100 Years of Service: Farmville Lions Club members look back

Published 3:51 am Saturday, June 3, 2023

FARMVILLE – The Farmville Lions Club has been busy over the last century. During the past 100 years, they’ve helped build the hospital in Farmville, the Weyanoke Hotel and, most recently, the Lion’s Playground over at Wilck’s Lake Park. They’ve also provided money when different groups needed it, holding fundraisers for projects like the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward County Library, the Prince Edward Rescue Squad and the Farmville-Prince Edward Youth Association, to name a few. 

“Being a part of this civic organization is very rewarding,” said Scott Davis, who serves as the club’s current president. “When founded 100 years ago, the club had a really big investment and still does today.”

He pointed out examples like the club raising funds for Blue Christmas and helping the Prince Edward School Food Pantry each year. 

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“We are known for helping with sight and hearing but really any type of need the community has, we will see how we can help however we can,” former club president Greg Cole added. “It’s a great opportunity for young men and women to get involved with a group that’s like a family because that’s what we are all about.”

The Lions Club motto is simply “We Serve”. And that’s something the club takes very seriously, Davis said. 

“I believe that being part of a local civic organization serving our community is a rewarding experience,” Davis added. “Our Club is important to Farmville, Prince Edward, and Cumberland communities because our service through fundraising assists local families receive vision screenings, eye exams, glasses for children, hearing exams, auditory appliances, support of the food pantry, and many other opportunities and initiatives in our community.”

Farmville Lions Club

Lisa Tharpe receives an award during the 100th Anniversary celebration

Farmville Lions Club sets an example 

Lisa Tharpe has been a member of the Farmville Lions Club for more than 25 years and was one of the first five women to join. For her, helping the community is an important part of why she joined. 

“Being able to serve the community with such a strong thriving group of members was not only fulfilling & rewarding philanthropically, but it was also so beneficial in making valuable contacts & connections to other like-minded business people,” Tharpe said. “The theme of ‘We Serve: Where there is a need, there is a Lion; really drew me in.”  

At the 100th anniversary celebration, Tharpe was given the “International President’s Certificate of Appreciation” for her efforts in fulfilling the mission. And there are a few parts of that mission she focuses on. 

“I am especially connected to our mission of helping others with vision problems & hearing loss,” Tharpe said. “Farmville Lions has detected dozens of severe vision issues in young children with their free vision screenings in the area, that would have otherwise gone undetected until too late for many kids.  To see the gratitude in the parent’s eyes when we discover these issues in their children is extremely rewarding and heart-warming.”

Looking ahead 

On Monday, May 15, the Farmville Lions Club gathered with friends, family and fellow Lions to celebrate 100 years of service. The dinner celebrated all the club has done in the past century and looked ahead to what’s next. 

At the dinner, the Farmville Lions Club members were joined by numerous special guests including Lions from clubs across the state. Even though the true anniversary is in June, the dinner was moved to May because they were able to have International Lions Club President Brian Sheehan in attendance.

“This was a unique experience for Farmville because this was the first time an international president had visited,” said Cole, who helped organize the event. “The Lions Club itself was founded six years before Farmville’s so it was really early on.”

During the event, Sheehan spoke and was able to induct six new members to the Farmville Lions. This is an honor for those members as there aren’t many who can say they were inducted by the international president. 

More about the Lions Club

The Lions Club is one of the largest service organizations in the world with 1.4 million members around the globe who work to meet humanitarian needs. In Farmville, the club has seen many changes and successes throughout the years. 

Looking ahead, the Farmville Lions Club plans to continue its service to the Farmville community for hundreds of years to come.