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Club celebrates 75 years of community service

The La Mesa Lions Club celebrated 75 years of service in March. Charted in March 1949, the beginnings of the club contained 49 members, all La Mesa business owners.

La Mesa Lions Club President Mary Jane Zulkoski said they were doctors, lawyers, two mayors, police, a fire chief, school principals, and they were young and all “movers and shakers” of the La Mesa community.

“They had no retired people in the club,” she said. “Only in the past 20 years or so, the statistics of the population and mem-berships have changed. Now we are retiring and still part of Lions clubs in the area.”

Zulkoski said still today, the club has movers and shakers of the community involved. She said the celebration of 75 years was a fundraiser, but more than that. Zulkoski said it was a wonderful evening, inducted one new member, and held a silent auction.

“We are going to do this, this year, and if we break even that is great,” she said. “We had San Diego legend Floyd Smith of the 5th Dimension. La Mesa Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary England attended and presented us with a plaque. La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis was there and presented us with a proclamation from the city. We had people from 22 different Lions Clubs. Not only from the San Diego area, but from Salinas and upper California. We drew from every place, and it was a special night.”

Zulkoski said California was the fourth state (Multiple District Four) to start a Lions club, and from California, a woman, Liz Crooke, was endorsed as the Lions Club International director, so she will attend the international convention in Melbourne, Australia to be voted in.

She attended the anniversary celebration and spoke to Lions’ members.

“We are a multi-generational club now,” she said. “We have parents who became members, then their children became members, and now we have their grandchildren in our club.”

Zulkoski said when looking to be part of an organization that benefits the community, the Lions have five global causes.

“Each club is autonomous, can work on their own, but we do have five global causes that align in the Lions International,” she said. “Sight, hearing, environment, diabetes, and childhood cancer. But if someone comes into the club and they have a passion for anything, we will work with them, we will raise funds, and we will bring awareness to that cause. If you want to be of service, and one of these things is a passion for you, it is a natural for you to come and join the La Mesa Lions Club. We participate in the community’s Flag Day parade, Boys & Girls Club of East County Health Fair doing eye screenings, the upcoming La Mesa Earth Day, because we want to bring awareness to Lions clubs. We may be the best kept secret.”

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