a need, there is a Lion pretty much. It’s up to the club to determine what those needs are and do what they need to do to get those needs met.”
Detailing the new efforts, he noted that the Lions had been in Shelby a number of years ago.
“We started a new campaign to try to regain some of our younger members, make it a little more family-oriented,” Kershner also said. “Try to get even our kids involved with what we do in our communities.”
He pointed out that the Shelby club will have a noteworthy designation.
“It’s actually only the third club in the United States that is going to be labeled Shelby United Lions Club,” Kershner said. “There are only three clubs that have the title ‘United’ in them in the country.”
He explained the significance. “It’s to help show people that we’re in this together. We have to be united as a community to be able to serve a community regardless of age, sex, race, denomination, religion, politics.”
“There’s too much hate and division out there today,” Kershner said. “For us to be able to function, we need to unite as communities to help each other.”
He expressed enthusiasm for the efforts in Shelby by the Lions members.
“They are really excited,” Kershner said. “They are starting to plan small projects to get started and work with the mayor and work with other organizations in the community to see if there’s anything they can do to help.”
“It’s going to be a win-win situation for a great community,” he added.
For more information, including on joining the Shelby Lions, look for “Shelby United Lions,” on Facebook, he said.
The Lions Club International website is https://www.lionsclubs.org