Durbin Lions celebrate 65th Anniversary
Current and former members of the Durbin Lions Club gathered Saturday to celebrate 65 years of service to the community and the world. When the club received its charter in 1946, it was the 100th club in West Virginia.
Among those in attendance was Harry Widney, the last surviving charter member, who shared his memories of the clubﾒs beginnings.
ﾓIn the 40s, someone came into Durbin and asked if we wanted to start a Lions Club,ﾔ he said. ﾓWhen we started the club, the women of the church said they would feed us [at the meetings]. We were a very successful club.ﾔ
As Widney combed his memory for stories, one in particular brought a smile to his face.
ﾓOne year Tweard [W.E. Blackhurst] wrote a play he wanted us to perform,ﾔ he recalled. ﾓWe went to Lewisburg to perform it and only five people attended.ﾔ
With 65 years under its belt, Widney said he is happy to see the club still thriving.
ﾓIt makes me real proud to see the kind of club that is here today,ﾔ he said. ﾓOne thing that wonﾒt change is they will continue to serve.ﾔ
As part of the celebration, former member Dick Brockway, of the White Sulphur Springs club, presented Harold Crist with the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award, the highest honor a Lion can receive.
In order to receive this award, $1,000 must be donated to the Lions Club International Fund, which funds efforts to improve sight and end hunger around the world. For Crist, the club and community raised the money to make him a Fellow.
ﾓIt is not common for a club, community and family to come together and raise the money for a Melvin Jones,ﾔ Brockway said. ﾓI am honored to present this award to Harold Crist.ﾔ
Crist was nearly speechless as he accepted his award. As his wife, Betty Ruth, attached the pin to his lapel, she was also surprised with an honorary membership to the club for her years of dedication and service.
Ed Vinoski, a former member who traveled from Michigan, and members of the Marlinton, White Sulphur Springs and Elkins clubs joined in the celebration. Members of the Crist family were also on had for the presentations to their parents.